In a bid to attract investment towards redevelopment of Lisbon’s city centre, the Portuguese government has reduced the minimum investment required under its Golden Visa Program to EUR 350,000. However, investors will have to purchase properties situated in specific districts that have been identified for urban renewal and redevelopment.
This move is expected to result in the renovation of historical properties and improvement of business districts, which may contributed to revived investor and business interest in real estate that has been upgraded to match international standards.
Portugal’s Golden Visa program, which is one of the most popular investment immigration programs in Europe, is set to attract even more investors as authorities seek to liberalize existing criteria.
From its launch in October 2012 through the end of the first six months of 2015, the program has attracted close to EUR 1.5 billion FDI into the country. Around 90% of the total investment was received from investors purchasing real estate and property in the country. On the other hand, Spain’s investment immigration program attracted FDI worth EUR 700 million from 530 investors who applied between September 2013 and March 2015.
The Golden Visa is a residence permit program that is geared to non-EU nationals seeking permanent residence in Portugal. This permit is issued in lieu of compliance with various investment requirements in the country. The holder of this permit can travel throughout the Schengen Area without any restrictions. Golden Visa holders can also apply for family reunification into the country.
2014 was a particularly good year of Portugal with 1526 successful applications received. Combination of inevitable reduction in demand with a corruption scandal, and a temporary suspension of the program led to a significant fall in the number of successful applicants in the first half of 2015—just 398. The suspension occurred due to the enactment of a new law, which resulted in a legal impasse that was resolved only after the Scheme was put on hold for a week.
The government has reduced the minimum investment requirement to ensure the scheme continues to remain popular amongst wealthy investors from all over the world. Most investors are seeking to purchase property in the capital city of Lisbon due to the real estate market’s potential to offer attractive returns on the invested capital. Currently, Lisbon’s prime properties cost just a third of properties situated in prime localities in Paris and London.
The reduced investment requirement is an addition to other investment options that were originally a part of the Golden Visa scheme introduced in 2012.
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