The sale price of houses in mainland Portugal increased by 15.6% in September, according to the Confidencial Imobiliário Residential Price Index.

In monthly terms, the rise was 1.3%, according to the publication that tracks the change in transaction prices in the residential market. The September figures confirm that prices in the housing market continue to accelerate, with year-on-year increases having risen by more than 10% every month since July 2017.

“This year, valuations were always higher than 13.5%, reaching a maximum of 16.4% in May and remaining at around 15% since then,” the report said.
The cycle of housing price recovery began five years ago in the last quarter of 2013, but for about two years, year-on-year increases remained below 3%.

Only in 2016 did the recovery began to accelerate, with prices rising by 3.5% to 9% by the middle of last year and significantly increasing the pace of growth since then, with year-on-year variations always in double-digits. This cycle of successive increases has led to prices being 10.6% above the pre-crisis period (2007) and having recovered 41.4% from their lowest level (seen in June 2013).

Confidencial Imobiliário is a company specialized in the production and dissemination of market analysis indicators, with indices and databases on demand and sales in the residential market, detailing each parish.

Source: Confidencial Imobiliário, The Portugal News

The sunny weather, sense of hospitality, rich cuisine and relative low cost live style made Lisbon one of the hottest European touristic attractions in recent years. The city has responded kindly to this new found interest, renovating their infrastructures and services in order to accommodate all the visitors and expats. However, just like in any other highly touristic site, the search for authenticity becomes a real concern for visitors due to the increase of “very typical” tourist bait places.

With that in mind we’ve elaborated this short list with some activities and places in Lisbon to give you the feel of the land:

Fado Vadio – If you ever heard about Portugal chances are you’ve also heard about fado, the traditional Portuguese music played with two guitars and a singer. Fado nights in Lisbon are easy to find but if you’re searching for that extra authenticity factor, “Fado Vadio” is what you’re looking for. “Fado Vadio” is what we call amateur fado nights, were anybody from old locals, to professional singers sing only for the sake of it. You can find some impromptu “Fado Vadio” nights in several small taverns in Alfama and Mouraria, just ask around and keep your ears open.

Drinking in the Street – One of the things visitors find more surprising is Lisbon is the fact that drinking on the street is not only legal; it’s a cultural thing. If you spend an evening in Bairro Alto you’ll find yourself frolicking in the streets with a plastic cup in hand, which should come as no surprise giving the warmth of the night and the small dimensions of the pubs. Whether you’re enjoying all the commotion of a busy Lisbon night or a relaxing sunset in one of the many viewpoints of the city, a cup of one of ours famous wines might just be the perfect companion.

Feira da Ladra – Literally translated to “thief’s fair”, Feira da Ladra is the oldest fair in Lisbon, dating as far as the XIII century. The fair is set in Campo de Santa Clara since 1882 and it starts every Tuesday and Sunday morning. You can find a bit of everything in there, from clothes and art pieces from young up and coming designers to basically everything one can find in a yard sale. During the fair everything is negotiable so put your best game face on and go hunt some bargains.

Esplanada – Any Lisbon café worth its salt has an outside area with some tables we call an “esplanada”. These usually simple spots are favoured by locals, who like to enjoy a refreshing drink while taking in the natural sunlight Lisbon has to offer. You can find an “esplanada” pretty much anywhere in the city and they’re better enjoyed with a friend that you can be lost in conversation with during an entire afternoon.
Lisbon´s old Cafe

Throughout its history Portugal was always a country of travellers. Having only Spain as a land border, Portugal looked at the ocean and saw a path for development reaching its proudest moments in the “discoveries” era. After “giving new worlds to the world”, Lisbon became one of the most, if not the most, important seaport in Europe and for a time it seemed like the entire world converged into it.

Portugal has kept himself true to its nomadic spirit. Proving it is the fact that Paris is only second to Lisbon when it comes to number of Portuguese inhabitants. But it’s not only the astounding number of emigrants that give Portugal this wandering aura.

Being a country that implemented its language in a much vaster area than its territory it’s easy to deduce that the culture exchange wasn’t a one-way street. Especially after the period of dictatorship, a great number of people originating from the ex-colonies came into Portugal, looking to set foot in Europe.

A new kind of immigrants

Until the beginning of the 90’s the overwhelming majority of immigrants in Portugal came from other Portuguese speaking countries. However, in the later part of the decade a new flux of immigrants from Eastern Europe came into Portugal. Attracted by the working conditions of this recent (at the time) European Union country, these poor but highly qualified immigrants settled primordially in Lisbon.

The integration of this new eastern European immigrants wasn’t easy. Despite their qualifications, in many cases even superior to the Portugal natives, the language and culture barrier offered a lot of difficulties to them. A lot of effort from the government, immigrants associations and companies with inclusive policies was needed in order to assure these new citizens the dignity they deserved.

 

An even newer kind of immigrants

 

Foreign communities in Portugal
[(Foreign communities in Portugal, data from 2016, font SEF (Portuguese Immigration Services)]

Portugal has been coming out a heavy period of economic recession in the recent years. The unemployment rates passed 16% in 2013 and the real estate market reached new lows in 2014.

To fight this crisis Portugal looked, once again, overseas. The creation of the Fiscal Regime for the Non-Habitual Resident, which stimulated the entrance of highly qualified foreign workers, investment in tourism and renewal of old buildings plus the creation of the Golden Visa attracted a very different kind of immigrant. Wealthy, qualified professionals looking to take advantage from the low-cost of living in the country, fiscal regime or even to obtain Portuguese citizenship by investing in the country.

The Portuguese Immigration reports corroborate this new tendency. In them we can see that citizens originating from EU countries where the main responsible for the 2, 3% growth of foreign inhabitants in Portugal, in 2016. Countries like France, the UK and Spain rose their Portuguese communities in impressive numbers (33, 8%; 12, 5% and 11, 1% respectively). The 5, 5% growth of the Portuguese Chinese community is also worth mentioning, especially taking into account that Chinese investors were the main beneficiaries of the Golden Visa program in 2016 with 848 investors taking advantage of this opportunity. The second country with the highest number of Portuguese Golden Visa investors were Brazil, with 142 investors.

Portugal, an attractive country

 

Apart from the aforementioned Fiscal Regime for the Non-Habitual Resident and Golden Visa Program, there is a considerable amount of good reasons for this recent change in the Portuguese immigration landscape:

• With the exception of Malta, Portugal is the cheapest western country in the UE.
• Portugal was considered the 4º safest country in the world according to the Global Peace Index
• Portugal has a average of 300 days of sun per year
• Portugal was considered the 9th best place to retire according to CNBC
• Portugal was considered the 16th best country to visit by Condé Nast Traveller
• In contrast with some other EU countries, Portugal has great relationships with all its foreign communities and doesn’t show signs of political tension
• The housing prices in Portugal are still relatively low, while the tourism and immigration rates keep growing; generating great opportunities for real estate investment.
• Its particular geographical position gives Portugal a lot of different natural landscapes, from sandy beaches to mountains and forests. Usually within a short driving distance.
• Portugal was considered the 24th best country and the 18th best country to raise kids according to US News.

For all this and more we can see that Portugal is a country in the uprising. A feeling of optimism has been present in the last few years which have certainly been a key factor in all the foreign interest it has been receiving. Once again opening itself to the world has proved profitable for Portugal.

House prices in the Euro Area and the European Union increased 4.2 and 4.5%, respectively, in the last quarter of 2017. Portugal had the second largest annual increase (10.5%) of the Euro Area.

Conde Valbom 76 - Living Room by Silver Keys Properties

House prices in the Euro Area increased 4.2% in the last quarter of 2017, according to data published this Wednesday by Eurostat. As for the European Union, the increase was greater: it ascended to 4.5%. Portugal was the second Member State of the Euro Area with the largest annual increase, with prices rising by 10.5%, only behind Ireland, which had 11.8% increases.

These amounts were determined using the House Price Index, which revealed a 4.2% increase in the Euro Area and 4.5% in the European Union in the last quarter of last year, in comparison to the homologous period. In comparison to the previous quarter, prices increased 0.9% in the Euro Area and 0.7% in the European Union.

Annual rate of change for the Euro Area and the EU house prices

Source: Eurostat

As for the annual evolution of each Member State, Ireland registered the largest increase in the Euro Area in 2017, with prices growing 11.8%. Behind Ireland stands Portugal, the second largest increase, with housing values growing 10.5%. In Italy, house prices had the largest fall of the year (0.3%).

In comparison to the previous quarter, the largest increases were registered in Slovenia (3.7%), in Croatia (3.2%) and Cyprus (2.7%). On the other hand, the largest decreases in prices took place in Sweden (2.8%), in Denmark (1.7%), Belgium (0.4%) and Finland (0.3%). In Portugal, the indicator grew 1.2% from the third to the fourth quarter of 2017.

Lisbon in Movies

Cinema is known for creating icons. From its early “star system” days to the contemporary marks of the pop culture milieu, cinema has definitely succeeded and has ingrained words and images in our collective memories.

The immortalizing powers of the so called “movie magic” extend themselves to sights and locations as well. The city of Casablanca will forever be associated to its homonymous movie, the Swedish meadows to Ingmar Bergman and for many Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral is best knowed as “Hogwarts”.

With that in mind we’ve selected four movies starring Lisbon that will peak the curiosity of those uninitiated to the city and provide a brand new look upon it for those who know it well.

Recordações da Casa Amarela – 1989 –by João César Monteiro
(Recollections of the Yellow House)

Known for his somewhat cynical look of the Portuguese society, João César Monteiro is still one of the most celebrated Portuguese movie makers. No matter how estranged he might have felt from its people, Monteiro has a clear love for the city of Lisbon and it shows in this movie. From the narrow streets and small cafes to the old houses with high ceilings this movie will show the good and the ugly of the Portuguese capital and its people.

Отецисын – 2003 – Directed by Aleksandr Sokurov
(Father and Son)

Mostly known by his one-plan masterpiece The Russian Ark, Aleksandr Sokurov choose Lisbon to film the second chapter of his parenting movie essays (Mother and Son was the first one). The old historic neighbourhoods of Mouraria and Alfama are charmingly depicted in this movie where the main characters live in an attic on one of the many small buildings you can see when strolling around the city centre. Even though you follow the story of two Russian expats, the Lisbon you see in Father and Son is the Lisbon of locals, depicted by a foreigner who felt in love with the city.

Alice – 2005 – by Marco Martins

Marco Martins is one of the emergent names in Portuguese contemporary cinema. His first feature film, Alice, tells us the story of a distraught father looking for his missing daughter in the metropolitan area of Lisbon. This sombre look on Lisbon gives us a rare perspective on the city, showing us how vast and chaotic it can be when you’re desperately looking for something (or someone) you cannot find. Apart from the long plans from the city, this movie is also a great showcase of contemporary Portuguese talent, with Nuno Lopes (winner of the 2016 best actor award in the Venice film Festival for his role in São Jorge, also by Marco Martins)in the starring role, and music by Bernardo Sassetti, whose tragic death left a very hard to fill gap in current Portuguese music.

IjungGancheob – 2003 – by Hyeon-jeong Kim
(Double Agent)

Ijung Gancheob is a South Korean espionage thriller filmed in three different countries, South Korea, Czech Republic and Portugal. Even though the city of Lisbon only appears in the final third of the movie, the reason why is quite interesting, especially for those who have been in the Portuguese capital before. In Double Agent, Lisbon is also an actress, and it’s playing the role of Rio de Janeiro. With some strategically placed palm trees and Brazilian cars, Hyeon-jeong Kim dresses Lisbon in a tropical costume in order to get that “South American feel”. We cannot judge how successful he was in his efforts, it’s still Lisbon to us.

As we approach the sunny summers of Portugal, the city’s cultural events are as inviting as their festive surroundings. From acclaimed international stars to interesting Portuguese artists, there will be something in Lisbon in the following months to fulfill your cultural needs. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the beach though, you should never ignore the beach as our amazing coastlines speaks for themselves.

Festival Internacional da Máscara Ibérica – in Jardim da Praça do Império, Belém – from 17 to 20 of May

A showcase of Portuguese and Spanish folk culture centred on the theme of the mask. During these three days the sumptuous Praça do Império in Belém will be the home of ancient, iconic figures of the Iberian Peninsula common imaginary.

Alkantara Festival – in Lisbon – from 23 of May to 9 of June

The multi-platform Alkantara Festival celebrates in 2018 its 25th anniversary. This festival will combine acclaimed international performers like Radouan Mriziga or Toshiki Okada with some of the most notorious Portuguese names in stage arts like Vera Mantero or João Fiadeiro. The festival will take place in iconic Lisbon sights like the São Jorge Castle , Culturgest and all the main Lisbon theatres. The conversations with the performers and the concerts with exciting acts like Conan Osiris promise to make the 25th edition of Alkantara Festival a true benchmark in its rich history.

NOS Alive – in Passeio Marítimo de Algés – from 12 to 14 of July

In the summer the stars fall upon Lisbon, it’s the best time of the year to be a music fan in Portugal. With festivals like Rock in Rio, Super Bock Super Rock and Sumol Summer Fest choosing only one festival to attend isn’t a fun task. If that’s your case however names like Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Jack White, Pearl Jam as well as the Portuguese Blasted Mechanism and Orelha Negra seem too big to ignore. The beautiful Passeio Marítimo de Algés, where the festival takes place, is also a very strong argument in favour of this festival.

AURA – in Sintra – from 2 to 5 of August

The mystical city of Sintra (23km away from Lisbon) is well known for its beautiful elevated scenery. A must-stop destination to every Lisbon visitor, and one of the favourite cities to personalities like Lord Byron or Aleister Crowley, is the ideal place for a light installation art festival like AURA. During thses 3 days the city’s natural landscapes and historical buildings will stage inspiring projections in one of the most original art festivals in Lisbon.

The current attention being paid to Lisbon by both tourists and investors has certainly given a new life to the city. Since a couple of years from now, the number of visitors vastly outgrew the number of inhabitants in the central parts of Lisbon. Even though some might complain about the fast changes in the social landscape of the city, few will argue that this recent interest has done much more good than harm to Lisbon. The positive effects from this recent enthusiasm are very visible in Lisbon’s urban landscape. A few years ago it would be easy to pinpoint several decaying buildings in the city center. Now a lot of these same buildings are completely refurbished or in a careful refurbishment process, keeping their major original characteristics while making them habitable again.

There is, however, another great sign of this recent progress that’s not so easy to pinpoint, especially for a non-native, the outward expansion of the city. Residential neighborhoods are improving their cultural and leisure offers, as well as their infrastructures, in order to capitalize on the interest of both local and international investors. Proving this is the rapidly developing areas of the “West Corridor” (that contains the areas of Amadora, Odivelas, Algés, etc) and “Parque das Nações”. This kind of expansion is a good sign for the sustainability of Lisbon’s growth since it develops the entire district in a propositional way instead of clustering one or two areas. Belém is one of the cities catching the eyes of tourists and investors alike, for reasons such:

• Historical relevance – the coastal city of Belém was the main departure port of the discoveries era, the proudest moment in Portuguese history. Therefore several of Lisbon’s most important monuments can be found there, like the Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, and Padrão dos Descobrimentos.

• Cultural relevance – Belém is also known for its museums and culture houses. Belém Cultural Centre is maybe the most prestigious culture house in Lisbon (on par with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation). Not only its building is a mark on itself in modern architecture, CCB also hosts several prestigious spectacles from all kinds of performance arts as well as the most prestigious collection of modern art in the country, the Joe Berardo collection (containing works from Andy Warhol to Pablo Picasso). Belém is also the city of MAAT (museum for architecture and technology), Coche Museum (carriage museum), Navy Museum, especially interesting when taking into account Portugal’s rich history with the sea, and others.

• Convenient access – Belém is only 7km away from the center of Lisbon and as such it’s well served when it comes to public transportation.

• Untapped potential – Even though Belém is considerably closer to the center of the city it hasn’t been having explored by investors like the more central areas. So, in spite of hosting the Portuguese Presidential Residence, you can find properties with great investing potential at lower prices than the ones in other prime areas of Lisbon.

Pasteís de Belém – The famous “Portuguese Custard Pie” that everybody craves has its birthplace in Belém. Every Portuguese native will agree that you cannot find a better “pastel de nata” (as is known outside of Belém) anywhere else.

The Portuguese production values in 2014 were the same as in 2001. The country’s economy experienced small signs of improvement in 2006, just before the economic crash of 2007 nullified these hopeful prospects. It was suddenly clear that Portugal could not go by without opening itself to foreign investment, and with that in mind, the Fiscal Regime for the Non-Habitual Resident was put into practice in September 2009.

The Fiscal Regime for the Non-Habitual Resident is a tax regime that eliminates the international legal double taxation while fixating a special income tax of 20% throughout 10 years for highly qualified and recent Portuguese residents. This regime is only applicable for individuals with one year or less of residency.  This was the first step to recover an economy that desperately needed some capital. The effects weren’t immediate but few will contest its importance in the recent uprising of the Portuguese economy.

Another major contribution to fight the Portuguese long financial stagnation came in the worst registered year for Portuguese real estate, 2012, when selling a house would take an average of 16 months. So on October 8th of that year, the Golden Visa Program was implemented. The timing for a program that provides Portuguese citizenship (and therefore EU citizenship) to its investors couldn’t be better. With property prices in an all-time low in 2013 and lots of buildings in a desperate need of renovation, even in the capital’s center, the Golden Visa Program enticed foreign investors to not only inject capital into the country but also renew its urban landscape. Lisbon was the main beneficiary of these new investments, improving the quality of infrastructures in areas like Cais do Sodré, Avenidas Novas and historic neighborhoods like Alfama, Mouraria, and Av. da Liberdade. Tourism and commerce also benefited from a huge boost, real estate investment records were broken and Lisbon is now currently featured in “best vacation destination” and “best city to live” lists from renowned sources.

In spite of the growth on the Index of Housing Prices, Portugal still seems to be an exciting country to invest in, especially in the real estate market with its capital of Lisbon being the most prime location. Its financial, geographical and socio-cultural conditions make it very appealing for foreign investors to capitalize on this recently developing economy, the sooner the better, as it always is in these cases.

The beginning of this decade was a harsh time for Portugal with its Rate of Real GDP Growth plumbing down almost 6 points between 2010 and 2012.

After fourteen years of a very optimistic economic growth (between 1986 and 2000) much due to the Portuguese entry in the European Union, the Portuguese economy suffered an almost stagnation in the passage of the millennium.

In order to understand the phenomenal growth of the Portuguese economy in the decades of 80 and 90, it´s important to note that the Portuguese dictatorship only ended in 1974 followed by a troublesome year of 75 when the communist “red threat” almost took over the country.


Time Magazine cover for 11 of August of 1975, depicting the communist threat after the fascist dictatorship

The 80’s and 90’s were dedicated to rebuilding the country. It was necessary to improve the education and health facilities debilitated by the long fascist dictatorship. The number of public workers rose especially in the 90´s reaching a maximum 14% of the public expenditure, 4% more than in the previous decade. The country’s entry in the European Union in 1986 was also a key factor for this economic growth. In the 90’s the big increase in credit (1000% in consuming credit and 733% in housing credit) reflected the national and international confidence in the Portuguese economy. This was the quiet before the storm, however, or at least the quiet before stagnation.

In 75 the provisional government (also known as Revolutionary Process in Course) headed by Vasco Gonçalves nationalized the major banks and Portuguese companies. This was the major impact of the year-long “Portuguese red threat”. The nationalization process consisted of creating an agglomerate of several private companies (putting seven cement companies together creating a major cement company, for example), and then nationalizing this new, big company. Even though the following governments reverted this process, they did not dismantle these big companies into their original parts. The following governments did privatize the companies seized by the RPC in 75, but they privatized the big conglomerates created by the RPC, creating an oligopoly effect. This aligned with the limitations for foreign investments, led to the stagnation of a blooming, but still developing economy (70% of the EU average) at the beginning of the XXI century.

In the last years the all-white look has been a standard in bathroom decoration. The clean, peaceful feeling as well as the illusion of an amplified space (especially when combined with strategically placed mirrors) earned the preference of many home owners.

 

Duque d'Ávila 193 - Bathroom by Silver Keys Properties

However colour has slowly taken its claim in bathroom decoration. Be it for retro decor affection or an overexposure of minimalistic designs, a lot of new trends for bathroom decoration are colour heavy. So if you feel that your bathroom might be a bit sterile here are some suggestions to add some character to it:

Experiment with shower curtains: shower curtains are a quick and cheap way to completely change the mood of your bathroom. You might use a light tone for a subtle touch in your well organized, minimalistic bathroom or a more pungent colour for a strong contrast, preferably if you have metal or dark appliances.

Have something to look at: if putting your most prized piece of art in the bathroom seems like a bad idea, that’s because it is. However adding some printed tiles, photos, posters, clever text art or even a small painting can be a charming way to break the monotony of a monochromatic bathroom wall.

Have something to step on: few things can be as cruel as fast as unforgiving cold tiles after a warm shower. A throw rug or bathroom carpet will be a painfully forgotten ally in these dreadful momentsand its cosiness will be felt as soon as one enters the bathroom.

Plants: even though the high temperatures and humidity levels makes the environment in most bathrooms improper to gardening, some plants can thrive in this kind of conditions. Adding a plant in your bathroom will not only give it a homey feeling, it might also be a great asset when it comes to air purification (especially the Ivy, Peace Lily and Snake Plant species).

Creative storage solutions: modern minimalistic bathrooms can suffer from lack of storage room.Wooden spice racks, wicker baskets and storage ladders are some easy ways to add both storage and personality to your bathroom.

Experiment with furniture: if you have the space in your bathroom adding some furniture to it is a quick way to make it more comfortable. Be it stools, big or small, for spa like grooming, or vintage dressers, armories and cabinets for storage options, or as a personalized vanity, an unexpected piece of furniture can completely the look of your bathroom.

Sacramento 28 - Classic bathroom by Silver Keys Properties