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Moving to Portugal - British pensions, health services, cost of living, where to buy property?


barrygill's picture
By barrygill - Posted on
04 August 2017

My hubby and I are considering moving to Portugal and have several questions: We would like to make contact with British expats who are already retired and living in Portugal. We want to know about British pensions in Portugal; Health Services; cost of living and importantly, about buying a place to live there, for example a "good" area with facilities on hand but also easy to enjoy. Happy to give email address on request.

EmmaL's picture
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Last seen: 1 day 8 hours ago
Joined: 01/08/2017

Hi barrygill

There are about 60 000 British people living in Portugal, so finding like-minded people who have made the move shouldn't be a problem. This guide to retiring in Portugal might answer some of your questions.

The cost of living in Portugal compares quite favourably with the UK. For more information, read our Cost of Living in Portugal guide. 

Whereabouts in Portugal are you planning to settle? The Algarves is popular with retirees, but can be more expensive than other places. Why not read some experiences of other expats in Portugal to give you some ideas?

Good luck!
Emma
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Luis1982's picture
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Last seen: 17 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 08/08/2017

We started looking about 8 months ago now and put in an offer on a house within 2 days on landing there lol - If your looking in the Algarve area your need to be looking 30mins north to get good deals :) Good luck

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Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I'm 76 and moved here in June 2007 so I've been here 10 years. I live on "The Silver Coast" which, generally speaking, is about 50 miles north of Lisbon. The climate here is okay, very English actually in that days can vary, but being on the west coast it can be very windy. I know lots of English settle in the Algarve but it can be very hot, too hot to be comfortable so I would advise you think carefully about the sort or temperatures, you personally, can tolerate and be comfortable. Property prices in this location are cheaper than in the Algarve - unless you choose a golf resort type of location, of which there are many.
I've experienced no problems with pension issues. My UK OAP is paid in Euro directly into my Portuguese bank account. Paid directly the rate of exchange is better than the tourist rate.
With regard to health issues, I pay €40 to see my local doctor and €80 to see my heart specialist twice a year. Medication can be pricey but to be honest I've never thought "Cripes that's a lot of money"
Having been here 10 years in a small Town / Village (I never know quite how to refer to my location)of just 1400 souls, I can honestly say "I have no regrets" I love my life here. Just look-out for the Portugues driving technique, it can be quite alarming. Tail-gating at 60mph is normal.

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edix's picture
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Last seen: 12 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: 11/09/2017

A couple more things but first a qualification. I don't know about national rules, what I write here is about my locality.
When you buy a house here you can expect 8 years of not paying rates. Make sure your solicitor makes the application and secures the exemption, I didn't know about this and my solicitor failed me in this regard. Not that the rates here are a huge burden.
My house, New build when I moved here, is detached on a good sized plot. 4 Bedrooms 3 bathrooms and a huge underground garage to accommodate 4 cars. The rates are €700 a year Paid in three instalments April July and October, in each case at the end of the month.
Car: Another thing my solicitor failed me with. In the first year of being resident you can matriculate your English car to Portuguese plates at nominal cost - almost free. Make sure you do it.
My car BMW 5 series, quite old, cost a few €000s when I eventually matriculated. The calculation is all about how many cylinders, the eco emissions and the market value. "They" have a list of market value but will accept Glasses Guide Portugal valuation. It cost €50 but well worth the cost. Do not accept "Their" list valuation, it takes no account of Right Hand Drive vehicle valuation in Portugal.
If I think of anything else I'll write it here

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Anonymous
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"When you buy a house here you can expect 8 years of not paying rates."

I believe this is no longer the case.

Also you cannot keep a foreign-registered car in Portugal for more than 6 months. If you do, you risk confiscation and fines.

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edix's picture
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Last seen: 12 weeks 3 days ago
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I ask this morning at the local authority office about rates exemption. The lady there confirms in this location the exemption is now only three years. She couldn’t say about other areas of the country.
It seems local rather than national so your solicitor needs to check it out, if indeed it’s a deciding point on whether to buy or not buy.
With regard to the car I can only speak from my experience and that is, I used my English plated car here for three years before I was caught in one of the exercises the police have to check documentation. That resulted in me being put on the starting blocks of matriculating my car to Portuguese plates. I didn’t feel at any time that my car was at risk. I suppose, if you ignore all the requirements and simply continue to use the car English plated, then you might have a problem.

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