"We are confident that Portugal is a good stand-alone property investment destination."
Portugal offers buyers a range of relaxed, outdoor lifestyle choices: from beach fronts and golf estates to wine farms and ancient walled cities. “Although Portugal’s Golden Visa opportunity has put it on the map, it is the relative affordability and outdoor lifestyle that make it so appealing to South Africans,” says international property specialist and founder of Hurst & Wills, Lisa Bathurst.
“We have successfully helped many Golden Visa families purchase property in Portugal. However, we are confident that Portugal is a good stand-alone property investment destination. That’s why it remains part of our international portfolio, along with other European cities performing well like Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool,” she says.
“As an independent firm we work for the client, not the developer. We work only with developers we have vetted over the years and trust. This, along with our expertise and experience, puts us in an excellent position to find a property abroad that best suits your wealth strategy.
“Portugal offers a range of affordable investment options, especially compared to cities such as Paris or London,” says Bathurst.
“People immediately think of Lisbon, but there are other property hotspots buyers should consider. The Algarve is a sunny region with a dramatic coastline and superb traditional cuisine, excellent beaches, clear waters, friendly locals and a sustainable property market.
“Buyers are spoilt for choice with traditional homes in picturesque villages, managed properties on luxury, championship golf estates or modern villas with sea-views, all at relatively affordable prices.”
On the Silver Coast, an hour from Lisbon by bus, is the medieval village of Obidos, a charming walled city with narrow streets and village squares dominated by an enormous castle. “This village is popular with tourists, making it a fantastic place to own investment property.”
Two hours south of Lisbon is another walled gem, Evora, situated in the wine region of Alentejo. “Historically a major trade and religious centre, these days it’s a young and vibrant city with a large student population. You’ll find great wine, fine restaurants, cobbled streets and an impressive cathedral with views of the surrounding vineyards and olive groves,” says Bathurst.
Further north is Porto, a charming city rich in history, culture, gastronomy and natural beauty, on the banks of the Douro River. “Here you can invest in new stunning waterside properties or an apartment among the cobbled streets and historical baroque architecture of the buzzing old town.
“Porto’s property prices can be up to 35% cheaper than Lisbon or Cascais. You still get blue flag beaches, low-cost flights around Europe, excellent infrastructure, some of the best food and wine in the country, and the rental yields are also higher,” says Bathurst.
There are also agricultural opportunities for farmers with the Alqueva Project in Alentejo. “This land, with its constant water availability, is primed for capital growth as it is sought-after by local farmers and internationals wanting to buy or rent this fertile land for almond and olive production,” says Bathurst.
“Portugal offers fantastic areas each with their own appeal so investors don’t have to focus on expensive areas like Lisbon or Cascais.”
*For more information contact Hurst & Wills, email: hello@hurstandwills. com and call: +27 (0)87 012 5281.
Programme is linked to EU residency
South Africans and others seeking freedom of movement for themselves and their families to study, work and live anywhere in the European Union, are increasingly turning to Portugal to acquire EU residency, says Chris Immelman, head of Pam Golding International.
“The benefits offered via Portugal’s Golden Visa Programme, with its Schengen Visa and Portuguese Residency, have suddenly became considerably more accessible with the introduction by the Portuguese government of a new category.
“This lowers the entry level from a 500000 euros (about R8.1million) investment in real estate to 350000 euros (about R5.5m) in special circumstances.”
Since the Golden Visa Programme was introduced in October 2015, hundreds of South African investors have acquired residence permits, investing a minimum of 500000 euros in residential property in prime locations, mainly in the vibrant capital city of Lisbon.
Recently, Portugal further enhanced its appeal by lowering the threshold entry level by allowing developers to approach the government to renovate buildings at least 30 years old in historically significant centres or locations earmarked as urban regeneration areas.
These refurbished units can be sold for a minimum of 350000 euros to foreign investors, who then enjoy all the advantages of visa-free travel in all 26 countries in the Schengen area. In addition they get the opportunity to apply for EU citizenship, which affords them the right to live and work in any EU country.
Immelman says: “We continue to see a huge uptake of property in Portugal among those seeking a hard currency investment with solid returns and good long-term capital appreciation prospects, as well as the opportunity for freedom of travel in the European Union.”
With 220 days of sun each year, a flourishing tourism industry and a shortage of hotels further boosting the demand for such accommodation, Portugal offers residents free quality health care and excellent education facilities, with more than 300 higher education institutions.
* For more information email Theresa Fernandez on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0217622617.