Real Estate: The demand for houses to buy and rent by foreigners living in Portugal grows

In the last years, Portugal has entered the route of foreigners who, for the most diverse reasons, choose our country to live. In terms of housing, what are these people looking for? Buying a house or leasing? The numbers indicate that the trend of investment in real estate is growing and that it represents millions of euros. On the other hand, demand for buying or renting has increased in geographical areas such as Funchal (in Madeira), Ponta Delgada (in the Azores), Leiria, Coimbra or Porto



What are the reasons that lead foreigners to Portugal?

  • Soft weather
  • Quality of life
  • Safe Country
  • Leisure programs that provide
  • Relatively easy access to health care
  • Cost of living lower than in their home countries (in some cases)
  • Tax Regime (for investors and digital nomads)
  • Possibility of obtaining Portuguese nationality (under certain circumstances)
  • Value of real estate, although high for Portugal, in many cases is lower than that practiced in the countries of origin of foreigners


Why buy a house in Portugal?

  • To effectively live and/or work in the country, either individually, with their families or in situations of retirement.
  • Some buy it as a second home and, in many cases, spend the months they are not in Portugal at Short Term Rental (which exists throughout the country, although it is currently conditioned in some parishes in Lisbon, and it is still possible to register a property along these lines in some capital zones).
  • From an investment perspective which under certain circumstances may allow them to access a golden visa despite the Portuguese Government announcing in November that it is studying the possibility of ending this type of authorization for investment residences. That is, for now, the legislation remains.
  • To take advantage of the tax regime for non-habitual residents which, with the entry into force of the 2023 State Budget, makes them equivalent to regular residents (Real Estate: The new measures of 2023)
  • Digital Nomads – These remote workers usually choose to rent, however, when they acquire their own permanent home, they also enjoy tax benefits.

In Portugal, the data reveal that the acquisition of properties by citizens of foreign nationality is a growing trend and that it represents an investment of hundreds of thousands of euros in the country. In November 2022, the Bank of Portugal presented the Financial Stability Report for November, in which it states that “in the accumulated of the four quarters ended in June 2022, non-resident buyers represent 11.7% of real estate transactions in Portugal, “against” the 8.9% in the same period in 2021.

According to data pointed out by the Bank of Portugal in November 2022, the turnover in the real estate market involving non-resident citizens reached almost 30 billion euros during the second quarter, that is, until June 2022, when in the same period 2021 did not reach 25 billion euros.

According to a study carried out by Idealista News, the interest of foreign investors in buying a house in Portugal has not changed with the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, or inflation. These variants that have changed the country’s economy in recent years have not manifested themselves. “The average weight of international demand for the 20 Portuguese district capitals stood at around 27% both at the end of 2019 and at the end of 2022. And in the rental market there was even greater international demand in December 2022 (32%) than before the pandemic (24%)”, underlines Idealista News. This data points to a growing trend of Brazilians, French and North Americans buying a house in our country, while Brazilians lead the list in the rental market.

Between 2019 and 2022, Idealista News points to an increase in demand in some areas of the country. Here are the data from the study:

  • Funchal (in Madeira) – demand for houses grew by 9.5%. In December 2022, the search for houses by citizens of foreign nationality represented 50% of the search.
  • Leiria – interest grew by 3.8%
  • Coimbra – 3.5% increase in demand for homes for foreigners

Other data from Idealista News:

  • Faro, Viana do Castelo and Bragança – one in three people looking for a house to buy is a foreign national.
  • Ponta Delgada (Azores) – demand for houses by foreigners is around 40%.


The numbers revealed by Idealista News point to a differentiation of nationalities depending on the geographical area of Portugal. Thus, in Lisbon there is a greater international demand by Spaniards, French and North Americans, “against” Porto, where one in every 5 people who go through the real estate market with the intention of finding a house, is of foreign origin, being that Spain, Brazil and the United States of America lead the list. In Faro, in the Algarve, there is a marked search by the British, North Americans and Germans.


Market for renting houses to foreigners grew

The rental market in Portugal is going through a complex period for those who want to rent, particularly in urban centers. However, if on the one hand it is difficult to rent a house at competitive prices, on the other we are seeing more and more foreign nationals looking for houses to rent in the country and not necessarily in Lisbon or Porto. In fact, according to the study released by Idealista News, this demand increased and went from 24% in December 2019 (pre-pandemic period) to 32% in December 2022, that is, there was an increase of 8. 2% of foreign citizens are looking for a house to rent.

Following the study carried out and published by Idealista News, the places that registered the greatest increase in the search for a house for rent by foreigners, between December 2019 and December 2022 were the following:

  • Ponta Delgada in the Azores – grew by 19.1%
  • Funchal, in Madeira – increased by 19% although here these data can, in part, be justified by the conditions provided by the Regional Government of Madeira to digital nomads and by the fact that this Autonomous Region increasingly enjoys international projection (Digital Nomads: Madeira among the 8 best places in the world to work)
  • Porto – there was a growth of 11.6%

In 2022, the figures indicate that the city’s most sought after by foreigners to rent a house were Funchal (Madeira), Viana do Castelo and Bragança. In the same year, Portalegre, Évora and Beja recorded a sharp drop in rentals or international demand for housing rentals.

The number of foreigners residing in Portugal has increased in recent years; According to data revealed by the Foreigners and Borders Service – SEF – in 2022, for the seventh consecutive year, there was a growth of the foreign population in the country, with at the end of that year, 757,252 thousand citizens of foreign nationality with legal residence in Portugal, which represents an increase of 8.3% compared to the end of 2021. In practical terms, it symbolizes 58,365 more people.

According to these data, the nationalities that registered the greatest growth in recent years were Indian and Brazilian, followed by Nepalese.


Ranking of the countries of origin of foreigners residing legally in Portugal at the end of 2022 according to data indicated by the SEF:


  1. Brazil
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Cape Verde
  4. India
  5. Italy
  6. Angola
  7. France
  8. Ukraine
  9. Romania
  10. Nepal

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With the definitive end to the Golden Visa approved yesterday by the President of the Republic, it’s time to move towards a more stable investment framework and diversify the forms of investment in Portugal.

There is no doubt that Portugal continues to be a very attractive destination for investors who now find their investment options more limited, but still have plenty to choose from.

If the initial objective is indeed the Golden Visa, they can continue to apply according to the conditions we have already detailed in this article – namely the creation of 10 new jobs (or maintenance of 5) and investment in scientific research or Portuguese cultural heritage.

As direct, or indirect real estate investment is out of the equation, there are other benefitable investment options that are increasingly interesting for international investors – investment funds.


Investment Funds – what are they?

What are investment funds anyway? For those new to the area, this expression may “scare” you, but the idea (and the explanation) is simpler than it seems – it’s about investing together.

Due to the amounts of investment required and the greater complexity of some areas of investment, it presupposes that there is a professional manager, i.e. a specialist – a fund manager – looking after your money. You can also invest on your own, but this is not advisable, especially if you have no experience.

Participation in the fund is proportional, i.e. each person who invests in the fund receives a proportional share of the profits or losses, based on how much they have invested. If you have a manager, you will also have to pay them a fee for their services.

Usually, funds are flexible, meaning you can buy or sell your stake in the fund at any time and thus guarantee liquidity. It’s a convenient and affordable option for individual investors.


Investment Funds in Portugal

There are several investment options in Portugal that offer profitability and opportunities for foreign investors:


Renewable Energy Investment Funds

Portugal has invested significantly in renewable energies, such as solar and wind. Investing in funds related to clean energy can be an interesting option as the country seeks to increase its renewable energy production.


Tourism Investment Funds

Tourism is a vital industry in Portugal, and investment funds focused on this sector can be attractive to investors.

Some of these units are strongly related to the maintenance of Portugal’s cultural heritage, which could still be a route to the Golden Visa. It’s also an area that usually creates a lot of jobs.


Capital Market Investment Funds

Capital markets are essential components of a country’s financial system and play a key role in allocating financial resources. They are where companies and governments can raise money by selling shares, bonds, and other financial instruments to investors. In Portugal, there are several capital markets, including Euronext Lisbon – and the Stock Market for companies within Euronext -, the Alternext market, and the Debt Market.


Agricultural Investment Funds

Investment funds in the agricultural sector are investment vehicles that focus on activities related to agriculture, agro-industry, and agrobusiness. These funds invest in projects, companies, or assets linked to the agricultural sector, with the aim of generating a financial return for investors. They can include various areas such as food cultivation, production of agricultural commodities, food processing, agricultural logistics, and much more.

In Portugal, some investment funds are related to the agricultural sector:

  • Agricultural Venture Capital Funds: investment in start-ups and innovative companies in the agricultural sector, such as those involved in agricultural technology (AgTech) or sustainable solutions for agriculture.
  • Agricultural cooperatives: Although they are not traditional investment funds, agricultural cooperatives in Portugal can be a way of participating in collective agricultural activities and investing in the sector.
  • Financial Institutions: Banks and financial institutions in Portugal can offer investment products – such as Caixa Invest Agro – aimed at the agricultural sector, such as term deposits or thematic investment funds that include agricultural companies.


Venture Capital and Private Equity Funds

Investors can tap into venture capital and private equity funds in Portugal. These funds invest in early-stage Portuguese companies or companies looking for growth and expansion. Investors can participate in the success of these companies and receive solid returns based on their performance.

With the start-up ecosystem booming, investing in start-ups is a way of supporting and benefiting from the growth potential of new businesses. These funds can offer significant return opportunities, although they also involve a higher level of risk.


Return on Investment Funds

As for profitability, returns vary depending on the type of fund and the underlying assets. It is important to realize that all investments carry a certain level of risk, and returns are not guaranteed. Investors should carry out careful research and consider their risk profile before investing in any fund.

In addition, it is advisable to consult a financial advisor or investment specialist for personalized guidance based on your financial goals and individual situation. Portugal can continue to be an excellent choice for investors if they are willing to explore the various investment opportunities available in the country.

We’re here to help you with this mission and to answer any questions you may have about this or any other topic that falls under the remit of our team of lawyers. Discover all our services here and don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out more.

The minor or incapacitated children of individuals who have acquired Portuguese nationality derived after the birth of their children may apply for the acquisition of Portuguese nationality, expressing such will and proving the fulfillment of the applicable legal requirements.

However, this claim can be opposed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, through a legal action opposing the acquisition of nationality, and one of the grounds that the Public Prosecutor’s Office can use in this action is the lack of an effective link of the applicant to the Portuguese community.

If the Public Prosecutor’s Office decides to oppose the acquisition of nationality, it will still have to prove that the person concerned does not have such link as, since 2006, and after express confirmation by the Supreme Administrative Court in 2016, it has been clear that the applicant for nationality only has to declare, and no longer has to prove, that he has an effective connection to the Portuguese community.

It is true that, in 2019, an Internal Service Guideline was issued by the Central Registry Office, which determined the presumption of the existence of an effective connection to the national community by all minors under 14 years of age, with the aim, among others, of relieving the pressure that had been generated on the courts in the past with the submission of several legal actions opposing the acquisition of nationality by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

However, in October 2022, Internal Guidance ceased to apply, and the Registry Services began to consider that a case-by-case analysis should be carried out and that situations in which the Registrars had well-founded suspicions of the lack of an effective connection to the national community should be reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, regardless of the age of the person concerned.

How can one justify the opposition to the acquisition of Portuguese nationality?

We are waiting to see whether the Conservatives will only report cases where they have “well-founded suspicions” that there is no effective link or whether they will do so in all cases, leaving it to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate and, if it so decides and has sufficient evidence, to take legal action against the opposition to nationality.

It also remains to be seen whether the Public Prosecutor’s Office will file opposition actions in all cases, regardless of the evidence it can (or cannot) gather, leaving the final realization of justice in the case in the hands of the judges, or whether it will only file an opposition judiciously when it has evidence of the absence of an effective link.

In addition to these doubts, there is also perplexity and concern about the counting of the 1 year available to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to file an opposition. In 2022, the Portuguese Nationality Regulation was amended in such a way that the time limit will be counted from the date of registration of the acquisition of nationality, instead of the date of the fact on which the acquisition of nationality depends (i.e., the applicant’s manifestation of the will, which occurs with the submission of the file), and which was the solution previously in force.

This means that, as of April 15, 2022, and even about cases that were already pending on that date (except cases based on the descent of Sephardic Jews), the Public Prosecutor’s Office can now oppose the acquisition of nationality, even after it has already been registered in the Portuguese Civil Registry.

From our experience, we can say that there are already Civil Registry Officers who are notifying the interested parties in cases submitted more than 1 year ago that they may report their cases to the Public Prosecutor’s Office on the grounds of lack of effective connection to the national community.

However, we continue to follow these cases closely to see what the practice of the Civil Registry and the Public Prosecutor’s Office will lead to in these matters.

Do not hesitate to contact our team if you have any questions about this matter or need advice on any other related to obtaining Portuguese nationality or citizenship.

In this article, we will explore the time limit for opposing nationality acquisition in Portugal, as defined in Article 56, number 1, of the Nationality Regulation (Decree-Law no. 237-A/2006, dated 14th December). Recently, there have been amendments to the regulation that have significant implications for the process. We will discuss these changes and their potential impact on individuals seeking Portuguese nationality.

We mention “recent” changes, but the amendment has been in effect for over a year since April 2022. Despite this, it seems that the activity of the Registry Office has become more intense now, and considering the numerous questions we receive daily on this topic, we deemed it necessary to write an article to explain.


The Previous Time Limit and its Basis

Under the previous version of the Nationality Regulation, the one year for opposition to nationality was calculated from “the date of the fact on which the acquisition of nationality depends.” In practical terms, this referred to the date of submission of the nationality acquisition process, where the individual’s will to acquire nationality was manifested.


Recent Amendment – DL 26/2022

In 2022, a notable amendment (DL 26/2022) was made to the Nationality Regulation, coming into force on 15th April. Surprisingly, this change was implemented with minimal announcement by the government. The amendment introduced a significant change to the time limit for opposing nationality acquisition.


Current Time Limit for Opposing Nationality

As per the amended Article 56 of the Nationality Regulation, the Public Prosecutor now has one year from the date of registration of nationality acquisition to file a judicial action in administrative and tax courts to oppose the acquisition of nationality by the will.

This means that the registration date, which is the date of the nationality grant, allows the initiation of legal action at any point during the process and even within one year after the process is concluded.


Early Identification and Concerns

Being vigilant of legislative changes, we were among the first to draw attention to the amendment before it was enacted. We expressed concerns about this change, considering that the previous time limit for opposing nationalities was more favorable to applicants.


Cases Pending and Notifications

According to the law of 2022, the amended Decree-Law applies to cases pending on the date of its entry into force. As a result, the Registry Office is indeed notifying cases pending for more than one year since the date of submission.


Our Ongoing Cases

Concerning our specific cases, despite having several ongoing processes, we have received notifications in only a few cases where the process was initiated in 2021 and the notifications were received in 2023. Interestingly, these notifications were not solely related to connection proof; there were other factors involved.

In response, we handled these cases strategically, and, so far, none of them have escalated to court. Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant, as the possibility remains.



Understanding the time limit for opposition to nationality is crucial for individuals seeking Portuguese nationality. The recent amendments to the Nationality Regulation have shifted the basis of this time limit, impacting the process and potential legal actions. We advise applicants to be well-informed and proactive during the process and seek legal guidance to navigate any challenges effectively.

If you wish to do so or have any questions about this topic (or any other), don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of lawyers is available to assist you anytime!


This article was written by our lawyer and managing partner Ana Sofia Lamares.

She has dealt with countless Portuguese nationality requests and her experience is highly sought-after for those seeking help when it comes to granting Citizenship or Nationality. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with her here.

Get in touch with us for further information.

Lamares, Capela & Associados is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and we will only use your personal information to manage your account and provide the products and services you have requested. Occasionally, we would like to contact you about our products and services and also about other matters that may be of interest to you.