Purchase of property in Greece paves the way to residency status, visa-free access to the Schengen Area countries and the golden opportunity to integrate into the European society. In this article, we’re looking at trends in demand for the Greek Golden Visa program and the current situation in the Greek real estate market.
The cost of Golden Visa Greece
It is safe to say that Greece is offering the most affordable Golden Visa program in the EU. Foreign investors got the opportunity to exchange investment for a Greek ID-card in 2014.
The cost of a Greek residence permit through investment is equivalent to the cost of a respectable apartment. To become a resident, an investor is expected to purchase any real estate object with the minimum price of €250,000. One can also opt to invest in several real estate objects to reach the fixed minimum investment amount.
Greece’s immigration legislation allows financially independent persons to apply for residency as well. In this case, the investor is expected to maintain at least €48,000 in their account, plus additional 20% of this amount for the upkeep of one’s spouse, plus additional 15% for the upkeep of each underage child.
Statistical data shows that acquisition of real estate remains the most popular option, thanks to Greece’s strategically advantageous geographical position. Greece is a popular stopping point for wealthy tourists who can afford to rent out their housing. Also, having property in Greece means the investor now has a contingency plan in case of unforeseen circumstances in their primary country of residence.
Trends in demand for Golden Visa Greece program
The launch of the Greek economic immigration program was a natural reaction to the economic crisis, as the country desperately needed private foreign capital to recover from the recession.
Fresh statistical data indicates that Greek golden visas are highly sought after. In 2017, the number of investors who obtained a residence permit grew by 40% compared to the previous year.
AS AT THE END OF 2017, THE GREEK GOVERNMENT HAS APPROVED 2,170 APPLICATIONS AND ISSUED OVER 5,000 GOLDEN VISAS.
Nationals of China are considered leading buyers of Greek golden visas, with 945 residency permits issued since the launch of the program. They are followed by Russians and Turks, with 387 and 191 golden visas, respectively. Residents of Egypt, Lebanon, Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Jordan and the United States are also quite actively investing in Greek residency.
THANKS TO THE GOLDEN VISA PROGRAM, GREECE HAS BEEN ABLE TO RAISE OVER €1 BILLION.
Which kinds of property are the hottest in Greece at the moment?
According to the Kapa Research poll, the preferences of investors have changed dramatically over time. Previously, foreign investors expressed more interest in housing options available in large cities like Athens or Thessaloniki; today, though, the majority is looking towards tourist-dense areas.
The Financial Times experts advise buying housing on the island of Rhodes. In 2016, the amount of real estate transactions here has increased by 35%. One of the most popular locations is the city of Lindos. The cities of Pefkos and Vlycha are also popular.
Real estate market in Greece: Facts and figures
The Kapa Research poll revealed that every other Greek national believes that renting a property is, in fact, a rational option, because of a relatively heavy tax burden which has increased in recent years. Just 42% of respondents would prefer to purchase their own homes and apartments.
The Greek Property Federation has backed this information with compelling statistical data: in 2006, 81.6% of Greeks owned real estate, and in 2018, this number has decreased to 73.9%.
Also note that, according to the above-mentioned Kapa Research survey, only 21.6% of respondents stated they could afford to pay the single property tax, while 25.4% of respondents said they would not be able to fulfill their fiscal obligations to the state. Another 38.3% said that it would be difficult for them to pay the tax.
Over the past three years, 76% of landlords in Greece have lowered the rental rate by 40%. Less and less Greeks are willing to buy real estate on the peninsula, a tendency that certainly simplifies the task for foreign investors who are interested in the Greek Golden Visa program.
Meanwhile, the Greek economy has been gradually recovering from the consequences of the crisis. Recently, S&P Global Ratings agency experts upgraded the country’s credit rating from “B-” to “B”, reporting growth prospects. According to analysts, the positive dynamics is a reflection of the improved fiscal prospects against the backdrop of a stabilizing political situation, along with decreasing unemployment rates.
The data provided by the Central Bank of Greece also shows improvement in the economic sector, with the sharp increase in the volume of foreign investments.
FROM JANUARY TO JUNE 2017, THE INFLUX OF DIRECT FOREIGN INVESTMENT AMOUNTED TO €129.7 MILLION.
The Greek exports sector has increased by 18.2% as compared to the first half of 2016 (€12 billion vs €14.2 billion). The sphere of international tourism is also developing dynamically. In 2017, Greece was visited by 30 million foreigners. It is expected that this trend will continue in 2018.
Greece attracts the attention of world celebrities
Recently, the news started circulating about FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi buying a Greek island. It’s speculated that Messi might have become the owner of the island of Sofia which had been up for sale since 2015. There’s no official confirmation of the information yet.
Local realtors report that Greece currently has many islands for sale, that are of interest to rich football players and world-famous showbiz stars. Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Emir Kusturica, and Johnny Depp all reportedly own Greek real estate.
The must-know details for a future Greek resident
The applicant must be at least 18 years old, have a clean police record and an impeccable personal and business reputation.
Can an investor have their applications rejected? The answer is yes, in case the investor provides false information to the authorities, has a criminal record, or poses a threat to the country.
Here’s the list of important nuances:
- The Greek Golden Visa holder can apply for acquiring of a citizenship status on general grounds: 5 years after obtaining the Golden Visa, the investor is eligible to apply for permanent residence status (given that they stayed in the country for at least 915 days); and after five more years, the investor can apply for citizenship.
- The validity of the residence permit is 5 years. After five years, the status can be extended for a similar period.
- The investment amount is paid in full after the application is approved by the authorities.
- Spouse and children under the age of 23 can obtain a Greek residence permit together with the principal applicant.
What benefits holders of a Greek Golden Visa have at their disposal?
- Freedom of movement within the EU. Residents of Greece have the right to visa-free entry and movement within the Schengen Area.
- The possibility to reside in Greece all year round. This is a great opportunity to integrate into the European community and enjoy all the benefits of European lifestyle.
- A simple and quick processing. The whole process of obtaining a residence permit takes not more than 3 months. You will have to come to Greece once to submit biometrics and receive your ID-cards.
- No residence (physical presence) required. However, if the investor is intending to apply for permanent residence or citizenship status in the future, they are obliged to spend 183 days per year in Greece.
- European quality of life. Greek education system, medicine, legal system are the pleasant bonuses available to the holders of Greek ID-cards.
You don’t just acquire property in Greece by investing in the Golden Visa — you get the blanket of social and political security for your whole family, as well as the opportunity to protect your assets.
Interested in more detailed information about Greek Golden Visa program? Contact us!
- We offer free consultations, understanding how important it is for the client to make the only correct decision.
- We work only in the field of investment immigration, integrating gained experience into the investor’s goal.
- We work only with official programs of the European Union and Caribbean countries.
- Before signing the contract, we inform our clients about all additional fees and expenses.
- We conduct a screening to assess the investor’s chances of obtaining the desired citizenship.
- We oversee the process at each stage and work exclusively towards the result.
- We are in touch 24/7.