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How to Invest in Madeira? Complete Guide for Foreigners in 2024

Home | Investment | How to Invest in Madeira? Complete Guide for Foreigners in 2024

How to Invest in Madeira? Complete Guide for Foreigners in 2024

by | Tuesday, 21 May 2024 | Investment

how to invest in Madeira

How to Invest in Portugal? Navigating the enticing world of island investment presents a unique opportunity, particularly when considering how to invest in Madeira Island. This Portuguese gem, known for its verdant landscapes, year-round mild climate, and strategic location, is increasingly becoming a sought-after destination for investors eyeing property investment and benefiting from Portugal’s cost of living. The allure of Madeira is not just its scenic beauty but its burgeoning real estate market, offering promising returns for those who invest judiciously. Understanding the intricacies of investing in this locale is essential for maximizing investment outcomes and leveraging Portugal’s cost of living advantages.

This guide aims to provide investors with a comprehensive overview of the steps and strategies for making informed decisions on property investment in Madeira. From unveiling why Madeira Island is a goldmine for investors to dissecting the Madeira real estate market, it meticulously outlines the legal requirements for buying property, the steps to purchase property, and financing your investment. Additionally, it navigates through managing your property effectively and highlights the paramount legal and tax considerations to be aware of. By equipping investors with this knowledge, the ultimate goal is to demystify the process of successfully investing in Madeira Island and unveil the lucrative prospects of choosing to invest in Portugal.

Why Invest in Madeira Island?

Madeira Island, a jewel in the Atlantic Ocean, offers investors a compelling array of advantages, from its robust real estate market to its favourable climate and strategic geographical position. Here are some key reasons why investing in Madeira is considered a wise decision:

Strategic Location and Accessibility

Madeira’s strategic location off the northwest coast of Africa, coupled with its status as an autonomous region of Portugal, integrates it fully into the European Union, ensuring a stable and regulated environment for investors. The island is well-connected globally, with direct flights from major cities in Europe and North America, enhancing its accessibility for tourists and real estate investors.

Favourable Climate All Year Round

The island’s subtropical climate provides mild temperatures throughout the year. This climate makes Madeira an ideal year-round tourist destination and offers its residents a high quality of life. The environment is beautiful for those looking to invest in holiday homes or tourist accommodations.

Robust Real Estate Market

Investing in Madeira’s real estate market is increasingly appealing due to its comparative affordability and market health, even during global uncertainties like the COVID-19 pandemic. Property prices in Madeira are competitive, especially compared to mainland Portugal, and the market has shown resilience and growth, with luxury properties in prime locations such as Funchal fetching high prices.

Low Crime Rate and High Safety

Safety is a paramount concern for investors, and Madeira ranks as one of the safest places globally. With lower crime rates than continental Portugal, the island offers a secure environment for investments and living, which is an attractive factor for international investors.

Diverse Investment Opportunities

Madeira isn’t just about real estate; the island offers diverse investment opportunities. From tourism and hospitality to agriculture and technology, the potential for profitable ventures is vast. The growing tourism sector, in particular, presents opportunities for hotel development, local accommodations, and tourism-related activities.

Tax Benefits and Incentives

Portugal’s non-habitual resident (NHR) tax regime offers significant tax advantages for foreign investors, which extend to Madeira. These benefits include tax exemptions on foreign-sourced income and reduced tax rates on certain incomes. Additionally, companies operating within the International Business Centre of Madeira can benefit from reduced corporate tax rates and other fiscal incentives, making it an enticing option for business investments.

High Quality of Life

Madeira offers more than just financial benefits; it provides a lifestyle that combines modern infrastructure with breathtaking natural beauty. From high-quality healthcare and education systems to rich cultural experiences and outdoor activities, the island promises a balanced and enriching living experience.

Investing in Madeira Island offers solid financial returns and a high quality of life in a safe, beautiful, and strategically located destination. The combination of a thriving real estate market, diverse investment opportunities, and significant tax benefits makes Madeira an intelligent choice for investors around the globe.

Understanding the Madeira Real Estate Market

Current Trends

The real estate market in Madeira has shown remarkable resilience and growth, particularly in the wake of global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for properties in Madeira is fueled by several factors, including the island’s appealing climate, strategic location, and the growth of remote working opportunities. Notably, house prices increased during the first phase of COVID-19 in 2020, signalling a robust market. According to a Bloomberg analysis, house prices in Madeira are significantly higher than rents and household incomes, with accurate house prices increasing by 11.6% recently, indicating a vibrant market with potential for investment gains.

Popular Areas


Funchal, the capital city, stands out as Madeira’s most developed and expensive area. It is the centre of economic and political activity on the island, offering luxury properties, fine dining, and five-star hotels. The average asking price for an apartment here soared to €2,920/m2 in 2024, reflecting its high demand and comprehensive amenities.

Santa Cruz, Câmara de Lobos, and Machico

These areas are known for their beautiful villas and scenic views. Santa Cruz and Câmara de Lobos offer a mix of traditional charm and modern amenities, making them attractive for residential and investment purposes. With its rich history and culture, Machico also presents valuable property options.

Calheta and Ponta do Sol

Calheta is celebrated for its beautiful beaches and laid-back lifestyle, making it a popular choice for vacation homes and rentals. The area is known for its affordable real estate prices and strong rental market. Ponta do Sol is favoured for its sunny weather and charming villages, attracting residents interested in residential and tourist-focused properties.

The diverse range of properties across these areas—modern apartments to traditional Madeiran houses—caters to a broad spectrum of investors and homebuyers, each offering unique advantages and investment potential.

Legal Requirements for Buying Property in Madeira

Obtaining a Tax Identification Number (NIF)

Investors aiming to purchase property in Madeira must first secure a Portuguese Tax Identification Number (NIF), which is pivotal for conducting any financial or legal activities within Portugal. This number is crucial not only for property transactions but also for setting up utilities and banking services. Here are the steps to obtain a NIF:

  1. Visit a specialized investment firm: Individuals can apply for an NIF at any Portuguese tax office or the Loja do Cidadão. However, contacting a specialized law and accountancy services provider is advised, as the wrong NIF application can lead to avoidable tax liabilities and loss of tax benefits.
  2. EU/EEA Residents: Residents from the EU, Iceland, Norway, or Liechtenstein need to provide proof of residence from their country of origin along with personal identification.
  3. Non-EU/EEA Residents: Those outside the EU or EEA were previously required to appoint a fiscal representative in Portugal. However, legislative changes, effective July 9th, 2022, have removed such requirements (provided certain conditions are met), which is necessary. Non-residents can now register through digital notification channels to comply with Portuguese tax obligations.
  4. Role of a Fiscal Representative: Although no longer mandatory, a fiscal representative can facilitate the NIF application process. This representative, a resident taxpayer in Portugal, ensures compliance with tax obligations and acts as an intermediary with the Portuguese Tax Authority.

Required Documentation

When purchasing property in Madeira, several critical documents must be reviewed and verified:

  1. Property Registration Certificate (Certidão do Registo Predial do Imóvel): This document confirms the legal registration and ownership of the property.
  2. Fiscal Property Identification Document (Caderneta Predial): It provides budgetary information about the property, which is crucial for tax assessment purposes.
  3. Municipal Master Plan (Plano Director Municipal): This plan outlines the municipal regulations and zoning laws applicable to the property.
  4. Occupancy License (Licença de Utilização): This document indicates the property’s compliance with its intended use, whether residential, commercial, or other.
  5. The property’s Technical Data Sheet (Ficha Técnica de Habitação) contains detailed property technical and functional characteristics.

For a seamless transaction, it is highly recommended that you engage a lawyer who specializes in Portuguese real estate law. The lawyer will assist in investing in Madeira, ensuring that all legal documents are accurate and up-to-date, representing the buyer’s interests, and handling necessary agreements such as the Promissory Contract and the final deed. In cases where the buyer cannot be present, a power of attorney can be granted to the lawyer to act on the buyer’s behalf, ensuring all legal formalities are meticulously followed.

Steps on how to invest in Madeira through real estate

Finding the Right Property

The journey to owning property in Madeira begins with clearly understanding one’s needs and wants. Investors should start by listing their requirements, considering that compromises may be necessary depending on budget constraints. It’s crucial to consider the location carefully, weighing options between the northern and southern parts of the island, each offering distinct lifestyles and amenities. Engaging a local real estate agent is highly recommended as they possess in-depth knowledge of the Madeira real estate market and can significantly streamline the search process. Upon identifying a potential property, arranging a viewing is the next step, allowing investors to assess the property firsthand.

Making an Offer

Once the ideal property is identified, the next step involves making an offer. This process should be navigated with a real estate agent and the lawyer you choose who will guide you through drafting a formal offer. This offer should include comprehensive details such as the legal address of the property, purchase price, terms of sale, and information about closing costs and fees. It’s essential to consider all financial aspects carefully to make a sound offer that aligns with market values and personal investment goals. Negotiations with the seller will follow, where terms and conditions are discussed and finalized.

Signing the Contract

After agreeing on the terms, both parties sign a promissory contract, known in Portugal as Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda (CPCV). This contract secures the commitment of both the buyer and the seller to proceed with the transaction under the agreed terms. Typically, a deposit between 10% and 30% of the purchase price is made at this stage. The CPCV includes all critical elements of the property transaction, ensuring that both parties’ interests are protected. The final step in the purchase process is signing the deed, known as Escritura, conducted in a notary’s presence. This step finalizes the sale, transfers ownership, and requires payment of the remaining balance and any applicable taxes or fees.

Financing Your Investment

Mortgage Options

Overview of Available Mortgages

Both residents and non-residents in Portugal, including Madeira, can access mortgage options to facilitate property purchases. The typical mortgage rates in Portugal hover around 3.3%, with choices between floating and fixed rates. Floating rates are generally pegged to the EURIBOR interbank rate, which has been negative since 2017, prompting some banks to set the rate effectively at zero.

Conditions for Obtaining a Mortgage

To secure a mortgage, applicants must confirm their income and manage a down payment, which varies significantly: residents might pay between 10% and 30%, while non-residents could be asked for 20% to 50% of the property value. Portuguese banks usually provide mortgages up to 80% of the resale property value, with terms extending from 2 to 30 years. For non-residents, the maximum loan term generally caps at 40 years, ensuring the borrower does not exceed 75 years by the term’s end.

Bank Financing

Banks in Portugal typically offer loans covering 65-75% of a property’s value or its sale price, whichever is lower. Tax residents in Madeira might access up to 85-90% financing for their primary residences. It is essential to note that mortgage providers will assess the applicant’s financial situation, ensuring that the sum of any existing debts and the new mortgage does not exceed 35% of the net monthly income.

Managing Your Property on Madeira Island

Property Management

Investing in Madeira Island necessitates a comprehensive property management approach to ensure profitability and property value preservation. Investors should consider engaging with a professional property management company that specializes in the local market. These companies offer a wide range of services designed to alleviate the burdens of property ownership, especially for those who may not reside locally. Services typically include:

  1. Routine Inspections and Maintenance: Ensuring the property remains in excellent condition through regular checks and addressing any issues promptly.
  2. Tenant Management involves handling all tenant aspects, from finding and vetting potential renters to managing leases and resolving disputes.
  3. Financial Management: Overseeing all financial aspects such as collecting rent, managing budgets, and maintaining financial records.
  4. Emergency Services: Providing 24/7 support to address any urgent issues that may arise, ensuring minimal disruption to tenants and preventing potential damage to the property.

By working with established partners and specialists, investors can be confident that their property in Madeira is managed efficiently, maintaining its appeal and functionality.

Maintenance Costs

Understanding and managing the maintenance costs of property ownership in Madeira is crucial for long-term investment success. These costs vary significantly based on the property’s location, age, and type. Everyday maintenance expenses include:

  • Regular Upkeep: This encompasses cleaning, gardening, pool maintenance, and minor repairs. Maintaining the property’s aesthetic and functional standards is vital to attracting and retaining tenants or ensuring a high resale value.
  • Major Repairs and Renovations: Depending on the property’s condition, significant investments may be necessary to update or repair major systems like plumbing, electrical, or structural components.
  • Condominium Fees: Condominium fees can apply to properties within a development. These fees generally cover standard area maintenance, security, insurance, and reserve funds for future large-scale repairs.

Investors should budget for these expenses, which can typically range from 0.3% to 0.8% of the property’s value annually, depending on the extent of services required. This proactive financial planning helps maintain the property’s value and ensure compliance with local regulations, ultimately securing the investment’s profitability.

Legal and Tax Considerations on How to Invest in Madeira

Property Taxes

Understanding the various property taxes is crucial when investing in Madeira. These include the Imposto Municipal sobre Transmissões Onerosas de Imóveis (IMT), the property transfer tax, and the Imposto Municipal sobre Imóveis (IMI), the annual municipal property tax.

  1. IMT (Property Transfer Tax):
    • This tax is applicable each time ownership is transferred and must be paid by the purchaser before signing the final deed.
    • The rate varies depending on the property’s intended use and whether it is the buyer’s first or second home, ranging from 0% to 6%.
  2. IMI (Annual Municipal Property Tax):
    • It is charged to the property owner on December 31st. The December 31st rate ranges from 0.3% to 0.8%, depending on whether the property is classified as urban or rural.
    • Properties owned by entities in blacklisted tax jurisdictions are subject to a flat rate of 7.5%.

Capital Gains Tax

Capital gains tax is levied on the profit from selling a property in Portugal, including Madeira. This tax is significant for investors to consider as it affects their return on investment.

  1. Calculation of Capital Gains Tax:
    • The tax is calculated on the difference between the selling price and the acquisition value, adjusted for inflation and net of documented costs such as purchase expenses and capital improvements.
  2. Tax Rates and Exemptions:
    • Only 50% of the gain is liable to progressive tax rates.
    • Gains from the sale of a primary residence may be exempt if the proceeds are reinvested in another main home in the EU/EEA within a specified period.

Investors should also be aware of the potential for additional municipal property tax (AIMI), which applies to properties with a VPT value exceeding €600,000. Depending on the ownership structure, this tax varies between 0.4% and 1.5%,.

Understanding these legal and tax considerations is essential for anyone looking to invest in Madeira’s real estate market, ensuring compliance and optimizing financial returns.

How to invest in Madeira – a brief conclusion

Embarking on the journey of investing in Madeira Island presents a compelling blend of strategic advantages, from its flourishing real estate market to the myriad of tax benefits and high quality of life it offers. We’ve uncovered the essential steps for successful property investment through careful analysis, from navigating legal requirements to understanding market trends and financing options. Moreover, we’ve explored the significance of effective property management and the critical legal and tax considerations investors must consider. These insights serve as a guide and a testament to Madeira’s promising opportunities for astute investors.

In light of this comprehensive exploration, it’s evident that investing in Madeira is not merely about seizing financial gains but embracing a lifestyle that balances modernity with nature’s serene beauty. The journey from discerning investment opportunities to managing a property on this enchanted island encapsulates more than just economic returns—it’s about becoming part of a community that thrives on respect for its rich heritage and optimism for a prosperous future. As we conclude, let this guide serve as your beacon in navigating the rewarding venture of investing in Madeira, where every step forward is a step towards achieving both financial growth and an unparalleled quality of life.

FAQs on how to invest in Madeira

1. What makes Madeira an attractive option for property investment?
In recent years, Madeira has shown promising economic and political stability and growth as part of Portugal. This stability is essential for property investors as it ensures a secure investment environment.

2. Is it possible for Americans to purchase property in Madeira, Portugal?
Yes, Americans can indeed buy houses in Madeira. Portugal offers a welcoming legal framework that simplifies the process for foreigners to acquire real estate. The country boasts an open market that extends to Madeira, making it straightforward for foreign nationals to invest in property there.

3. What currency is used in Madeira?
Madeira’s national currency is the Euro (EUR).

4. Why are properties in Madeira priced so high?
Property prices in Madeira are high due to increased demand, supported by rising disposable incomes and lower unemployment rates, particularly in Funchal and other major cities in mainland Portugal. Additionally, the real estate market is buoyed by substantial growth in loan-to-value housing credits, driven by the anticipation of continued high property prices and market liquidity.

Remember, this article provides a comprehensive overview of investing in Madeira. Still, for more detailed information, we recommend seeking the expertise of our team at MCS, who are here to support you throughout your business journey.

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