Mortgages in Portugal

Buying, Selling and Living in Portugal

Mortgages in Portugal

Mortgages in Portugal


Visitors to the Algarve who decide to invest in a holiday or future retirement home may be surprised in the past to find that there were fewer choices here than in their home country for obtaining a mortgage.

However the last couple of years things have changed and speed on approving loans has increased. There are many banks now who are willing to offer mortgages to Nationals as well as foreigners.

For the latter we have to make a differenation between foreigers being Resident and living in Portugal and foreigners having a second home but preferring to have a Portuguese mortage for their Portuguese property.

Besides the National banks like:

  • C.G.D. (Caixa Geral de Deposito)
  • Millenium Bank
  • BES
  • BCI and others

there are still other foreign banks willing to provide mortgages. The following can be mentioned:

  1. Barclays
  2. Banco Totta e Azores, a Portuguese bank with branches abroad.
  3. Jyske Bank

Although some years ago most banks insisted that the property was held by an off-shore company, this now is no longer a requirement or even not permitted (Barclays).The offshore route was a common form of property ownership and has(d) several tax advantages that may outweigh the disadvantage of paying annual management charges (normally in the range of £ 500 - £ 1000 each year). An accountant or specialist tax advisor can provide advice on specific details of offshore company ownership. See my article on offshore companies.
Mortgages are available in a variety of European currencies but predominantly in EUROS. Interest rates are very reasonable at the moment of writing (March 2005) and are approx. including the spread around 3%.  Moreover, expenses related to setting up a mortgage is reduced; also as a life insurance is not always a requirement anymore. 

 The maximum loan available is most of the times related to the value of the property and is generally limited to 75% of the valuation value or sales price whatever is the lowest. Experts of the respective banks carry out valuations and local appointed and qualified lawyers or the bank will accompany the whole procedure.
Anyone applying for a mortgage will normally be required to provide proof of income, whether from employment, business, investments or pensions. Tax returns will also be required, although “non-status” mortgages are available in certain cases.

Portuguese nationals and anyone with the official “ Residencia “ card and a history in this country will have a wider choice by contacting a branch of one of the many Portuguese banks that have multiplied all over the Algarve in recent years. For younger people the bank may be willing to go up to 90% of the value of the property.

Portuguese nationals not older than 30 may be even able to get a mortgage for a period of 40 years.

Normally the minimum amount of the mortgage is at least € 75.000 and for foreigners it could go up to a maximum term of 20 years and sometimes will not be allowed to extend the borrower's 65th. birthday.

Finally, before making an application for any mortgage it is wise to ascertain and compare the level of associated costs in order to budget accurately for your purchase. Banks will pass on legal costs to borrowers, as legal fees in Portugal generally higher than elsewhere these costs may be considerable, and a lawyer can provide some estimate before committing to a purchase.
In addition, each bank charges for surveying and valuing the property, processing fees and arrangements fees. In order to reduce costs these valuation reports are specifically designed whether the property is suitable security for the loan you require.
Therefore, the valuation is neither a building survey nor a report on condition, both of which require a much fuller inspection. A surveyor should undertake this type of report.

Despite the cost involved, this service provides a useful check on construction quality and confirms that you are paying a fair market price for your home.

Your estate agent should be able to help you with getting you the information on which bank is best suitbale for your type of loan.

 

Mortgages in Portugal

 


 

Visitors to the Algarve who decide to invest in a holiday or future retirement home may be surprised to find that there are fewer choices here than in their home country for obtaining a mortgage.

There are several reasons for this, including the fact that despite the opening up of the domestic market in recent years following reductions in interest rates few Portuguese banks will consider a mortgage application from foreign non-residents, although this may change in the future. Also the legal system for security loans on a property is cumbersome, implying a slow and costly process for foreign mortgage lenders. This is the main reason that only a very few non-Portuguese banks provide mortgages in the Algarve.

There are three banks that dominate the foreign mortgage market: a well-known British offshore bank with a representative office in the Algarve; a Danish offshore bank and the London branch of a Portugues bank. Besides that, some independent mortgage brokers intermediate in obtaining a mortgage.

Normally an offshore company is formed to hold title to the property in Portugal. The banks then secure the loan on the shares of the offshore company. The offshore route is a common form of property ownership and has several tax advantages that may outweigh the disadvantage of paying annual management charges (normally in the range of £ 500 - £ 1000 each year). An accountant or specialist tax advisor can provide advice on specific details of offshore company ownership. See my article on offshore companies.

Mortgages are available in a variety of European currencies as well as in US dollars. Now one of the banks has introduced a EURO mortgage. Now the interest rate is approx. 6%. Moreover, expenses related to setting up a mortgage is reduced; also as a life insurance is no longer a requirement.

It is difficult to find a fixed rate mortgage in any currency, so you will probably be offered a variable rate pegged at around 1,5 - 2% over the benchmark base lending rate of the chosen currency. As an example currently sterling mortgage rates are in the range of 9-9,5% and the D-mark rates are in the range of 7-7,5%. The maximum loan available relative to the value of the property is generally limited to 75% of the valuation value or sales price whatever is the lowest. Experts of the respective banks carry out valuations and local appointed and qualified lawyers will accompany the whole procedure.

Anyone applying for a mortgage will normally be required to provide proof of income, whether from employment, business, investments or pensions. Tax returns will also be required, although “non-status” mortgages are available in certain cases.

 

Portuguese nationals and anyone with the official “ Residencia “ card and a history in this country will have a wider choice by contacting a branch of one of the many Portuguese banks that have multiplied all over the Algarve in recent years. Following massive reductions in interest rates in the last three years, local banks initially offered mortgages around or below 5,5% in Escudos or even between 3 and 4% for young starters in the market, with the rate sometimes fixed for a period. Some provide mortgages on other currencies as well. Up to 90% loans are common, but tax returns are always required from applicants.

On the other hand, despite the fact that mortgages are now available to Portuguese nationals it has not always been common practise to have the interest rate fixed for longer periods. Because of this and the increase in interest rates during the period between June 1999 and June 2000 (an increase of over 40%) many people may find themselves already in trouble complying with their monthly re-payments.

 

Mortgages can also be arranged through a small number of brokers and financial advisors, some of which will charge fees. This could be a good route to take in order to find out all the available choices and your broker should advise on the mortgage which best fits your pocket , personal circumstances and your property.

 

Finally, before making an application for any mortgage it is wise to ascertain and compare the level of associated costs in order to budget accurately for your purchase. Banks will pass on legal costs to borrowers, as legal fees in Portugal generally higher than elsewhere these costs may be considerable, and a lawyer can provide some estimate before committing to a purchase.

In addition, each bank charges for surveying and valuing the property. In order to reduce costs these valuation reports are specifically designed whether the property is suitable security for the loan you require.

Therefore, the valuation is neither a building survey nor a report on condition, both of which require a much fuller inspection. A surveyor should undertake this type of report.

 

Despite the cost involved, this service provides a useful check on construction quality and confirms that you are paying a fair market price for your home.

 

In order to help you I will provide details of the following well-known providers:

 

Abbey National

Linda Kenny

Edificio Cor de Rosa r/c Esq.

EN 125 Quatro Estrades

8125 Quarteira

Portugal

Tel: +351 289397900

Fax: +351 289397889

E-Mail: abbey@mail.telepac.pt

 

Jyske Bank

Christian B. Andersen

Gilian Palao

76 Main Street, PO, Box 143

Gibraltar

Tel: +350 72782

Fax: +350 72732

E-Mail: christen-a@jyskebank.ltd.gi

 

Banco Totta & Açores

Branch in London:

a.o. Simon Perks

68 Cannon Street

London EC4N 6AQ

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 71 2361515

Fax: +44 71 2367717

 

I have received info that they have stopped providing mortgages on properties situated in Portugal.

 

Branch in Rotterdam

+31 102440464

 

Independent consultants:

Conti Financial Services

a.o. Simon L. Conn

204 Church Road

Hove

East Sussex

United Kingdom BN3 2DJ

Tel: +44 1273 772811

Fax: +44 1273 725789

E-Mail: enquiries@conti-financial.com

Web Site: http://www.conti-financial.com

 

Graham Barker Consultores

Av. José da Costa Mralha, 34

Bloco B, 3BT

8100-501 Loulé

Portugal

Tel: +351 289463271

Fax: +351 289463277

E-Mail info@gbconsultores.com

Web site: www.gbconsultores.com

 

Finesco

Rua do Sol, 4

8200-448 Guia

Albufeira

Tel: +351 289561333

Fax: +351 289562061                                                                 

E-Mail: finesco@mail.telepac.pt

Web site:

 


This article is written and provided with permission by Robert M.L. Snapper, fully licensed real estate agent in Portugal.





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