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Urban Renovation: Tax breaks, subsidies and other benefits for the Azores

Posted by Azores Properties on April 30, 2018

Public authorities in Portugal support urban renovation and the reconstruction of old buildings in the cities. So, you can benefit from different support programs and tax-breaks if you decide to start a rebuilding project. These are some of them:

In Faial island, for example, if you decide to renew a building located in Horta’s Special Rehabilitation Zone (ARU – the area marked in red in the image) you can apply to the following tax benefits:

  • Reduced VAT (from 18% to 5%) in all expenses with the reconstruction;
  • Property Tax (IMI) exemption for 5 years;
  • Transmission Tax (IMT) exemption, if you start reconstruction up to 3 years after purchase of the property;
  • Expenses with the reconstruction are deductible from Income Tax (IRS).

To know more about these tax benefits, you should contact Horta’s City Hall. Similar programs exist for other towns in other islands. We can help you find the information you’re looking for.


But you can also apply for more direct forms of incentive supplied by the State ate the Regional Level and at the National Level.

The Regional Government of the Azores has a specialized agency to help foreign investors and they manage several incentive programs you can apply to.

For Urban Rehabilitation, you can get up to 75% of the investment subsidized and 80% of the banking spread.

But programs to partially subsidize costs to improve the energy consumption or to repair termite damages also exist and you should use them. Once again, we can help you navigate the bureaucracy involved.

But you can also apply for incentives from the Portuguese National Government. You can get loans with interest bellow market rates and grace periods that can go up to 4 years, besides the tax benefits mentioned above.


All in all, the rehabilitation of old buildings in the cities, even it they aren’t always the easiest projects, make up good and solid investments. The cities historical centres are always sought after. With the existing systems of incentives and subsidies make them a very attractive business. Besides the direct return on your property, you will be promoting a healthier and alive urban real-estate market and helping revive the heritage of your community. They’re a win-win endeavour.


Urban Zone supporting incentives for renovations in Horta

8 thoughts on “Urban Renovation: Tax breaks, subsidies and other benefits for the Azores

  • Michael Miles
    on August 20, 2018

    Where can we find a list of the properties that qualify for the ARU program ?
    M Miles

    • Azores Properties
      on August 20, 2018

      If you have a property you can show it to the people of URBHorta, the agency responsible. If the zoning is corrrect they can then make an assessment of its current condition and see if you can apply for a certain package of benefits. There is no list with such buildings. Owners can decide to apply.

  • Mark
    on September 17, 2018

    I is there a certain amount you must pay for a property in order to get subsidies?and can it be a single family for rental or does it have be a multi family dwelling to qualify

    • on November 5, 2018

      In principle the outside of the building has to remain original. The inside can be altered the way you want it. Unlike in the UK the government is not telling you what plaster to use . There is a restriction to the use of aluminium windows and doors on listed buildings.

  • Roy Beeby
    on October 7, 2018

    In the UK we have a system of listing buildings of historical or architectural significance. This means there can be restrictions, sometimes severe, on what can or cannot be done with an old building. There can also be problems with planning authorities if you wish to change the use of a building. Are there any issues like that in the Azores?

    • on November 5, 2018

      Unlike in the UK you will find few restrictions other than keeping the outside appearance original, not using plastic paints and not using PVC or aluminium windows. The inside can be the way you like it. There will not be a heritage inspector checking the plaster you use indoors or if you have removed a fireplace.

  • on January 16, 2021

    Very informative article. Much thanks again. Want more. Jeniffer Lyman Carbrey

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