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Portuguese visas snapped up by Chinese

Posted on: 13-Nov-2013

The Chinese are taking advantage of the Portuguese visa scheme, accounting for over three quarters of uptake.  Of the 318 visas issued under the plan that offers residency permits to those that purchase property over a certain threshold, 80 per cent were received by Chinese buyers, Bloomberg reported. This equates to 248 visas given to Chinese nationals, compared to 15 for Russians, which are the second biggest group.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Francisca Seabra made the announcement, revealing uptake levels since the visa scheme was launched last October, the news provider recounted. Angolans and Brazilians have also shown interest in the programme, with nine visas given to each group respectively. To qualify for Portugal's programme, buyers must procurement property costing a minimum of €500,000 (£419,012). What's more, non-European nationals that transfer €1 million or more in capital or create at least ten jobs in Portugal also qualify for visas.

According to Bloomberg, the Foreign Ministry expects to issue as many as 400 visas to non-Portuguese nationals this year. It seems the programme is starting to pay off, with €198 million of investment received already this year. Indeed, there is hope the launch of the scheme will see the fortunes of the Portuguese property market change. One Portuguese estate agent has already reported an 80 per cent increase in sales year-on-year. Charles Roberts, managing partner of Fine & Country Cascais , told A Place in the Sun: "There is a feeling in Portugal that the worst of the country's economic crisis is over and that real estate prices have finally bottomed out."

However, there are still barriers to overcome. "There is no liquidity in the system as the banks are still restructuring themselves and still trying to offload building stock that they have repossessed from bankrupt developers," Mr Roberts explained. This is also affecting the overseas market, with investors yet to return in serious numbers. According to Fine & Country Cascais, there are countless resale properties in popular spots with mortgages but owners can't meet repayment charges or the maintenance costs associated with owning a property abroad.
Article by +Peter Mindenhall on behalf of Propertyshowrooms.com

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