Investors and real estate agencies were cheered last week by news that ‘restrictions’ to the government’s ‘golden visa’ regime were being delayed by another six months until the end of the year (click here).
But there was even more reason for celebration in the small-print: large swathes of the Algarve have been ‘excluded’ from the changes – meaning foreigners buying property from one end of the region to the other will still be able to qualify for what is essentially a fast track to European residency.
The beauty is in the wording of decree-law 14/2021, published on February 12.
It refers to ‘territories of the interior’ getting preference (and those of Lisbon, Porto and coastal areas being excluded) – but the details show a slightly different story.
As a coastal region, many believed the whole of the Algarve would be excluded by dint of being coastal.
But under the definition of ‘interior territories’ (laid out in government ordinance 208/ 2017) a number of Algarve municipalities and parishes are listed.
Thus, the municipalities of Alcoutim, Aljezur, Castro Marim, Monchique and Vila do Bispo are all considered ‘interior territories’, along with the Loulé parishes of Alte, Ameixial, Salir, the Union of Parishes of Querença, Tôr and Benafim, the parish of São Marcos da Serra in the borough of Silves, and the parishes of Cachopo and Santa Catarina da Fontes do Bispo in the municipality of Tavira.
For some real estate agencies who operate in these specific areas and may be struggling to withstand the effects of the pandemic, the news has come like an early Christmas present.
It is also welcome news for a select few developers who have real estate projects in these areas, such as the new Ombria Resort near Loulé which falls under the exempted area of the Union of Parishes of Querença, Tôr and Benafim, and in the west Algarve projects such Martinhal Resort in Sagres.
This all means that next year, once much of the region is excluded from the golden visa regime and the country will be open again for business, there will still undoubtedly be a great deal of interest from foreign investors.