GOLDEN VISA GREECE: NO CHANGE REGARDING THE INVESTMENT LIMIT UNTIL 31 JULY
In the real estate market, they consider as something given that the granting of a three-month, or even six-month, extension of the start of implementation of the changes established in the Golden Visa program, which mainly concern the doubling of the minimum investment limit in specific areas of high investment interest, for example the center of Athens. Based on the planning to date, the interested investors have until April 30th, to proceed with the signing of preliminary property purchase agreements, to ensure the granting of a residence permit, under the existing regime.
However, as the lawyer Mr. Christos Kobiliris mentioned, speaking at the Panhellenic Conference of the Association of Foreigners and Immigration Law, the government is aiming to grant an extension until July 31, offering an important time “breather” to those concerned, especially to investors from China. The latter were only active again at the end of 2022, as then there was a relaxation of draconian pandemic containment measures by the Chinese government, significantly relaxing travel restrictions.
In practice, if this is the case, interested investors will still have three months to search for and locate the right property, with the cost being kept at 250,000 euros rather than 500,000 euros. It is recalled that the limit of 500,000 euros will apply in the center of Athens, the southern and northern suburbs, Mykonos, Santorini and the Municipality of Thessaloniki. In fact, it will not be allowed to acquire e.g., two or three individual properties, the total value of which exceeds 500,000 euros. On the contrary, the amount of the investment should be limited to only one property or alternatively to two or more properties, but of the same building.
This change is being made to ensure that domestic prospective buyers are not excluded from the affordable housing market in high demand areas such as the city center and northern suburbs. Strong demand from abroad has driven asking prices sky high, as many landlords estimate they will be able to attract foreign buyers, even if their properties are often of inferior value. The goal, therefore, is to have a normalization of prices, so that they correspond to their real value and that the Greek stakeholders are not excluded.
Based on the latest official data, 2,258 new permanent investor permits were granted in 2022. However, from September onwards, when it was announced by the Prime Minister himself, Mr. Mitsotakis (in the framework of the TIF), the government’s intention to double the minimum investment limit to 500,000 euros, there was a significant mobilization among foreign investors. In September 2022, requests for new licenses were 337. By December 2022, the relevant figure had almost quadrupled to 1,216 requests, and this trend continues in 2023.
Until today, 10,039 permanent investor permits have been granted to citizens of non-EU countries. The Chinese are the largest group of investors, having secured 6,258 permits, which currently constitute 62.5% of the total. However, before the outbreak of the pandemic their share was more than 70%, a sign of their absence from the real estate market in the last two years.