Portugal Property News

Portuguese Golden Visa scheme paying dividends

Portuguese property is receiving a boost from the country's Golden Visa and Golden Residence Permit Scheme. The initiatives to attract more foreign investment to the country are beginning to pay dividends and figures from the Foreign Ministry have shown immigration issued 318 Golden Visas last year alone.

Most visas advanced have gone to Chinese nationals, with people from the country accounting for 248. The Russian Federation saw fifteen visas going to its investors, while Angola and Brazil accounted for the rest. So strong has been demand that Portugal expects to issue around 400 Golden Visas per annum going forward. With the particulars of the scheme demanding that applicants invest at least ?500,000 (£418,933) in property, this is certainly giving the market a boost and offering some stability to prices.

In November, foreign ministry spokeswoman Francisca Seabra told Bloomberg that ?198 million of property investment has already been received this year from non-EU nationals. Charles Roberts, managing partner of Fine & Country Cascais, explained to A Place in the Sun: "There is a feeling in Portugal that the worst of the country's economic crisis is over and that real estate prices have finally bottomed out."

Yet there continues to be no liquidity in the banking system, Mr Roberts noted, which causes problems for buyers. Financial institutions in Portugal are still trying to restructure themselves and offload distressed assets. Mortgage repayments are an issue for the country too and there are many resale properties in popular locations with owners unable to meet repayment charges or maintenance costs.

Yet Mr Roberts is confident about the coming years: "As long as the Golden Residency Permit continues and providing that other countries do not produce more attractive schemes, we look to the future with confidence. The Non Habitual Resident Tax Scheme is also bring us a number of high value sales and we are now dealing with markets that previously had no interest in Portugal. By way of example President Hollande's tax regime in France is benefitting Portugal tremendously."