Portugal Golden Visa on Track to Reach 10,000 Investors Milestone in Q3, Fund Option Uptake Accelerates

Portugal’s golden visa program raised EUR 52.3 million from 100 investors and 135 family members in February, a month-on-month uptick of 58% in euro terms and of 82% in number of approvals. The disparity between the two figures is explained by a greater share of applicants opting for the alternative (typically cheaper) investment categories in February than in the preceding month; whereas three in four applicants opted for the conventional EUR 500,000 property investment in January, fewer than two-thirds did so in February. The improvement is all the more encouraging when considering February has 11% fewer days than January.

Last month’s approval volumes also represented a 43% improvement on February a year ago.

Americans, once more, made it into the top five applicant nationalities list, where they have featured consecutively since August 2020, with the exception of December last year.

Chinese investors’ share of the program’s overall nationality distribution has been on a steady decline since 2015, a trend that has coincided with a corresponding tendency (in the opposite direction) for Portugal’s less-expensive hellenic rival; at last count, Chinese participation in the Greek golden visa accounted for 75% of the total.

It is, perhaps, not unnatural that, as the pandemic has brought golden visa investment activity in Greece to a virtual standstill, the Chinese should “rediscover” the virtues of Portugal; so far in 2021, a rebound in Chinese uptake for Portugal’s program is observable. Just two months into the year, however, it would be premature to characterize this rise as a changing of the winds – it may be attributable to the still-low absolute numbers and Chinese participation may yet return to its downward trajectory over the course of 2021.

The program’s encouraging performance in February brings the cumulative FDI for the year’s two first months to EUR 85 million, spread over 155 separate investments, an average capital injection per approved applicant of EUR 548,000.

The program, furthermore, inches ever-closer to the 10,000 investments milestone, a triumph Portugal will likely be celebrating at some point in the year’s third quarter, barring any disruptive black swan events (which, after 2020, few are prepared to discount entirely).

The accelerating interest in Portugal’s EUR 350,000 investment fund option continues apace; so far this year, 8% of applicants have elected this route, up from 4% in 2020 and just 0.6% in 2019.

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