2021 has brought on a new set of challenges though and now we want to know what has changed.

The Portugal News spoke to Pedro Fontainhas, Managing Director of APR (Associação Portuguesa de Resorts), to find out how the property market has handled the challenges of Covid 19 and Brexit and what areas and markets are trending right now.

Firstly we wanted to know how the pandemic has affected the interest in the Portuguese property market. Pedro told us: “The pandemic has brought homes to the centre of our lives, so now we are demanding more and better requirements from them: more expansive areas, balconies and gardens, sparsely populated areas, proximity to health, education and leisure services, energy efficiency, security and investment protection. These characteristics are typical of any of our member resorts, who play an essential role in making and sustaining Portugal the best destination for Residential Tourism in Europe.

“The pandemic has further reinforced international buyers’ interest, while the national audience is proving to be no less attentive and sensitive to the arguments for living in a resort. Therefore, the industry remains fully ready to convert the heightened demand into business as lockdown measures ease.”

The pandemic also had an effect on the area that people are interested in, though in most places the property market stood firm. “The property market in Portugal remains strong even after almost one year of dealing with the Covid crisis. According to INE data, in Q3 2020, prices were growing 7.6 percent higher than Q3 2019, but not in the Lisbon region, which seems to reflect the new post-pandemic homebuyers’ new requirements to live outside congested areas, in safer environments outside large cities.”

With 2021 also came Brexit, which actually increased requests from the British market. “We always suspected that Brexit would trigger many people in the UK to reassess where they want to live and what they want from their lifestyle. With the impact of Covid overlaying that, life in Portugal has even more appeal to many families, leading to a surge in interest from those looking for something more than they currently have.

“Moving to Portugal may make much economic sense too. The Non-Habitual Residents’ regime offers material tax incentives to anyone moving their fiscal residence to Portugal. And Brits should now consider the golden visa programme that provides a residence permit in Portugal, and access to the Schengen area, for investors in different areas such as real estate,” Pedro explained.

The interest in property in Portugal was not exclusive to the British market though and recent data show that the Portuguese themselves are the frontrunners. “In an extensive marketing campaign coordinated by APR from September to December 2020, the domestic market accounted for 34 percent of all 2,000 leads. The remaining inquiries originated in 28 countries. However, five countries, Spain (45 percent), UK and Ireland (22 percent), Brasil (17 percent), and the USA (14 percent) produced 97 percent of the international total. Globally, 43 percent of inquiries were about buying a new primary residence, 31 percent about purchasing a second residence, 14 percent purely for investment and 12 percent for non-specified reasons. Unsurprisingly, the Portuguese market differs. The number of people looking for a second residence matched the number searching for a primary house at 35 percent,” Pedro concluded.