Why Lisbon May Be Europe’s Best Kept Real Estate Secret

Cheap housing, great weather, and immigration-friendly policies has made Lisbon one of Europe’s cities to watch in 2017.

By Jeff Vasishta February 9, 2017

Ever wanted to live, work, and travel around Europe at will? Maybe also claim a secondary citizenship? Portugal’s “Golden Visa” program allows foreigners to invest €500,000 (around $535,000) in local real estate and become a citizen within five years. Access to live and work in all EU countries is part of the deal.

Also, unlike the US, citizenship can be granted without the applicant having resided in the country. It’s proving a boon for Portuguese real estate and an escape route for wealthy Americans craving a change in location and lifestyle.

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In Portugal’s favor is the fact that real estate is relatively cheap. The Azores, a pristine coastal archipelago, is a prime spot for tourists and retirees. A five-bedroom house there, according to a recent article in the New York Post, can cost under $100,000. The low prices are due to the fact that during the global financial crisis, Portugal was hit badly and house prices have yet to fully recover. Thus they are not the only Southern European country to over Golden Visa type programs to spark investment. Spain and Greece have similar initiatives.

Coupled with their lenient immigration policies, Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, is fast becoming one of the best places for real estate investors to park their cash, according to IberianProperty. Lisbon is now the 7th best European destination for real estate investments in 2017 as stated in an Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe 2017 survey. Britain’s Brexit vote has undoubtedly turned investors to other European cities such as Lisbon—which, in contrast to the UK, has low price points and and cheap rents.

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Also driving Lisbon’s ascendency is its reinvention as a tech-centric city. Last year, the city welcomed 50,000 people to its Web Summit, adding an estimated $180 million to Lisbon’s economy. Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Portugal’s economy minister discussed tech companies drawn to Lisbon with the Guardian.

“We’re attracting them for a lot of reasons: because we have a financing system, a very competitive fiscal setting for startups; but also because of the lifestyle and quality of life that entrepreneurs find here.”

Ridhi Kantelal, a 26-year-old Portuguese entrepreneur, who left a job in London to return to Portugal and form Noxidity, a startup that uses smart sensors to predict the corrosion of industrial machinery, said in the same Guardian article, “Everyone speaks English, there’s great tech talent, and the cost of living is so much cheaper than London. On what I was paying for rent in London, I can live here and afford one or two trips to London every month. The weather is nice, the food is nice and the people are nice.”

What’s not to like?

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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