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16 June, 2024
 
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Spain to end ''golden visa'' scheme for real estate investment

€500,000 in Spanish real estate equals three-year residency for non-EU investors

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Spain's Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, announced the discontinuation of the ''golden visa'' scheme, which grants residency rights to foreigners investing in real estate.

As reported by Sky News, the move aims to prioritize affordable housing accessibility over speculative ventures, Sanchez stated.

Under the scheme, non-EU citizens investing at least €500,000 in Spanish real estate without a mortgage could obtain residency for three years. However, Sanchez highlighted that the majority of these visas were linked to real estate investment, exacerbating housing challenges in major cities.

Since its inception in 2013, Spain has issued nearly 5,000 permits, with Chinese investors leading followed by Russians, as per a 2023 Transparency International report. Despite its popularity among British expatriates, accounting for a significant portion of Spain's foreign residents, the scheme faces scrutiny for its impact on housing dynamics.

Although only a small fraction of homes sold were purchased through the scheme, Spain's housing crisis is attributed to supply shortages and increased demand rather than the visa initiative, according to property experts. The country's younger population, particularly affected, struggles with housing affordability, contributing to delayed independence compared to their European counterparts, as noted by an OECD report.

While Portugal recently restructured its similar scheme, omitting real estate investment to address its housing crisis, the European Commission has consistently advocated for the termination of such programmes, citing security concerns.

[With information sourced from Sky News]

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