quotA residence permit against an investmentquot Portugal ends quotGolden visasquot

"A residence permit against an investment": Portugal ends "Golden visas"

In ten years, Portugal has stolen nearly €6.8 billion in exchange for around 11,600 residence permits from candidates willing to pay at least €500,000 to buy a property.

Portugal will stop “issuing golden visas” to wealthy foreign investors, Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced on Thursday, unveiling a series of measures to address housing shortages and stem property speculation.

These controversial residence permits would only be renewed if investors who bought properties live there permanently or rent them out to residents, the socialist leader said.

Portugal has been issuing these “residence permits for investment” since late 2012, when it was dependent on a cash injection from the European Union and was looking for foreign capital.

The device, which is also available in other European countries, has been revised several times. The most recent ruled out investments in Lisbon and Porto, a major city in the north.

6.8 billion euros stolen

In ten years, Portugal has raised nearly €6.8 billion in exchange for around 11,600 residence permits to candidates willing to pay at least €500,000 to buy a property, invest at least €1 million or create 10 jobs.

To deal with the real estate crisis, the government presented a package of measures aimed at increasing the supply of living space on Thursday.

“In the last decade, rents have risen much faster than inflation… Current prices are far too high for the Portuguese market,” said Antonio Costa.

According to the European statistics office Eurostat, between 2010 and 2022, the purchase prices for apartments in Portugal increased by more than 75%, while rents increased by almost 25%.

In addition, there are around 730,000 vacant or dilapidated homes in the country, according to government figures.

The €900 million program unveiled on Thursday notably includes more favorable taxation of the long-term rental market, simplification of building permits and measures to help families cope with rising rents and monthly mortgage payments.

This package of measures “will be in public consultation for a month” to be finally adopted by the government on March 16, Antonio Costa said.

This plan also introduces new restrictions on short-term tourist rentals or accommodation, including suspending the issuance of new licenses in major cities.

The government has also announced tax benefits for owners who agree to place these seasonal rentals on the housing market.

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