Portugal and Spain appear to be having some success in luring buyers from China, Russia and the Middle East by offering residency to buyers who spend at least 500,000 euros on real estate, Reuters reports.

The “golden visa” residency permits allow holders and their families to travel freely in 26 European countries. Since launching its program a year ago, Portugal has issued 318 permits to buyers who have invested more than 200 million euros. Spain just introduced its own program last month.

Christian de Meillac of the brokerage firm Knight Frank tells Reuters that in Spain, foreigners “are buying (at prices) above the minimum limit” in Barcelona and the Mediterranean resort area of Marbella.

While the incentives may pay off, the problem they attempt to address is daunting: Reuters reports that there is a “huge market glut of 3 million empty homes” in Portugal and Spain. Site: uk.reuters.com

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