CEO of Amber Star Real Estate has shared his opinion on changes in the real estate market in Portugal during the pandemic
Pandemic 2020 has changed the usual way of life around the world. In many countries, the level of the economy has started to drop, and a lot of major business projects had to be stopped. Nevertheless, some entrepreneurs have been able to benefit from the rapid change in markets.
Oleg Railean, CEO of the real estate agency Amber Star Real Estate in the suburbs of Porto, shared his opinion on the changes in the real estate market in Portugal during this challenging period.
«In Portugal, after the quarantine, there was a strong jump in sales.
From August and to the present day, we have concluded 7 real estate transactions with clients who applied for a Golden Visa. Five buyers came from Russia and two from Belarus. Almost all processes were done remotely.
Fortunately, such transactions are possible, and our company took advantage of that. Now we are working with many clients from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Russia, USA, Ukraine, etc. There is a logical explanation for this — after the global lockdown, many have decided not to take risks waiting for the next one, but to apply for a residence permit in a European country right now.
Taking into account the fact that the Portuguese authorities have developed the most affordable program for obtaining a Golden Visa for investment, and moreover, with the prospect of obtaining a passport in 5 years, a wave of interested clients has flooded in. What is more, the validity period of the Golden Visa changed in June. Previously, it was issued for a year, and then it could be extended twice for 2 years. In that case, after 5 years, the investor asked for permanent residence, and then a passport, because when applying for citizenship, you must have a valid residence permit.
Now the Golden Visa is issued immediately for 2 years and extended according to the previous scheme. In other words, when an investor applies for citizenship in 5 years, they still have a Golden Visa. Therefore, permanent residence is no longer necessary.
If we talk about residential property prices, they not only do not fall but rather stubbornly go up. This can be explained by increased interest in the country, anti-crisis decisions of the government, etc. Prices for commercial real estate, especially for tourism, grow significantly. The reasons are obvious.
I don’t think anything will change next year. Yes, many have heard that under pressure from the left and the communists, the government wants to change the law on Golden Visas and prohibit their issuance when investing in real estate in Lisbon and Porto. But it’s not all that simple:
- First, we know for sure that we are working under the current rules at least until the end of the year.
- Secondly, in order to change the law, you need to create a parliamentary commission to discuss the framework for the rule change (ban altogether, ban the program for 500,000 euros and leave the program for 350.000 euros with renovation, or not to cancel at all and raise the investment threshold). Then the new law should be put to a vote in Parliament again. I, personally, doubt that this will be done before the end of this year.
As for the purchase of real estate in Portugal now, as I have mentioned above, this process can be carried out remotely, especially when it comes to investments for obtaining a Golden Visa. First, you need to sign a contract with the lawyer who will conduct your process. By the way, we work with one of the most competent law firms, but the client has the right to choose any other on their own.
The lawyer then gives the buyer a national tax number and opens a bank account. Meanwhile, the client chooses an object for investment, and our company actively helps them. At the next stage, a purchase and sale transaction is concluded and signed by the lawyer by proxy. Then the documents are submitted for a residence permit (Golden Visa). The only time when a client has to come to Portugal is for the collection of biometric data in 3-5 months.
By the way, if an investor applies to our company, they do not need to pay a realtor commission — it is done by the real estate seller.»