Portugal has announced that it will end its popular Golden Visa program for property investors in 2023, as part of a package of measures to address the housing crisis in the country. The program, which offers residency rights to non-EU nationals who invest at least 500,000 euros in real estate, has attracted more than 6.8 billion euros in investment since its launch in 2012.
The program has been criticized for inflating house prices and rents, especially in Lisbon and Porto, where most of the investments are concentrated. According to media reports, rents jumped 37% in Lisbon in 2022, while the average salary in Portugal is among the lowest in Western Europe.
The government said that the program will be phased out gradually and will not affect those who have already obtained or applied for a Golden Visa. The program will continue to accept investments in less populated areas or in other sectors such as culture, science, and technology.
The government also announced other measures to tackle the housing shortage and affordability, such as regulating rent increases, offering tax incentives to landlords who convert tourism properties into long-term rentals, and renting vacant houses from owners and putting them on the rental market.
In addition, the government will ban new licenses for short-term holiday rentals, such as Airbnb, in densely populated areas, except in rural areas. The measure aims to reduce the pressure on the housing market caused by the tourism boom in recent years.
The government said that the measures are expected to come into effect after a public consultation and a parliamentary vote, which could take at least 35 days. Prime Minister Antonio Costa said that the housing crisis is affecting all families, not just the most vulnerable and that the measures are necessary to ensure social cohesion and economic development.