Lisbon and coastal Portugal adapt to changes to Golden Visa scheme


Changes to Portugal´s Golden Visa scheme, which has attracted mostly Chinese nationals, were supposed to move investment away from the capital, Lisbon, and coastal areas, towards the interior, but promoters are taking advantage of exceptions.

Projects are emerging in the center of Lisbon aimed at the profitable Golden Visa market in Alcântara and Avenida da Liberdade, realty consultants Athena Advisers told Visão magazine.

Despite restrictions, the market is adjusting and demand is booming in coastal areas but with low building density (such as Comporta or Costa Vicentina), David Moura-George, director general of Athena Advisers, said.

Portugal Golden Visa Scheme to Remain Attractive Despite Changes, Experts Say

In the second half of this year, projects will start to be announced in the center of Lisbon for Golden Visas, but structured in tourist apartments, one of the ways allowed in the law.

“People thought the program would end forever but they have already begun to realize that it is not quite like that… It is still possible to buy in the Algarve and even in Lisbon but from another form. But that message has not yet been conveyed clearly”, Moura-George said.

The acquisition of commercial assets, “whether a shop, an office or a tourist apartment” for a value of more than half a million euros, allows obtaining a visa. Another option is to buy a house in a low-density area, not necessarily in the countryside.

Chinese nationals still leading ‘golden visa’ requests in Portugal

According to Visão, international consultancy Athena Advisers recorded an increase of around 20% in demand for commercial products in Lisbon and Porto and of around 25% for products in low-density regions still eligible for the program, among which, Costa Vicentina, Melides, Comporta and the islands of Madeira and Açores.

In the commercial sector and according to Athena Advisers, the most sought after products are stores and offices with investment tickets between EUR 500,000 and EUR 750,000, “preferably with tenants that offer confidence and stability, that provide a good financial return and that have long-term lease contracts, between 5 and 20 years”, highlighted the company’s general director.

This dynamic is also having an impact on the offer of a real estate product specifically structured for tourist apartments, where the investor buys a house (or more) with a global value above EUR 500 thousand, delivers it to tourist management, can enjoy its space during a few weeks during the year and still manages to obtain the Golden Visa.

Comment: Portugal Allows ‘Golden Visas’ in Major Cities for Another Year

This way of attracting investment aimed at people from non-EU countries is stimulating the emergence of projects in the center of Lisbon. “In the second half of this year, more and more real estate development projects will begin to emerge for tourist apartments in Lisbon”, said the official, giving as examples the areas of Alcântara, Rua Alexandre Herculano and even on Avenida da Liberdade.

The creation of private equity investment funds is also gaining strength in the granting of the Golden Visa, allowing the continuation of the visa application through the acquisition of residential properties in areas with restrictions, such as Lisbon and Porto, although the minimum amount of investment has risen from EUR 350,000 to EUR 500,000 at the beginning of 2022.

“As an increasingly sought after destination for the purchase of real estate, Portugal will continue to attract foreign investment and will continue to have good opportunities to offer in increasingly diversified areas”, added the general director of Athena Advisers in Portugal.

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