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The Portuguese property market

The Portuguese property market’s troubled past is well documented. Not even the Algarve’s ancient cork forests and pristine golf courses managed to entice buyers post 2008, prompting prices in some resorts to fall by as much as 50% in peak-to-trough terms.

Residential construction plummeted across Portugal. However, with the supply tap turned off excess stock has been absorbed back into the market narrowing the gap between demand and supply.

Sale volumes and prices have responded in two phases. In 2013 we saw vendors start to adjust their prices, keen to progress sales leading to an upturn in transactions, and by 2015 the Algarve recorded its first annual increase in prime prices since 2008.

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What set the Algarve apart during the downturn was the continual investment in infrastructure. The upgrade of the coastal A22 motorway (stretching to Lagos and opening up the western Algarve), the improvement to the E1 (to Lisbon and Porto) and the €32m expansion of Faro Airport have helped boost economic confidence. Further development is planned at Vilamoura and Quinta do Lago.

Buyers are also drawn to the Algarve for the long rental season it offers. Golf is a huge attraction all-year round in the Algarve. People who want their holiday home to make money when they are not using it, can reasonably expect to rent out their properties from Easter to late October.

Rental income is important. But so is the ease of the Algarve for owners – a place that is easily accessible and offers everything on tap once there. For further details about the Portuguese market, please refer to Portugal Inside View.

Non-Portuguese Residents

Unsurprisingly the €500,000-€1m bracket is the most active due to numerous buyers drawn to the Non-Habitual Residency regime (NHR), which offers tax benefits if buyers become a Portuguese tax resident. For many non-dom status clients and some retired buyers who want easy access to the UK, it’s an appealing option.

Introduced in 2009, the NHR exempts non-residents spending 183 days a year in Portugal (or those with a primary residence in the country) from income tax on non-Portuguese incomes, including pensions, salaries and capital gains for a period of 10 years.