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Lisbon’s Emergence from Recession Driven by Golden Visa Investment

Portugal’s golden visa has been highlighted as one of the chief drivers behind Lisbon’s emergence from economic difficulties.

Global real estate agency Savills says the property market in the Portuguese capital is thriving thanks to the success of the investor program that was launched in 2012.

Lisbon’s Emergence from Recession Driven by Golden Visa Investment

The Savills report uses data up until 2015, pointing out that €1.56 billion of investment could be traced back to the 2,697 golden visas awarded under the program. The vast majority of those visa have gone to Chinese investors, accounting for 83 per cent of real estate acquisitions.

More recent data shows the success of the program is only growing. In the first four months of 2016, investment totalling €313 million was witnessed, bringing the overall figure past €2 billion since it began.

“The majority of golden visa buyers purchase for investment, but with a longer term view to make Portugal a permanent home,” the report said.

“The scheme’s success has been attributed to its flexibility, reputation and residence in a safe and secure mainland European country.”

Investment Requirements: Portugal Golden Residence Investor Program

Capital Investment
Transfer of capital of minimum value of €1 million into Portugal including through purchase of shares in companies

Creation of at least 10 new positions in Portugal

Real Estate
Purchase of unencumbered real estate in Portugal of a minimum value of €350,000. Co-ownership or purchase of property through finance is permissible provided each individual makes a mandatory minimum investment of €350,000.

Urban Rehabilitation
Investment of at least €350,000 in constructed 30 years ago or investment for rehabilitation of properties located in Urban Rehabilitation Areas

Scientific Research and Development
Investment of at least €350,000 in R&D activities of institutions that are part of the national technological system.

Promotion of Culture
Investment of at least €250,000 towards financing of bodies pursuing cultural or artistic activities or towards renovation or maintenance of cultural heritage.

Small-Cap and Mid-Cap Finance
Investment of at least €500,000 towards purchase of units of small-cap or mid-cap venture capital funds.

Investment in Low Population Areas
20 per cent reduction in minimum investments in the above-mentioned categories when investment is made in a low population-density area.

Portugal received bailouts from both the European Union and International Monetary Fund back in 2011.

It is now emerging from that downturn, posting growth of 1.5 per cent in 2015, with further economic expansion of 1.4 per cent expected in 2016. Unemployment has fallen from 18 per cent to 12 per cent since 2013. Exports are also up 29.3 per cent since 2010.

Other success stories highlighted in the report include a move to reform the leasing market, thus attracting new developers and investors.

As a result, a further €1.71 billion was pumped into Lisbon’s commercial markets in 2015, roughly half of which came from the USA.

Portugal’s ‘Non Habitual Resident’ scheme has also been a success, attracting investment from other EU citizens thanks to a progressive tax policy.

NHR status offers a flat rate 20 per cent personal income tax on those in skilled sectors including scientific, artistic and technical jobs. The scheme has been particularly popular with French nationals.

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