Interest in Portugal’s property market from Chinese investors is rapidly increasing, as wealthy buyers target investment opportunities and seek to tap into the country’s ‘golden visa’ scheme, according to a property consultancy firm.
Confidence in Portugal’s struggling property market has been improving of late, as reflected by the fact that transactions in the sales market continue to rise, with prices now increasing, albeit at a moderate rate, in some parts of the country, led by the capital city of Lisbon. Unsurprisingly, Lisbon is the number one choice for many Chinese buyers eager to invest in Portugal’s improving property market. “We get Chinese clients throughout the year. Usually, they come in big groups with their families and friends during holiday seasons, and want to invest together,” said Tariq El-Asad, managing director of Tamea International.
Portugal is fast becoming one of the most active targets in Europe for Chinese property investors, helped in part by a series of government policies aimed at encouraging further interest. Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit programme for major foreign investors, which was introduced in 2012 in response to the financial crisis, has proved particularly popular. It offers foreign investors who spend at least €500,000 (£395,000) on a property in Portugal the right to live in the country. They are also free to travel around all the EU countries in the Schengen area and after six years they can apply for Portuguese citizenship, which may explain why interest from Chinese investors is on the rise.
Portugal approved a record 130 “golden visas” to Chinese nationals in March, according to Portugal’s Real Estate Professionals and Brokers Association. In all, 3,165 golden visas had been issued up to March, with Chinese nationals accounting for around 80% of the total. The visas have brought in €1.92bn (£1.52bn), of which €1.73bn (£1,37bn) was in the form of property investment. “A Chinese buyer can often buy a property, apply for their golden visa and get a guaranteed rental of up to 5% from the developer and the developer also gives one or two weeks of personal use a year,” El-Asad added.