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Portugal update: Algarve’s Golden Visa exemptions revealed

Last week, the Portuguese government finally outlined its changes to Portugal’s popular Golden Visa scheme, which now come into place in January 2022 rather than July 2021.

This gave considerable cheer to those seeking a home in Lisbon, Porto and popular coastal regions such as the Algarve, as buyers and investors now have an extra six-month window to take advantage of the scheme before the Golden Visa rules exclude certain areas of the country.

Now, though, a reading of the small print shows that large parts of the Algarve will be excluded from the Golden Visa changes, which means that many parts of the popular holiday region will still be eligible for the scheme even beyond January 2022.


Portugal Resident, an online English language news site, said foreigners buying property from one end of the Algarve region to the other ‘will still be able to qualify for what is essentially a fast track to European residency’.

The beauty, the site claims, is in the wording of the decree-law announcing the changes, which was published on February 12. 

“It refers to ‘territories of the interior’ getting preference (and those of Lisbon, Porto and coastal areas being excluded) – but the details show a slightly different story,” the website says.

“As a coastal region, many believed the whole of the Algarve would be excluded by dint of being coastal. But under the definition of ‘interior territories’ (laid out in government ordinance 208/ 2017), a number of Algarve municipalities and parishes are listed.”

This includes the municipalities of Alcoutim, Aljezur, Castro Marim, Monchique and Vila do Bispo, which are all considered ‘interior territories’, as well as the Loulé parishes of Alte, Ameixial, Salir, the Union of Parishes of Querença, Tôr and Benafim, the parish of São Marcos da Serra in the borough of Silves, and the parishes of Cachopo and Santa Catarina da Fontes do Bispo in the municipality of Tavira.

“For some real estate agencies who operate in these specific areas and may be struggling to withstand the effects of the pandemic, the news has come like an early Christmas present,” the website added.

A select few developers who have development projects underway in these areas will also welcome the news, in particular Ombria Resort near Loulé which falls under the exempted area of the Union of Parishes of Querença, Tôr and Benafim. In the western Algarve, meanwhile, projects such as Martinhal Resort in Sagres will be exempt from the Golden Visa changes.

You can read the full Portugal Resident story here.

Property brokerage expands into Portugal

Nest Seekers International, the global company behind TV shows such as Million Dollar Listing and Million Dollar Beach House, has recently expanded its reach and launched in one of Europe’s prime hotspots - Portugal.

The firm already has established offerings in the US and UK, including in New York, New Jersey, the Hamptons, Los Angeles, Florida, London, Surrey, Cheshire and Manchester.

According to recent statistics, Portugal was revealed to be one of the top five most ‘searched-for’ regions for property investment in 2020-21, along with Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Montenegro.

One of the main reasons Portugal is so popular at the moment, the firm says, is because of the aforementioned Golden Visa programme, which offers a five-year residency permit for non-EU citizens with the option to apply for permanent citizenship after that period.

Demand is high for people wanting to purchase now to get in before the changes come into play regarding securing a Golden Visa through real estate investment, which is likely to only apply to low-density areas and will exclude Portugal’s two biggest cities, Lisbon and Porto, as well as coastal chunks of the Algarve.

Nuno Franco, sales manager at Nest Seekers Portugal, said: “Having lived in Portugal most of my life, and working in real estate for the past 15 years, I wanted to be at the forefront of establishing Nest Seekers Portugal with the office in Lisbon and offering access to the most exclusive properties in the country. I have already started to see great success in Lisbon and have taken on some fantastic listings.”

Since launching in Portugal, the company says its notable listings in Lisbon include: a brand-new development offering apartments with ‘breath-taking’ views, an exclusive luxury villa on three floors with heated outdoor swimming pool, luxurious penthouses at The Promenade development with large terraces, and an historic palace located just 20 minutes from Lisbon’s characterful downtown.

“The Golden Visa allows you to work in Portugal and also travel freely within the 26 European countries of the Schengen Space,” Franco added.

“The scheme is particularly popular with British clients at the moment who want to make the most of being able to apply for the scheme before the changes. British buyers tend to look for properties relatively close to the sea and the majority in the centre and south of Portugal. We are also seeing a high interest in Lisbon due to buyers wanting a higher quality of life for a lower cost of living compared with other European capitals. It provides the possibility of having a property that can generate a very attractive yield and capital appreciation.”

Nest Seekers International is eager to bring ‘American-style glamour’ to selling homes at the top end of the market – with innovative marketing ideas tailored directly to potential buyers.

It says agents that join Nest Seekers Portugal will be able to work with a brand that has a different positioning, ‘creating the market for the properties on hand’.

Daniel McPeake, managing director of Nest Seekers in Europe, said it is 'an incredibly exciting time’ to extend Nest Seekers operations to Portugal.

“Nest Seekers is a trailblazing firm built on the power of new ideas, cutting-edge technology and innovation,” he said.

“We have had huge success from launching in the UK and want to establish our position as the world’s premier real estate firm in Portugal as well. Benefitting from fantastic international airport connections and a strong English-speaking population, Portugal has so much to offer - a temperate climate, delicious Portuguese food, rich culture and beautiful beaches.”


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