Golden Visa demand continues, ‘alternative’ investments increase

13 August

Following May’s record-breaking month for the Portuguese Golden Visa programme, June and July have together seen a further €145.1m of investment, with June being the second most successful month for Portugal's Golden Visa programme this year.

In May, the 270 visa applications were recorded in a single month, equating to a massive €146m of investment, beating the previous record-holding month, March 2018, by 34%.

Demand in ‘alternative’ Golden Visa investments rises

Investment through real estate has always been the number one way to obtain a Golden Visa in Portugal. However, if you scratch below the surface a new micro-trend is emerging: the rise of investing through a fund. In 2019, just seven visas were granted to those who invested €350,000 or more in a fund which equated to €3.13m in investment. This number has risen considerably in 2020 with 28 visas granted to date, totalling €10.29m investment. During July and June alone, the total sum invested in the fund route for Golden Visas was more than double the total investment for 2019.

Could 2020 be the biggest year for Portugal’s Golden Visa programme?

On the surface, as €89.1m and €56m were invested in June and July respectively which is less than the total for May alone, it might seem that the attraction of the Golden Visa is waning. However, if you dig a little deeper into the numbers, 2020 could become the most successful year for the Golden Visa programme so far if the recent trend in demand remains.

So far in 2020 and despite the Coronavirus pandemic, Portugal has already seen €439m invested as a result of Golden Visa applicants. While July came in with a lower figure, it is only 10.5% lower than the monthly average for 2019.

Why buy a property in Portugal: unique lifestyle meets investment potential

A perfect melting pot of beautiful weather, interesting cities and idyllic coastline, it is easy to see why Portugal was named the number one spot to retire in for 2020 by International Living and its capital was crowned the 6th best city for expats by InterNations. For many, this beautiful country is the ultimate lifestyle investment.

In addition, with a lower cost of living, the tax-efficient NHR programme and its capital tipped to be one of just four major cities to see prime property price growth this year, living in Portugal can make financial sense too, especially for those looking to retire. Plus, with Portugal’s speedy response to COVID-19 praised by the international community, the reasons to invest really start to stack up.

The Golden Visa programme is a huge draw in its own right. This programme grants applicants and their immediate family Portuguese residency by investing in a property in Portugal worth €500,000 or more and has relatively low barriers to entry. For example, in order to maintain residency, one only needs to spend seven days in the country per year and maintain the investment for five years. After five years, it is then possible to apply for full residency or Portuguese (EU) citizenship. In addition, though it is unlikely to change following the COVID-19 outbreak, the Portuguese government wanted to stop offering visas to those who invest in coastal regions to drive investment inland. As this change was set to come into action at the close of 2020, this may have added an element of urgency for investors who were undecided.

Where do Golden Visa investors come from?

Open to all non-EU citizens, the Golden Visa programme draws in investors around the world with the majority of the investors coming from China, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and South Africa. During June, the five main countries investing in the Golden Visa programme were China, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam. China led the way in July too, followed by U.A.E., Brazil, Vietnam and Lebanon.

Inspired? Take a look at our selection of Golden Visa properties for sale or get in touch to speak to one of our Destination Advisers.

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