The Golden Ticket

The Golden Ticket


Are you interested in gaining European residency via property investment? If so, Spain offers what is arguably the best Golden Visa programme in Europe. Moreover, Spanish real estate prices are reasonable, which makes purchasing a luxury apartment in Madrid easier than in other European capital cities.

What makes a Golden Visa “good?”

There are many factors to be considered when choosing the best Golden Visa programme. Here are what we think to be the most important:

  • Low required investment
  • Small amount of time required to actually reside in the country
  • Short time required to gain full citizenship
  • Ability and ease of family members to also gain residency and/or citizenship
  • Potential to earn a high return on the associated real estate investment
  • Not on the OECD “Blacklist” of countries that attract international tax evaders via their Golden Visa programs

Which European countries offer Golden Visas via real estate investment?

Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece and Cyprus all offer Golden Visa programmes. Cyprus has two schemes. Like the other countries, you can make an initial property investment of two thousand euros plus. This grants long-term residency and can be converted to citizenship after seven years. Alternatively, for a two million euro investment, you can gain citizenship within six months. Here is a summary of the Golden Visa programs offered by European countries:

It should be noted that in October, 2018, the OECD analysed Golden Visa programmes operated by 100 countries and created a “blacklist.” The intent was to counter international tax evasion. Malta and Cyprus were both put on this list. Spain, Portugal and Greece are the only three countries that offer Golden Visas via a reasonable level of property investment (for example, Monaco offers a Golden Visa through property investment but requires over a million euro investment) that did not make this list.

Moreover, Malta, Spain and Portugal are the only European countries that offer Golden Visas and have investment grade sovereign credit ratings. To learn more about the specifics of each country’s Golden Visa schemes, we recommend that you read the article: Which European country offers the best Golden Visa.

How healthy are the real estate markets in these countries?

There is a large disparity in real estate prices in Europe’s Golden Visa countries. Malta is the most expensive and property prices appear fully valued. Greece real estate is relatively inexpensive and property prices have stabilised, but any investment in the country is still very risky. The economic fundamentals in Cyprus are strong, but real estate prices are still sliding so it is too soon to invest. Portugal property prices have increased greatly, but economic fundamentals don’t appear to support further property price appreciation. Real estate prices in Spain have trended up in recent years, but the economic fundamentals are strong and there appears to be room for appreciation.

Which is the best city to get a Golden Visa if I want a luxury apartment?

Spain is arguably the best country for getting a Golden Visa via property investment. The real estate market is healthy, economic fundamentals are strong, the country has an investment grade rating and it is not on the OECD blacklist.

If you want a luxury apartment, Madrid is a top choice. Compared to other European capitals, property prices are still relatively low. This is because the city’s apartment stock is in the process of upgrading. Ten years ago, the state of the average apartment was poor. The city was filled with small, dark apartments that hadn’t been renovated in decades.

In recent years, buyers have started buying properties and refurbishing them. They have created larger, more open spaces, let in the light, added air conditioning and modern finishes. Many have been upgraded to luxury properties, but sell at a fraction of the price of luxury apartments in Paris or London. To learn more about real estate prices in Madrid, we refer you to read the most recent Madrid Real Estate Report.


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