China’s wealthy property investors are showing an increasing interest in Portugal, thanks to the country’s golden visa scheme that was launched in 2012. Statistics show that the number of Chinese property buyers has increased significantly since the scheme was launched.
Portugal’s golden visa scheme allows non-EU applicants to apply for permanent residency in Portugal by making qualifying purchases of €500,000 or more in residential real estate. The scheme has been a success, with 80% of the visas having been claimed by Chinese investors. Portugal has received around €950 million worth of investment in its real estate from the golden visa scheme, of which more than €760 million came from investors from China.
“We’ve definitely noticed an upturn in the number of Chinese buyers picking up high-end properties since the inception of the golden visa program in Portugal. Everything from luxury detached homes to traditional farmhouses are up for grabs,” says Chris White of Ideal Homes Portugal.
It’s not just the real estate that is benefitting from the country’s golden visa scheme. Portugal’s tourism industry is also witnessing a boost, with speculative Chinese investors increasingly visiting the country for vacations. According to figures, Chinese tourists have spent more than €33 million In Portugal between January and June of 2014 itself – an increase of 69%, mostly attributable to the increasing numbers of wealthy Chinese businessmen who are making trips to Portugal to consider buying real estate for the golden visas.
“One should also consider the impact of the golden visa scheme on tourism. Many of those considering a move to Portugal will visit the country several times, to introduce their families to Portugal, to get a feel for the culture and to look at what the property market has to offer. Thus before they commit their funds to a golden visa property investment, they are already bolstering the economy through one or more inspection trip visits,” explains Chris White.
The boost in real estate and tourism can have a major impact on Portugal’s recovering economy by improving its infrastructure and generating more employment. Higher employment also generates more demand for property, which in turn makes property investment a profitable business for interested parties. The scheme is thus looking to benefit real estate investors too whether or not they buy the country’s golden visa.