International property consultant Knight Frank is reporting that Portugal, along with Spanish and Greek islands, have been declared safe for UK residents to travel to by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). This comes after the European Union announced that it will open its door to vaccinated travellers from the start of June 2021. Britons now await news on the traffic light system being drawn up by Downing Street for international travel.
With new Covid cases down to 403 nationally (seven-day average on 3 May) it is highly likely that Portugal will be on the UK's green list - a fact that hasn't escaped those who have been waiting to undertake viewings or complete their home purchase in person.
The viewing of Portuguese properties via Knight Frank's website increased 18% in April 2021 compared to the previous month.
According to Oliver Banks, Knight Frank's European city expert "The purchasers registering to buy in Portugal have a mix of motives, some are looking for a post-lockdown second home getaway, others a rental investment whilst a number are considering relocating permanently."
Oliver adds: "For those looking to relocate many are now looking to do so via Portugal's Golden Visa initiative. Since January 2021, UK residents are classified as non-EU residents, enabling them to take advantage of this popular residency by investment route."
Brexit and changes to Portugal's Golden Visa
From 1 January 2021, UK residents with second homes in Portugal, can spend a maximum of 90 days out of every 180-day period, but they also qualify for the country's residency by investment, or Golden Visa initiative.
In return for an investment - usually a property purchase of €500,000, a capital sum or the creation of new jobs, residency is usually granted for a temporary period whilst also allowing free movement within the 26-country Schengen area.
The latest statistics show the Portuguese Golden Visa has generated over €5.7 billion in investment since its launch in October 2012, over 9,612 residency permits have been granted with Chinese, Brazilian and Turkish nationals together accounting for 74% of total applicants. Although those applying for residency via the Golden Visa are still subject to the same 90/180-day rule, after five years it is possible to apply for citizenship granting them leave to remain in the country indefinitely.
In terms of where you can purchase a property to gain residency, the rules are changing.
Until 1 January 2022, Golden Visa applicants can buy a €500,000+ property in Lisbon and Porto but after this date the focus will be on inland regions of Portugal where the government is keen to encourage investment.
For British buyers keen to progress their purchase in Lisbon and Porto under the Golden Visa initiative, it means there is a narrow window within which to buy.
Top ten overseas buyers searching for properties in Portugal
How is the Portuguese housing market performing?
Residential sales across Portugal and Lisbon increased 56% and 62% respectively in the decade to 2020. Sales stalled in Q2 2020 as a result of Covid-19 and viewings and transactions were largely halted when the country entered its first lockdown. However, by the final quarter of 2020 sales volumes in Portugal and Lisbon had rebounded to their pre-pandemic levels.