Over the last several years, unprecedented political and economic instability has affected countries all over the world. With the recent immigration ban issued by Donald Trump, obtaining residency or citizenship beyond the United States has never been more crucial. Although permanent residency and second citizenship programs originated as a way for immigrant investors to not only contribute to foreign economies but gain more travel freedom, opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs have since increased tenfold across Europe. Today, countries like Malta, Cyprus, and Portugal have joined the ranks in the Residency and Citizenship by Investment market and offer applicants and their families a path to a brighter future.
Portugal’s Golden Residency Permit Program (or “Golden Visa Program”) has been a great success in many aspects. In the five years since the program’s inception, over EUR 2.5 billion has been invested into the country through its Golden Residency Permit Program with more than 4,000 visas issued to foreign nationals.
Portugal’s Golden Residency Permit Program was initially introduced in 2012 as a means to offset the country’s financial crisis. Despite its short existence, the program found immediate success and has continued to aid Portugal’s economic recovery. So what makes the Golden Residency Permit Program one of the hottest tickets for investment in Europe?
Portugal’s real estate investment option
For starters, Portugal provides eligible applicants two investment price points for real estate. The minimum investment in real estate is EUR 500,000, unless the property was constructed at least 30 years ago, or is located in an urban regeneration area, in which case the minimum is EUR 350,000.
Portugal’s Golden Residency Permit Program has had an enormous impact on the country’s real estate market, with 98% of eligible applicants choosing to invest in property. Real estate agents are attributing the recent successes of Lisbon’s property market to the Golden Visa program. In 2016, over 50% of real estate properties located in the metropolitan area of Portugal’s capital were sold in 6 months or less, despite property prices rising in the country’s most sought-after residency districts.
In that same fiscal year, over EUR 800 million was brought into Portugal’s real estate market through the Golden Residency Permit Program, effectively doubling the amount gained from the previous year. Although property market prices are steadily increasing in Lisbon, many of Portugal’s attractive coastal towns and cities are still holding out at affordable market prices, making real estate in Portugal a prime opportunity for foreign investors to capitalize on.
Demand for property in Portugal is rising steadily. In Lisbon and all major metropolitan areas, prices for real estate have risen between 3% to as much as 12.2% in 2016. While prices are on the rise, it is also indicative of a booming market in Portugal, and one that had been previously missed compared to wider European markets. Portugal has now become a top pick for real estate in Europe, and investors are taking advantage of prime buying options through the country’s Golden Visa Program.
Although Portugal’s real estate market experienced growth in the last year, property values remain relatively low despite high demand. For foreign nationals looking at cheaper investment options in Europe, Portuguese real estate might be the perfect choice for residency opportunities abroad.
With the Golden Visa Permit Program, Portugal will grant a one-year residency permit, renewable for two-year periods thereafter, to eligible applicants willing to invest a minimum of EUR 500,000 in Portuguese property.
Applicants and their immediate family can work or study anywhere in the country and are afforded visa-free travel throughout the Schengen region. After five years of residency through the Golden Visa Program, permit holders can apply for permanent residency Applicants are not required to physically reside in Portugal for the full five years (only seven days in the first year).
For those looking to invest in a rental property or vacation home, Portugal’s Golden Visa Permit Program is the perfect choice for European residency investment solutions. From prime real estate opportunities to more travel freedom, Portugal is the opportune country for investment in 2017.
For more information on Portugal’s Golden Visa Permit Program, please click here.
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