Invest in Real Property in Cascais and Acquire Legal Residence in Portugal

Starting to the west of Lisbon and stretching from Setubal in the south to Nazare in the north, the Portuguese Riviera is highly popular with tourists both foreign and domestic. The area attracts visitors by a long and beautiful coastline washed by the warm water of the Atlantic Ocean. If you purchase a villa or an apartment at the heart of the Riviera, you will qualify for legal residence in Portugal by investment.

The world is going through a serious economic crisis instigated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Witnessing the lockdowns and other pandemic-related restrictions, wealthy individuals from different parts of the world are reassessing their investment strategies and plans for the future.  

Residence permit in Portugal - picture

The crisis has shown that you can take nothing for granted. Everything can change for the worse overnight. This makes one start thinking about finding some more effective methods of asset protection including geographical diversification of the assets. The opportunity to invest in a European golden visa is certainly worth considering in this respect. Portugal in particular grants legal residence permits to foreign nationals making considerable investments in the country’s economy. The most popular route to legal residence in Portugal is purchase of real property in the country.

So when you invest in a piece of real property on the Atlantic coast of Portugal, you acquire two valuable assets at a time. One is a legal residence permit in a Western European country and the other one is a villa or an apartment that is going to grow in value over time (if you choose the right location). Besides, your Portuguese property can generate some passive income for you if you decide to let it on a lease.

What Portuguese property should you invest in? We invite you to consider the opportunity of buying real property in Cascais. If you make an investment in the sufficient amount, you can apply for a golden visa to Portugal that is effectively a legal residence permit in the country. In this way, you can acquire a safe second place to stay in case something goes terribly wrong in your home country. Please bear in mind, however, that real property prices are growing fast in Cascais and other Portuguese regions. The prices are growing even now when the rest of the world is fighting the consequences of the crisis!  

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Reasons why you should invest in real property in Cascais

The Portuguese Riviera is famous for its natural landscapes, long beaches, and magnificent mountains. The area is easily accessible from Lisbon that is only a few minutes away by car. There you can fully enjoy a peaceful and slow-paced life.

Administratively, Cascais is a district of Lisbon at the easternmost end of the city. This is where the Portuguese royal family used to spend their days of leisure. Today, well-to-do people from Portugal and other countries like to purchase property in Cascais. The price of real property in the district is higher than the average price in Portugal and it keeps growing. There are many reasons why real property costs so much in Cascais. Below we list only the main of those.

The accessibility of the area

One reason for the high liquidity of Cascais real property is the unique location of the district. The municipality is located only a few minutes away from the Portuguese capital by train. If you drive a car, the trip is going to take you about half an hour. In addition to that, buses run between Cascais and Lisbon regularly. It is not surprising that many people engaged in business operations in Lisbon make Cascais their homes as traveling to work and back does not take too much time and living in Cascais is wonderful.  

Before, Cascais used to be an anglers’ village and today it is a popular resort location with cozy winding streets, straight wide avenues and a long sea front. Buying a villa or an apartment in Cascais would be a perfect option for those who want to get away from the noise of the city without losing the comfort of city facilities.  

Whatever place in Cascais you choose, you will be close to the supermarkets, medical institutions, and local schools. The area of Cascais is not so large.

Places of interest in Cascais

  • Boca do Inferno: This is the name of a large cave on the shore and it means ‘Infernal pit’ in Portuguese. The cave acquired its name because the water of the Atlantic Ocean periodically bursts into the cave when the ocean is rough. In winter, the attacks of the ocean on the cave can be so severe that the water has to escape through the hole at the top of the cave. This makes Boca do Inferno look like an erupting volcano!
  • Old Town: If you purchase a piece of real property in the Old Town of Cascais, you will find yourself close to small, pretty cafes, shops, and restaurants. You will enjoy walking along the streets in the neighborhood. This is where you will feel the resort atmosphere at its full.
  • Farmers’ market: The Farmer’s market is located right at the center of the district and it has been there for years. There you will find a great choice of top-quality sea products. In addition to fish and other seafood, you will find a lot of different vegetables and fruits there. On weekends, live music plays at the Farmers’ market.
  • Casa Santa Maria and Santa Marta lighthouse: Santa Maria house is an integral part of the city landscape. It is a luxurious building of the classical Mediterranean architectural style with a noticeable Mauritian influence. The house and the Santa Martha lighthouse sitting nearby are parts of the Condes de Castro Guimarães museum complex. When you go to see the lighthouse, please pay attention to the white tiles with horizontal blue lines running across them. Together with the red torch, the tiles will remind you of the lighthouses that you have seen in different movies.
  • Estoril sea front: This part of the sea front is the most developed one. It starts near Monte Estoril station (15 minutes away from Cascais station) and stretches for three kilometers. This is a perfect route for an evening walk to watch the sunset.

Shopping opportunities in Cascais

Those who like going shopping will love residing in Cascais. A great number of shopping centers are scattered around the place and you can also use all the shopping opportunities that Lisbon offers as it is not far away at all. The largest malls in Cascais are Cascais Villa (located at the district center and holding shops of numerous world-renowned brands) and Casa de Guia (located in the western part of the district and offering numerous shops, bars, and a gallery).

Climate in Cascais

The climate in Cascais is rather moderate. Sometimes, gusts of winds come from the Atlantic Ocean so you will feel the coastal breeze. In the summertime, the days are long and warm while the humidity is high. The average temperature in Cascais in summer is 23 degrees Centigrade (74 degrees Fahrenheit). The winter is colder and windier with the average temperature of 12 degrees Centigrade (53 degrees Fahrenheit). The sun shines for five hour per day only. November is the month with the highest precipitation (144 millimeters or 5.6 inches). The windiest month is July when the wind speed is 28 kilometers (17 miles) per hour on average.

August is the best month for water sports such as swimming, diving, windsurfing, and so on. The temperature of the water in the ocean reaches 22 degrees Centigrade (71 degrees Fahrenheit). The water temperature is comfortable for swimming between June and September even though the water is a bit cooler in these months.  

Beaches in Cascais

Many foreigners buy property in Cascais to have an opportunity to enjoy local beaches. Visiting Cascais and not going to the beach would be similar to visiting Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower! The small town offers everything that a beach lover may want. When you visit Cascais, you will understand why. The following beaches are the most popular ones in Cascais:

  • Praia do Tamariz Guincho;
  • Praia do Tamariz;
  • Praia de Carcavelos;
  • Royal Beach;
  • Praia da Azarujinha;
  • Praia de São Pedro do Estoril.

These are the most picturesque beaches in the area with warm sand, clear blue water of the Atlantic and a wide choice of cafes and restaurants sitting right on the seashore. Besides, you are going to enjoy the views while you are walking or bicycling to the beach and back.

Some beaches in Cascais have been awarded the blue flag for their highest quality and a perfect recreational infrastructure. The blue flag winners are Praia de São Pedro do Estoril, Praia de Carcavelos, and Praia do Parede. Your children will certainly enjoy their time on the Cascais beaches especially if you go there in the summer.

Sports infrastructure in Cascais

  • Yachts: If you go in for yachting, you will certainly love residing in Cascais. There is a spacious marina in the bay. There you will see boats of all kinds and from all parts of the world.
  • Parks: The town borders on a huge natural reserve Sintra-Cascais that has numerous walkways and bicycle tracks. Hiking/ biking along the paths, you will have a chance to enjoy the beautiful sight of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, there is Parque Marechal Carmona nearby that is attractive for its flora and majestic fauna. A great number of wild birds and animals can be found in the Park.
  • Golf courses: On weekends, many residents of Cascais head west to play some golf on wonderful golf courses nearby. The golf courses in Cascais are among the best golf courses in the world. In addition to that, you can enjoy some other aristocratic pleasures that the golf clubs offer such as horseback riding, for instance. Horse shows are frequent there.

Cultural objects in Cascais

The town has several top-class art galleries. The best known of them are Casa das Histórias Paula Rego and Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães. Art lovers will also enjoy VSB art gallery in Monte Estoril, Art’i Batik in Cascais, and David Levy Lima / Luchapa gallery in Parede.

Gastronomy in Cascais

If you purchase real property in Cascais, you will find a large number of restaurants and bars in the town. There are numerous places to eat by the seaside as well as further away from the wind.

If you would like to have a meal at the beach, we recommend that you go to Taberna Economica de Cascais that is located only a few minutes away from the coastline and that serves the freshest seafood you can find in Cascais.

If you would like to dine in the downtown area, you should visit 5 Sentidos Cascais. This restaurant serves traditional Portuguese cuisine that of course includes many seafood dishes. The place is very well decorated and it sits in Santa Martha, which gives the visitors marvelous views of the Portuguese architecture around.  

You can also check Taberna Clandestina Cascais located near Praia do Rainha. The bar serves the dishes of Portuguese and Spanish cuisines and offers fantastic views.

Visconde da Luz and Luzmar are two exquisite restaurants in the downtown area. Seafood comes there from the same fish farm. Both restaurants offer a wide choice of port wines.  

Please mind that we have mentioned only the most outstanding restaurants in Cascais above. When you purchase property there and start exploring the town, you will find lots and lots of cafes, bars, and restaurants where you can eat. Some restaurants in Cascais have Michelin stars.

Bright celebrations in Cascais

Every spring, a carnival takes place in Cascais that opens the Easter holidays. The neighboring town of Estoril holds an annual crafts festival that is the oldest such festival in Portugal.

At the end of the summer, the local people celebrate the Sea Day. The celebrations have been held for centuries already and they serve to express appreciation for the food that the ocean brings to the local people.

The cost of real property in Cascais and rent opportunities

The prices for real property in Cascais differ depending on the property type and location. For instance, the price of an apartment in Estoril is approximately 5,200 euros per square meter and the price of a cottage there is about 4,000 euros. It is expensive if compared to the prices in the districts of Carcavelos and Parede, for example.

The average price of an apartment in Carcavelos and Parede is about 2,600 euros per square meter and the average price of a cottage there is 3,200 per square meter. The lowest prices for real property are found in the district of Alcabideche where apartments cost about 2,500 euros per square meter and cottages cost about 2,200 euros per square meter. If you are prepared to invest time in finding a piece of real property in Alcabideche, you will probably be able to find some even more attractive offers.

How fast can you return your investment in real property in Cascais if you let it on a lease? Let us compare the prices for real property in various regions of Portugal and the rental rates so that we can see if it makes economic sense to invest in real property in Cascais.

Real property prices in Portugal

According to the Portuguese National Statistics Institute INE (Instituto Nacional de Estatística), real property in Cascais is the second most expensive property in Portugal trailing only Lisbon.

Top 20 most expensive municipalities in Portugal (real property prices per square meter, euros)*
Portugal as a whole1,188
Lisbon3,377
Cascais2,787
Oeiras2,353
Loule2,286
Harbor2,142
Albufeira2,026
Lagos2,016
Odivelas1,999
Tavira1,963
Lagoa1,823
Loures1,792
Faro1,752
Almada1,745
Funchal1,724
Vila Real de Santo António1,697
Aljezur1,668
Amadora1,667
Matosinhos1,637
Portimao1,627
Mafra1,557

* The average price as estimated over a 12-month period that ended in the fourth quarter of 2020.

It must be noted that the prices for real property in the Lisbon area (that includes Cascais) have been steadily growing over the recent years. The prices keep growing even notwithstanding the current economic crisis that is attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdowns have affected the real estate market, of course, and the price growth rate has slowed down but residential accommodations are not becoming any cheaper in Lisbon and the vicinity anyway.

The dynamics of the cost of housing in different Portuguese regions for the period from Q4 2017 to Q5 2020
Real property cost dynamics in different Portuguese regions in the period between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2020. Source: Instituto Nacional de Estatística

According to the official statistics, the average price of residential accommodations in Portugal was 1,188 euros per square meter at the end of 2020. This is 1.7% more than in the third quarter of 2020 and 7.8% more than in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The INE data show that the prices in three municipalities grew faster in 2020 than the average in Portugal. In particular, prices grew at the fastest rates in Amadora (+6.5% growth) and Matosinhos (+4.5% growth). The prices in Cascais and Braga grew by 4%.

During the period under review, prices grew faster than the average rate in 46 municipalities. These municipalities are mainly located in the regions of Algarve (14 of 16 municipalities demonstrated a higher-than-average growth rate) and Greater Lisbon area (15 of 18).

The highest prices per square meter of residential accommodations are found in Lisbon (3,377 euros) and then comes Cascais (2,787 euros). Real property in the following municipalities costs more than 2,000 euros per square meter: Oeiras (2,353 euros), Loule (2,286 euros), Porto (2,142 euros), Albufeira (2,026 euros), and Lagos (2,016 euros).

Rental opportunities in Cascais

Now let us see what opportunities you will have if you rent your apartment or cottage in Cascais out. According to the report of Aluga Seguro consulting company published in June 2021, finding a customer for your rental apartment takes 91 days on average. The report also shows that real property in Cascais costs more to rent than anywhere else in Portugal. The average rent there is 1,511 euros per month while the average rent in Lisbon is 1,235 euros per month.

The most popular rental apartment in Cascais has 95 square meters of floor space, a kitchen-diner, and two bedrooms. It will take you 97 days on average to rent out such an apartment. Your customer will have to be a wealthy foreigner or a Portuguese national working in Lisbon. The rent is too high for most local people. Only 15% of rental apartments cost less than 35% of the monthly income of an average family in Cascais.

Portuguese ‘golden visa’ program boosts property sales in Cascais

There are many reasons why buying property in Cascais is so attractive for foreigners including the wonderful climate in the region, the proximity to the capital of the country, an impressive history, and beautiful natural landscapes. There is one more important factor, however, and this is the Portuguese ‘golden visa’ program.

Since the program was launched in 2012, wealthy investors from outside the European Union have been given an opportunity to acquire legal residence permits in Portugal on the condition that they purchase some real property in the country.

There are other routes to legal residence in Portugal too. You can bring some venture capital to the country, deposit a large amount in a Portuguese bank for a fixed term, or create new jobs in Portugal. However, buying real property has been the most popular method of acquiring legal residence in the country since the ‘golden visa’ program was started. The foreign investor wishing to purchase property in Portugal has the following four options to choose from: 

  • The first option is to invest at least 500,000 euros in livable real estate located anywhere in the country. (Please note that the property location requirement is going to be introduced very soon. Beginning 2022, you will not be able to obtain a Portuguese legal residence permit if you buy an apartment in Lisbon, Porto, of in the region of Algarve.) This is the simplest option.
    • If the property is located in ‘an area with sparse population’, as identified by the Government of Portugal, the required investment amount is 20% lower: you have to buy property whose worth is 400,000 euros.
  • If the property that you are buying in Portugal is located in the central part of a large city but it is more than 30 years old and requires repairs, the minimum investment amount is 350,000 euros.
    • Again, you can invest 20% less if you buy old tattered property in a sparsely populated region of Portugal. Thus, investing 280,000 euros in real property can make you qualified for legal residence in Portugal.

Living in Cascais is fantastic as it is and the ‘golden visa’ opportunity makes buying a villa or an apartment in the town an even more attractive investment option.

Expert support to those purchasing real property in Cascais

Sooner or later, the current crisis is going to be over but life will never be the same again. We all will have to adapt to the new reality. Our worldviews are going to change and our value hierarchies are going to be reshuffled.

Experts believe that investments into property located in safe and quite regions with good healthcare systems and advanced recreational infrastructures (such as Cascais, for example) are going to be extremely popular soon. 

Do you want to wait and see that the prices are growing? Do not procrastinate and purchase some real property in Cascais right now! This will make you qualified for a legal residence permit in Portugal. You can move to Cascais with your family as family applications for Portuguese residence are accepted. InternationalWealth team will be happy to provide support to you in this endeavor.

Apply for a personal consultation on purchasing property in Cascais straight away!

Portugal is a fantastic country to invest in in the post-COVID-19 era. It offers a wonderful climate, personal security, a perfect infrastructure, reliable healthcare, magnificent beaches on the Atlantic coast, and multiple golf courses. The time to act is now!

What administrative costs are involved in acquiring legal residence in Portugal?

In addition to making the investment in the required amount, you will have to cover the administrative costs associated with acquiring legal residence in Portugal. The following fees are due: a) application processing fee of 80 euros (plus an additional 80 euros for each family member if a family application is filed); b) golden visa (residence card) issuance fee of 5,147.80 euros (for each family member); c) visa extension fee of 2,573.90 euros (for each family member).

Is it true that I cannot sell my Portuguese property back if I want to keep the residence card?

You are not obliged to keep the property in your possession for a lifetime. However, when you extend your residence permit, you will have to demonstrate owning property in Portugal. If you hold the property in your possession for five years, you can initiate the process of acquiring full citizenship of Portugal. If you succeed and become a citizen of Portugal, you will be able to sell your property in the country without any consequences.

Does a Portuguese golden visa holder have to pay taxes in Portugal?

No, he or she does not. Only if the golden visa holder stays in Portugal for more than 183 days per year in a row, he or she will thus become a tax resident in the country, which implies the obligation to pay taxes there.

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