When the rules governing Portugal’s Golden Visa changed last year, getting a Golden Visa by purchasing a property in most of the Algarve became more complicated
Property destined for “habitation” along most of the coast no longer qualifies but for anyone looking to buy on a golf course, there are still various options.
As for the geographic restriction, three of the Algarve’s golf resorts fall conveniently within the areas classified as “interior”. This applies to the Parque da Floresta resort in the west, Ombria Resort near Loulé in the central Algarve, and Castro Marim Golfe & Country Club in the east.
At all three of these golf resorts, all properties, be they new build or resale, still qualify for Golden Visa assuming they meet the minimum investment criteria. And here there is the added advantage that the minimum investment in the above location is €400,000, 20% less than the usual €500,000 for properties located in the remaining coastal areas.
Other golf resorts along the Algarve however have benefited from the fact that some or all of the real estate within their developments is classified for tourism as opposed to habitation and therefore are excluded from the restrictions. At both the Palmares Ocean Living & Golf and Amendoeira Golf resorts, for instance, all of the real estate is classified as touristic so everything from villas on private plots to holiday apartments is eligible for the Golden Visa. However, according to Alda Filipe, real estate director of Kronos Homes (the developers of Palmares and Amendoeira), Golden Visa customers have made up only a small proportion of their overall sales.
“The typical Golden Visa buyer is looking to spend as close as possible to the obligatory €500,000, and we have very little in that price range,” said Alda. “At Palmares, the Golden Visa makes up less than 15% of our total sales over the last two years and, in most cases, it has not been the main reason for buying. We have various clients for our high-end properties in the €2-million-plus price range for example, from outside of Europe, who were ready to buy here before realising that they could qualify for the added benefits of a Golden Visa.”
Moving east along the coast, the next Golden Visa opportunity offering golf facilities is at the Pine Cliffs Resort, managed by the Marriott Group as a “The Luxury Collection” property. Whilst not strictly a golf resort, Pine Cliffs does have a spectacular 9-hole golf course and a driving range, alongside all of the other resort facilities. Most of the recent development at Pine Cliffs is considered touristic, meaning that various properties qualify for the Golden Visa.
Further east and still on the coast, heading towards the so-called “Golden Triangle”, there are few Golden Visa opportunities within the Vilamoura, Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago areas. However, there are exceptions and one such project that is currently proving very popular with Golden Visa investors is the Wyndham Grand Algarve Residences in Quinta do Lago, centrally located within the resort and in a prime location for golfers. Operated by the global Wyndham hotel group, the resort has one-, two- and three-bedroom residences for sale and is fully compliant for Golden Visa investment with prices starting from €550,000.
A short drive inland from Quinta do Lago and Vale Lobo takes us to Loulé, and just five minutes from the city is the new Ombria Resort. As previously mentioned, Ombria falls conveniently within the area classified as “interior” and has some of the most varied options on the market at the moment for those looking to gain residency by investment. There is an 18-hole course ready to open soon and Golden Visa buyers can currently choose between one of the residences in the luxurious Viceroy Hotel, the newly launched Oriole Village (a collection of townhouses, apartments and villas overlooking the golf course) or the stand-alone luxury Alcedo Villas. Prices start from €575,000.
In the east, the aforementioned Castro Marim Golf resort was fully developed and sold some years ago but falls within one of the areas classified as “interior”, so all resale properties priced over €400,000 qualify. Not far from here is the Monte Rei Golf & Country Club resort, home to one of the Algarve’s finest golf courses, designed by Jack Nicklaus. Although located inland from the coast, it does not fall within the areas considered as “interior” and thereby only touristic projects within Monte Rei can be considered for Golden Visa. Located at the centre of the resort is the Clubhouse Residences, an exclusive collection of two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses with prices starting from €895,000.
Portugal’s Golden Visa remains popular and is still considered by experts to be one of the world’s best residency by investment options. The restrictions introduced last year may have hampered supply but developers on golf courses and elsewhere will no doubt look to introduce more touristic projects to the market over coming years. And in the meantime, those projects located in the areas not affected by the restrictions are set to benefit.