Affluent South Africans are increasingly setting their sights on Cyprus and Portugal to gain EU Citizenship, says Pam Golding Properties.
Portugal remains a highly sought-after destination for international property buyers – including South Africans – but now the new kid on the block, Cyprus, is stirring up interest in the marketplace, said Chris Immelman, MD of Pam Golding International.
“For the bulk of South African residential property buyers in these countries, their primary aim is to acquire European Union residency for their families – mainly with a view to enabling their adult children gain ease of access to study and work abroad, and to travel freely in Europe.
“Having recently hosted investor roadshows in major centres around the country, it’s evident that many affluent SA residents are seeking to create international opportunities for their children,”
EU citizenship in six months
Pam Golding noted that an offshore investment in a stable country is an ideal way to diversify a property portfolio with Cyprus in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea offering considerable opportunities to accomplish this.
“For an investment of EUR2 million, you can acquire full European citizenship for life in just 4-6 months for you and your entire family up to the age of 28 years, with the opportunity to disinvest after three years by selling your property, but with the requirement that you reinvest EUR500,000,” Immelman said.
Property there has a sound underlying investment value, he said.
For investors in Cyprus, a key advantage is that citizenship can be passed on to future generations by descent, while a Cypriot passport also allows visa-free travel to 159 countries including Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK.
Cyprus is about four times the size of Mauritius, with some 700,000 inhabitants.
Currently the largest project being constructed in Cyprus is Ayia Napa Marina on the south eastern coast, which offers buyers luxurious residences, world-class yachting facilities.
The 190, deluxe apartments in the two ‘twisted’ towers are priced from EUR795,000 (R12 million), while 29 luxury villas are selling from EUR4.6 million (R70 million).
“Apart from the two landmark ‘twisted’ towers of over 100m which will rise above the skyline, providing panoramic views across the beaches, coastline and Mediterranean, the development will include an impressive marina and various upmarket retail, dining and lifestyle amenities,” Immelman said.
Pam Golding pointed out that for those affluent South Africans willing to invest EUR2 million upfront, “you acquire your passport within six months, with the opportunity to disinvest in three years with a return of say, some EUR2.5 million – EUR500,000 of which you can use to re-invest in an apartment for use as a holiday home or buy to let investment”.
“We continue to see a huge uptake in property in Portugal, with South Africans riding the wave of property buyers in Lisbon, where they enjoy significant growth in the value of their portfolios as the property market is booming, with demand significantly outweighing the supply,” Immelman said.
To benefit from Portugal’s Golden Visa Programme with the opportunity to qualify for residency, foreign buyers need invest a minimum of EUR500,000.
Permanent residency is achievable in year six and citizenship in year seven. Portugal has relatively low tax rates of about 20% and no wealth or inheritance tax or tax on overseas pensions, the property group said.
“Since we began selling property via the Golden Visa Programme less than three ago, prices have increased by 30%. Such is the demand that for the first time we are looking outside our usual stamping ground of Lisbon and Cascais to Comporta, which is considered ‘The Hamptons’ of Portugal.
“Only about an hour from Lisbon and with pristine beaches, Comporta comprises a cluster of villages ideal for weekend getaways, with properties selling from EUR300 000,” Immelman said.