Investors in Portugal’s residence by investment program (formally, the ARI; colloquially, the golden visa), appeared undaunted by last month’s conflicting announcements regarding rule-changes that would take Lisbon and Porto real estate off the investment menu.
Portuguese lawyers and real estate developers last month reported “non-stop calls” from investors who, worried about the heralded changes, wanted to cancel their investments. Those reports, in part, sent government officials scrambling to announce that the reforms would not take place after all, at least not until 2021.
If investors got cold feet, it was not reflected in the recently released data from Portugal’s SEF; Overall investment through the program amounted to EUR 46.2 million in February, a slight improvement on the preceding month (although still about 33% below amounts recorded in February 2019). So far in 2020, the program has raised about EUR 92 million.
70 main applicants and 135 of their family members received approvals in February, bringing the aggregate after the first two months of the year to 151 main applicants and 282 dependents.
One novel development was apparent, though; for the first time since records began, Chinese investors were not the leading applicant cohort, logging only eight main applicants in February. Taking over the lead, Brazil accounted for 15 investors, while Turks, South Africans, and Lebanese applicants made – respectively – seven, five, and four investments. On a cumulative basis, however, Chinese investors still account for 54% of all applicants since it opened in November 2012.
Interest in alternative qualification routes (anything other than the conventional EUR 500,000 real estate investment) continues to rise and now stands at 27% for 2020, a proportion that has quadrupled since 2016. The EUR 350,000 real estate investment option, which only applies to “fixer-uppers”, is the most popular alternative asset and accounts for nearly one in five investments this year, followed by the EUR 1 million capital deposit option, at 8%.
Want to know more about the Portuguese golden visa program? To see recent articles, statistics, official links, and more, visit its Program Page. To see which firms can assist with applications to the program, visit the Residence & Citizenship by Investment Company Directory.
Image credit: Michaela Loheit
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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 14 years in the United States, China, and Spain.