French investors have bought more property in Portugal in the first quarter of 2016 than any other international buyers.
The French accounted for 26% of all foreign property purchases in Portugal, followed by the British (18%) and Chinese (13%).
Brazil was the fourth biggest market for Portugal (8%), with Belgium (5%) and Switzerland (4%) trailing close behind.
The data was revealed this week by Portugal’s property agents association, APEMIP.
It explained that foreign investment represented 20% of all real estate transactions in the first quarter of 2016.
While it is a 2% drop compared to 2015, APEMIP said this doesn’t mean fewer foreigners bought property in Portugal, but instead that the increase in national transactions was larger and took up a higher percentage.
In fact, APEMIP president Luís Lima expects property transactions to increase “30% to 40%” in 2016.
Speaking of the boom in French investment, Lima said “it is the result of the attempts that began in 2013 to promote Portuguese real estate, namely through the signing of a partnership protocol with France’s Syndicat National des Professionnels de l’Immobilier”.
He also revealed that French investors buy property all over Portugal, while Brits focus mostly on the Algarve and Chinese on Lisbon.
Still, the ‘French invasion’ has been very noticeable in the Algarve.
“The French market continues to show strong growth for us and we are not surprised to hear that French buyers have overtaken the Brits as the largest market in the first quarter of this year,” Patrícia Candeias, property manager at Fine & Country Carvoeiro, told the Resident.
“However there is an obvious reason for this and that is the upcoming Brexit vote in the UK. We have also seen good growth in terms of enquiries from the UK but the vast majority of buyers are putting the purchase on hold until after the vote, expecting to see the pound strengthen in the case of a stay vote,” she explained.
“Should this be the case, we are expecting a small boom from the UK market in the second half this year and would almost certainly tip the balance.”
Fine & Country is one of many real estate agents taking part in the Portuguese Real Estate and Tourism Fair that is being held in Paris this weekend (May 20-22).