Written by Ben Taylor,
3rd April 2023

Portugal continues to attract large numbers of international buyers, with record investment figures dwarfing those seen elsewhere in southern Europe.

Portugal’s appeal to international buyers shows no sign of waning. According to recent figures from Savills, 2022 saw Portugal’s real estate market enjoy the largest year-on-year growth in southern Europe. It was up 67% on the year before, with a considerable number of international buyers contributing to the figures.

Cascais, Lisbon District, Portugal I Image: DreamArchitect via Shutterstock

Meanwhile, Portugal continues to thrive, despite the economic challenges and high inflation facing much of the world. In 2022, Portugal realised almost double the average EU GDP growth (6.6% vs. 3.4%). By contrast, Germany achieved 1.6% growth, and France 2.5%. Portugal’s economy is now comfortably back to pre-pandemic levels.

Portugal’s desire to attract international buyers has always been in plain sight. Although the country’s Golden Visa program has ended, there’s still the Non-Habitual Resident tax scheme, and a recent new visa to attract digital nomads.

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TAP airline in flight I Vytautas Kielaitis via Shutterstock

Americans lead the charge of international buyers

When considering who might move to Portugal, many people immediately think of Brits, and citizens of comparatively colder northern European countries. However, Portugal is attracting those from much further afield.

International buyers from the USA are particularly prevalent. Since 2017, there’s been a staggering increase of 239% in the number of Americans calling Portugal home. Almost 10,000 now live in the country, according to The New York Times.

Americans, and other global residents, are attracted to Portugal for a range of reasons – not least the weather, the low cost of living, and a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. However, there was also a notable cultural shift around 2016. Web Summit, a global technology conference originating in Dublin, found its new annual home in Lisbon, attracting thousands of global entrepreneurs and businesses to the city.

Since then, Lisbon has emerged as a desirable hub for start-ups and digital nomads. In addition, more and more corporate firms have set up or expanded their headquarters in the city, including names like BNP Paribas and Cloudflare. In 2022, WeWork also chose Lisbon as its first location in Portugal.

The Algarve is ever popular with retirees and those looking for a place in the sun

Appeal to all demographics

The attractions of Portugal now go far beyond a slow-paced life by the beach for retirees. However, it’s worth emphasising that it remains a wonderful place to retire to. Despite fears around Brexit, the D7 Visa, for retirement and those with passive income, means that people from anywhere in the world – including the UK – can move to Portugal if they have a secure, regular income.

Learn more about how Brexit has affected moving overseas for Brits

The requirements for the D7 visa are low, with an income threshold of below €10,000 annually.

Those of working age also have plenty of options. Many Americans, particularly in Lisbon and the surrounding area, land in the country as a result of transfers from their corporate employers. They find an established community of expats, an easy settlement process, and a wealth of international schools for their children. The New York Times states that “many Americans gush about trading a car-dependent lifestyle for the chance to live in a vibrant, European city on the cheap.”

With the advent of the new visa for digital nomads, it seems likely that even more international buyers will soon head to Portugal. If it’s something you are considering, you’ll find our detailed guide to settling in here.

Despite uncertain economic times, Portugal seems well placed to continue to move from strength to strength. Its government has been quick to innovate, and constantly keen to promote the country as very much open for business. It seems to be paying off.

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