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EU residence by investment real estate

Comparing EU Residency Programs: Real Estate Investment Options

February 22, 2024

Residency programs for real estate investment have become increasingly popular among individuals seeking to obtain residency rights in desirable European countries. These programs offer a pathway to residency through investment in real estate, providing an attractive option for those looking to relocate or secure a second residency in the European Union (EU).

This article will explore and compare residency programs offered by eight European countries: Latvia, Greece, Andorra, Hungary, Portugal, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Spain. Whether you’re seeking a Mediterranean lifestyle, prefer the Baltic allure, or desire tax advantages, there’s a program tailored to your needs.

So, fasten your seatbelt as we embark on a journey through the intricacies of European residency by investment. Let’s compare the programs, weigh the pros and cons, and discover why Latvia stands out as an enticing destination for real estate investors.

Country Investment
Type of Residency Time to Permanent Residency (years) Physical Presence Needed
Latvia 250,000 Permanent 0 No
Bulgaria 250,000 Permanent 0 No
Hungary 250,000 Temporary 3 180 days a year
Cyprus 330,000 Permanent 0 5 days a year
Greece 500,000 Permanent 0 No
Portugal 500,000 Temporary 5 No
Spain 500,000 Temporary 5 180 days a year
Andorra 400,000 Temporary No 90 days a year


Permanent and Temporary Residence

It’s evident that many countries offering residency through real estate investment provide temporary residence permits rather than permanent ones, which may not be very convenient for investors. In certain countries, the wait for permanent residence can extend up to 5 years, despite investing half a million euros. However, Latvia stands out by offering residence permits for the entire family in exchange for investment.

Two is better than one

When discussing investments, it’s not only important to attain permanent residency status but also to generate profit from your investments. This is where Latvia may excel, offering potential advantages in terms of investment returns.

In Latvia, investors are permitted to purchase in some locations two real estate properties for the specified investment amount. This flexibility extends to both residential and commercial properties, allowing for diversified investment portfolios. The risks associated with unsuccessful acquisitions from a commercial standpoint are significantly mitigated by spreading investments across two properties. Moreover, a portfolio of two properties may yield higher returns than a single large or modest-sized residence, especially if one of the investments proves to be a stable and prosperous commercial venture.

Physical Presence Needed

Most countries do not necessitate physical presence for maintaining residency, although periodic visits may be required to renew permanent residency documents. However, certain countries do impose such a requirement. Spending 90 days in Andorra might seem appealing initially, but the costs can add up, especially with yearly repetition. On the other hand, the opportunity to spend 180 days a year in Spain presents an enticing prospect, while the same duration in Hungary may only be appreciated by genuine enthusiasts of the country.

Spending 180 days equates to half a year. If you’re obligated to reside in Spain for six months annually, it substantially curtails your flexibility. Essentially, it entails a complete relocation. If you’re prepared for such a commitment, Spain can be an excellent secondary residence. However, if you want to invest in EU real estate for permanent residency while preserving your freedom, opt for countries that do not mandate mandatory physical presence.

Furthermore, residing in your purchased property for the entire 180 days means forfeiting rental income. Over six months, this translates to a significant loss in potential investment returns. Opting for a cheaper apartment rental still entails unnecessary expenses.

Better economy – higher liquidity of real estate

It’s widely recognized that more affordable real estate tends to be more liquid, making it easier to sell when the need arises. This not only facilitates the process of obtaining permanent residency within the European Union but also enhances the protection and growth potential of your investment.
Furthermore, it’s prudent to assess the economic performance of the countries where you intend to invest. A weak economy and low-income population may hamper investment returns and prolong the process of selling real estate in the future, possibly requiring larger discounts to attract buyers.

If we examine GDP per capita (nominal) in USD, our top three countries in the table above rank as follows:

  1. Latvia – 24929
  2. Hungary – 21075
  3. Bulgaria – 16087

The disparity in this metric between the leading country, Latvia, and the last-ranked Bulgaria is approximately 50%. This significant gap underscores the higher standard of living in Latvia compared to Bulgaria, indicating greater demand and liquidity for real estate investments in Latvia.

As can be seen from this analysis, Latvia emerges as the most compelling option due to its lower investment threshold, diverse investment opportunities, and relatively higher GDP per capita, indicating a stronger economy and greater investment potential. By strategically diversifying investments across two real estate properties in Latvia, investors can not only secure permanent residency in the European Union but also safeguard and potentially enhance their investments.

Ultimately, the decision to pursue EU residency through real estate investment should be informed by a comprehensive assessment of individual preferences, financial goals, and long-term objectives. With careful consideration and expert guidance, investors can capitalize on the opportunities presented by residency programs and realize their aspirations of obtaining residency in the European Union.

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