La Vida offers a choice of several golden visa programmes for investment in residency and citizenship….
Portugal has proved to be the most popular destination in Europe for investors seeking a golden visa. Full residency is granted but there is no requirement to reside. Citizenship can be applied for after six years.
The Portuguese golden visa is a central feature of the government’s drive for international investment. With the country returning to growth the real estate market offers exciting prospects for the years ahead.
La Vida offers a choice of several golden visa programmes for investment in residency and citizenship….
Cyprus offers citizenship for investment levels of €2.0 million in real estate which is one of the big attractions of this programme. A Cypriot passport allows freedom to travel, study, work or live throughout the European Union.
Cyprus also offers residency through investment of just €300,000 allowing full family qualification. The investor visa is flexible with no requirement to live in the country.
La Vida offers a choice of several golden visa programmes for investment in residency and citizenship….
Spain is a firm favourite for many clients considering real estate investment to obtain a golden visa. One of the larger economies in Europe offering an investor visa programme.
Invest from €500,000 in real estate to gain the Spanish golden visa. This provides a flexible residency option. Permanent residency and citizenship can be applied for at a later stage subject to certain stipulations.
Greece offers a residency visa through property investment but eventual citizenship is not available to foreigners. Greece is a member of the EU Schengen visa zone and has no minimum stay requirement.
Prospective investors need to carefully consider the status of the economy in Greece, the real estate market and related property taxes. Greece offers a higher risk investment than other European nations.
Malta offers an Individual Investor Program which is appropriate for our very high net worth clients. In addition to committing to a residence in Malta for five years the scheme requires investment in government approved funds and instruments.
The Malta visa scheme leads to citizenship within one year for suitable applicants, a passport from an EU country and hence the freedom to live anywhere within the EU. The total investment required is typically in excess of €1.2 million.
The citizenship by investment programme for Grenada is one of the newest programmes available to investors. The Grenada passport offers visa-free travel to over 70 countries including the UK.
Grenada offers a low investment threshold. Applicants need invest just $250,000 in a government approved real estate project and maintain the investment for at least 4 years.
The citizenship by investment programme for Antigua and Barbuda provides a second passport to investors offering visa-free travel to over 100 countries including the UK, EU Schengen zone and Canada.
There are several options for investment to gaining citizenship in Antigua including real estate investment of a minimum $400,000.
The St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program is the oldest of its kind in the world. Established in 1984 the program grants citizenship through real estate investment to qualified applicants.
The government requires investment of $400,000 plus related government and due diligence fees. St Kitts offer visa free travel to over 120 countries. An ideal choice for a second passport.
The government in Cyprus has announced some key amendments to their Citizenship by Investment Programme. The programme will now be capped to a limit of 700 naturalisation applications per year, taking effect from this year, 2018. This cap refers to the main applicants only and not to subsequent family members.
Additionally, a new code of conduct has been implemented with clear provisions to avoid any abusive practises taking place in the industry. Enhanced due diligence checks will also be conducted by specialised professionals. All these positive changes will ensure that the programmes remains strong and highly reputable, encouraging professional conduct to be followed at all times, by those specialising in the programme.
The programme has proven to be extremely popular since released in 2012, predominantly as it offers one of the quickest routes to gain EU Citizenship. Investors can obtain a passport in just six months following a real estate investment at €2,000,000. The new cap on annual applications will of course ensure that more time and care is taken by the immigration authorities when processing each application. However this will also mean that applications for citizenship by investment in Cyprus will be limited each year.
Considering we are now half way through 2018, we recommend anyone who has been contemplating this programme to proceed promptly to ensure they submit their application before this year’s quota has been reached.
For more details on how to move forward, please contact our team.
Since its inception in 2012, the Portuguese Golden Visa programme has generally been considered one of the best and most popular residency investment programmes in the world.
In less than six years, more than five thousand investors have invested nearly three and a half billion euros into the Portuguese real estate market. The effects can be felt everywhere, but nowhere more so than in Lisbon – the cosmopolitan metropolis and age-old capital of Portugal. Here, the city’s alive with the sound of construction, the excitement of restoration and regeneration courses through the air. ‘Reabilitação’; a deep respect for history, culture and architectural integrity; and the one defining feature that separates the Portuguese Golden Visa programme from others around the world. Unlike many other residency and citizenship by investment programmes, the Portuguese programme is not prompting the building of imposing skyscrapers or vulgar edifices; it’s driving the rehabilitation of one of the most architecturally exhilarating cities in the world.
The introduction of the Category 65A-d Golden Visa programme at the end of 2015 is testament to the importance that the government places on rehabilitation. Where the traditional Golden Visa programme (Category 65A-c) requires an investment of €500,000, the 65A-d legislation stipulates that a Golden Visa can be issued to those investing just €350,000, as long as the capital is invested in a to-be-renovated property that’s more than 30 years old or located in a designated area of urban rehabilitation. The rules regarding how the property can be renovated are extremely stringent and ensuring that the conditions are met can be a testing and arduous process. However, this is an area that’s gaining more and more interest with each day that passes – and it’s easy to see why. Investors are seeking old and often derelict property in prime locations across Portugal’s first-tier cities, renovated to the highest standards with new plumbing, electrics, flooring, insulation and windows, whilst the exterior façade remains unchanged and the traditional architecture and aesthetics are retained. The potential for significant capital appreciation is obvious and, due to the location and style of the properties, rental return can be exceptionally high. Perhaps most importantly, the €350,000 minimum investment requirement can include not only the value of the real estate, but the cost of renovation as well.
The first Category 65A-d Golden Visa was issued in July 2016. In just eighteen months, that number has grown exponentially with the total number of successful applicants recently surpassing one hundred. With over five thousand five hundred Golden Visas issued to date, it’s obvious that this new legislation is still in its infancy. However, the trend is clear: in February 2017, Category 65A-d visas comprised just 0.39% of the total number of Golden Visas issued by the Portuguese authorities. In just one year, this ratio has more than quintupled, rising to 2.05%. The advantages of the programme from both an investment perspective as well as a legislative perspective indicate that this growth is expected to continue and intensify over the coming months and years.
With increasing pressure on residency and citizenship by investment programmes around the world, the Portuguese programme (and particularly the Category 65A-d legislation) is a shining example of how a Golden Visa programme can benefit not just the investors, but the local population as well. Recent and significant changes to the application process (including moving the process online) make the programme more attractive still, whilst showing that the Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF) has recognised its shortcomings of the past and is willing to modernise and adapt in order to continuously improve.
A multitude of pink, blue, green and yellow buildings set against an expansive deep blue sky above the turquoise hues of the Tagus river. The narrow, cobbled streets of Alfama and Baixa, lined by multi-coloured buildings with their wrought iron balconies and the occasional ceramic façade. This is the architecture that defines Lisbon – the architecture, history and culture that the Category 65A-d programme seeks not only to protect, but to reinvigorate and renew.
With international investors mainly focusing their attentions on cities such as Lisbon and Porto, it’s no surprise that some of Portugal’s hidden gems are often getting overlooked, and the stunning Silver Coast of Portugal is one of them.
Just 35-45 minutes outside of Lisbon, the Silver Coast region is an outstanding area of protected natural beauty boasting stunning landscapes, golden sandy beaches and crystal clear waters all the way along the coastline. The region is home to a number of traditional and charming Portuguese towns as well as a 5* multi award winning Golf and Beach Resort where a number of luxury properties can be found, attracting numerous high profile owners and celebrities. Nestled between two of the most popular Golf resorts in the region is also the historic town of Lourinha where Jurassic dinosaur remains were recently discovered. Plans for a new Jurassic amusement park are set to boost tourism in the area, with a prediction of an extra 200,000 visitors each year, a great prospect for those looking to generate a rental return on property in this region.
La Vida have a number of different properties to offer along the Silver Coast and a large number of these are offering a guaranteed rental return of 5% per annum for up to 3 years. Also included within this offer is up to 6 months of personal usage for the owner each year, making this an excellent option for those looking for both a personal holiday home and a rental property.
Price per square meter in this location is also extremely competitive at just €2,500 per square metre compared to central Lisbon where the average price per square metre is from €5,000 upwards. Just another factor why savvy investors should be considering the Silver Coast.
The most recent RICs property price index report shows more promising signs of economic growth in Cyprus. With improved confidence in Cyprus’ banking system, resulting in higher transactions taking place in the final quarter of 2016, the Cypriot economy is once again looking up. Last year, the economy saw an overall GDP growth of 2.9%, which was a great example of how successful the Golden visa programme is proving for the country. According to the Minister of Finance– approximately two thousand golden visa were issued to non-EU citizens last year, equating to around 4 billion euros worth of investment, which in turn makes up around 25% of Cyprus total GDP.
Compared to Q4 of 2015, rental values have also noticeably increased by 6.6% for apartments, 8.7% for houses, making the average rental yield between 3-4% p.a.
The countries Citizenship by Investment programme still holds it’s place as Europe’s quickest CBI programme. Following an investment of €2,000,000 + costs, it is possible to obtain an EU passport within just 6 months which in turn allows one to live, work or study anywhere in the EU.
La Vida have a wide selection of real estate investments to offer in Cyprus, including the following brand new project which has just recently been launched in the popular area of Pafos. Citizenship investors could consider purchasing a number of properties in this particular development to total the required amount of €2,000,000. With prices starting from just €240,000, this project also offers excellent choices for Permanent Residency applicants too. The developers are also offering a guaranteed rental programme of 3% p.a for a three year period. An ideal option for those who are looking for a low maintenance investment which will generate a steady ROI.
According to Portugal’s National Institution of Statistics, a recent report shows that in the third quarter of 2016, house prices had risen by 7.6% compared to the previous year, with a growth of 1.3% just from Q2- Q3 of 2016 alone.
In the period of July- September 2016, Portugal saw an impressive 31,535 property transactions; a 15.8% increase compared to the same period in the previous year. These sales generated a total value of €3.6 billion! The area responsible for the largest proportion of sales was Lisbon, accounting for 34% of the whole country’s property purchases.
The market has been steadily growing since the economic crisis back in 2012/13, and property prices have shown significant signs of growth in the past few years. Since Q1 of 2013 we are now looking a total property price increase close to 14%. There does not seem to be any sign of these rises slowing down either, with an average appreciation rate of around 4-5% per annum.
The Golden Visa Scheme is certainly one of the major contributing factors for these price increases, as Portugal has seen a great boost in their economy since the introduction of residency visa programme back in Oct 2012. The visa programme remains strong, and is still one of our most popular schemes for those looking for a flexible residency scheme in Europe with the opportunity to apply for citizenship after just 6 years. For more details on this programme please contact our experts.
According to the most recent RICS Property Price Index Report for Cyprus in 2016, there has been some promising signs of growth within the real estate market. Paphos was one of the strongest regions with an average price increase of 1.77% on residential houses. The prices of flats also rose steadily in Limassol at a rate of 1.4% on average; and there was an overall growth of 1.6% for holiday apartments throughout Cyprus.
Rental values have also increased across Cyprus by 0.7% for apartments and 3.3% for houses. The average ROI for rental property now stands between 3-4% per annum.
It seems that the economy and real estate market are finally stabilizing following the economic crisis back in 2013 and according to a recent report from KPMG this is primarily a result of the government’s Citizenship by Investment scheme. In the first two quarters of 2016, the total number of property deeds of sales increased by over 28% in comparison to 2015. Tourism, financial services and real estate account for nearly 80% of Cyprus’s GDP, so a rise in the property market will have a great effect on lifting the overall economy.
Now that the market seems to have bottomed out in most area’s, there has never been a better time to buy in Cyprus with great potential for future capital appreciation. We foresee further price rises in 2017, making it an excellent time to buy.
Cyprus remains the fastest Citizenship by Investment programme in Europe offering investors a second passport within just 6 months following a real estate investment at €2m. Dependent children up to the age of 28 years old can be included under a family application and grandparents can also be included for just an additional €500,000. The real estate investment must be held for 3 years, after which investors only need to retain a residential investment of just €500,000 for the future. As Cyprus is a full EU member a passport here will enable one to live, work and study in any EU country, currently still including the UK.
For more details on this scheme, please contact our specialist consultants today for further advice.
Venue: Conrad Hotel
Date: Week beginning February 27th 2017
Arrangement: By prior appointment only.
The investment required is €2.0 million. In addition Cyprus has a separate residency programme. Permanent residency can be gained through investment of €300,000 into real estate.
Both programmes are popular with Middle Eastern, African and Asian investors. In particular the family options are generous allowing the inclusion of up to three generations (parents with children and grandparents).
Not everbody wishes to travel to Cyprus to discuss such matters so we will be holding individual meetings throughout the week of 27th February at the Conrad Hotel in London.
We will have our Cypriot lawyers available for one to one meetings plus our usual advice and guidance from our real estate consultants on a wide range of property options from apartments through to villas and commercial property that qualifies for the scheme. Our lawyers will be able to give advice and guidance of all aspects of residency in Cyprus including programme requirements and initial tax advice.
Meetings are strictly by appointment and as with many of our location timetables with the free unconditional advice on offer, times and availability get booked out quickly.
Contact Edwina Keyser in our UK office on +44 207 060 1475 or complete this form for further details or to schedule an appointment.
Investors who invest in Cyprus real estate can gain residency or citizenship depending on the level of investment:
1. Residency : €300,000
2.Citizenship €2.0 million
A key factor for many investors in addition to the residency visa and passport is the return on investment (ROI).
There are two factors affecting a property’s ROI and its profitability:
• Rental income
• Capital appreciation
They are two types of rental.
Long term rental – is for a period of one year and more. This rental is used by Cypriots and foreigners permanently working in Cyprus. Proximity to the sea for this type of lease – is not necessary. There are disadvantages of such proximity – high humidity, the tourist noise.
Short-term rental – is for the period from several days to several weeks. It is for holidaymakers and an alternative to accommodation in hotels. Property for such rental should be located close to the sea and have swimming pool.
Yields on long-term leases are around 4% per annum. Short-term rental yields are slightly more – about 5.0%-5.5%. However, in case of short-term lease some renovation should be made from time to time.
Capital appreciation on real estate is a factor that ultimately provides investors with greater profitability potential.
The prices in the Cyprus real estate market will grow in the medium and long-term perspective. Our optimism has solid foundation based on key economic factors. Briefly the drivers of market growth are:
1. The growth of the whole Cyprus economy. According to IMF forecasts, the Cyprus economy will grow in 2016 by 1.4%. The European Commission estimates the Cyprus GDP growth rate – 1.5% in this year and 2% in 2017.
2. Start of industrial extraction of natural gas in 2019. Large offshore gas deposits have recently been discovered in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus. The value amounts to 300%-3000% of GDP. Naturally, the gas production will boost the island’s economy. In addition, new industry will require relocating to Cyprus many foreign workers and that will push up property prices.
3. Construction of the first casino resort is set to increase the number of rich tourists up to 1.0 million a year. This will add to 2.6 million tourists currently visiting the island every year. The casino resort is planned to be the largest in Europe. The growth of tourism will increase demand for rental property and hence the price of that real estate.
4. Reduction of property taxes:
• Capital Gains Tax. Capital Gains Tax on property purchased during the period between July 16, 2015 and December 31, 2016 and sold anytime in future for a bigger price, will not be charged
• Transfer Fee. Transfer Fee for property subject to VAT payment is not charged. For a property that is VAT exempt and is purchased before 31 December 2016 Transfer Fee rate is reduced by 50%.
• VAT. When property is purchased, a reduced VAT rate amounting to 5% (subject to a number of simple conditions) will be charged instead of the current rate of 19%.
5. Non-domicile tax residents of Cyprus are exempt from paying taxes on dividends and interest on deposits, earned in Cyprus and around the world. This means that foreigners who have moved to Cyprus, do not pay taxes on the dividends earned somewhere else (the rule is valid for 17 years after the move). It is expected that many wealthy foreigners will take advantage of this opportunity. They will need premium class properties for living, rising demand and prices in this real estate segment.
The following are our recommendations and approach for finding properties for our clients with the greatest growth potential.
1. Property must be new, not resale. Real estate, which was built in Cyprus in large quantities, say, 10 years ago, was designed for the British – then the main buyers of Cyprus property. Unfortunately, their low requirements thoroughly spoiled that property. For a number of reasons (for example, due to the fact that houses/apartments were considered only as holidays homes), the British did not mind that properties had no heating systems and proper insulation, and the internal and external design was primitive. Currently, such Real estate is obsolete and is not in demand, despite of falling prices.
2. Property must have high specifications of construction and finishing. There must be high ceilings, efficient heating systems, expensive flooring, tiles, sanitary and kitchen ware. Real estate should look stylish and modern. Such property can be sold in future with good profit.
3. We recommend to buy in the premium segment of the market. Generally, the Cyprus property market is shifting towards more expensive housing. This is evidenced by the dynamics of sales. In recent years, sales of expensive property have been increased, while economy class property stagnates.
4. If an investor buys a property at the initial stage of construction, he/she can expect a good discount to the price. This provides a good capital appreciation.
5. Real estate on the first line to the beach in Limassol and other cities is characterized by permanently good demand. The demand is high while the supply is limited (only few plots of land on the first line in the cities are available). This pushes the prices on sea front properties up.
6. Properties in the tourist area of Limassol, located in walking distance to the sea, are very popular among foreign buyers. Their prices steadily grow. First of all, this applies to large 3 and 4 bedroom apartments.
7. There are several prestigious hills in the nearest suburbs of Limassol. Buying a luxury villa on one of these hills – is a good investment for an applicant for passport.
8. Properties on golf resorts have good prospects. Not any golf property, but having certain specific characteristics. For example, the panoramic unobstructed sea views. Such properties are often sold before their construction is even started.
9. The growth of the culture of the Cyprus construction industry, combined with the increased requirements of buyers have led to the emergence of properties with unique (for Cyprus) and advanced (for the world) architectural solutions. These properties will give a high profitability due to its fashionable image. And also due to the fact that the time of design, obtaining of all necessary permissions and construction of such properties is so long, that they will never be in excess.
Let’s now estimate the possible figures of ROI, which can be received from the Cyprus property recommended above. The total profitability is a sum of Rental income and Capital appreciation.
• The average annual rate of long-term rent in Cyprus is 4%.
• Property market value will grow (according to conservative estimates) by 30% over the next 5 years, an average of 6% pa.
Together combined this gives an average return of 10% per annum.
Our assessment of the Cypriot property market is very positive over the coming years. However investors should be aware that in any market, property prices can vary, they can fall and they may not achieve the predicted forecasts.
Please contact us on 0044 207 060 1475 for a personal assessment with one of our Cyprus real estate consultants.
The investment immigration program in Cyprus has proven to be the most popular route for High Net Worth investors seeking a second passport in Europe. Since inception the investment programme has boosted the
economy by over €2 billion, according to Minister of Interior, Socrates Hasikos.
The Cyprus program offers full EU citizenship and a second passport to an investor and his or her family (including dependents up to age 28) within just 90 days and with no residency requirement currently. Although pressure from the EU may change this in the coming year. The scheme has a very high approval rate and the process and requirements are very straightforward. Unlike certain other programs in Europe such as Malta, the funds are invested, not donated, and Cyprus offers an exit strategy after just 3 years.
Cyprus Commerce Minister, Giorgos Lakkotrypis recently commented on the efficiency of the Cyprus citizenship program. “The process” he says. “Very simple.” Applicants fill out a three page form, invest €2.5 million in a villa, and pay €7,000 in fees. Then, as long as they’re able to produce a Certificate of Clean Criminal Record, “within 90 days, they can get their European passport.” “Within 90 days,” he repeats. “Lately, we even achieve 70 days. It’s a very fast and easy process and has very high approval rate.”
Rumours of changes to the program have circulated in recent months and change is expected in 2016 under pressure from the European Union for Cyprus to ensure applicants have greater ties with the island and potential residency requirements prior to approval of a passport. Such changes would not apply in retrospect to those investors who had already gained their passports.
A revision of rules for the golden visa in Portugal has left many potential applicants confused as to the rules and a great deal of misleading literature posted on the web suggesting the Portuguese golden visa limit has been reduced.
The qualifying real estate investment level for the golden visa in Portugal is €500,000. Earlier this summer the Portuguese government introduced a new investment level of €350,000 for certain categories of real estate.
The law states the following: “Acquisition of immovable assets, the construction of which has been completed, at least, 30 years ago or located in an area of urban regeneration and execution of refurbishment works in the acquired immovable assets…equal to or above 350 thousand euros;”
The point here is that even though this new option applies, it only applies to property that is over 30 years old or located in an urban regeneration area. It involves the execution of refurbishment works. This is an important aspect.
To qualify for the golden visa under such an investment requires the necessary permissions for renovation work on the building. Such permissions and payments to contractors all need to be done legally and of course within the tax structure so the necessary paperwork, proofs and payments are fully in order. To undertake such a project would mean employing project managers and the necessary architects. The applicant would have to have all the licences in place prior to any application being submitted which will of course delay any application for the visa. To mitigate any risk it is vital to ensure that any such property would qualify within this category. Clients would need to ensure they build sufficient time into their schedule to take care of all these additional aspects.
Clients visiting to invest €500,000 in a location such as Lisbon can usually complete the necessary tasks within a few days, accompanied by ourselves and our lawyers in a methodical, established and time proven manner. The alternative investment of €350,000 will require far more time and hands on management. Golden Visa applicants should be wary of companies offering such management for a fee and in particular remain conscious of the scope for overpaying for assets requiring reconstruction without the necessary independent professional advice from architects and surveyors. For any international client not residing in Portugal and trying to manage from a distance it can be problematic, time consuming and expensive.
The €350,000 is reduced by a further 20% to €280,000 for renovation in low density, less developed areas of the country. This naturally does not apply to the cities or the more populated coastal regions creating issues for any future rental income potential.