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Golden visas were only 3% of the investment in the purchase of houses in Portugal, as André Ventura says?

The phrase

“How much is the weight of Golden Visas in real estate investment? It’s 3%. We are talking about 3%. In other words, the weight of golden visas in real estate investment is zero, it has no impact. It’s false. It’s a pseudo-communist, or Venezuelan-communist, idea.”

— André Ventura, President of Chega, Debate with Mariana Mortágua 13 February 2024

It is a “pseudo-communist” or “pseudo-Venezuelan” idea to blame golden visas for the increase in house prices that has left a large part of the population with difficulty in accessing housing, said André Ventura, leader of the Chega party. In the debate with the blockist Mariana Mortágua, Ventura said that the weight of golden visas in the investment in the purchase of houses was 3%, while the program was in force. Was that really the case?

The program came into force at the end of 2012, in the middle of the financial assistance program, and by September 2023, 12,718 residence permits had been granted for the purpose of “acquisition of real estate” (which was by far the main criterion for granting the special visa). The latest official data from the (now extinct) SEF indicate that, throughout its existence, the program, which would be stopped in the following months under the More Housing program, had attracted a total investment of 6,450 million euros.

On the other hand, in the period between the end of 2021 and 2022, the total value of “family accommodation transactions”, according to INE, was around 184,000 million euros. To these are added the 20,833 million euros of investment in houses between the first and third quarters of 2023, which coincides with the final date of SEF data (September 2023). The total investment in the period comparable to that of SEF is thus close to 205,000 million euros.

The “acquisition of immovable property with a value equal to or greater than 500 thousand euros” was sufficient to obtain the visa and more than 90% of golden visas were granted under this criterion, with only a minority obtained through capital transfers or job-creating business investment.

In 2021, the programme was amended to no longer cover housing in urban centres, as it was argued that they were exacerbating real estate pressure where there is a greater imbalance between supply and demand. Despite this important change, house prices continued to rise in these areas in the following years, even in the context of further tightening of monetary policy and interest rates.

In 2023, António Costa announced the end of the program, in line with other European countries that are also ending this type of programs that allow entry without a residence visa, free movement through the Schengen area and also the possibility of acquiring the nationality of the country (in this case, Portugal).

Conclusion:

The data confirms that the total investment value made by golden visas, until September 2023, was equivalent to about 3.14% of the total investment in real estate (residential). This is in line with the figure cited by André Ventura, of 3%.

RIGHT

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