Property in Portugal – Could it be the Right Time to Buy?

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During our time living here we have seen first-hand that property in Portugal can be a tricky subject. The apartment block where we live has, like many developments across the Algarve, suffered from the economic crisis. Of the apartments on our road, only two or three are occupied fulltime. Others are owned as holiday rentals, but the majority of them have been empty and unsold since they were built. With this in mind, I took a more in depth look this week at the property market across the country…

Property in Portugal - balcony
Property in Portugal – time to own your own balcony?

The property market in Portugal has suffered in recent years, in line with the country’s economic hardships. Prices have fallen and the average property takes some 16 months to sell. In our part of the Algarve, there are countless developments where either the building has been finished but the flats are mainly unsold and empty, or where the building work has simply stopped halfway through, ready to be continued once Portugal’s financial situation improves.

However, it seems as though some positive news may finally be on the horizon for the Portuguese market. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Portuguese Housing Market Survey February 2013 has highlighted that although prices are continuing to fall, confidence in the market is on the up. Inquiries from buyers are at their highest rate since the monthly survey began back in 2010 and the national confidence index (based on a combination of prices and sales expectations) is at its highest level for over two years.

The survey observes that the lettings market is also showing signs of strong demand, although, as with the sales market, prices are continuing to fall. This is good news for anyone looking to move to Portugal and initially rent their accommodation.

Property in Portugal
Property in Portugal

So is it the right time to buy property in Portugal? Perhaps. Prices are low and the market is showing the first signs of recovery, so now could be the time to pick up a great bargain. Of course, it’s certainly possible that prices will fall even lower, so it might be that even better bargains could be had for those willing to wait a few more months.

With rents continuing to fall, those looking to move to Portugal would do well to consider renting initially, regardless of whether the plan is to buy somewhere eventually. Renting allows you to get to know an area and be sure it is right for you before committing to purchase property. After all, going somewhere on holiday and living somewhere are two very different things. Just because a particular town or village is the perfect holiday destination doesn’t mean it will be the ideal place in which to live fulltime. Renting also affords you the time to make contact with your local estate agents, to ensure that you have the chance to explore all of the suitable properties in your area before deciding which one to buy.

Buying property is often a difficult and stressful business, but whether you choose to buy immediately or rent first, try to enjoy the ups and downs of the process, safe in the knowledge that your dream property in Portugal is just around the corner!

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6 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. An interesting post – it’s good to hear some positive news about the housing market in Portugal. I’ve noticed a lot of real bargains around, especially in Central Portugal. It may indeed be a great time to buy.

  2. Hi Celia,

    It certainly is good to hear some positive news. There are some serious bargains around in the Algarve as well at the moment.

    Best wishes,


  3. Having moved to Australia 6 years ago, I was surprised by the amount of empty houses and apartments in the Algarve when I was there last year. In my sister’s building 2/3’s of the flats are yet to sell, but the owner/builder did not reduce their prices at all, which puzzled me.

  4. Well, I’m not sure about the first imamge, but the second one is surely not portuguese but Brazilian.

  5. Hi Sami,
    There are definitely a lot of empty houses and apartments here at the moment. Many developers stuck with their original prices for quite some time before realising that they needed to lower them if they wanted to sell. Hopefully now that prices are lower, there will be more occupied buildings next time you are here!
    Best wishes 🙂

  6. Hi Bessa,
    You are right, the second image is Brazil. It was listed on the site I sometimes use for images as Portugal, but I have investigated and it is a street in a village in southern Rio de Janeiro – well spotted!
    Best wishes 🙂

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