Demand for Portuguese Golden Visas already outstrips 2015

Demand for Portuguese Golden Visas this year has already outstripped last year, as overseas investors continue to pour into the country’s property market.

Official figures from SEF show that the number of Golden Visas granted this year, which offer residency and travel within the Schengen area in exchange for a minimum real estate investment of €350,000, has already exceeded the total granted across all of 2015: 1,100 visas have been issued so far in 2016, far ahead of 2015’s 766.

Since the program was launched in 2012, the total amount invested stands at almost €2.4bn, with €2.14bn of that involving property purchases. Chinese investors continue to dominate, making up 76 per cent of the 3,609 permits issued, ahead of Brazilians (5 per cent), although the latter group is increasingly quickly.


Brazil beats China in global race for Portugal property

20th September 2016

Brazil has beaten China in the global race for Portuguese property.

New figures from the APEMIP, Portugal’s association of estate agents, show that Brazil accounted for one in 10 of all foreign property sales in Q2 2016. The surge in South American interest bumped China off the bronze podium; after a period of rising Chinese investment in Portuguese property, the country has fallen to fifth place, making up 7 per cent of all sales, behind fourth place Switzerland (8 per cent). The biggest spenders are from France, making up one in four of foreign property sales, followed by those from the UK (one in five).

The figures highlight the increasingly diverse appeal of Portugal’s real estate to international investors. While APEMIP President Luis Lima says that Brazilians stepped up their activity partly due to political and economic uncertainty at home, the Golden Visa scheme, which offers residency to those who purchase property worth €500,000 or more, continues to play a significant part in Portugal’s rising popularity.

Indeed, the Portuguese Foreigners and Border Service reports that Golden Visa investment more than doubled in the first seven months of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015, totalling €571 million. In July alone, 106 visas were granted, only two of which were not for buying property. Since the scheme was first launched in 2012, 3,715 visas have been issued.

China continues to lead the scheme, with 2,790 visas, followed by Brazilians (188) and Russians (132).

However, the scheme has been mired in corruption in previous years, while other issues, such as delays in the granting of new visas, contributed to the declining number of Chinese buyers in Q2 2016, notes the APEMIP.

Nonetheless, international capital continues to pour into the country, with Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve at the top of buyers’ shopping lists.

The impact foreign buyers are having is evident on a local level. According to Confidencial Imobiliario, more than half of properties on the market in Lisbon between June 2015 and March 2016 took less than six months to sell. 20 per cent of those sold within three months.

The speedy sales are not due to cheap prices either, with Idealista noting that Lisbon property values have risen 6 per cent in the second quarter of 2016, retaining its status as the most expensive part of Portugal. Confidencial Imobiliario’s market report with RICS, meanwhile, shows that house prices in Portugal rose in July 2016 for the 19th month in a row, with experts expecting house prices to continue climbing 3 per cent in the next year.

New buyer enquires also increased once more in June, although the monthly pace of increase was the most modest recorded by RICS/Ci since January 2016. Sales are expected to rise further across all areas over the coming quarter.

According to the APEMIP, foreign investment in Portuguese property has risen 3 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2016, now making up 23 per cent of all property sales in the country. With Portugal holding on to its spot in the top five most popular countries on in August 2016, the global race shows no sign of stopping any time soon.