quinta-feira, 22 de junho de 2017

Lisbon’s ‘golden visa’ age: residency scheme boosts homes market

Enquanto a espiral do preço das casas no Reino Unido continua a descer, este artigo do FT é uma peça de propaganda para garantir que a espiral especulativa em Lisboa continue a crescer …
Preços comportáveis para os habitante e residentes  Locais, os chamados “autóctenes” !?
€400,000 A one-bedroom pied-à-terre apartment in the central district of Chiado
€800,000 A three-bedroom apartment with a terrace in Bairro Alto
Para alugar : T3 a 2.000 euros por mês

Lisbon’s ‘golden visa’ age: residency scheme boosts homes market

The city is attracting more buyers from abroad, just as housing reforms have aided developers

11 HOURS AGO by: Hugo Cox

Twenty years ago, Lisbon’s housing market was stagnant. Long-standing rent controls gave landlords little flexibility to increase rent or remove tenants. As such, there was little incentive for landlords to spend money on their buildings, says José Salazar Rodrigues, one of Lisbon’s leading commercial agents. Throughout the city, blocks were neglected and façades were a decaying mess of poorly kept stonework and peeling paint. The planning approvals process was a morass of red tape; developers could easily wait for six years before being granted a permit to develop a building.

Following his election in 2007 — and despite his socialist credentials — Lisbon’s mayor António Costa began a process of deregulation. The city’s draconian rent controls were moderated and the painful bureaucracy of permits was streamlined. “A new tax regime was introduced, including a cut to sales tax and a big reduction on VAT for new developments,” says Patrick Dewerbe, a tax partner at local law firm CMS Rui Pena & Arnaut.

Costa is now Portugal’s prime minister and his socialist government is welcoming foreigners to the country’s property market. The “golden visa” programme, introduced in 2012, has meant that as Lisbon has become more attractive to developers, it has also become more appealing to buyers from abroad.

The scheme grants residency to anyone who spends at least €500,000 on property. Once granted, recipients must spend at least a week in the country for the first year and a total of two weeks every two years thereafter — a small sacrifice for unencumbered travel throughout much of Europe. Government data show that more than €1bn has been invested in property via the golden visa scheme in the past year and almost €3bn since its launch.

Interest from abroad has helped boost prices. Average sale prices in Lisbon gained 6 per cent in the year to April, and 16 per cent in the past three years, according to Savills. Despite these gains, homes in the city remain a very affordable €1,350 per sq metre.

The high concentration of historic buildings in central Lisbon has helped too. The city’s strict planning code has long protected these from the wrecking ball, meaning that most new prime developments are top-to-toe restorations, from complete internal refits to the resurrection of tired façades.

Six-bedroom, detached villa in Lapa, €3.5m
In the city’s Alfama neighbourhood, Athena Advisers is selling a three-bedroom apartment with a garden and a good view of the Tagus river for €1.9m. The property is in the Santa Helena development on Largo do Sequeira, where the original buildings date back to the 16th century. In Lapa, a well-appointed western district home to several embassies, Fine & Country is selling a detached, six-bedroom villa for €3.5m.

There are also alluring options outside the city. Besides the plentiful supply of fancy beach resorts nearby, such as Estoril and Cascais — nicknamed “cash-cash” by the pupils at local international schools — which are stocked with sprawling top-end villas, there is also plenty to keep golfers entertained. Belas Clube de Campo, half an hour’s drive inland from Lisbon, is a purpose-built development of villas and townhouses, including a championship golf course and a swanky clubhouse. Andre Jordan Group is selling a three-bedroom villa there for €995,000.

Three-bedroom villa at Belas Clube de Campo, €995,000
Government figures show a market that until recently was dominated by Chinese buyers: almost four out of five visas under the scheme have gone to Chinese. Between 2013 and 2015 frenetic buying distorted prices. “They were so desperate for the golden visa that they would pay €500,000 for homes worth half that,” says Rodrigues.

Today, however, the biggest demand is from Turkey, says Charles Roberts of Fine & Country. He estimates that Turkish nationals account for two-thirds of current golden visa applications. Smarting under the effects of an increasingly autocratic political regime and a run of terrorist attacks at home, they are keen to get money out of the country.

Tax breaks compound the appeal of the golden visa. Under Portugal’s “non-habitual resident” scheme, second-home owners from abroad who spend 183 days or more in the country per year may get considerable tax perks. These include, for the first 10 years, exemption from any tax on foreign-sourced pensions, dividends or employment income. For many foreign retirees and entrepreneurs, this means the majority of their income is tax free.

For rich buyers this is a compelling prospect. Roberts recently sold a house in Estoril for €4m to a retired Swedish executive. The buyer had worked around the world, had senior management positions in a host of international companies and collected an impressive portfolio of pensions. “I asked him how much [moving to Portugal] meant he saved from Sweden’s tough income tax regime. It was enough to pay for the house in four years,” he says.

Buying guide

● Foreign buyers can typically get local mortgages for about half the value of their home, according to agents

● Buying costs — including sales taxes, land registry and stamp duty — are about 7 per cent. An annual 0.3 per cent is charged on the home’s ratable value

● Regular flights connect London with Lisbon in roughly two hours, 40 minutes

What you can buy for . . .

€400,000 A one-bedroom pied-à-terre apartment in the central district of Chiado

€800,000 A three-bedroom apartment with a terrace in Bairro Alto

€2m A five-bedroom villa with pool and garden near the seafront in Estoril

More homes at propertylistings.ft.com

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