‘All of Portugal is booming’: Real estate golden visa draws investors

Despite a shift in focus to inland areas, Portugal's popular route to EU citizenship hasn't waned in appeal

September 5, 2022

Portugal’s residency by investment programme, one of the most popular golden visas in the world, rolled out some changes in January 2022: in particular, investment in coastal residential properties no longer qualifies investors for the scheme. Still, with about five percent rental income per year and capital appreciation of up to four percent a year, residential units in the interior of Portugal are still an attractive proposition. David Machado and Tiago Camara of PTGoldenVisa discuss the changes to the scheme, the residential and commercial investment opportunities available throughout Portugal, and the larger real estate projects that PTGoldenVisa has started offering to its investors.

World Finance: David,what changes were made earlier this year, and how has the market responded?

David Machado: Yes, the Portuguese golden visa programme hasn’t changed that much: we still maintain the same categories.

It’s true that from January 1st 2022, we no longer can qualify with investment in residential properties in the coastal areas. But we have quite interesting opportunities in inland areas, we’re seeing quite good results, and the reality is, all of Portugal is booming at this stage. So it’s expected to have very high capital appreciation on these investments, even for those who choose to invest in inland areas to qualify with residential properties.

World Finance: Tiago, tell me more about those investment opportunities.

Tiago Camara: In the category of €280,000 in the interior of Portugal, the majority of our properties are residential units, with 2-3 bedrooms in regions with easy access, good logistics and infrastructures. In these regions we normally agree with the local developers for them to rent these properties and guarantee our investors four to five percent rental income per year. The capital appreciation expected ranges from two to four percent a year.

On the high density areas, the investment goes up to €350,000. Lisbon keeps on being the most requested region, where we have been successful in selling offices and shops to our clients, providing them around four percent rental income guaranteed. And four to six percent capital appreciation for this type of properties.

Another region in very high demand is Madeira island. It qualifies investors for a golden visa with €350,000 investment. Madeira is a region packed with tourists all over the year, very well connected with all European cities by air, and with a real estate market appreciation of more than 10 percent every year.

World Finance: Now David: who are your clients? Where are you seeing the most interest from around the world?

David Machado: Yeah, the Portuguese golden visa programme targets all the non-European Union citizens. We are seeing these days an extra effort from North Americans coming to Portugal and doing a lot of investments, so that’s a bit of the change that has happened in the past year. Before the main investors were Chinese, and they’re still a big part of the golden visa programme.

The programme continues to reach all over the world; people who are looking for a backup plan for their families, opportunities to relocate, to enjoy retirement days in Portugal, have access to premium healthcare facilities, premium education. All those benefits – together with the free ease of movement once you have a residence card from Schengen countries – it’s what attracts investors to come.

Plus, after five years you qualify to access citizenship, so those are the benefits that are bringing people from all over the world.

These days I would say investment, just the pure investment in real estate in Portugal is delivering very high returns, so it’s also something to watch.

World Finance: You successfully support over 100 investors every year to apply to the Portuguese residency program – what kind of experience do you offer to your clients?

Tiago Camara: First of all, we are a one-stop shop service provider, managed by two Portuguese experienced managers, with a full knowledge of the Portuguese real estate market. We have a team of around 40 professionals based in Portugal, guaranteeing our clients on a daily basis full scope of services that they need to proceed with their investments and residency programme.

We support our clients specifically on selecting the best investments, opening their bank accounts, having a tax number in Portugal. We support them on finding the best law firms to support them in the programme and on the investment. And we guarantee very professional management of their assets in Portugal. We manage their properties, and we are able to generate them very good returns on their investments.

World Finance: And what does the future hold for PTGoldenVisa?

David Machado: We are still very focused on delivering a high level of service to all our clients. So the idea that we continue to provide this service from A to Z, which provides a full solution from any client wanting to invest in Portugal and collecting the benefits. This is mainly our focus.

However, because our database of clients is pretty large, and we have been overseeing great opportunities in terms of real estate deals, we also focus now on bigger developments – let’s say hotels, where we are providing development of hotels for clients. Or aparthotels, or bigger projects to develop compounds. So those are projects that PTGoldenVisa is now also focused on, which are not directly related to the golden visa, but most of the time also involve investors which have started with the golden visa now doing other investments with us.