Most Golden Visa properties in Lisbon and Cascais
The Portuguese Government’s plans to restrict residency through property investment to cities outside Greater Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve would effectively kill off the programme say critics.
The reason? Because most of the €5Bn overseas investment through the so-called Golden Visa programme has been concentrated in the Greater Lisbon area including Lisbon, Cascais and Estoril.
Porto has so far attracted just 1% of Golden Visa investors, while Setúbal, in the same region bordering Estremadura, only attracted three Golden Visas in the past five years.
Of the 7,272 Golden Visas awarded to date for the purchase of property for or over €500,000, the majority has been bought in the boroughs of Lisbon and Cascais according to information given to newspaper Público.
The Government wants to restrict the concession of Golden Visas away from the coastal areas of Portugal, which have the most development, businesses and population concentrations, in favour of rural interior areas in need of investment and re-population.
The Government is also increasingly concerned over increased scrutiny from the European Union which feels that such residency by investment programmes attract money from dubious sources, i.e. receiving laundered cash, but also because of fears that it encourages property speculation and house price inflation in Greater Lisbon.
Since 2012, until the end of 2017, the borough of Lisbon was responsible for 47% of all Golden Visas awarded, or around 2,423 visas linked to property purchases while Cascais accounted for 13% or 672 visas.
Porto registered just 31 Golden Visas, around 1% of the total, behind other Lisbon metropolitan boroughs such as Oeiras, Sintra, Palmela and Almada.
Government plans to interfere with the Golden Visa programme has come under fire from the Vice President of the Portuguese Association for Real Estate Investors and Developers, Hugo Santos Ferreira and the President of the Portuguese Association for Estate Agents and Real Estate Professionals, Luís Lima.
But the Secretary of State for Internationalisation, Eurico Brilhante Dias has said that demand for property through the programme in Lisbon and Porto is “excessive” while the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure, Pedro Nuno Santos referred to the alleged effects of the programme as “harmful to the country”.