The residence permit for investment scheme in Portugal, commonly referred to as the “golden visa” programme, has led a welcome revival in the country’s property market since it was launched two years ago.

The scheme, which fast-tracks non-EU citizens into Portugal primarily through the purchase of property worth at least €500,000, has brought in €1billion, the vast majority in the real estate sector. Nearly 1,800 permits have been issued, some 80% of which have gone to Chinese citizens.

According to APEMIP, the Portuguese estate agents’ association, foreigners accounted for 23% of residential transactions in the first nine months of 2014 and the organisation predicts that foreign purchases will top €1.5billion by the end of year.