Property market ‘overheating’ sees government consider throttling back on Golden Visas

With property prices in ‘major urban centres’ already showing clear signs of ‘overheating’, the government is considering throttling back on the issuing of ‘Golden Visas’ for the purchase of houses and apartments.

Says Expresso, economy minister Pedro Siza Vieira has confirmed the executive will be “pondering new alterations of the golden visa rules to counter the excessive investment in property this programme has generated, contributing to further inflating the property market which is already overheated, particularly in large cities”, like Lisbon and Porto.

Golden Visas for house and apartment purchases are unlikely to be ruled out altogether, however. One thought is that they will probably only be offered when investors are buying in the interior or areas of low population density, where the “pressure on property prices is less”.

Expresso stresses that when the regime was first introduced, in 2012, Portugal’s property market was in the doldrums. The lure of fast-track residency visas has turned everything round, bringing 4.8 billion euros into the economy, and conceding entry into Europe to nationals from China (4,396), Brazil (829), Turkey (366), South Africa (314) and Russia (283).

But the programme has always been under-fire, for the fact that it essentially opens a door into Europe for anyone with money, with very little research taken into how they have come by it.

Only last week, we heard of the Chinese national who had faked gold bullion in his home country and escaped justice by disappearing into Europe via Portugal (click here).

Says Expresso, likely changes to the Golden Visa regime could actually see the 500,000 euro stipulation for property purchases reduced, as long as the transactions satisfy other criteria.

This far however, this is all ‘on the drawing board’. No hard and fast decisions have yet been made which suggests real estate agencies will take full advantage of these advance warnings and encourage clients to ‘spend, spend, spend’.

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