The year 2017 was a particularly good year for the European property sector in general, and especially for Portugal, with its numbers showing a significant improvement over the previous years and thus generating a housing boom.
This improvement in the property scene was very appealing to investors and, last year, the housing market experienced an unprecedented foreign investment by people looking for a good financial return and those who chose to invest in this sector. In addition, the purchasing of different assets, such as plots of land, was also seen by these investors as an opportunity for various constructions (for example, some projects related to health and academic residences).
This trend for the purchase by foreign investors had already been recorded in a study by the Association of Real Estate Agents and Companies of Portugal (APEMIP), which had verified that foreign investment in the national property market was 25 per cent, with 1 in every 4 homes being purchased by international buyers. Going even further, according to the figures from this association, it is possible to observe that even in 2016, foreigners already represented 20 per cent of the property purchases as the Chinese and British investors were the main buyers in our country. In 2017, the French and the Brazilians, who sought a significant number of properties on Lusitanian soil also joined the Chinese and British.
Currently the real estate market in Portugal shows that the already high figures associated with foreign investment in Portugal's property market are showing a growing trend, which points to international buyers representing between 80 and 85 per cent of the total investment in this sector, leaving only 15 to 20 per cent space for national investment.
Considering the trends for the year 2018, the representativeness of foreign investment will tend to increase by not allowing the share of capital to exceed to more than a quarter of the total volume in property sales.
This forecast is partly supported by the tourism and property awards won by Portugal over the past year and by its frequent and superior presence in several rankings, the property mediation sector has been working on Portugal's appeal on foreigners, presenting it as one of the best destinations to spend holidays in; the best country to retire to; one of the five safest countries in the world and a country that's balanced in its relationship between prices and quality of life. In addition, the government scheme to attract foreign investment has also served to enable foreigners to look for assets in our country, whether for living in or as a second home. Recently, another appealing factor to foreign investors from a lower age group, was the Time Out rating, which considered Porto and Lisbon two of the ten most exciting cities in the world.