The value proposition in the Portuguese real estate market has changed significantly in the last 10 years. “When I started working in the Portuguese market, it was mostly on behalf of South African investors whose prime concern was always to make a good investment” says Meyer. To receive residency status was often considered a bonus. This deep seated need to make a good investment has not changed and holds true for many of our global investors. The limited availability of good quality stock combined with the new area restrictions has made it significantly more difficult for investors to find value in the direct real estate market.

Ilana states that she started offering her clients fund investments after meeting the team at EQTY Capital in Portugal. There are multiple good private equity and venture capital funds available that qualify for golden visa purposes. “It was the experience & skill set of the team combined with the transparent way in which EQTY structured their fund, with the underlying assets clearly being prime real estate products that caught my eye. I finally felt like I had a credible alternative to direct real estate that my clients would be excited to invest in” The fact that the funds’ yield is not taxed in Portugal if you remain tax resident in your home country adds to the attraction.

Many of my investors are now also electing to physically relocate to Portugal, which adds another dimension to the planning we have to do. Some clients simply can not afford the total investment of a fund in addition to the settlement cost of relocation. In this case we are directed to the Euro 280,000 category where clients can typically make an investment in touristic or student accommodation investments and receive a small yield over their residency period. In both cases (fund investment or lower level real estate investment) you receive your residency card and can then make a separate investment in a family home without the restrictions of the golden visa program.

My advice to clients relocating to Portugal is to separate their investment decision for golden visa purposes from their decision of where to establish the new family home. If a client has the capital available, the fund option remains my top choice. “First and foremost, make a good investment decision based on your own budget and tax structure and then spend some time exploring the market to find the next family home”

Ilana van Huyssteen-Meyer, member of the Investment Migration Council

Vice President of private clients, Migronis