As of 2022, those who want to move to Portugal via the investor visa – the Golden Visa – will need to spend even more: the amount has increased from 350,000 euros to 500,000 euros. In addition, the purchase of luxury real estate can only be made in regions outside major urban centers, such as Lisbon and Porto.
For some applicants previously interested in the program such value, which was already high for some, will become unattainable for most of those interested in moving to this southern European country.
Specialized consulting firms in immigration investment have been aware of the recent changes and are trying to provide all necessary information related to the recent changes.
For example, Global Citizen Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in immigration investment, together with Goldcrest Real Estate recently held a webinar with all the information about the territories that qualify for the Golden Visa. Also, they’ve pointed to the current development of the Portuguese real estate market, exemplifying with real estate projects for investment, addressing investment routes for Portuguese residency and what exactly are the eligible areas for real estate investment. If you want to check them all in detail, have a further look into those Portugal Golden Visa 2022 changes in this guide on their website.
The Major Changes to the Program
On one side, there are significant changes related to the location of the investments:
Lisbon, Porto, and the entire Algarve region were removed from the list of eligible locations for purchasing a property.
The reason for such a major change is very simple. The government has realized that cities further east, i.e. in the interior of the country, are proving to be much more lacking in investment and skilled labor, so it is necessary to exclude such coastal regions and somehow balance the competition between regions.
The archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, are also included in such low-density areas.
Regarding the minimum purchase values, now it should be €350,000 for rehabilitation projects or €500,000 for the rest of the properties. However, if it’s for a rehabilitation project in interior areas, then the minimum price has been lowered to 280,000 euros instead of 350,000 euros.
Apart from the changes regarding the purchasing properties for applying to the program, other investment routes have also seen a change in terms of minimum values: for example, the option to invest in R&D or starting a company increased from the previous €350,000 to half a million Euros. Similarly, those who opted previously to transfer money to a Portuguese bank account, now need to transfer at least €1.5 million, instead of the previous €1 million.
What Remained the Same?
For all new applicants, after January 2022, there are still some types of investments that didn’t change:
- contribution in art, worth €250,000 or more.
- the possibility of creating a company in the country, with at least 10 new Portuguese citizens employers.
Overall and despite the tweaks made to the program in order to keep up with the current times, Portugal’s golden visa program remains largely unchanged from the original version.
And such rules still make it easier to obtain a visa for entrepreneurs and investors alike.
Regarding other major requirements, none of those have changed: you still need to spend at least 7 days in Portugal during the first year, then at least 14 days each subsequent two years.
What Market Implications Are Expected?
Specialized consulting firms in immigration investment have been aware of the recent changes and are seeing different types of investments and personas willing to apply for the program.
Since the beginning of the year, there has been somewhat a cautious expectation about the real estate market in the country, but it hasn’t stopped growing yet to everyone’s surprise.
But that could change soon.
Recent Events Worldwide
Portugal, which was already anticipating a rise in real estate prices as a consequence of the pandemic, inflation, and interest rates, now finds itself in the midst of even greater uncertainty with the conflict in Ukraine leading to an unprecedented rise in prices.
Also, the recent sanctions imposed on Russia will reduce the number of gold visas issued. Russia is one of the countries that invest the most in this sector, second only to China, the United States, and Brazil. Russian oligarchs have invested around 35 million euros per year for the past 3 years, mostly channeled into real estate, this year this figure is expected to be almost zero.
Furthermore, as a collateral effect, the sanctions imposed on Russia have very harsh consequences for Europe with the cost of transporting materials increasing considerably, directly impacting the price rise of building materials, therefore on the final price of new properties. Automatically, the demand for used real estate goes up and so does its price.
But not only Russians are willing to invest in the country. People from all over the world see the investment with good eyes, especially for the constant appreciation of real estate. Portugal started to be recognized in this sector only a few years ago. It has one of the best climates in Europe and does not have a harsh winter like most neighboring countries. Besides receiving immigrants who want to live here for good, Portugal has some of the most beautiful touristic environments in Europe and continues to be the perfect choice for the acquisition of vacation or seasonal real estate.
Last year, the industry was hoping that these changes would not materialize, at least while the pandemic lasted, arguing that in this time of crisis, all international investment is welcome. Even though real estate market experts in particular have always claimed that gold visas were not responsible for the rise in house prices.
It now remains to be seen how the market will evolve in the coming months after a confluence of developments that have been happening recently. From the pandemic, to the 2022 changes to the gold visa program, as well as the sanctions and side effects from the war between Russia and Ukraine, there are different factors that can influence how the foreign investment into the golden visa program will occur and in what proportions.