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HomeEconomyThe western region of Portugal was California 20 years before American immigration

The western region of Portugal was California 20 years before American immigration

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In the past year alone, real estate company Pro Portugal's business with North American clients in the western region has increased by more than 50%, CEO Nuno Martins told Dinheiro Vivo.

“In fact, we have felt an increasing interest, especially since the western region, there on the coast of Óbidos and Caldas da Rainha, has become a discovery for them,” he explained. “Let's say it's California 20 or 30 years ago.”

Pro Portugal was one of 14 Portuguese companies participating in the “Live in Portugal” roadshow, organized by Open Media, which ends on Saturday in Toronto, after visiting New York and Chicago. In total, there were more than 500 participants. The numbers shared by the real estate agency explain why: interest in Portugal continues to grow and is turning into more business.

“We already have clients who have purchased three or four properties,” Nuno Martins revealed, noting that the respective values ​​have increased significantly. “Even two years ago, houses in the Western Region selling for more than €1 million were a record. Today it is almost the dish of the day.”

The real estate company has always had more clients coming from northern Europe, but that is starting to change. “Now we can say that our business is targeting these American customers,” highlighted Nuno Martins.

They are clients aged between 35 and 50 – some of Portuguese origin, some not – looking for a relaxing and adventurous atmosphere in the Western Region, where they can surf in the morning before going to work at their company. “I can say that every day people from America with great purchasing power contact us.”

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These “Living in Portugal” events, organized by Open Media not only in the United States, but also in other countries and even at the national level, feature experts from various fields explaining what is required for those wishing to move to the country, from visas to… Taxes. These types of questions were answered by Anna Rita Reis, Senior Partner at the law firm EDGE – International Lawyers. The lawyer stated that there was an increase in benefits compared to last year.
“One of the reasons is fear of what will happen at the political level with the November elections,” the official said. “The other thing is the increase in the cost of living,” he continued, “which is very prominent in New York. “So, they look at Portugal as a better way to live because they heard it's less expensive.”

The office has always had clients from North America, but Ana Rita Reis explained that the number of applications for visas such as D7 (passive income), D2 (business) or D8 (digital nomad) in cities like New York and Boston has increased a lot. “We have more and more American clients looking for this type of accommodation,” he noted.

Organizer and CEO of Open Media, Bruce Hooker, explained that safety and cost of living were the main attractions. “But I think the political situation in the United States also makes people think about changing things,” he added.

For Miguel Rocha Fernández, founder of the digital agency Dengun, there is still room to show Portugal as a country of innovation, and this is what he has done on occasions.

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“I am here to represent the innovation ecosystem, because I believe that we should not be a country that puts itself in one place with only one state of Florida, where people go to Portugal to die,” he said. “There are a lot of people who want to go to Portugal at a younger age, who want to live with children, who want to learn about the schools.”

Miguel Rocha Fernández spoke about the different innovation hubs found in Portugal – including the Algarve region – and their advantages for entrepreneurs. The idea is to develop an ecosystem that goes beyond golden visas and real estate, “to attract people who want to contribute and who have a more lasting impact and a greater long-term impact, both economically and culturally.”

One of the interesting points of these events is the number of participants who have already visited Portugal or have trips planned soon. Lisette de Almeida, director of partnerships and international sales at Grupo Libertas, said she left the events “with several meetings already planned” for Lisbon.

“We have been receiving a lot of orders for several years, but the difference between 2023 and 2024 is that they are now starting to travel and buy,” he said. These are companies that are going beyond Lisbon.

“We have big projects in the South Bank, Saixal and Alcochete, and they are people with a completely different vision than the Portuguese,” the CEO revealed, noting that there is still a somewhat negative idea locally about what the South Bank is. “An American who arrives there and looks at its proximity to Lisbon, the view and the quality of life does not hesitate to invest,” he stressed.

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Despite the general rise in prices, the Portuguese market remains attractive. Miguel Rocha Fernandez, from Dinjon, explained this with the example of an acquaintance in New York, whose monthly expenses are $14,000 for a family of four. “I think this helps answer everything that's been said here and put it into perspective.”

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