Navigating Investment Migration: Insights into Global Real Estate Dynamics

Malta Relocation & Residency News

18th June 2024

Navigating Investment Migration: Insights into Global Real Estate Dynamics

In the era of unprecedented globalization and mobility, investment migration has played a significant role in driving economic activity. In many cases, investment migration has transformed the real estate landscape as countries worldwide continue to introduce citizenship or residency programmes for foreign nationals. “These programmes often require a property investment, which is making a profound impact on real estate markets,” says Malta Sotheby's International Realty, Head of Sales & Lettings Benji Psaila.

"Immigration stimulates economic growth and investment programmes that require a property investment, positively influence the real estate market by generating demand in both the rental and sales sectors. As the demand for investment properties grow the private property sector will continue to strengthen offering applicants a secure investment and the potential for capital appreciation. This is especially true in a thriving economy with a low supply of availability, like Malta,” explains Malta Sotheby’s International Realty & CSB Group Investment Migration Advisor and IMC member, Malcolm Ferrante. “Citizenship or residency in a stable country can offer applicants protection of assets and rights, as well as access to better healthcare, education and legal systems. Investing in real estate in different countries can diversify an individual's investment portfolio, spreading risk across different markets and currencies,” continues Psaila.

Ferrante goes on to explain “Citizenship and Residency by Investment programmes are available in a number of countries across the world with many of them offering investment migration through real estate investment. These programmes are constantly evolving as countries strive to improve and protect the quality of life and property rights of their local population and foreign nationals wishing to invest. Some of the most popular citizenship and residency programmes are available in these countries; 


Malta stands out as a pioneer in offering flexibility within its investment migration programmes. Through initiatives such as the Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (commonly known as MEIN) and the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP), the country has attracted a diverse pool of investors. These programmes are some of the most affordable programmes available in Europe and one of the few that offers investors the choice to lease a property as part of their application as opposed to purchasing a property – an option which is also available.

Under the MEIN programme, investors have the option to buy real estate in Malta with a minimum value of €700,000 or lease a property for a minimum annual rent of €16,000, retaining it for at least five years from the date of the citizenship certificate. Similarly, the MPRP allows investors to purchase a property with a minimum value of €350,000 in Malta or €300,000 in Gozo or the South of Malta. Alternatively, they can opt to lease a property with an annual rent of €12,000 in Malta or €10,000 in Gozo or the South of Malta.


In Greece, the Residence by Investment programme, commonly referred to as the Golden Visa, has emerged as a beacon of opportunity for international investors seeking swift residency in Greece. However, recently there have been challenges related to housing affordability for locals due to the influx of investment migrants. In an effort to safeguard the interests of local residents and promote stability in the real estate market, the Greek government has increased the minimum value of a property investment required to qualify for the Golden Visa programme.


The impact of the Golden Visa programme on Portugal's property market mirrors the challenges seen in Greece and in response, the Portuguese government has implemented strategic measures to safeguard the property market while promoting economic diversification.

One significant measure taken by the government is the removal of property investment as a requirement for obtaining the Golden Visa. Instead, the focus has shifted towards investment in the Portuguese private sector, fostering economic growth and job creation in other industries.


Spain introduced its residence by investment programme in 2013, offering residency to foreign investors and their families who invest in Spanish property. To qualify investors must commit €500,000 to real estate, granting them the right to live, work, and study in Spain. The visa can also be obtained by starting certain types of businesses in Spain, holding company shares or bank deposits worth at least €1 million in Spanish financial institutions, or investing at least €2 million in government bonds. Spain is, however considering tougher application requirements, such as raising the investment requirement for luxury properties to €1 million. In a bid to increase the amount of affordable housing available to locals it might also follow Portugal in ending its Golden Visa programme for real estate purchases.


Italy offers an appealing option for individuals seeking residency through investment. Introduced in 2017, the Italian Golden Visa programme provides non-EU nationals with a two-year residence permit in exchange for an investment in Italy. Unlike other programmes, a property investment is not required for Italy's Golden Visa. Instead, investors must commit a minimum of €500,000 through an Italian limited company. This investment opportunity extends to family members included in the application. After residing in Italy for 10 years under the scheme, participants become eligible to apply for citizenship, offering a long-term prospect for those seeking permanent residency in Italy.


The Caribbean region hosts three prominent citizenship programmes: St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, and Grenada. These programmes share commonalities, particularly regarding property investment requirements. Investors have three primary options, one of which includes property investment in a government-approved real estate project. This option allows investors to contribute to the local economy while obtaining citizenship in these nations.

For more insights on investment migration or property investment, you are invited to contact us on

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