Why Lisbon should be on international investors’ radar in 2017

Attractive incentives for foreign investors, a burgeoning tech-driven economy and an eclectic mix of regeneration projects and cutting edge new developments make Lisbon one of Europe’s most exciting cities in which to invest in 2017, said Spot Blue in March.

Lisbon’s appeal to international investors and entrepreneurs has rocketed over the past three years, said Spot Blue, which promotes property in investment hot spots around the world. “Property values in some prime central areas of the Portuguese capital have risen around 10 per cent annually since 2013,” said Julian Walker, director at Spot Blue. “A number of global consultancies, including the 2017 Alpha Cities Report and Christie’s International Real Estate, have recently earmarked the city as ‘one to watch’. It’s an exciting time to be buying property there.”

Here are five reasons to consider a property investment in Lisbon this year:

– The city has become a hub for young startup firms, in particular those operating in the creative and technology sectors. Efforts by the government-backed ‘Startup Lisboa’ have led to the creation of more than 250 companies in Lisbon since 2011, with the result that around 30 per cent of the city’s new entrepreneurs are from overseas. A scheme to invest €6billion in R&D, innovation and SME competitiveness in Lisbon by 2020 is helping to drive this foreign interest.

– The riverfront section of the Belem district is the site of significant urban redevelopment and is being transformed into a cultural hot spot, helping to put the city on the global map. Central to this is the recently completed Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), an instant city landmark. Meanwhile, on the south side of the River Tagus, the Lisbon South Bay project will see the regeneration of large parts of the Almada, Barreiro and Seixal districts and has been compared to the successful regeneration of the docks area of Liverpool.

– Property is noticeably cheaper than other key European capital cities. Apartments in one of Lisbon’s most sought-after districts, namely the historic old quarter, Bairro Alto, where old character buildings are being restored to meet demand, are an estimated 40-50 per cent cheaper than equivalents in London, Paris or Madrid. Other popular central districts include Lapa, Chiado and Santos. In addition, recent reforms to restrictive rental rules have made buy-to-let property more attractive to international investors.

– The cost of living in Lisbon, in particular eating and drinking out and public transport, is considerably cheaper than other European cities. This makes the city especially attractive to young professionals relocating there from overseas.

Portugal currently has two key incentives for foreign buyers, namely the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) programme and the Golden Visa scheme. The former grants tax breaks on foreign income to new foreign residents for 10 years, while the latter grants residency to foreigners from outside the European Union who invest in property of a minimum value. According to the Portuguese Real Estate Professionals and Brokers Association, more than 4,000 foreigners have been granted residency permits under the Golden Visa programme since its launch in 2012. Most Golden Visa applicants come from China, with the remainder typically going to Brazilians, Lebanese, Russians and South Africans.