consejo de ministros

Government Announcement – End Of The Golden Visa For Property Purchases in Spain

Just over one year after Portugal announced that its ‘Golden Visa’ for property investors would be coming to an end, Spain has signaled the end of the ‘Golden Visa‘ for property purchases in Spain.

On Monday 8th April, President Pedro Sanchez announced, “We are going to start the procedure to eliminate the granting of the so-called golden visa , which allows access to the residence regime when more than half a million euros are invested in real estate. We are going to take the necessary measures to guarantee that housing is a right and not a mere speculative business,

The residency by property investment scheme, offers a 3 year residency permit to foreigners from third countries who purchase a property for €500,000 or more.

The scheme, introduced in 2013 in the fallout of the housing market crash and financial crisis, was seen as a way to invigorate the real estate sector by attracting investment from foreigners, but has not been without criticism.  Not least for the lightweight background checks, and being viewed by other EU nations as a back door into the EU for individuals who would otherwise not gain access.

At home, the scrutiny is more political, with those averse claiming that it distorts, and has negative socio-economic affects.  It is this which Sanchez seems to indicate as the main driver, as he stated that nearly all approved ‘Golden Visas’ and residency permits for property investments were located in regional capitals such as Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga and Valencia, ‘cities where the housing market is stressed’.

He added “We do not want a speculative investment model with housing”, further commenting on the aim of his main policy to ‘guarantee access to affordable housing . . . and assure that no citizen has to spend more than 30% of their income towards having a suitable, quality home’.

In 2023, foreign buyers bought 15% of all homes sold in Spain with British buyers continuing to top the board as the nationality with the largest numbers buyers.

When Ireland, Portugal and Greece got rid of their ‘Golden Visa’ schemes, lack of affordable rental housing stock in its major cities was also cited as a main reason.

Others, including real estate experts have a different view and warn that ending the scheme could be harmful to the Spanish economy as the country will lose foreign investment into the property sector.

Whatever view taken, one thing now seems certain, the countdown has started and it is just a matter of time before Spain’s ‘Golden Visa’ for property investment comes to an end.

Until then, it remains an option for those who have €500k to invest in a property, and anyone looking to do so, needs to act now before it’s too late.

This article references information published by El Pais

Image credit: Sala del Consejo de Ministros, Edificio del Consejo de Ministros Photographs by Borja Puig de la Bellacasa via Wikimedia Commons

Golden Visa Property

Portugal Ends Golden Visa – Will Spain Follow?

Portugal has ended its Golden Visa residency program for property investors. This announcement came just a week after Ireland terminated of its ‘Golden Visa’ Immigrant Investor Program.

Both countries introduced Golden Visas in 2012, as did Spain, as they struggled to recover from the global financial crisis. The aim was to prevent banking collapse by bringing foreign money into their real estate markets.

According to Forbes, the scheme has brought in €6.8 billion direct investment into Portugal since its launch in 2012, with the most of the money going into real estate. The knock on effect of this has been rents and house prices have soared in a country which is among the poorest in Western Europe, where according to Reuters, more than half of workers earn less than €1,000 per month.

Because Portugal’s ‘Golden Visa’ program didn’t require any minimum time to be spent in Portugal, properties were bought and left empty, or just used for 2 or 3 weeks and rented as holiday lets for the rest of the year. This resulted in distortions in both the rental and sale sectors of the property market.

The increase in properties let short term for holidays, reduced the availability of long-term rents, pushing up prices which became unaffordable to locals. In Lisbon, short-term rentals now account for more than 60% of listed properties. Lisbon is the third costliest rental market in Europe after Milan and Paris. Rents increased by 37% in that city in the fourth quarter of 2022 alone.

The ‘golden visa’ investment entry point became the floor price for properties in many parts of Portugal. Sellers priced their properties for wealthy foreign buyers pushing asking prices way beyond what locals could afford.

Aside from upsetting the ordinary Portuguese, ‘Golden Visa’ schemes like those offered by Portugal, Ireland and Spain are seen as a back door entry for nationals of non-EU countries into the EU and also vehicles for money laundering.

The European Parliament announced in March last year (2022) that citizenship by investment programmes (i.e. Golden Visa Schemes) should be gradually removed. This proposal passed with 595 votes to 12. EU pressure has already forced Malta, Cyprus, Latvia, and Bulgaria to scrap their ‘Golden Visa’ residency initiatives, so it is not surprising that Ireland and Portugal followed suit, and maybe is only a matter of time before Spain follows.

The Spanish left-wing party political party, MásPaís this month put forward a bill proposing and end to the property option in the country’s Golden Visa residency program.

So Portugal’s shop is closed, but as things stand Spain’s ‘Golden Visa’ Property Investor Residency remains an option (for now) for those who have €500k to invest in a property.

If you’re interested in obtain a Spanish Golden Visa through property investment, the clock is ticking … the time to act is now.

Holiday Rental Regulation in Andalucia

Until fairly recently, private holiday rental regulation in Andalucia has been relatively uncontrolled.

For holiday property owners in Andalucia, this all changed at the beginning of 2016, when the regional government, Junta de Andalucia, brought in a host of regulations to conform with changes in national legislation.

Properties under Holiday Rental Regulation in Andalucia

Holiday rental regulation in Andalucia applies to:

  • Individual privately owned properties where the complete dwelling is let for holiday purposes.
  • Rooms in individually privately owned properties, in which the owner resides, e.g. bed & breakfast, Airbnb.

The maximum capacity, i.e. number of beds/people that can stay in the accommodation is limited by the occupation license, subject to overall maximum of 15 beds for complete dwellings and for bed & breakfast type arrangements – 6 beds, with no more than 4 beds in any one room.

Owners of holiday rental properties that fall into these categories, firstly need to list their property with the Registry of Tourism of Andalusia (RTA), in order to meet the first part of the regulatory requirements; secondly, meet the requirements within a year. During this time owners will not be allowed to host tourists/rent accommodation until fully compliant.

The Requirements of Holiday Rental Regulation in Andalucia

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