Live From Portugal: “This Country’s Time Is Now”
The refrain we’re hearing again and again from experts, expats, and other speakers at this week’s Live and Invest in Portugal Conference is both straightforward and urgent:
Right now is the time to be focused on this country.
If you’re dreaming of retirement on the Continent, Portugal, from its charming and historic capital city Lisbon to its dramatically beautiful Algarve coast and beyond, has the Old World lifestyle you’re after at a cost that’s a bargain compared with elsewhere in Europe and that’s nicely discounted for U.S. dollar-holders right now thanks to the current rate of exchange between the Greenback and the euro.
If you’re looking for a place of your own in Europe, either for full-time living, as a second home in the sun, or to diversify your property investment portfolio, again, this country offers perhaps your best option in Europe and one of your best options worldwide. Specifically, Portugal’s property market remains undervalued and, importantly and uniquely, holds out the potential for both cash flow from rental income and solid appreciation in values in the next 5 to 10 years.
You could buy cozy (that is, small) in an historic village center for as little as 100,000 euros, or you could buy grand on a hillside overlooking the sea for 1 million euros or more. You could buy turnkey with the promise of a guaranteed rental return or an old-town ruin for renovation.
One presenter walked our group through renovation case studies, showing how he has built, over the past two years, a portfolio that includes 10 properties in and around Lisbon, including both individual apartments and entire buildings that he has renovated into two, three, or four apartments, one with a restaurant on the ground floor. In each case, he bought below market, renovated efficiently but with flair, and now is renting for returns as high as 10% to 12% per year. This expat-investor intends to make 10 more acquisitions within the next five years for a total portfolio of 20 cash-flowing properties.
“I sold a tech company and am investing those profits here. I believe this is the absolute best time to be buying real estate in this country and that this country is one of the best places in the world to be investing in property,” he told the group.
“Stick to the historic centers,” he advised, “because, in times of crisis, these are the areas that will hold their value because these are the areas with intrinsic value and also because these are the areas where people want to go and will always want to go. Resorts are trendy, and resort travelers can be fickle…”
Our expat property investor offered one more tip. “Shop views,” he advised. “My smallest, least nice apartment is my best earner, always fully booked, because it has a rooftop terrace with killer ocean views. I post a photo of the terrace and then of the view from the terrace on online rental sites, and the inquiries come pouring in.”
We’re convinced. Lief and I have identified two old-town apartments that meet our investment criteria and have scheduled return viewings tomorrow following the close of this week’s conference. We’ve met with our attorney (who has presented details of the property purchase process for the group) to talk through how to take title (through a company or personally, etc.) and how to manage the tax implications and are prepared to act if we like one or other of the apartments we have our eye on when we see them the second time around tomorrow afternoon. I’ll let you know next week if we pull the trigger…
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