Portugal has become a favorite destination for French expatriates. Thanks to the RNH (non-habitual resident) statusIn Portugal, retired expatriates are tax-exempt for ten years, provided they spend at least 183 days a year in Portugal and have not been a tax resident for the past five years. This highly attractive measure is aimed at both wealthy retirees - the country has no wealth tax or inheritance tax - and the more modest, whose purchasing power is multiplied (+30 % in Lisbon, + 45 % in the rest of the country).
Since 2013, 25,000 French nationals have settled in Portugal, according to the Franco-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFP), with more taking the plunge every year. Of these, 80 % are retirees, but the majority are also entrepreneurs (professionals, technicians, architects, engineers, artists, healthcare professionals, etc.), who also benefit from the status of "French resident". RNH and are only taxed at 20 % on income generated and received in Portugal.
In addition to its sunny climate, the country has many advantages: property prices are very low compared to those in France. The average price of a good-quality property in Portugal is 2,500 euros per square metre, a third of the French standard. Prices are higher in Lisbon's historic center: for new-build or fully-renovated properties, prices in Baixa range from 4,500 to 6,000 euros per square meter, in Chiado from 6,500 to 10,000 euros per square meter, while in Benfica they are around 3,500 euros per square meter. Today's buyers have good prospects for capital gains: prices in the historic centers of Lisbon and Porto are catching up after the declines of the crisis years due to the lack of credit. "Valuations were over 20 % for the capital and 17 % in Porto [average price: 1,481 euros per square meter] last year. The outlook for 2016 is also very positive," assures Cécile Gonçalves, manager of the Maison au Portugal agency. New owners can look forward to a good increase over the next two or even three years (up to 10 %), before stagnating (down to 5 %), according to forecasts by Athena Advisers.
Favorable rental market
The market is also favorable for rental investment. Currently, there is strong demand from new arrivals, retired expatriates and working people looking to rent quality property, mainly in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve. In Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, Aveiro and other student cities, the rental market is also very dynamic. Returns in Portugal are currently good. For properties in consolidated, risk-free areas, they range from 3 % to 6 % gross, according to Athena Advisers.