Buying Property in Northern Portugal

Portugal is among the top destinations in Europe for expats to relocate, either for retirement or work. In fact, since 2009, the new retirement tax laws in Portugal have made it more attractive for foreign nationals to retire in the country.

Portugal has an affordable cost of living. Typically, it can range from US$1,500 to US$1,700 per month in smaller towns and around US$2,200 in larger cities. Most importantly, the northern Portugal real estate market is also cheaper compared to western European countries like Spain, France, and the UK. So, it is possible to buy property in Portugal without breaking the bank.

This guide will explain the important aspects you need to consider before you buy property in Northern Portugal.


Why Buy Property in Northern Portugal

Portugal has something to offer any expat looking for a new life – whether that is a quiet rural retreat or a vibrant city living. While its sunny south side is unimaginably beautiful, its northern part is also worth a look. There is a diverse landscape waiting for you to be explored. Whether you prefer country escapes, beachside villas, or even city center apartments, Northern Portugal’s real estate market has plenty of options to suit every lifestyle. The following are some reasons to buy property in Northern Portugal:

⦁ For starters, you will love its transport facilities. Its transport system is so diverse that all the cities and even neighboring countries like Spain are connected. In fact, northern Portugal is just a couple of hours’ drive from the north of Spain.

⦁ Secondly, if you love being outdoors on weekends and after work, you will find Portugal’s weather pleasant. While it is a lot cooler than the south and experiences heavy rainfall, the coast benefits from the Mediterranean climate. So, you get sunny and mild weather, which is perfect for outdoorsy people.

⦁ Of all the things you love about Portugal, the country’s rich culture tops the list. Northern Portugal is highly influenced by the Celtic heritage. Each small town and village in northern Portugal has its own unique festivals and traditions.

⦁ Northern Portugal is experiencing a whole lot of development in the property and real estate sector. As of 2014 and 2018, there were over a million square meters of real estate projects licensed and completed. These new developments have lifted Northern Portugal’s real estate business to a great extent. There are plenty of historic homes with modern interiors on sale.

⦁ Last but not least, properties in Northern Portugal offer great value for money. Nevertheless, property prices are experiencing an upward trend, with the median price increasing year on year. So, this is a great time to buy property in Portugal.

Where To Buy Property in Northern Portugal

There are plenty of regions in Northern Portugal that are excellent for expats and foreign nationals looking for a new/retirement home. If you are looking into Northern Portugal real estate market, the following are the perfect destinations to start your search:


If you have a thing for historic places and baroque buildings dripping with heritage and culture, then Porto is the place for you. The city has a lot of attractions, including fine dining restaurants and hip bars. Essentially, apartments are preferred in this region. You can easily find 2, 3, 4, and 5 BHK apartments in the city center and in suburban areas.


Just six miles south of the Spanish border, Chaves is a small town, which means ‘KEY’ in English. Chaves is inspired by the Romans as you can find a wealth of 17th-century Roman ruins, fortresses, and thermal baths. It has only 18 thousand residents. So, it is quite a peaceful place to retire. While there are ready-made villas and apartments available, you can build your dream home from scratch.


The last on the list is Braga, which is the third-largest city in Portugal. Once a religious capital, Braga is home to Portugal’s oldest cathedral. There are more than 30 churches in the region, and you will love the pilgrimage site of Bom Jesus do Monte. It is one of the regions in Northern Portugal that has seen rapid growth in the real estate sector.

Buying a Property in Northern Portugal as a Foreigner

Before you invest in Portugal’s real estate market, there are certain aspects you need to know, such as housing terminologies and steps you need to take.

Housing Terminology

When it comes to types of properties in Portugal, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the terminology. But, don’t worry! We have got you covered.

⦁ A Moradia or a Casa is a detached home
⦁ A Casa Geminada is a semi-detached home
⦁ Condos or Condominos are individual apartment units
⦁ Quintas can be farms or classic rustic houses

Apart from the types of properties, there is also an apartment terminology that you must be familiar with:

⦁ T1 is a one-bedroom apartment
⦁ T2 is a two-bedroom apartment
⦁ T0 is a studio apartment
⦁ If you see something like T2+1, it means a two-bedroom apartment with an extra room

Steps to Buying a House in Northern Portugal

⦁ Acquire a Portuguese Tax Number from any government finance office
⦁ Decide on a mortgage that you want to go with
⦁ Make a down payment
⦁ Sign a contract (contracto-promessa de compra e venda – CPCV) in the presence of a lawyer
⦁ Sign and notarize the property deed

Real Estate in Northern Portugal: What To Consider Before Buying

Finally, if you have made plans for investing in Northern Portugal real estate, there are several questions that you need to ask yourself before making a purchase. This will help you in making an informed decision.

⦁ Why are you buying?
⦁ What is your budget?
⦁ What do you want from your property?
⦁ What are the features that you want in your property?
⦁ What would be a deal-breaker for you?

Are you interested in buying property in Portugal? Don’t miss out on our complete guide

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