A mortgage can be a strategic tool to boost your property budget in Portugal
A mortgage can be a strategic tool to boost your property budget in Portugal

US citizens buying property in Portugal in 2024: what are your options?

Buying a property is a big step, and it can become overwhelming in a country where you don't know the local regulations or even the language. The good news is that buying a property in Portugal can be straightforward, even if you're buying from the US. Explore your options and discover everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

Delia Mihuț
Written by: Delia Mihuț
Published at 2024-04-15
Last updated on 2024-05-23
Readtime 5 minutes

Portugal is a country with a favorable climate, safe environment, quality infrastructure, and favorable tax conditions, making it an attractive location to buy property for living or expanding your business. Sectors such as the digital economy, construction, property, and renewable energy are dynamic. So, why not consider investing in this country?

The good news for US citizens yearning for a European escape is that buying property in Portugal is possible. This guide explores everything you need to know to make your dream a reality.

Key takeaways
  • US citizens can own property in Portugal without needing residency
  • Housing costs in Portugal are generally lower than in the US, despite rising prices
  • Portuguese banks offer mortgage products for US citizens

What's the property market in Portugal in 2024?

Portugal's property market offers exciting opportunities, particularly for those coming from the US. One of the biggest draws for US citizens is affordability. Housing costs in Portugal are generally around 40-50% cheaper than in the US. 

Portugal's house prices have been on an upward trajectory for years, with an average price per square meter reaching $1,655 in October 2023.

This represents an 8.17% increase year over year. However, inflation has also been a factor. When adjusted for inflation, the nationwide increase is a more modest 5.93%.

While prices continue to rise, there's been a recent and significant drop in demand. The number of housing transactions in the first half of 2023 fell by a substantial 21.8% compared to the previous year. This suggests a potential market correction on the horizon.

What are the requirements for buying property in Portugal as a US citizen?

The NIF - Número de Identificação Fiscal plays an extremely important role in buying property in Portugal as a foreigner. This is the Portuguese tax number, similar to a Social Security number in the US. 

Having a Portuguese bank account will simplify transactions and could save money on conversion rates since mortgages in Portugal are granted only in euros. 

You'll also need the property's energy certificate, land registry document (Caderneta Predial), and proof of payment for the stamp duty (Imposto de Selo) among other property documents. 

While residency is not a requirement for buying property, it might be necessary if you plan to stay for extended periods. 

What are the tax obligations for buying a house in Portugal?

Buying property in Portugal comes with extra costs, so consider these fees when planning your budget:

  • Property Transfer Tax (IMT): 0-8% of the purchase price
  • Stamp Duty (Imposto de Selo): 0.8% of the purchase price 
  • Property valuation fee: around 200 EUR + 4% tax
  • Municipal Property Tax (IMI): 0.3-0.45% for urban properties, 0.8% for rural properties
  • Rental income tax: up to 28% if you rent out your property 

A mortgage: an alternative to increase your property budget

While a cash purchase might seem ideal, a mortgage can be a strategic tool to maximize your property budget in Portugal. Here's why:

  1. Leverage - a mortgage allows you to access a more significant sum upfront, enabling you to secure a better property or location
  2. Spreading the cost - monthly mortgage payments make the overall purchase more manageable, allowing you to invest in your property sooner

The good news is that several Portuguese banks, like Bankinter, UCI, Santander, CGD, and Novo Banco, offer mortgage products tailored to US citizens.

Homevest simplifies accessing a mortgage in Portugal from the US

Going through the Portuguese mortgage landscape is very challenging if you’re unfamiliar with the country. Fortunately, Homevest is a digital platform that simplifies the mortgage application process for US citizens buying property in Portugal. 

Homevest acts as a bridge between customers and the banks, ensuring you receive competitive offers directly from lenders vying for your profile. Through Homevest, you can centralize your documents, receive personalized guidance from mortgage brokers, and secure better mortgage terms.

Collaborating with Reorganiza, the leading digital mortgage broker in Portugal, customers receive optimal banking solutions, with the pros and cons of each option outlined to empower them to make informed decisions.

Frequent questions for US citizens buying property in Portugal

Ready to take the plunge on your Portuguese dream property? Here's a quick rundown of some common concerns US citizens might have:

1. How long can I stay in Portugal if I own property? 

As a US citizen, you're entitled to visa-free stays of up to 90 days within 180 days.

Keep in mind that owning a property in Portugal doesn't automatically grant you residency rights. The length of your stay depends on your intended use of the property.  

2. How much deposit do I need for a house?

If we're discussing mortgages, expect a down payment of 20% of the property value, as Portuguese banks typically offer a maximum of 80% financing to non-resident applicants.

3. What are the mortgage rates in Portugal?

Mortgage rates in Portugal typically range from 1% to 4% and depend on your creditworthiness, loan type, down payment, and the overall economy.

4. What are the best mortgages for non-residents?

Santander, Novobanco, Bankinter, and UCI are some popular lenders to consider. However, there is no single best option. 

Consider interest rate, down payment (affects LTV and rate), fixed vs. adjustable rates, and other fees when searching for the best Portuguese mortgages for non-residents.

5. Is the Golden Visa still available?

Effective October 7, 2023, property purchases are no longer accepted as the sole investment option under the program. This change was implemented by the Portuguese government's Mais Habitação (More Housing) bill, which aims to address housing affordability concerns in Portugal.

 

Buying a property is a big step, and it can become overwhelming in another country where you don't know the local regulations or even the language. The good news is that buying a property in Portugal can be straightforward, even if you're buying from the US, as long as you source the right help and gather all the necessary information to make the right decision. A good mortgage broker, for instance, can guide you through the entire process, ensuring that you secure the best deal possible and obtain the right loan for your situation.

Good luck with planning and settling into your very own slice of Portugal. 

 

Sources used for this article:

  1. Housing costs in Portugal
  2. Statistics Portugal
  3. Portugal’s house prices
  4. "More Housing" bill

We recommend obtaining professional or specialist advice before taking or refraining from any action based on the content in this article. The information in this article does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice from Homevest Limited. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties, or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in this article is accurate, complete, or up to date.

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