Author Archives: Michael

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Portuguese companies seen as solid partners of internationalization

Despite current investor sentiment over what some consider to be peripheral European economies, such as Portugal, Portuguese corporates have attracted a significant interest from international investors, who value their strong focus on business and geographical risk diversification as a way to expand from the currently limited Portuguese internal consumption market.

Guincho Beach Cascais

A significant number of Portuguese companies in sectors such as utilities, renewable energies, oil and gas, construction and retail, among others, have been able to create growth strategies and equity stories sustained on the internationalisation of their activities, not only to booming Portuguese-speaking economies like Brazil, Angola and Mozambique, where historical and cultural affinities play a relevant role, but also to high-growth emerging markets in Latin America and Eastern Europe (e.g. Colombia, Peru and Poland).

Although more selective during uncertain times, investors, constantly looking for companies with attractive equity and value-creation prospects, are increasingly seeing investment in Portuguese companies as a preferred way to gain access to emerging markets with considerable growth potential, and also as a means to diversify their investment portfolios. International investors increasingly recognise the growth potential deriving from the exposure of Portuguese companies to high-growth emerging countries in Latin America and Africa.

Portugal is a solid and reliable country to leverage your investment. From investment in international companies to property investment; NOW is the time to step in at the Portuguese market. Property prices are over 40% down and have started to pickup thanks to foreign investment and the golden visa programme.

Marinha Guincho has a perfect geographic location. The estate has views of the atlantic ocean, is located in the middle of the  Cascais Sintra natural park and only a 10 minute drive from Cascais. It’s 30 minutes from lisbon airport and Lisbon.

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Portuguese properties popular with foreign investors

The Portuguese government introduced a Golden Visa for foreign investors. Buyers from China, Russia, the Middle East and elsewhere who spent at least 500,000 euros on property, get a permit that lets them travel freely within Europe’s 26-country Schengen zone without restriction.

The incentives, along with depressed housing prices, are showing the first signs of nibbling at the huge market glut of 3 million empty homes on the Iberian peninsula.

The Portuguese government said last week that 318 permits had been issued since the programme began a year ago, bringing in 200 million euros in investment – most of it in residential property in the last few months – and expected it to reach more than 300 million euros by December. That would exceed an estimated 250 million euros invested in all real estate in Portugal last year according to Cushman&Wakefield consultants.

There’s a growing interest in the golden visa programme, and a lot more of it materialising in actual deals. Last month Marinha Guincho sold a large residential property in Cascais to a private Chinese investor seeking the permit.

cascais

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Reasons to buy property in Portugal

Portugal has changed the laws for foreign nationals to stay in Portugal. Non-EU citizens can now obtain a Portuguese residence permit if they acquire real estate with a value of 500.000 Euros or more. The permits are known as Golden Visas.

  1. Like any other holder of a residence permit in Portugal, persons with a golden visa may travel around the Schengen Area.

  1. It has a population of 10.6 million with a population density of 115 inhabitants per sqm. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and its largest city with around 480,000 inhabitants (2 million in Greater Lisbon).

  1. Portugal is an excellent place in which to live, invest and do business. Its skilled human resources, world-class infrastructure, business- friendly environment and easy access to markets are several factors which have contributed to a continuous flow of new investments into industry, tourism, commerce and services.

  2. Portugal is a democracy and is politically stable. Its sovereign bodies are the President of the Republic, Assembly of the Republic, Government and the Courts. The current President of the Republic, elected for a 5 year term, is Aníbal Cavaco Silva.

  1. Portugal has been a member of the European Union since 1986 and was a founding member of NATO in 1949. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1955.

  1. TripAdvisor has ranked Lisbon as one of the world’s top cities with best value for money. The 2012 Cities Survey, which looked at how locals and travellers view 40 key cities around the world, also ranked Lisbon as the friendliest city in Europe

  1. Rental yield on average still remains one of the highest in Europe.

  1. 2012 Natwest Bank Quality of Life Index ranks Portugal 2nd in Europe (after France).

  1. The combination of hot summers cooled by the Atlantic breezes and warm winter days make the climate unbeatable.

  2. The property market in Portugal is highly developed. It has a high relative quality of supply in all sectors, on a par with the larger core European markets, dynamic demand and a considerable presence of foreign occupiers. The market is highly transparent, with various international consultants providing information on all commercial property sectors. There is also a strong international contingent of developers and investors and many of the main European investment houses have assets in the country.

  3. Tourism is, undoubtedly one of Portugal’s main sectors of economic activity and is unanimously considered to be a strategic, priority area. It makes a significant contribution in securing external revenue, to cover the external trade deficit and in generating employment.

  4. Investing in property overseas will allow you to benefit from property prices that have reached an all time low due to the recent economic crisis in Europe. Property prices in Portugal (and the rest of Europe) have dropped up to 40%, and the real estate market in Portugal has only recently seen a slight recovery.

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Advice for buying property in Portugal

Migrating to for instance Cascais in Portugal is a dream for many. Portugal has a comfortable climate, the living costs are lower than in other European countries and it has a great vibe/culture. Moving to Portugal is very simple but it is important to prepare yourself well and ideally to have some contacts in place that can advise you. Over the following pages we try to cover all the important basics you should take into account. Also, A fair bit of helpful information can be found on the website of the Portuguese immigration office: Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras.

Buying a villa in Portugal

What you can expect from buying a house in Portugal depends mainly on the region and location. Do you prefer a house in the city or in the countryside. Should it be more inland or right at the coast?

Villas at the coast

The most expensive area’s for buying a villa or apartment are the coastal towns. Buying a house in a popular region for foreigners such as the algarve is significantly more expensive. This is due to the amount of foreigners that have moved here over the last decades. The Cascais region is certainly not a cheap region either. In this region the prices are based on a combination of factors such as distance to Lisbon. The region is very popular with both locals and foreigners.

Houses in Portuguese cities

The main portuguese cities such as Lisbon, Faro and Porto mainly consist of apartments. The houses you find in these cities are usually located in the suburbs or are small and expensive.
Apartments are available in all price categories and is mainly influenced by the location of the property. A large number of apartments have a balcony or roof terrace.

Villa’s in the countryside

The cheapest houses can be found in the Portuguese countryside. There are plenty large houses for sale for a reasonable price. These houses are usually located far from the main cities and coast.

Real estate agents in Portugal

The sale of houses are mainly done through real-estate agents in Portugal. Like in every country there are good and bad agents and a bad experience can also happen to a local. It is important to deal with an agent with whom you connect well. There is a significant difference between the efficiency of agencies. If an agents does not show significant interest it is recommended to look for another one.

There are various ways to find a decent real-estate agent in Portugal. Often people find an agent through an agent in their own country that is affiliated to an agency in Portugal. Also many Portuguese real estate agencies advertise in your country. Most of these are specialized in the more popular regions and have employees that speak English and other languages. We at Cascais Villa can help you with finding the right agent and/or property. Even Though we are specialized in the Cascais region, we have good contacts throughout Portugal.

Important: If you make use of a foreign agent, confirm and reconfirm the price and verify whether the property is still for sale before traveling to Portugal for a viewing.

Qualifications of Portuguese real estate agents

Portuguese real estate agents are monitored by the government. They must possess a licence called “mediador autorizado”. The agent must have proof of this licence. Usually this licence will be prominently displayed. If you do not see it, ask to make sure the real estate agent has it. It’s recommended to choose an agent connected to one of the recognized associations such as:
de Associação de Mediadores Imobiliários (AMI), Sociedade de Mediação Imobiliária of de Associação dos Mediadores do Algarve (AMA).

Fees for the real estate agency

The incurring fees for the selling real estate agents are usually between 5% and 10% but are included in the sales price. Meaning the costs are paid by the party selling the property.

Protection of the agency fees

Portuguese real estate agents can ask you to sign a document before showing you the property. This is to secure his commission in case you want to buy the property and so you will not go for the same property through another agent.

It is custom to schedule a viewing in advance. It is in most cases not possible to arrange a viewing ad hoc.
Viewing at the cost of a real estate agent

Many agents organize viewing trips for foreigners with a reduced rate for the accommodation during the trip. Once you decided to buy the property they usually reimburse the costs of the trip. Make sure you do not base your decision on this principle and the costs incurred to the agent for organizing. In the end the decision should be the right one for you.

Buying a house in Portugal

Buying a house consists of three phases. The process starts with the orientation, followed by the subrogation and is completed with the negotiation.

Orientation

When you start looking for real estate agents, it’s important to clearly indicate for what you are looking. The following points address some key questions:
– Do you want to live in the house parttime or fulltime?
– Would like to rent it out?
– In what region should the house be located
– What kind of property are you looking for: villa, appartment, nr of rooms etc.
– What is your budget

Once this is clear, you run through all property that matches your criteria and turn it into a short-list for viewings.

Subrogation

It is important to understand a Portuguese law called subrogation, meaning that debts such as mortgage, taxes and shared expenses are included in the property. So when buying a house these debts are included. To prevent this from happening to you, you will need an experienced lawyer.

When buying a house in portugal, it’s recommended to have a real estate agent that is registered with the Portuguese law as ‘mediador autorizado’. Also hire a descent property lawyer in your own country who can do the necessary checks.

To ensure there are no debts linked to the property you need to acquire a certidão de registro from the local registry. It is important to register the certificate (escritura) shortly after signing the deal because it is possible that between purchase and completion debts are transferred to the property.

Negotiation

The negotiation phase starts with an offer from the buyer. The seller will come with a counter offer or accepts your offer directly. Once both parties have come to an agreement, talks can be started about extra costs for the movable goods. When buying the property you are ought to request a fiscal number and to sign a temporary contract. Next, a down payment must be made and an independent lawyer will be involved to complete the sale.
Once the balance payment has been made, the official contract of purchase can be signed with the solicitor, who will provide the registration in the land register.

Pitfalls of buying a property

There are various potential pitfalls when buying a house in Portugal. Unfortunately there are plenty of stories about people and bodies who profited of ignorant foreign investors. The most important advice is to hire an independent lawyer who speaks both your language and Portuguese fluently and who is familiar with the Portuguese laws and affairs.

Situations you want to avoid when buying a house in Portugal:
– Buying a house without constitutional rights
– Buying an illegally built house
– Outstanding mortgages
– Properties sold with overdue utility bills
– Buying a property that is being sold to multiple buyers at the same time
Letting your property

There are two ways for letting your villa. You can either do it yourself or hire an agent.

The agent is a person or company who lets your property. They will ensure that tenants receive the keys upon arrival and arrange the cleaning afterwards. Often extra services are offered such as maintenance and repairs. On average an agency charges 25% of the rental rate.

It is recommended to ask various agencies, located close to the property, for a tender. Once you have found a potential agency, try to find some references. Also check whether they handle the reservations for you, their forecasted occupancy rate and how payments are structured.

It is also possible to work with a tour operator who lists your property in their registry. Tour Operators generally ask for a higher percentage but they are more likely to achieve a high occupancy rate.

Property tax (fixed assets) in Portugal

People who own fixed assets in Portugal must pay an annual property tax called contribuição autárquica/CA. If you rent out the property you are allowed to pass on the costs. The level of property tax depends on the value of the fixed asset. This is called “valor tributavel” and is based on the tax register. In these calculations, market value, location and some other factors are taking into account. You will receive this statement annually and most be paid in halves.

There are three levels of property tax.
Municipal: ~1% – highest rate
Rural: ~0.8% – lowest rate
Medial

Advice for viewings

Good preparation is key for an effective viewing trip. Below you can find a checklist of points to take into account when going for a viewing in Portugal.
– Create an agenda with daily viewings, do not plan more than 3 per day.
– Rent a car in advance to easily travel to each property.
– Make a list of phone numbers of contacts that may come in hand.
– Note down the addresses of each property you are going to visit.
– Have a clear overview of the requirements a property should meet.

When you are on your way to the property take a good look at the neighbourhood. Ideally the agent could share some information about the area. Often the agent also wants to show you other properties. If he is pushing to much for a certain property be aware that this may be because he can earn more on that specific deal. Once arrived at the property let your common sense be in charge.

In case you would like to make an offer immediately bring the following with you:
– Passport / ID
– Tax assessment of the past year
– Money for a potential deposit (€3000 – € 6000)
– Payslips
– Overview of financial liabilities

Overview of costs that occur when buying a villa in Portugal

There are many additional costs when you buy a house. Here we sum the most important costs you should take into account. Firstly, you need to know the fiscal value of the property, because most of the additional costs are based on this number. The fiscal value is usually lower than the market value of the property:
– Stamp duty
– Value added tax for new properties
– Solicitor fees
– Legal fees
– Land registration certificate
– Surveyor costs
– Real Estate agency fees
– Mortgage costs

Most of the taxes are paid by the buyer and can in some case already be included in the sales price. It is important to know which costs are included and which ones not.

Stamp duty (IMT)

When you buy a property in Portugal, a stamp duty must be paid. The stamp duty is paid to the municipality.and is called IMT. IMT is calculated over the total price of purchase, which is stated in the sales contract. The IMT must be paid before signing the land registration certificate. In portugal one is exempted from IMT up to € 92.407. There are fixed tables for IMT up to € 574.323. Above € 574.323, the IMT has a flat rate of 6.0%, plots in cities without remains of ruins 6.5% and rustic property 5.0%.

Basic tax (VAT in Portuguese IVA)

When buying newly built property in Portugal, one must pay a tax rate (IVA) of 19%. This percentage must be included in the advert price and agreed sales price. Meaning the price you see is the price you get.

Solicitor fees

The compensation paid for the solicitor is set by law. This fee used to depend on the price of sales. A new legislation introduced a system where one pays approximately €153 per transaction, plus €1.25 for each amendment or additional clause.

Legal Fees

The legal fees for buying a property in Portugal are generally between 1% – 2 % of the purchase price. The exact amount is dependent on the amount of work needed when buying the property. Usually the minimum charged legal fee is €1000,-

Land registration certificate

The occurring costs for the land registration certificate are generally between 0.75% – 1% of the property value. This fee is paid to the solicitor in the final settlement.

Real estate agency fees

The compensation paid to an agent for buying a property is generally 5% – 10%. This is dependent on the price of the sale and type of contract. The buyer agrees with the agent on a fee in advance and is included in the sales price.

Mortgage fees

The fees from the mortgage are generally around 1% of the borrowed amount of money for buying the villa/house/apartment.

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Marinha Guincho Restaurant & Wellness

Category : Dinner , Living

The Marinha Guincho Restaurant & Wellness centre just completed her make-over and looks fantastic. The centre provides excellent food, wellness and other services for residents and visitors such as Takes bookings, groups or parties, child activities, takeaway, delivery, catering and table service.


The restaurant offers fantastic dishes all day long, from Breakfasts, lunches and dinners to buffets and Deli’s. The kitchen offers a wide range of cuisines such as Asian Fusion, Italian, Japanese, Pizza, Seafood, Steakhouses and Sushi Bars. The experienced will most definitely be able to serve you a sensational diner experience.

Please check out the Marinha Guincho Restaurant & Wellness centre Facebook page for details and more information regarding activities and events.

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Marchas Populares 2012

This year the Marchas Populares takes place during the night of the 13th of June. The Marchas Populares is one of the peaks of the one month long Festas Santos Populares.

It’s officially called the Desfile das Marchas Populares, a colourful parade on the Avenida da Liberdade. The parade is a competetion between the various ancient neighbourhoods (Bairros) of Lisbon. Each neighbourhood is competing for the best representation of their neighbourhood through dances, music and beautiful songs. The songs are about the history and traditions of the Bairro often referring to the ocean, fisherman and famous people from the regarding bairro.

Approximately 10 days before this big nights, each bairros presents their performance to a pannel of judges in the Pavilhão Atlântico. This combined with the celebrations on the nig night decides which bairro wins. The grand prize is the victory over other bairro’s.

Our villa’s are located 25 minutes from Lisbon in the tranquille Cascais natural park, providing the ideal balance between the festivities and relaxation. Send us an e-mail now to enquire about our special Marchas Populares offer.

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Lisbon’s art scene comes alive

A few years back an interesting article, about Lisbon’s upcoming art scene, featured in the NY Times. The city of Lisbon forms a great transcultural platform for the creative industries because of the good weather, food and number of unused spaces. It’s a nice meltingpot of architecture, art, photography and literature, mixed with a rich history. Also the city is relatively cheap compared to other South-European places.

Around 2008 a  long-disused facility was reborn as Lisbon’s most ambitious new cultural venue. What used to be the place where weapons were made during the dark years of dictatorship in Portugal, was replaced by concert rooms, exhibition spaces, a sprawling bookstore, a cinema, a restaurant and various bars. Fábrica Braço de Prata’s typically diverse offerings: a jazz combo, a reggae outfit, a Leonard Cohen documentary and a 1 a.m. after-party featuring D.J.’s and alternative bands visited by a wide variety of people such as a buzzing crowd of tweedy academics, tattooed cool kids, bourgeois couples and bespectacled grad-student types.

Fábrica Braço de Prata’s transformation is emblematic of the city’s sudden cultural emergence. Like the factory, Portugal languished for much of the 20th century on Europe’s geographic and cultural margins. From the 1920s until the 1970s, a repressive dictatorship smothered the nation, sending the creative classes fleeing to London and Paris and severely stunting any potential arts scene. The economy also slumped. Once the center of a global trade empire, Portugal sunk into notoriety as Western Europe’s poorest nation.

Lisbon is avidly making up for lost time. All over the city, an upstart generation is laying waste to the sepia-toned stereotypes and gleefully constructing edgy and forward-looking ventures amid the time-worn monuments and quaint cobbled lanes.

Lisbon is great to explore from a more ‘tranquil’ Cascais villa, as it is only a 25 minute car drive from the buzzing city. Providing a great balance between beaches, nature (Cascais natural park) and a roaring cosmopolitan city of Lisbon.

To learn more, please check the complete article at the NY Times.

 

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ATP Estoril Open 2012

This month the ATP returns to Portugal for its annual event. From the 28th of April until the 6th of May some of the worlds best players will be fighting for the title in Estoril, next to Cascais. It’s together with Roland-Garros and Rome one of the three clay-court tournaments in Europe, featuring both men and woman tours at the same event.

Every year, since 1990, the Estoril open takes place at the National Tennis Center at the Estádio Nacional. The tournament attracts 50,000 visitors throughout the week. An exhibition area is set up for entertainment, shopping and dining. However, all of the action and excitement takes place in the 7000-seat Centre Court. The Estoril open has been home to many great names. In 2007 the tournament was won by Novak Djokovic and in 2008 Roger Federer triumphed.

This year top players like Juan Martin del Potro, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet will be present and ensure some thriller matches.

To make most of the tournament, rent one of our Cascais villa’s.

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Portugal – Cheapest country in EU to go out for dinner.

The Lisbon and Cascais region not only has a rich history, beautiful nature and a great climate, the country is also best value for money in Europe (dinner wise). A three course meal for a family of 4, including coffee, coke and beer costs €52.79 on average in Portugal. In contrast, this would cost €137.12 in Italy.

According to a recent holiday price survey is Portugal the cheapest place in Europe to go out for dinner and drinks. Even countries like Spain and Greece can’t compete. These countries are respectively 17.5% and 26% more expensive than Portugal. In France one would pay €82.63 and in Florida €84.99 for a similar meal.

The survey was performed by the Post Office – Holiday Barometer Survey.

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Weather in Cascais

Cascais has throughout the year a comfortable climate for outdoor activities. Especially during the summer temperatures are great. The days are long, warm and the beaches are windy and therefore ideal for water sports.

The Guincho wind is a thermal wind, caused due to an extreme temperature difference between the sea and land creating a difference in pressure above the beach. This means that if there are clouds above the land the thermal effect will be less strong. During the summer months Cascais has lots of sun, ensuring a very strong wind almost every day! Not only kitesurfers and windsurfers enjoy these strong winds, also natorious sailing cups, such as the America’s Cup, have discovered the famous thermal winds of Cascais. This spectecular event is definately worth visiting. Rent your villa in Cascais in time!

Usually the wind is less strong at the golf courses located further from the sea. A gentle breeze will keep your round of golf pleasant though.

In the table below the temperature, rain, wind and wave averages are displayed.

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