Deadline looms for current Portugal Golden Visa’s current investment options

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The Portuguese Golden Visa is a perennial favorite at Sovereign Man.

But good deals have a tendency of not sticking around, and with the Golden Visa, it’s no different. Find out more about the incoming program changes below…

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Portugal’s Golden Visa investment options: Winter is coming

Launched in 2012, the Portuguese Golden Visa (PGV) program has been incredibly popular — and with good reason. Offering relatively affordable investment options, a streamlined application process and a proven precedent of applicants gaining citizenship by naturalization after five years, the Portuguese program has been a true flagship since inception.

But one unintended consequence of the program has been that local Portuguese nationals are being squeezed out of the property market, especially in the urban centers of Porto and Lisbon.

The government has increasingly come under fire over this issue, so it came as no surprise that in 2020, the Portuguese authorities announced a raft of incoming changes to the PGV.

As of January 2022, a number of significant changes will be taking effect. The below table summarizes the key changes:

Golden Visa: Minimum Investment OptionsUntil December 31st, 2021From January 1st, 2022
Property purchase€280,000+ (~$328,553), €350,000+ (~​​$410,570), €400,000+ (~​​$469,236) or €500,000+ (~​​$586,545), depending on property age and location.Investment minimums remain unchanged, but residential property in Lisbon, Porto and along the coastal Algarve region will no longer be eligible.

(Commercial property investments in these areas will still qualify.)

Investment Funds€350,000+ (~​​$410,570) €500,000+ (~​​$586,545)
Capital Investment/Deposit€1 million (~​​$1,173,131)€1.5 million (~​​$1,759,793)
Job creation (through company capitalization)€350,000+ (~​​$410,570) — to create 5 jobs €500,000+ (~​​$586,545) — to create 5 jobs
Research Activities€350,000+ (~​​$410,570) €500,000+ (~​​$586,545)

As you can see from the above, the fund based investment increase is one of the most significant changes to the program, apart from the exclusion of residential properties in Porto, Lisbon and the coastal regions.

The fund-based route is also the investment option that has shown the most recent growth in recent years, and with good reason:

ConsiderationsCurrent Fund Based InvestmentProperty Based Investment
Typical Minimum Investment €350,000 (~​​$410,570)€350,000+ (~​​$410,570)
Registration Fee & Municipal Transfer Tax @ 0.8%€0 – N/A28,000 (~​​$32,849)
Application process duration3 Months9-12 months (now even longer in some countries due to application back-logs)
Exit Fees0% – N/A5% + VAT (€17,500; ~​​$20,532)
Commission0% – N/A5% + VAT (€17,500; ~​​$20,532)
Expected gross return on investment (ROI):
  • 2% p.a. (5 year holding period — moderately higher risk fund);

OR

 

  • 0% for the first 5 years, 3% from years 6-8 (property-backed fund focussed on capital preservation); average of 1.12% p.a. over 8 years (minimum holding period).
Around 3.4% gross if rented out full-time (€11,900, or ~​​$13,962 p.a. — pre-tax — for a €350,000 property).

 

Also expect to pay up to 30% (€2,800 – €3,500, or ~​​$3,285 — ~​​$4,106) per year for property management.

And that’s before you’ve paid rental income tax, done maintenance or paid your property rates and taxes…

(You’ll also need to spend a significant amount of money on a furniture kit and appliances if you’d like to let the property on a short-term basis).

With a Golden Visa investment fund, your total capital layout will be approximately 20% less than with a property investment.

And, as you can see from the above comparison, a property investment comes with a lot more costs, work and potential headaches. Moreover, it doesn’t offer a significantly higher yield than a passive fund investment.

It does, however, offer the prospect of asset appreciation.

Owning a property in Portugal offers numerous attractive lifestyle benefits, whereas you’ll miss out on those if you choose to invest in a fund.

Given the incoming investment changes, however, the investment fund route will no longer make as much sense from a capital layout point of view ( €500,000+ from 1 January 2022 onwards).

So if you’re interested in gaining the Portuguese Golden Visa via this route, now is the time to take action…

By the same token, if you’re looking to purchase a property in Lisbon, Porto or anywhere along the Portuguese coast, you’ve got only four and a half months left to make the investment and get your application submitted.

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The bottom line

If you’re happy to up sticks and move to Portugal, the D7 Visa makes a lot of sense, but if not, their Golden Visa offers a flexible “paper residency” with compelling benefits.

As we’ve seen with several other residency and citizenship programs, changes can happen fast, and if you delay applying, you run the very real risk of missing out.

There’s no sense in buying home insurance once your house is already on fire.

That’s why, when it comes to a Plan B, those who take action today are the ones who will survive and prosper tomorrow.

Yours in Freedom,

Team Sovereign Man

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