In the three years since its 2013 introduction, Spain’s Golden Visa scheme which offers qualified residency in return for certain types of investments, has brought in €2.16 billion, 72% of which has gone into the real estate sector.
In order to qualify for the scheme which allows permanent residency including Schengen area travel, applicants are required to make certain types of investments including either Spanish treasury bonds, stocks or deposits in Spain or to purchase Spanish property valued in excess of €500,000.
Similar Golden Visa schemes have become widespread in countries such as the USA, Portugal, France, Germany, the UK and Ireland over the last two decades, however Spain only managed to attract €700 million in its first year. Following this poor initial uptake, the government sought to streamline the application process allowing investors to include more family members and increase the residency period from two to five years. This less bureaucratic approach has seen investor numbers increase fourfold since 2014 with average investment levels tripling in the same period.
During the initial three year period 2,236 investors have benefited from the scheme with the total amount residency visas being granted reaching 27,301 including family members. Wealthy Chinese and Russians make up 59.4% of all investment into the scheme accounting for €716 million and €567 million respectively.
Second only to Barcelona, the Málaga region including the Costa del Sol, has proven to be amongst the most popular for property investment driven by the Golden Visa scheme with Madrid taking third spot and Alicante trailing in fourth.