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Portugal to remain strong despite Golden Visa rollback

3 MIN READFebruary 11, 2020

The last decade for Portugal’s real estate industry was incredibly strong. Between the introduction of SIGI’s and influx of foreign investment into the country’s alternative sectors, Portugal has been enjoying a period of success. There now might be some dark clouds ahead, but does the region have what it takes to weather the storm? 

This was discussed at a GRI Club Portugal meeting in Lisbon last week, where senior investors, developers and operators active in Portuguese real estate met for a morning of discussion and high-level networking. 

The main risk acknowledged was the parliament's decision to scale back Golden Visa approval to certain areas. Just days ago, the decision was made to limit their allocation only to investments carried out in municipalities located in inland regions or in the Azores and Madeira - therefore excluding Lisbon and Porto. Although it is still not definite that the law will change, this proposal will undeniably create a new climate of uncertainty in Portugal’s real estate investment market. One report even noted some Chinese and Brazillian nationals being convinced to cancel their property deals. 

Another potential risk that may prove to become a problem if not handled correctly is the shortage of student housing supply. Global student mobility is a trend which the country is very much benefitting from; perhaps even more so than the rest of Europe. Between 2013 and 2018, the number of foreign students doubled in Portugal, totalling around 50,000 people. The supply however has been unable to accompany the growth in demand. There is of course a market to accommodate the supply, but developers must be sure to accurately differentiate and position the assets in terms of price and quality; perhaps even consider mixed applications. 

Despite all this, attendees of the GRI Club meeting remained positive as there were many assurances that had been cemented over the last decade or so. There is liquidity. People want to buy in Portugal, and more and more people are coming to live in its cities - Lisbon’s population has doubled in the last three decades. And there is such a huge pipeline, that we’ll continue to see success in Portugal’s real estate for years to come. 


Meet with senior investors, developers, and financiers active in Portugal for discussion and high-level networking at Portugal GRI, taking place in Lisbon on 27-28 May. 

Article by Matt Harris
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