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Rising Star of the Portugal Golden Visa: Buying Property in an Urban Renovation Area

According to Confidencial Imobiliário, an independent databank in Portugal, foreign investment in urban rehabilitation areas formed 40 percent of the total investment in Lisbon in 2020.

Another statistic from the Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF) indicates a similar result. Since 2012, 850 foreign investors have bought a property that is old or in an urban rehabilitation area. In return for their investment, they’ve obtained Portuguese residency.

Let’s get into details and find out the incentives behind these investments.

Portugal Golden Visa and Its €350,000 Option for Properties in Urban Renewal Areas

This is only one of the options for buying real estate under the Portugal Golden Visa Program. This option provides non-EU investors the opportunity to buy a property in Portugal and get Portuguese residency in return.

The Golden Visa program entails certain requirements. First, you need to be a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen to be qualified.  Also, you’re required to be over 18 years of age and have a clean criminal record.

In order to apply for the program, you need to buy a property in Portugal which is:

  • At least 30 years of age, or
  • Situated in an urban rehabilitation area, and
  • Worth at least €350,000.

If you choose this option, you’ll be asked to renovate the property, too. The good news is, the renovation cost is already included in the minimum investment amount.

Note that this is one option among the total four real estate options under the Golden Visa program. A second option with a smaller amount is also available. You can buy property at a minimum amount of €280,000. The requirement is that the property is located in a low-density area, along with the other requirements mentioned for the €350,000 option.

What Is the Deal?: Portuguese Residency and EU Citizenship

Property acquisition comes with many benefits. When your application is approved, you receive your Portuguese residency right within a few months. The highlight is you don’t have to move to Portugal to maintain your residency status. Through the new amendment following COVID-19, you’ll be renewing your residency every two years until you complete five years. In each two-year period, staying in Portugal for at least 14 days will suffice to keep your Golden Visa.

If you want to apply for citizenship as well, you’re eligible to do so at the end of five years. Since Portugal is a member of the EU, you’ll become an EU citizen, which is a huge privilege. With your EU citizenship, you will get the right to work, live and study in any EU country of your choice.

Once you get your citizenship, you’ll be able to visit 188 countries visa-free.

More Than 9,100 Foreign Investors Received Residency Through Property Acquisition

It means that more than 90 percent of the investors have opted for real estate purchases since 2012, based on the data presented by SEF. Most investors have preferred the €500,000 option to buy real estate. However, the number of investors who have chosen the urban rehabilitation option has increased in recent years. While the number was only 165 in 2018, it reached 214 and 305 in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

According to Confidencial Imobiliário, Santo António has been the most popular destination in Lisbon for this type of investment in recent years. The report also notes that this investment type has constituted 19 percent of all investments in the district. The data also shows that investors from around 80 different nationalities bought a property in the urban renewal areas in Lisbon, in 2020.