**Important notice: The Portugal Golden Visa Program has undergone significant changes this year, which has meant that some property investment options have been revoked or partially altered. For a complete overview of the changes, consult our Portugal Golden Visa changes guide here*
Portugal’s Residence Permit Program — also known as the Portugal Golden Visa — is one of the most sought-after in the world. As a five-year residency by investment scheme for non-EU nationals, foreign investment contributions have pumped over €4 billion into the Portuguese economy, with recent interest increasing in property investment opportunities in low-density areas in Portugal.
While the Portugal Golden Visa Program offers several investment routes, including investing a minimum of €500K in residential or commercial property in Portugal or investing €350K in rehabilitation projects, certain location restrictions apply. More importantly, price points vary, depending on whether a property sits in a ‘low-density’ area of Portugal.
In this guide, you’ll learn about:
- Real estate investment options for the Portugal Golden Visa
- What areas of Portugal qualify for residential property investment
- What key terms like ‘low-density’, ‘interior area’, ‘280K investment’,’ mean
Portugal Golden Visa Real Estate Investment Options
To qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa, the following real estate investment routes are available:
- Buy residential real estate in designated interior areas of Portugal worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project. If the residential property is located in a designated ‘low-density’ area, then a 20% discount applies (amounting to €400K and €280K respectively).
- Buy commercial real estate anywhere in the country worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project. If the commercial property is located in a designated ‘low-density’ area, then a 20% discount applies.
- Buy residential and commercial real estate anywhere in Portugal’s autonomous islands of Madeira and Azores, worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project. Note, all of Madeira and the Azores are classified as high-density, so there is no 20% discount option here.
Unsure whether the real estate investment option is a good fit for you? We’ve created a guide just for this occasion, walking you through the golden visa Portugal real estate investment benefits here.
What Areas of Portugal Are Eligible for a Real Estate Golden Visa Investment?
The Portuguese government is looking to promote investment in the following areas:
- Low-density regions
- Urban requalification
- Cultural heritage
- Activities of high environmental or social value
- Productivity and job production
As such, the Portuguese authorities have changed the real estate investment routes to Portuguese residency, creating a classification system of what areas of Portugal qualify for property investment. These areas are called ‘interior’ and ‘low-density’. But make no mistake, they’re different terms.
Below, we unpack what areas of Portugal qualify for property investment, explaining the nuanced differences between ‘interior areas’ and ‘low-density’. By the end of this section, you’ll hopefully have a clear understanding of what areas of Portugal qualify for a real estate investment.
What are interior areas?
Interior areas simply mean areas where you can make a residential real estate investment to qualify for a golden visa residence permit. In contrast, for commercial real estate, there are no location restrictions in place. Meaning, you can invest anywhere in the country, provided that the property in question is classified as ‘commercial’ (licensed for business-related activities).
See our map below highlighting Portugal’s interior areas. Note, properties that belong to ‘interior’ parts of Portugal are eligible for a residential AND commercial real estate investment. However, only commercial properties can be purchased outside of the ‘interior’ parameters, and are thus, highlighted in blue.
As indicated, the map below shows the regions in light gray that are classified as being within the low-density zone. Areas that fall outside the low-density zone are highlighted in dark gray.
Low-density areas determine whether a 20% discount rate to your investment applies or not. Low-density regions are defined as territorial units (NUTS III) and have less than 100 inhabitants per square km or a per capita GDP of less than 75% of the national average. Low-density housing tends to refer to buildings with a small number of units or residential areas that are primarily occupied by single-family homes. High-density housing, in contrast, typically refers to urban areas that have a high number of units.
Note, that it’s possible for an area to be interior and high-density. In this case, you can purchase a residential property but no discount applies.
Take this scenario as an example: You’re fixed on investing in real estate in the Algarve. While the Algarve is classified as ‘low-density’, it’s not considered a completely interior part of Portugal. Hence, some parts of the Algarve aren’t eligible for a residential real estate investment. Currently, some eligible areas considered low-density AND interior are Aljezur, Odeceixe, and Sagres. In this case, you can buy a residential property or invest in a residential rehabilitation project.
Our map below highlights the areas of Portugal that are eligible either for:
- High-density property investment in non-interior areas (commercial only)
- Low-density real estate investment in non-interior areas (commercial only)
- High-density property investment in interior areas (residential and commercial, but no discount applies)
- Low-density property investment in interior areas (residential and commercial, 20% discount applies)
Real estate opportunity areas
Are you looking to revitalize an old building in the heart of the Douro Valley? Perhaps you’re interested in buying a commercial retail space in Lisbon. Or the idea of owning a waterfront villa in the Azores appeals to you. The good news is, the Portugal Golden Visa program is an advantageous scheme, offering various real estate opportunity areas for investors. Let’s take a look at some of the key areas you could potentially invest in.
Interior and Low-Density Residential Real Estate
It’s perfectly possible to buy a residential home that falls under a designated interior area of Portugal, and that also happens to be ‘low-density’. Some areas with high-growth potential that qualify for the Golden Visa include parts of the Douro Valley, Aljezur, and Peneda Gerês.
They provide excellent property locations for investors, with great value for money, considering houses are generally cheaper and more spacious in low-density areas. It’s not uncommon for a family to land the villa of their dreams, complete with fruit trees, a decently sized pool, and amazing vistas for roughly €400K.
At present, the most popular regions to invest in are the Alentejo, Douro Valley, and Peneda Gerês. All offer fantastic investment prices, with good opportunities to branch in hospitality, outdoor tourism, or cultural and religious tourism.
|Region||Reselling chances||Prices per m2||Prices fluctuation||Tourism industry||Renting returns||Tourism returns|
The Portugal Golden Visa 280k low-density investment option
To qualify for the €280K low-density investment option and take advantage of the 20% discount, the applicant must either:
- Invest in a commercial rehabilitation project located in a low-density area of the country.
- Invest in a residential rehabilitation project located in a low-density area of the country, that’s also classified as interior.
If the investor wants to invest in a rehabilitation project located in a high-density area, costs start from €350,000. The property in question must either be more than thirty years old and undergoing renovation, or in a designated rehabilitation area. If it’s a residential property, it must also be in an interior area.
Advantages of investing in low-density areas with the Portugal Golden Visa 280k option
There are many benefits to investing in low-density areas and being rewarded with a golden visa.
Buy property anywhere on the islands
Investing in property in Madeira and Azores is notably encouraged by the Portuguese authorities. Golden Visa applicants can buy real estate or invest in a rehabilitation project (both residential and commercial) on the islands. Note, that both Madeira and the Azores are considered high-density locations only. Therefore, no part of the islands qualify for a 20% discount.
Commercial Real Estate
Commercial real estate in Portugal is eligible across the country, without any location restrictions. Investors hoping to buy commercial property or invest in commercial rehabilitation in Portugal’s key urban areas like Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve, can do so freely.
- Commercial yields (long-term lease agreements) can be a good option for investors looking for a solid investment. Examples include office space, franchise stores, restaurants, and deposit areas.
- A great opportunity to diversify your investment portfolio, both in terms of hard and intangible assets
- Long-term strategy to generate strong and stable returns, with the potential to receive consistent revenue monthly, quarterly, or annually
Commercial Rehabilitation Projects (i.e.Tourism/Hotel Projects)
- Rehabilitation of a commercial property, typically in the form of a hotel, are prime opportunities because they are not limited to Portugal’s interior area (you can invest anywhere in the country)
- Hotel projects allow investors to invest at reduced rates of €350K, or €280K in low density areas
- These projects are turnkey, frequently offering fixed returns or a buy-back after five years
Search for Portugal’s Golden Visa Eligible Areas by Parish
Full List of Portugal’s Low Density Areas
Here’s a quick breakdown of the eligible low-density areas for the Portugal Golden Visa.
|Águeda||União das freguesias de Belazaima do Chão, Castanheira do Vouga e Agadão||União das freguesias do Préstimo e Macieira de Alcoba|
|Gouveia (São Simão)||Jazente|
|Rebordelo||Salvador do Monte|
|União das freguesias de Aboadela, Sanche e Várzea||União das freguesias de Olo e Canadelo|
|União das freguesias de Bustelo, Carneiro e Carvalho de Rei||Vila Chã do Marão|
|Amares||Bouro (Santa Marta)||Goães|
|União das freguesias de Caldelas, Sequeiros e Paranhos||União das freguesias de Vilela, Seramil e Paredes Secas|
|Caminha||Dem||União das freguesias de Arga (Baixo, Cima e São João)|
|Castelo de Paiva||União das freguesias de Gondar e Orbacém||Real|
|União das Freguesias da Raiva, Pedorido e Paraíso||–|
|Guimarães||União das freguesias de Arosa e Castelões||–|
|Salir||União de freguesias de Querença, Tôr e Benafim|
|Marco de Canaveses||Várzea, Aliviada e Folhada||–|
|Ourém||Espite||União das freguesias de Matas e Cercal|
|União das freguesias de Freixianda, Ribeira do Fárrio e Formigais||União das freguesias de Rio de Couros e Casal dos Bernardos|
|Ponte de Lima||Ardegão, Freixo e Mato||Associação de freguesias do Vale do Neiva|
|Bárrio e Cepões||Beiral do Lima|
|Boalhosa||Cabaços e Fojo Lobal|
|Cabração e Moreira do Lima||Calheiros|
|Labruja||Labrujó, Rendufe e Vilar do Monte|
|Navió e Vitorino dos Piães||Poiares|
|Porto de Mós||São Bento||–|
|Santarém||União das freguesias de Casével e Vaqueiros||–|
|Silves||São Marcos da Serra||–|
|Tavira||Cachopo||Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo|
|União das freguesias de Além da Ribeira e Pedreira||União das freguesias de Casais e Alviobeira|
|União das freguesias de Serra e Junceira||–|
|Vale de Cambra||Arões||Junqueira|
|União das freguesias de Gondomil e Safins||União das freguesias de São Julião e Silva|
Low-density counties in Portugal:
2. Aguiar da Beira
4. Alcácer do Sol
6. Alfândega da Fé
12. Alter de Chão
16. Arcos de Valdevez
30. Cabeceiras de Basto
31. Campo Major
32. Carrazeda de Ansiães
33. Carregal do Sal
34. Castanheira de Pêra
35. Castelo Branco
36. Castela de Vide
37. Castro Daire
38. Castro Marim
39. Castro Verde
40. Celorico da Beira
41. Celorico de Basto
54. Ferreira do Alentejo
55. Ferreira do Zêzere
56. Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo
57. Figueiró dos Vinhos
58. Fornos de Algodres
59. Freixo de Espada à Cinta
71. Macedo de Cavaleiros
78. Mesão Frio
79. Miranda do Corvo
80. Miranda do Douro
83. Moimenta da Beira
86. Mondim de Basto
99. Oliveira de Frades
100. Oliveira o Hospital
102. Pampilhosa da Serra
103. Paredes de Coura
104. Pedrógão Grande
106. Penalva do Castelo
110. Pedo da Régua
112. Ponte da Barca
113. Ponte de Sor
116. Póvoa de Lanhoso
119. Reguengos de Monsaraz
121. Ribeira de Pena
124. Santa Comba Dão
125. Santa Marta de Penaguião
126. Santiago de Cacem
127. São João da Pesqueira
128. São Pedro do Sul
135. Server do Vouga
141. Terras de Bouro
143. Torre de Moncorvo
146. Vendas Novas
147. Viana do Alentejo
149. Vieira do Minho
150. Vila do Rei
151. Vila do Bispo
152. Vila Flor
153. Vila Nova da Barquinha
154. Vila Nova de Cerveira
155. Vila Nova de Foz Côa
156. Vila Nova de Paiva
157. Vila Nova de Poiares
158. Vila Pouca de Aguiar
159. Vila Real
160. Vila Velha de Ródão
161. Vila Verde
162. Vila Viçosa
Low-density parishes in Portugal:
União das freguesias de Belazaima do Chão, Castanheiro do Vouga e Agadão
União das freguesias do Préstimo e Macieira de Alcoba
Gouveia (São Simão)
Salvador do Monte
União das freguesias de Aboadela, Sanche e Vázea
União das freguesias de Bustelo, Carneiro e Carvalho de Rei
União das freguesias de Olo e Carnadelo
Vila Chã de Marão
Bouro (Santa Marta)
União das freguesias de Caldelas, Sequeiros e Paranhos
União das freguesias de Vilela, Seramil e Paredes Secas
União das freguesias de Arga (Baixo, Cima, e São João)
União das freguesias de Gondar e Orbacém
Castelo de Paiva
União das freguesias de Arosa e Casteiões
União das freguesias de Querença, Tôr e Benafim
Marco de Canaveses
Várzea, Aliviada e Folhada
União das freguesias de Freixianda, Ribeira do Fárrio e Formigais
União das freguesias de Matas e Cercal
União das freguesias de Rio de Couros e Casal dos Bernados
Ponte de Lima
Ardegão, Freixo e Mato
Associacão de freguesias do Vale do Neiva
Bárrio e Cepões
Beiral do Lima
Cabaços e Fojo Lobal
Cabração e Moreira do Lima
Labrujó, Rendufe, e Vilar do Monte
Navió e Vitorino dos Piães
Porto de Mós
União das freguesias de Casével e Vaqueiros
São Marcos da Serra
Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo
União das freguesias de Além da Ribeira e Pedreira
União das freguesias de Casais e Alviobeira
União das freguesias de Serra e Junceira
Vale de Cambra
União das freguesias de Gondomil e Safins
União das freguesias de São Julião e Silva
Viana do Castelo
São Pedro de France
União das freguesias de Barreiros e Cepões
Portugal Golden Visa- In Brief
The Portugal Golden Visa Program is a five-year residency by investment scheme that grants qualifying applicants with Portuguese residency, in exchange for first investing in the country. Portuguese citizenship (effectively EU citizenship) is attainable after five years of holding your legal residency.
If you’d like to learn more about the full list of investment options under the Golden Visa scheme, as well as program requirements, consult our golden visa Portugal guide here.
Who we are and how can we help?
Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique investment migration consultancy firm focused on finding the right residency or citizenship by investment program for individuals wishing to secure their future and become global citizens.
From helping individuals find their dream homes or investment with the help of our real estate division in Portugal — Goldcrest — to providing successful immigration and relocation services, our international team is with you every step of the way.
Our team has a 100% success rate when it comes to Portugal Golden Visa applications, and will make sure that you find the right investment for your requirements.
Your dedicated account manager will accompany you throughout the process, saving you time when it comes to making your application. Our team has years of experience and will help you avoid the difficulties that befall many Portuguese Golden Visa investors.
Frequently asked questions about Portugal Golden Visa low-density options
How to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa low-density investment option?
Investors can opt to invest in commercial real estate in need of rehabilitation and restoration starting from €350,000 anywhere in the country. A residential real estate rehabilitation project is also possible, but only in designated low-interior areas of the country. The autonomous islands of Azores and Madeira are considered high-density AND interior, so you can buy residential real estate here.
The property in question must at least be more than thirty years old and undergoing renovation.
A cheaper option is to invest €280K+ in renovations projects in low-density areas. These designated areas are split according to the region’s population. If the area hosts less than 100 occupants per 1,000 square meters, it counts as a ‘less densely populated area’.
Will Portugal Golden Visa changes in 2022 affect the low-density investment option?
The Portugal Golden Visa will receive an extensive makeover, starting from 1 January 2022. With regards to real estate investments, the following will apply: Properties in Lisbon, Porto, and other popular urban coastal towns will NOT QUALIFY for residential property investments under the Golden Visa scheme, only commercial real estate. Residential real estate investment in low-density areas will continue to qualify, but only in designated ‘interior areas’ of the country. Alternatively, you can buy residential property or invest in residential rehabilitation projects anywhere on Portugal’s autonomous islands (they’re not subject to restrictions).
What are considered official low-density areas of Portugal?
Low density areas in Portugal include the countryside/eastern areas in Portugal mostly, with the exception of coastal areas south of the River Lima and North of the River Sado. Madeira and Azores are also excluded.
Is Algarve a low-density area?
Yes, the Algarve qualified as low-density, so your real estate investments will automatically get a 20% discount for the Portugal Golden Visa.
Is Cascais low-density?
Cascais is not considered low-density. It’s high-density, so no 20% discount applies to your real estate investment for the Portugal Golden Visa.
Is Faro low-density?
Faro is indeed considered low-density. This means a 20% discount automatically applies to your real estate investment for the Portugal Golden Visa.
Is Madeira low density?
Madeira is not considered low-density, so there is no 20% discount to the golden visa property investment.
What is a Portuguese urban regeneration area?
Portuguese urban regeneration areas are key investment areas that can reap financial rewards. Since the buildings themselves are bought at relatively cheap prices, redone, and then are ready to be rented out, you can usuallt expect a high return on your investment.
Is Coimbra low density?
Yes, Coimbra is considered low-density.
What is 350k golden visa?
A 350K golden visa simply refers to the €350K rehabilitation investment route to a Portugal Golden Visa. In a nutshell, you must buy property in Portugal that is more than 30 years old and that needs to be renovated. The renovation costs are factored in when applying for the Portugal Golden Visa. So the renovation must be at least 20% of the property price.