Making proper financial arrangements for purchasing a property in Portugal is essential. A mortgage should be one of the first things to consider before buying a property in Portugal.
As a foreigner or non-resident, if you are looking to buy property in Portugal and want to use a mortgage to finance the purchase, now is a good time because the banks are lending again thanks to the economic recovery and the solid real estate market.
In this article, we will talk about when to start thinking about mortgage in Portugal, the documentation required and the criteria you need to meet to be able to get financing for a property purchase in Portugal.
Mortgage in Portugal
Portugal has an outstanding reputation for welcoming ex-pats, and the conditions for getting a mortgage are somewhat straightforward. In general, mortgages are the most common way to finance a property investment in Portugal. Both residents and non-residents can apply for a mortgage from Portuguese banks.
As per the date of this article, variable mortgage rates in Portugal start at 3.3% per year based on a 30% loan-to-value. Such rates may increase if you require more credit, say 60% or 70% loan to value. Alternatively, fixed rates are available at 4.1% for up to 5 years based on loan to value ratios of up to 70%.
Why should I take out a Portuguese loan?
If you already own a property in another country with sufficient equity, you may choose to take out an additional mortgage, or even a new one on that property to finance your purchase in Portugal.
However, conditions in Portugal improved over recent years, and there is increased interest from lenders in assisting foreigners with lending solutions.
Benefits of taking out a mortgage
The key benefit of taking out a Portuguese mortgage is that the lender will carry out legal checks on the property and arrange for a valuation to take place.
Another benefit is that should you decide to let your property in short- or long-term contracts, your rental income in euros may offset or cover the mortgage payments in euros from your Portuguese bank, which naturally hedge any currency risk. Should you decide to use non-euro mortgage facilities abroad, you would be exposed to foreign currency risks.
Some other benefits of getting a mortgage include:
- Mortgages have low rates
- Foreigners with no residency in Portugal can still get a mortgage from Portuguese banks
- Properties purchased on credit can be rented out without restrictions.
- Mortgage installments rates are generally low
At what stage should I apply for a mortgage in Portugal?
It is advisable to start the mortgage process as early as possible, even if you are not totally sure of the kind of property you want to buy. Starting the process early helps you to know what you can afford and how much you can access through credit financing. This way you streamline your property search and make quicker decisions on prices with the seller, and it may also help you negotiate the price as it will show you are a serious buyer.
Compare mortgages from different banks
The first thing to do is to compare banks. In Portugal, there are over 15 banks that provide different mortgage loans and credit to buy a house. Some of these banks include BBVA, Santander, Bankinter, Banco Best, Banco CTT and several others.
Each bank in Portugal has different criteria, and you may not necessarily be offered the most suitable loan, or the best deal available. You may also encounter difficulties with language barriers.
Our specialist team at Global Citizen Solutions can introduce you to an English-speaking banker to match your profile which will save you a lot of time, cost and hassle.
What types of mortgages are available in Portugal?
The fixed-rate mortgage basically allows borrowers to pay a constant rate for a certain period. It generally guards you against fluctuations in the European base rate. This rate is usually agreed upon with the financial institution when requesting financing. For some lending institutions, this rate is fixed for the entire life of the loan while for some other financial institution it is usually for a certain period during the life of the loan. If the latter is the case of the rate, then it reverts to a variable rate mortgage. Also, if you decide on early repayment you may be charged a fine on repaid capital.
With this type of loan, your monthly payment fluctuates depending on the indexer (the index that is normally used in housing loans is EURIBOR). Over the repayment period, the monthly payments are usually revised every six months based on Euribor rates. Also, if you decide on early repayment you will be charged 0.5% on the repaid capital.
You should also know that the maximum loan-to-value mortgage in Portugal for non-residents is between 60% to 70% of the purchase price.
There’s also the option for a construction mortgage. You can usually borrow 50% to 60% of the combined costs of the land and construction, however, these mortgages are complex and specialist advice from a mortgage broker is advisable.