Long plagued by the economic crisis, the Portuguese capital is getting a makeover.
The construction sites are multiplying and buyers, especially foreigners, are flocking to take advantage of Lisbon's charm.
What is happening to the city beloved by the writer Fernando Pessoa? Workers are renovating entire neighborhoods in the capital, and cranes, ever more numerous, invade the Lisbon sky. The construction sector is finally recovering from its dark years and prices are soaring. Eight years ago, my colleague and I were going door to door offering our services," says Roman Kurtysh, a Ukrainian mason, amazed at the upturn in activity. At that time, at the end of the month, we each earned 53 euros. We were ready to throw in the towel." The turning point came in early 2014: three years after receiving a European aid package of €78 billion in loans, Portugal is beginning to emerge from the economic crisis. After those years of decline, the growth - considered exceptional - of the sector can be explained in very large part thanks to urban rehabilitation.
A booming market
With its buildings damaged by time, the popular neighborhood of Campo das Cebolas, which has long been off the tourist map, is now being reborn. A renovated apartment with a view of the Tagus River is now worth more than 900,000 euros. In 2017, real estate prices in Lisbon climbed nearly 201TP3Q in the fourth quartercompared to the same period last year. In Porto, rates jumped by 17.6% over the same period.
In Portugal as a whole, the average price per square meter increased year-on-year by 7.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017, to 932 euros per square meter.
It's hard to imagine that before 2013, "one in three buildings was empty, dilapidated or in an advanced state of decay," as Luis Mendes, a researcher affiliated with the University of Lisbon, recalls. This renaissance seems to be the fruit of 3 joint factors: low interest rates, an accommodating tax system and an unprecedented influx of tourists, over 20 million in 2017.
A large clientele of retirees
More than 50,000 French people live in Portugal. Lisbon is particularly attractive to retirees, who represent 80 % of the expatriate contingent from France. The reason: the city has lightened the tax burden of candidates for exile in 2013.
For non-European Union nationals, the Portuguese tax system is just as lenient. Issued to those willing to invest at least 500,000 euros for the purchase of a property, the "goldens visas" are particularly popular with Chinese nationals and in the future, should be popular with...the British.