Chris Cruse and Associates Real Estate – (LISBON/MADRID) When Edward Hu bought a holiday home in Portugal's most popular tourist spot in September, the Chinese agricultural entrepreneur got a Europe-wide family travel permit thrown in for as long as he owns it.
"It's one of the biggest advantages of investing in Portugal," says Hu, 33, from Chengdu in southwest China, who paid 560,000 euros ($750,700) for a semi-detached property near the beach in the southern Algarve.
The beaches were once enough to lure buyers to southern Europe. A shattering economic crisis later, Spain and Portugal are trying to resurrect their moribund property markets by offering "golden" residence permits to home buyers from outside the European Union.
Buyers from China, Russia, the Middle East or elsewhere who spend at least 500,000 euros on real estate in either country get a permit that lets them travel freely within Europe's 26-country Schengen zone without restriction.
The incentives, along with depressed housing prices, are showing the first signs of nibbling at the huge market glut of 3 million empty homes on the Iberian peninsula.
The Portuguese government said last week that 318 permits had been issued since the programme began a year ago, bringing in 200 million euros in investment - most of it in residential property in the last few months - and expected it to reach more than 300 million euros by December. That would exceed an estimated 250 million euros invested in all real estate in Portugal last year according to Cushman&Wakefield consultants. READ FULL AT INDIATIMES.COM
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