|Changes are soon to be implemented to Portugal’s hugely successful Golden Visa Programme, which has fuelled major investment in historic and urban revitalisation projects, created jobs and stimulated tourism, while simultaneously providing foreigners – including South Africans – with ease of access to EU countries as well as residency in Portugal.
Says Chris Immelman, who heads up Pam Golding International: “These changes are seen in a positive light, as they are expected to open up more accessible investment opportunities for South Africans, the bulk of whom are seeking travel rights in Schengen Europe and ultimately Portuguese and European citizenship which will enable them and their immediate family to live, work and study in these countries.
“Expected to take effect from the end of this year (2020), the Portuguese government is set to promote investment in low-density regions by most likely excluding the main cities of Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve from the Golden Visa Programme. This means that those whose applications are currently already in the system won’t be affected, while those who still wish to invest in these areas are encouraged to get their application process in motion as soon as possible as there is a limited window of opportunity.
“However, Lisbon still offers some very attractive options, but time is of the essence.”
For example, Martinhal Residences, brought to market by the award-winning Elegant Group, sees new contemporary apartments in Lisbon’s family-friendly neighbourhood, Park of Nations, offering a range of attractive options priced from €290 000. Offering multi-generational living over 14 floors, the studio to five-bedroom residences, including a select number of penthouse apartments and duplexes, are designed to the highest standards, with access to numerous facilities and services including an indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, restaurant, children’s club, babysitting services, business centre with meeting rooms and offices, event services, laundry and dry-cleaning and parking for cars and bicycles.
Says Immelman: “Notably, the highly-successful and experienced developers of Martinhal Residences are offering an unprecedented guaranteed rental of 4% per annum for the first six years, coupled with the fact that this project is being built on the last developable piece of land in the Park of Nations area. The first four floors will be sold under the Martinhal investment option, which means they will be used as part of the Martinhal hotel operation. In addition, owners have 14 days’ free usage between 20 September and 31 March, or they can use some of their owner weeks in other Martinhal units, while full property management services are free of charge.”
From the fifth-floor upwards branded serviced apartments are available for short or long-term stays, providing a 5-Star home in an ideal family location with a hassle-free lifestyle.
Immelman says with this development being ‘Golden Visa ready’, meaning investors will be able to submit their GV application immediately – thereby ensuring that they easily meet the end of year changes, this promises to be one of the best opportunities currently available in Portugal.
Portugal remains high on the global radar as a prime global destination, recently ranked the best country to retire in by InterantionalLiving.com, and having last year (2019) been judged the best tourist destination in the world for the third consecutive year by the World Travel Awards. And yet, says Immelman, it is still one of the lower-priced locations to obtain a Golden Visa for EU citizenship. “Having said that, property in Portugal has gone from strength to strength with prices increasing by approximately 15% in 2019, and with Lisbon performing exceptionally well with growth of 9.7% in the third quarter.”
Apart from its ideal climate, quality of life, excellent health care, investment potential, good governance, security and relatively low cost of living, Portugal offers sound education opportunities and is home to the renowned Nova School of Business and Economics, one of the leading business schools in Europe.
Adds Immelman: “A further option for Golden Visa applicants is the Royal Sao Paulo luxury resort in Vila Vicosa, Alentejo, colloquially referred to as the Tuscany of Portugal. This resort comprises a luxury hotel with 70 suites and four villas, which form part of an iconic old monastery now transformed into a luxury resort and spa just 90 minutes’ drive from Lisbon Airport. It includes an outdoor and indoor pool, restaurants and bars, landscaped gardens and a 3.25% guaranteed rental return. This development qualifies for the Golden Visa Programme, with the total investment amount divided into 75 fractions of €280 000 each.
“Once the new legislation takes effect, I believe we will see the likes of leisure developments, eco-hotels, spas and the like being developed in areas such as the Alentejo region, as well as the Duoro Valley – Portugal’s premier wine region, and Comporta.”
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