Since Portugal's golden visa scheme was launched in 2012, the number of Chinese homebuyers has surged, driving growth in the Portuguese property market.
The scheme, which grants residency in Portugal to non-EU buyers for qualifying purchases of more than €500,000 in residential real estate, has been a roaring success and 80% of take-up has come from Chinese buyers.
Speculative property buyers from China have spent more time holidaying in Portugal since the scheme was introduced, spending more than €33m in the first six months of 2014. Statistics show an increase in Chinese visitors of a whopping 69% from January to June last year as wealthy buyers consider making golden visa purchases in the country.
Figures reported towards the end of 2014 show that around €950m has been invested in Portugal as a result of the golden visa scheme, more than €760m from Chinese buyers.
Chris White, founding director of boutique property agents Ideal Homes Portugal said: "We've definitely noticed an upturn in the number of Chinese buyers picking up high-end properties since the inception of the golden visa programme in Portugal. Everything from luxury detached homes to traditional farmhouses are up for grabs".
"One should also consider the impact of the golden visa scheme on tourism. Many of those considering a move to Portugal will visit the country several times, to introduce their families to Portugal, to get a feel for the culture and to look at what the property market has to offer. Thus before they commit their funds to a golden visa property investment, they are already bolstering the economy through one or more inspection trip visits," he added.
Improved tourism is a great benefit to a recovering economy, creating jobs and driving infrastructure development. It is also great news for property investors looking for property to rent out either long-term or for holidays irrespective of the golden visa scheme. As employment increases, demand from domestic renters rises and people have more money to spend on holidays, a dynamic that represents profit to astute property investors.