Oddly, while we acknowledge a significant undersupply of property, particularly in the prime space, almost in contradiction, in Lisbon, you will notice an abundance of cranes and new projects being brought to market. This contrasts with your typical European capital particularly in Western Europe.
London’s super prime real estate market has returned to pre-brexit highs. The amount of properties transacted in this bracket, €10M and up, last year surpassed 150 transactions proving the allure of the city and that it is highly regarded by global buyers.
This sort of buyer has been equally present in Lisbon in recent years and does not seem deterred by rising interest rates - being generally equity buyers. They are well aware that in Lisbon, like in London, quality and unique real estate options are in short supply in an increasingly competitive market.
While London offers wealthy foreigners their resident non-domicile remittance basis of taxation, Lisbon offers the non-habitual resident tax regime and more importantly little or no inheritance, wealth and donations taxes. These advantages resonate substantially with buyers of super prime, which in Lisbon is from €3,5M. Many are retiring baby-boomers or the recipients of their generosity.
When investing in property one should always consider location, so let’s learn more about Lisbon’s crowning jewel. Chiado is charm in contrast - an important cultural and commercial district, known for its historic landmarks, theatres and museums, and luxury shopping. It has also undergone a rehabilitation in recent years. This is not the first or most dramatic - Having been rebuilt post-earthquake in 1755 and fire in 1988, Chiado has undergone another inspiring re-imagining of late that honours its façades and its spirit - flashing back to the "Belle Époque" when writers such as Fernando Pessoa and Eça de Queiroz used to write at the now iconic cafés.
Chiado starts down by the river, moves up Rua de Alecrim, rising to Principe Real through Praça Luís de Camões. Fuel up for the climb at Lisbon's gourmet food market Mercado da Ribeira and the renowned cinnamon-smelling pastel de nata shop Manteigaria - one needs extra energy for the hills of course. Praça Luís de Camōes and the Chiado shopping district are next. Peruse the Vista Alegre store for Portuguese crockery and ceramics, and step into the world's oldest functioning bookstore Livraria Bertrand.
Rua Garrett is the main street, with the Armazens do Chiado shopping mall at one end and A Brasileira Café at the other – a pair of iconic bookmarks for a collection of priceless shops. One being the city’s most beautiful jewelry store from 1909, now part of the Tous brand, and one of Europe’s first elevators which was installed in the Ramiro Leão department store 4th floor - mirrored, gilded interior, and velvet upholstered.
Chiado is ideal for a stroll - music wafting through the streets. In fact the opera house Teatro Nacional de São Carlos and Michelin-starred restaurant Bel Canto and Encanto are located here. Further up one can take in resplendent views at Convento de Carmo and further up at Miradouro São Pedro de Alcântara. Perhaps catch a sundowner at Memmo Hotel or a Fado show under the Principe
Real Park. There are countless trendy restaurants - we love Tapisco and Cevicheria.
Stroll back to Rua de Alecrim through Bairro Alto, and pause at one of the hidden bars for a nightcap. If Rua de Alecrim is the main artery of the city, imagine the gems to be discovered in all of Lisbon's capillaries. You could get lost but that would be a good thing. Why rush? Let the vibe seep in slowly.
We asked one of our clients turned friend, Emily Dall why she chose to live in the city center. Emily is a well-seasoned traveler, having lived in Chicago and Zurich for most of her adult life. After completing her master’s degree in interior design and working at a boutique firm until COVID; Emily googled “where can Americans currently travel?” and found out that Croatia and Turkey were her best options. She booked a 3-week trip to Croatia. That turned into 6 weeks, and then a boat to Italy, a train to Switzerland, a plane to Turkey. Bali was her next destination. Emily spent 7 months living there while it was closed to entry to the rest of the world. In the Spring of 2022, after planning a tour of Portugal she decided to make her home here.
Hello Emily, can you tell us why you ultimately chose to settle in Lisbon?
I fell in love with Lisbon during that trip. A city with vibrant energy, kind locals, a large international community. The fact that English is so widely spoken made it easy to feel at home here as a foreigner. Other determining factors were the mild climate, low cost of living, ease of travel to other European cities, and a simple lifestyle.
Why did you choose Lisbon city center?
I wanted to live in the heart of the historic city and was fortunate to work with Maia International Properties to find a loft filled with original architectural features, in a building with a tiled façade, so typical to Lisbon. For me, the decision to live in the city was the right one and I love that I can choose between five different coffee shops all within a stone’s throw of my apartment.
An ideal day would be waking to the sun flooding my place through the French doors, going for a long walk along the river before the heat of the day. A leisurely coffee in a bustling coffee shop, then a visit to the Time Out Market for fresh fruits and vegetables. Catching the train to one of the many beaches on the way to Cascais and ending the day in a intimate local restaurant, eating a simple fresh fish accompanied by a glass of dry, mineral, Portuguese, white wine.
As I approach my first year in Lisbon, I am excited about the future here. I see friendships with locals developing and feel increasingly like I’m part of a vibrant and inclusive community. I strive for more personal growth, with a commitment to learn a new language and travel to discover parts of Portugal that I have not seen. A simple way of living, filled with rich experiences.
Why not take a similar approach when finding a suitable property in Lisbon, with a guide who knows the prime real estate market and Portugal. Treasure all the small details but enjoy an expansive view. Luiz Maia and his team offer super prime service and knowledge to match. Maia International Properties is much like Lisbon – unique. A company with heart, charm, and character. We pride ourselves on understanding our clients’ needs. Want to connect?
by Filipa van Eck Maxwell - Maia International Properties
Maia International AMI 16343, Rua Coelho da Rocha, 26 b, Campo de Ourique, Lisboa 1250-088, Portugal