International property expert says Portugal offers excellent return on investment

South Africans are increasingly buying property in Portugal and seeing excellent returns on their investments, as well as securing European residency for their families. International property specialist and director of Hurst & Wills, Lisa Bathurst, says the country also offers a discounted real estate investment option which qualifies for the Golden Visa programme, although it comes with strict criteria.

Bathurst says, “Portugal is a great option because it works as a stand-alone investment in property, whereas other European property markets are not as strong.”

Portugal also offers a more affordable Golden Visa programme for a €350 000 investment, an investment discount of €150 000 off the normal €500 000 minimum price. “This makes one of the most popular residence-by-investment programmes even more attractive,” says Bathurst. “However, there are very strict criteria for taking up Portugal’s entry-level investment programme, such as specific areas you have to invest in. Although this option has been around for a few years it has been challenging to find good stock that meets these requirements while also being a good investment for our clients. We have recently come across a few impressive opportunities that do fit all the criteria,” she said.

Hurst and Wills, in partnership with citizenship-specialists, Sable International, are hosting a country-wide roadshow later this month where they will be discussing this – and other – Golden Visa opportunities.

“Portugal offers some fantastic areas each with their own appeal and investment qualities so investors don’t have to focus on Lisbon or Cascais, which can be quite expensive,” says Bathurst. “I am especially excited about Porto and Silver Coast. There are also some good options for farmers in the Alqueva Dam Project area.

“The Portuguese programme also only requires investors to spend seven days a year in the country. A lot of other programmers require people to spend a lot more time or even physically relocate,” she said.

The increasing popularity of Golden Visa programmes has made it more important than ever to use property specialists for this big investment. “People who do not know the areas are jumping onto the bandwagon. We have come across a few cases where a property worth €250 000 has been dressed up to look like €350 000, leaving investors badly burnt. With such large sums of money it is critical to use credible property consultants who do their own, on-the-ground research and preferably invest in properties themselves.”

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