In the past we have questioned the idea of offering so-called “golden visas” to those investing a significant amount in the Portuguese and Spanish property market. There has been, and continues to be, concern that offering visas in exchange for acquiring property gives a false impression of demand and ultimately helps to maintain property prices at unsustainable levels. Well, that is one way of looking at it but we are now looking at the longer picture and questioning whether indeed these so-called golden visas could assist Portuguese and Spanish property markets.
So, how would you think that golden visas could help property markets in the long-term when indeed they have been introduced as a short-term measure to support prices?
Loyal property holders
Each and every property market around the world is in many ways dominated by investors who have no real interest in the properties as homes and are more interested in acquiring them as assets to sell on in the future. This makes sense, there is nothing wrong with this but if countries such as Spain and Portugal offer residency visas as a means of supporting the market, then surely those looking to move to Spain and Portugal would be more loyal and long-term holders of Spanish and Portuguese property?
Quote from PropertyForum.com : “There is no doubt that the so-called “Golden Visa” has had a major impact on property prices in Spain with buyers from Russia, China and the Middle East flocking to the region.”
The fact is that fickle investors can in many ways dictate the short term direction of real estate markets around the world because if they act in unison then we can see a deluge of property on the market, depressing prices, while if they buy together, as pack animals, then they can squeeze property prices higher. So, if we have more “supportive” owners of Spanish and Portuguese property then this leaves less “loose” property for investors to target.
A firm base is essential
As with any property itself, firm foundations are the holy grail of property markets because while there will always be stock bought and sold by investors the higher the percentage, compared to the overall market, the more volatility. If we see more long-term holders of property in one particular market then this will offer a base and reduce supply. This could have the added consequence of squeezing prices higher but in a worst-case scenario it will offer more support to markets, because people actually live in the properties as opposed to buy and sell them for profit, thereby reducing volatility.
So even though the Spanish and Portuguese governments have been ridiculed and criticised for effectively bribing overseas investors to acquire local property during these difficult times, their policy and strategy may not have such a short-term bias as many might have thought. It may well be this will offer significant support to these local markets in the longer term and reduce the number of active investors and flow of properties.
Initially we were of the opinion, like so many other websites, that the introduction of residency visas in exchange for acquiring property in Portugal and Spain was nothing short of suicide in the medium to long term. We were more concerned that this was offering artificial support to markets which were struggling when in reality, if you take a long-term view, it may actually be offering more of a foundation for the long-term with less “loose” property on the market.