By Moustafa Daly
A month after a presidential veto on Portugal’s “More Housing” bill, the republic’s Parliament overwhelmingly voted to pass the law draft without changes last Friday.
“As announced, the Socialist Party (PS), which has the absolute majority in the Parliament and supports the government, re-approved the bill without any amendments,” says Tiago Gali Macedo, lawyer and managing partner at Gali Macedo & Associados, to Uglobal.
The bill is meant to increase the public’s access to affordable housing. Measures include a percentage ceiling on rental increases and forced leases of vacant private property. Notably, the bill also ends the real estate route of the Portuguese golden visa.
Since 2012, this route has allowed foreign investors to gain residency by buying property valued at €250,000 or higher.
After the second parliament vote, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is obliged to approve it.
“The Parliament will send the bill to the President of the Republic, which now has eight days to approve and send it for publishing,” adds Macedo.
Only two weeks left for real estate golden visa applications, but other routes remain
Upon publication, which Macedo expects to take place in the first two weeks of October, the law immediately comes into effect – ending the golden visa real estate route.
But other routes remain. With investment thresholds ranging between €250,000 and €500,000 in cultural projects, venture funds, or job-creating investments, foreign investors can still qualify for a Portuguese golden visa.
However, given that real estate was the most popular golden visa route, the program might not be as appealing to investment in the short term.
“The changes on the Golden Visa program will have some impact, which is natural considering that the real estate option of investment was a trend and a first choice,” says Sara Sousa Rebolo, partner at Lisbon-based Prime Legal. “However, we had the COVID days when, due to the lack of mobility, investors looked for the other options, and the VC funds, for instance, was an option registering a significant growth during that period.”
Rebolo expects a shift in the industry moving forward.
“The market will have to adjust,” the attorney says. “Not only in the offer, but with new and more sophisticated projects in different areas in which the country needs investment now like environment, technology, culture, and education - that can also match the investor’s interest, but also in the quality of the providers.”
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