Portuguese property price rises shutting out British expat retirees

Published:  21 Jan at 6 PM
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Golden Visa investors are being blamed for soaring property price hikes.

For a number of years, Portugal has been a favourite with British expats seeking sunshine and an affordable, less stressful lifestyle in a location without the rowdy reputation of many Spanish resort towns. The Algarve has been a favourite region for UK retirees on the none-too generous state pension, with many buying homes ahead of retirement and using them for their annual holidays. Sadly, Brexit has left the Algarve’s expat communities fearful about its long term effects, and a sudden property price boom caused by an influx of wealthy investors and speculators has closed the country for many Brits on the edge of retirement.

The growing demand from those taking advantage of the country’s Golden Visas including EU passports has caused growing demand now leading to a shortage of supply. Overall, last year’s average house prices soared by over 13 per cent to just over €2,000 per square metre, the first time this barrier has been reached. All Portugal’s regions bar one, Alentjo, saw increases, with Lisbon recording the highest price hike at €2,900 per square metre. Popular Madeira saw rises of eight per cent and the popular retirement hub of the Algarve registered a 7.3 per cent increase.

Whilst this may be very good news for those who bought their properties over a decade ago, it’s a disaster for British pensioners wishing to emigrate to Portugal before the end of this year. The property bubble is equally bad news for Portuguese citizens on average wages who’re looking to own their own homes, as the majority cannot now even consider buying. It’s now believed some 80 per cent of buyers are from outside the country, with many purchasing for investment as well as an EU passport, thus creating an imbalance due to the average Portuguese monthly wage being around €600.
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