We know the artists or sportsmen who go into exile in Belgium or Switzerland. From now on, Portugal must be added to the list.
The French are now the leading foreign investors in Portuguese stone, downgrading the British and Chinese for the second year running. As a result, nearly 30 % of properties bought by non-Portuguese were acquired by the French in 2017, according to Portuguese property professionals' association Apemip. They are particularly attracted to Lisbon and the Algarve region in the south of the country.
In four years, the number of French people living in Portugal has more than quintupled to 50,000 (up from a few thousand in 2013), including 80% retirees, according to the Franco-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFP). "There are around a quarter of foreign buyers in Portuguese real estate today, says Cécile Goncalves, director of the Maison au Portugal real estate agency, which is certainly a significant share, but not an insane one. But it is true that prices have started to rise since the introduction of this tax measure and the arrival of new residents. However, prices are still measured, as Portugal did not experience a speculative bubble in the 2000s like France.
Climate, safety and quality of life
In addition to the climate, safety and quality of life, it's the tax measures passed in Portugal in January 2013 that continue to attract foreign buyers. For example, thanks to RNH (non-habitual resident) status, retired expatriates are exempt from tax for ten years, provided they spend at least 183 days a year there and have not been a tax resident for the last five years.
On average, French people invest between 200,000 and 250,000 euros in the purchase of a home. At this price, you can get a nice house of 100 to 150 m², close to the sea and the city center. Homes costing between 300 and 350,000 euros are also in high demand. And for a budget between 750,000 and one million euros, you can acquire a luxurious residence of 300 m² on a plot of 600 to 1200 m², with a swimming pool, close to the sea and a golf course.
Retirees are wanted...
This highly attractive measure is aimed at both wealthy retirees - the country has no IFI (real estate wealth tax) or inheritance tax - and the more modest, whose purchasing power is multiplied by around 35 % compared to France. Of these, 80 % are private-sector pensioners, but also self-employed professionals (entrepreneurs, technicians, architects, engineers, artists, healthcare professionals, etc.), whose RNH status means that they are taxed at only 20 % on income generated and received in Portugal.
Regarding the taxation of inheritance, free transfers made within the framework of a death or a donation are exempt from stamp duty. This applies to descendants or ascendants and married persons. However, this exemption does not apply to real estate located in Portugal.
And that's not all! For the very wealthy, and for investments of 500,000 euros in real estate - or 1 million euros in a company with the promise of creating 10 jobs - Lisbon issues a residence permit that entitles the holder to citizenship five years later.