In recent years Portugal has seen sustained growth in its property prices and Lisbon, the country’s capital has become a focus of foreign investment in property, yet despite this, the rental sector has remained extremely affordable. In the wake of the COVID crisis, the holiday rental sector has seen a reduction in rental prices, and office space in the country is one of the cheapest per square metre in Europe, according to Statista. The U.K. has the highest average prime office rent prices, with an average of 1513 euros per year. France is the second most expensive, with an average of 890 euros per year and Ireland is third with an average of 673 euros. By comparison, Portugal’s average cost of 288 euros per year is extraordinarily competitive.
Lisbon has become a favoured location for digital nomads, tech start-ups and big business. The city has seen huge foreign investment in recent years, transforming its picturesque decay into some of the most desirable city living spaces in Europe. What attracts tourists to Portugal also serves as an attraction to business. Good transport links make for quick easy access to the major cities of Europe and low living costs and a pleasant all year climate, are yet a further incentive. The Portuguese government has also gone out of its way to encourage foreign investment. Its ‘golden visa’ scheme offers residency and the opportunity to travel freely within the Schengen area, in return for property investment of 500,000 euros. The government has also created a 200- million-euro fund to aid foreign companies relocating to Portugal. Start-ups can access a simple online process to help them relocate and low corporate tax rates and a pool of highly skilled workers, graduates of the country’s well- regarded universities, are further incentives.
For British companies, increasingly anxious about being left out in the cold after Brexit, relocating their business to Portugal offers a potential route to the EU market, making it easier to trade goods and resources. English language businesses are already well established in the Lisbon and Porto areas. Both Google and Amazon have established tech hubs in the country, as have German car manufacturers Volkswagen and Mercedes- Benz. And it is not just the Lisbon area which is attracting foreign business interest. The Danish company Vestas, producers of wind turbines, explained that their opening of an engineering design centre in Porto was because of the city’s proximity to leading universities and research centres.
The COVID crisis will certainly slow the relocation of companies to Portugal but the collective enticements of considerably cheaper office space, a pool of highly skilled applicants, prepared to work for lower wages, excellent quality of life and very attractive government incentives and support will certainly ensure that, once freedom of movement eases up again, many more companies from around the world will be choosing Portugal as a location for their tech hubs and research centres.