Are Portuguese homes too cold for most of the year

Published:  26 Dec at 6 PM
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If you’re thinking of retiring to sunny Portugal and buying a property, there’s one thing you’d be wise to remember.

Granted, Portugal’s summers are a retirement dream, with sunshine and high temperatures banishing any traces of the cold-weather blues so common in the UK. However, if you’re thinking of buying a retirement home, you should realise that studies by environmental organisations have revealed only one out of every 100 Portuguese nationals was happy with the ambient temperature inside the house. Put briefly, Portuguese homes are too cold for much of the year!

The issue’s made worse by the exorbitant cost of electricity, one of the highest in the whole of Europe, and winters tend to be far colder than new expat arrivals expect. Basically, although summers are reliably hot and beautifully sunny, the official classification of Portugal’s climate is ‘temperate’, not tropical. Would-be expats should think UK weather with reliably hot summers, cool autumns and colder winters but without year-round drizzle, grey skies and endless damp.

If you’re determined to buy a property, check for insulation in the loft and don’t think for a minute that quaint open wood-burning fireplace will take care of colder winter days – it won’t, as all the heat escapes up the chimney! If you’re desperate, double glazing will help, but opening all windows in winter as do the Portuguese is not a good idea. Deciding on an older, more traditional home with solid, thick granite walls which absorb warmth and radiate it back again at night will at least ensure there’s no need to wear socks in bed.

Another set of recently released statistics came as a welcome surprise for expat property owners already in Portugal, but it’s not good news for those thinking of buying now. Real estate prices have been in the doldrums since the 2008 financial crisis, but have suddenly jumped 11.5 per cent over the last quarter. Around 39,000 sales were made, with existing properties making up over 80 per cent of the sales.

The most popular regions were Lisbon and its surroundings and the north of the country, with a good number of purchases being made by expats looking for retirement villas and holiday homes. The sharp, sudden rise in real estate prices almost exactly mirrors the resurgence of Spain’s property market after a similare stagnation period which began after the financial crash.
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