From 1 January 2022, investors will only be able to purchase properties in Portugal’s low-density or lower-populated areas.

The visa path, which can eventually lead to European citizenship, previously offered far more flexibility. Whereas investors could once purchase real estate throughout Portugal, things are becoming more stringent to help the country spread its wealth more evenly.

With these new terms ruling out some of the country’s most attractive areas — Lisbon, Porto, and most of the Algarve — many potential applicants may now question whether the Golden Visa is still a worthwhile investment.

While that will vary on each investor’s specific circumstances and objectives, there are still many valid reasons to consider applying for the Golden Visa.

What the changes mean

Before we dive into the pros and cons of applying for the Golden Visa with the new changes, it’s worth taking a deeper look at how the program will work.

The Golden Visa has always offered a few different options for investors, with the following being the most popular and practical for most people:

  1. Real estate investments from €280,000 (options to invest €350,000 or €500,000 also available)
  2. Private equity or venture capital fund investment from €350,000

This article will focus on the first option, real estate investment.

Invest in redevelopment

Just because some regions of Portugal aren’t particularly popular now, it doesn’t mean that things will always be that way.

The Portuguese government brought in the new rule changes to encourage investment into areas that are currently underdeveloped yet are still full of natural beauty and rich history and culture. There’s no reason these regions can’t become the new tourist hotspots with a little renovation and redevelopment.

In other words, using the new Golden Visa as an incentive to invest in an up-and-coming area in Portugal could result in you being a pioneer, aiding local development, and making a greater profit in the long run. Put that way, it sounds like a pretty good deal.

Portugal has a lot to offer

Nobody likes to feel like they’ve “missed the boat,” and seeing the opportunity to invest in an area like Lisbon while earning European citizenship disappear into thin air can feel exactly like that.

However, despite the new limitations on investors, Portugal and the visa program still offer many of the same benefits as before. Some of the biggest draws are:

  • The program is one of the few Golden Visa programs the OECD hasn’t blacklisted.
  • Portugal offers great healthcare, education, and other amenities.
  • Investors only need to spend seven days a year in Portugal to qualify.
  • The country is safe and stable, keeping you and your investment as secure as possible.

The best low-density areas on offer

Just because some low-density areas show potential for strong growth in the future, it doesn’t mean that every region in the country shows the same promise. If you’re going to be spending hundreds of thousands of euros on an investment, you want to be sure that you pick the right area to invest in.

Three up-and-coming areas include:

  • Aljezur — one of the few areas within the Algarve classed as a low-density region. Both sea and mountains surround this beautiful part of the country.
  • Douro Valley — full of vineyards, a river valley, and nature trails, this region has plenty of potential to attract tourists.
  • Peneda Geres — the home to Portugal’s only national park, this region is sure to draw in hikers and nature lovers from around the world.

To invest or not to invest?

Although seeing your options limited can be sickening, there are still many reasons to see the Golden Visa as a great and viable investment. See it as the chance to invest in a hidden gem you might have otherwise overlooked!

Still, if investing in these low-density areas isn’t for you, there’s still some time to invest in the more traditional, high-density areas before the changes are brought in — the transition will only take place in January 2022.