March 2024

IZA DP No. 16857: All That Glitters? Golden Visas and Real Estate

Residency by Investment programs have become integral to contemporary migration policies, providing a distinct pathway for individuals to acquire a new legal status through financial investments. In this paper, we study the extent to which "golden visas" impact real estate housing markets. Using the population of transactions records from 2007 to 2019, we analyse the introduction of the Golden Visa Program in Portugal in 2012. We first present descriptive bunching evidence around the €500,000 threshold, revealing potential price distortions. Merging the transaction data to property tax records, we then conduct a difference-in-differences analysis assessing the golden visa impact on the discrepancy between transaction prices and fiscal values. This analysis uncovers a "Golden Visa Premium," where transaction prices exceed fiscal values by an average of around €38,000 at the investment threshold, indicating a more than 10% price increase in high-end housing prices. Finally, survey data from the Portuguese population indicates widespread support for ending the program, particularly among the elderly, educated residents in Lisbon.