Thanks to its proximity to Lisbon’s Port and Old Ship Yard, Santos was historically an industrial area with very few residential options. Yet since being dubbed the Santos Design District in 2005, the riverside neighborhood has evolved into a beacon for art enthusiasts and designers, who live and work side-by-side.

In recent years, the shabby-chic area has stepped into the spotlight as Lisbon’s epicenter of cool and is playing a pivotal part in the city’s regeneration story. Home to a kaleidoscope of artists, designers, architects - check out Paris-Sete, AR interiores, Re-Use and Roche Bobois - it is a playground for work and play for the city’s creatives. Its emergence on the residential property scene is also recent, offering a provocative combination of old-world charm and forward-thinking new builds, such as Santos Design project. A predominantly middle class area, the streets bustle with creativity and commerce by day and trendy partygoers by night.

An epicentre for galleries, studios, design outlets, restaurants and bars, Santo is home to IADE, ETIC and UAL, Lisbon’s leading design colleges, as well as number of other large advertising and design businesses. Despite very limited public transport in this small neighbourhood, the majority of places are accessible on foot and connected to the rest of the city by a strong network of buses and trams. 30 minutes to the beach, 30 minutes to the airport, Santos is well located next to the River Tagus, which makes for a perfect for an early morning run along its banks.

The experts say

There is significant investment potential in Santos as big enterprises continue to set up shop in the area, bringing with them more residents. In 2011 EDP (Energias de Portugal) moved their headquarters to the Aterro da Boavista in Santos in an effort centralise 1800 employees and catalyse the neighbourhood’s transformation. Where there are lots of people moving to a neighbourhood, commercial businesses and infrastructure follow closely behind.

The property market in Santos

The area of Santos is constantly evolving and offers some great property investment opportunities. It is among the most ‘in vogue’ in terms of real estate in Lisbon at the moment. Similarly, the commercial property market is thriving, and with lots of young professionals moving to the area, businesses are following suit to cater to the growing demand for nice restaurants and cafés.

The rental market is very lucrative, as it is favoured by young professionals looking for a short commute to work and tourists seeking a central location, buzzing atmosphere and river views. It’s a particular hotspot for students due to the fact it combines safety with a plethora of great bars and restaurants. This demand coupled with incentives such as the NHR and Portuguese Golden Visa programmes makes Santos a great option for buy-to-let and both short and long-term rental.

Prices per square meter are at the upper end of Lisbon’s real estate scale, but with the constant revival and regeneration of many of the original buildings, it is likely that the prices will continue to rise. Over the past 5 years, we have seen prices rise 40-50% with the on-going arrival of enterprise. The average price for a recently refurbished apartment in Santos is between €5,000 and €7,500 per square meters.

Three insiders tips for Santos

GET - head to the LX Factory, a converted factory that now houses a variety of independent stores, restaurants and bars, plus views of the Ponte 25 de Abril.
DO - go for a run along the river bank in the early morning to soak in the spectacular views.
SEE - the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is one of Portugal’s best national galleries, showcasing Portuguese and European masterpieces.

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