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Portugal, Spain, Greece: A Statistical Comparison of Golden Visa Rivals

Greece, Spain, and Portugal are Europe’s hottest real estate-based golden visas. See how they stack up against each other in this statistical comparison.

Real estate investment locations

While in Greece and Portugal applicants invest overwhelmingly in the capital region, only one in six golden visa holders in Spain bought property in Madrid, preferring instead to invest in Barcelona, the country’s second city, which received close to half of all property investment.

Top nationalities

Chinese nationals are the biggest single group of investors across all three programs, but have an absolute majority only in Portugal (60%). Russians come in second both in Spain and Greece, but have been relegated to third place in Portugal, where Brazilians are far more numerous.

Real estate as share of total investment

All three programs are largely driven by real estate (while Greece has announced plans to permit alternative investment options, these avenues are as yet not officially open) but, in Spain, nearly a third of golden visa investment is actually not real estate at all.

Average investment amounts

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While investors in all three countries spend, on average, a great deal more on real estate than what is required of them, this tendency is particularly pronounced in Greece, where the mean value of property acquired under the golden visa is 2.6 times higher than the mandated minimum of EUR 250,000.

Application volume

Portugal was, for many years, the unrivaled leader among Europe’s golden visa programs, but was this year suddenly surpassed by Greece. Spain’s program saw a tremendous boost in 2017, growing by 140% in that year alone.

Dependents per main applicant

While average family size among applicants to Portugal’s program was close to three, Spain appears to be attracting a great deal of bachelors (and bachelorettes); Spanish golden visa applications, on average, include only 1.87 individuals (including the main applicant).

Christian Henrik Nesheim AdministratorKeymaster

Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.

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