In This Top Euro Market, The Time To Buy Is Right Now
The euro remains way down against the dollar, trading today at about US$1.12.
In Portugal, where they also use euros, the property market likewise remains down in the dumps, just beginning to show signs of recovery from its real estate crisis of the last seven years.
Those two factors—a weak euro and a down-and-out property market—mean that ocean-side condos along Portugal’s coast can be a screaming bargain.
With US$200,000, you could buy a two-bedroom apartment of 900 to 1,000 square feet in Portugal’s Algarve region, within walking distance of the beach and close to a golf course. Don’t want to spend that much? No problem. With US$100,000, you could buy a comfortable one-bedroom place, also near the beach.
Europe is on sale thanks to the dramatic drop in the value of the euro against the U.S. dollar. With property prices still trying to recover in many parts of Europe, particularly in Portugal, the time to buy is now.
While the euro has gained a bit on the Greenback recently, pundits continue to call for euro-dollar parity perhaps before year-end. This could amount to another 10%+ boost in buying power for dollar holders. Should you sit back and wait for your dollars to grow even stronger? I don’t think so, for two reasons.
First, I think we’re at the bottom in Portugal. The time to be shopping is right now. Property prices are beginning to tick up in certain areas. Wait for the U.S. dollar to go up further, and you could lose more than that currency gain to rising property prices.
Second, I never recommend trying to time currency movements when planning a real estate purchase. Currencies can move fast and against you. Property values usually move more slowly.
When you identify a market of interest, you want to position yourself in that market so you can be ready to take action when a property that fits your needs presents itself… regardless (well, within parameters) of where exchange rates stand at that moment.
The Algarve is such a market of interest right now.
Whether you’re looking for a vacation home or thinking about a permanent move overseas, in retirement or earlier on, with a business or a family, this country has an awful lot to offer, especially along its southern coast. And the important point to keep front and center in your thinking is that prices in this charming, sunny region may never again in our lifetimes be as attractive in U.S. dollar terms as they are right now.
If you’re in the market for a vacation home on the Continent, a second home in the sun that you could rent out when you’re not using it, the Algarve has an important advantage over the Spanish costas (another region that you might also be considering in this context). In Portugal, the tax on property rental income for nonresidents is 25% of net income. In Spain, it’s 24% of gross income. That’s a big difference.
In addition, transaction costs for buying property in Portugal are less than in Spain. Portugal imposes a transfer tax that is tiered based on the value of the property. Buy a property for less than 92,407 euros, and you pay no transfer tax. From that price point, the Portuguese impose transfer tax at a rate of 2% of the value over the 92,407-euro base up to 8% for values between 287,213 and 574,323 euros. After 574,323 euros, the tax reverts to a flat 6% of the total price.
Bottom line, the most transfer tax you’ll pay in Portugal is 6%, but you’ll pay much less if you’re buying something small. The truth is, in today’s market, it’d be hard to spend more than a half-million euros here unless you’re really looking to go all in.
In Spain, the transfer tax starts at a flat 7% and can go up to 10% in some of the autonomous areas.
Portugal also offers the advantage of an active mortgage market for nonresidents. You can borrow up to 80% of the purchase price if you qualify. Note that banks cap mortgage terms at 75 or 80 years of age, depending on the bank.
One final advantage of buying property in the Algarve is the large English-speaking infrastructure thanks to centuries of connections between Portugal and Britain. You’ll have no trouble finding English-speaking real estate agents, bankers, attorneys, and other service providers.
We’ll have our preferred resources on hand when we convene in the Algarve in July for our Live and Invest in Portugal Conference.
I’ll be there hosting the event and also shopping on my own account. The factors at work in this market are too appealing to ignore.
Editor’s Note: Today is your final chance to register to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount for our first-ever Live and Invest in Portugal Conference. Reserve your place in the room with us today and save up to US$500.
Portugal is the world’s #1 retirement haven and your most affordable option for embracing an Old World Continental lifestyle and owning a second home on Europe’s coast. Details are here.
Go here now to register taking advantage of the Early Bird Discount. Again, this discount expires tonight at midnight.
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