The level of investment that comes to Portugal thanks to the Golden Visas it gives out to people from overseas is decreasing, though real estate continues to be the main driver of the programme. The Golden Visa is a residency permit that is granted to ex-pats who invest a certain amount in the economy of the country.
In April, the investment resulting from the Residence Permit for Investment Activity (Autorização de Residência para atividade de Investimento or ARI), as the Golden Visas are formally known, fell by 18.4% compared to the same month in 2017, to 63.6 million euro. The total for the first four months was down 30% compared to 511.3 million year-on-year in the first four months of 2017.
The latest statistics from the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras or SEF) show that, of the total amount of money invested in the country in April, the majority corresponds to the acquisition of real estate (54,901,536.14 euro), with the transfer of capital to be collected 8,746,047 euro.
"These figures, once again, support the warnings I have made about this program,” says Luís Lima, president of the Association of Portuguese Real Estate Professionals and Businesses (Associação dos Profissionais e Empresas de Mediação Imobiliária de Portugal or APEMIP). “Unfortunately, the tendency towards bankruptcy will continue, as the vast majority of these numbers correspond to the issuance of visas that were long overdue. It is difficult to monitor this data because it does not match the actual results of the program. However, it highlights the importance of the values it presents: since its creation, the country has already received more than 3.7 billion euro in investments."
Urban regeneration also attracts investors
In April, 109 visas were granted, 100 of them for the acquisition of real estate. Of the latter, 11 were granted through the purchase of properties for urban regeneration.
As of the end of April, according to Lusa News Agency, a total of 148 ARIs had been granted through the purchase of real estate for rehabilitation. The first was awarded in July 2016.
In accumulated terms, since the gold visas began to be distributed on October 8, 2012 up until April of this year, the total investment collected amounts to 3,768,808,067.63 euro, of which 356,433,221.20 euro are for capital transfer and 3,412,374,846.43 euro for the purchase of real estate.
Turkish people are discovering Portugal
For the representative of the Portuguese real estate agencies, Luís Lima, "it is difficult to regain the credibility of gold visas with potential foreign investors, but not impossible. This mechanism is still great and maintaining it is important to us, as long as it works well.”
China leads the list of allocated ARIs (3,805 to April), followed by Brazil (538), South Africa (243), Russia (215) and Turkey (202).
"There are people of some nationalities that are beginning to discover our country and that see us as a good investment alternative, as is the case of the Turks, who are now beginning to appear in the list of the top 5 ex-pats who buy the most with this program," states the press release.