Demand for Greece’s Golden Visa rises ahead of new requirements


Ever since Greece’s Golden Visa program was launched in July 2013, it has been many an investor’s favourite – a gateway to life, business and education in Europe. Like similar programs, it grants applicants a five-year residency visa in return for an investment in real estate. However, various features of Greece’s program made it more attractive than other residence-by-investment schemes across Europe. These include the fact that there is no minimum stay requirement, and investors can include dependent children up to the age of 21 in the same application. Also, after seven years of residency, a full citizenship application may be submitted. Above all, Greece’s program ranked as the most affordable one, with a minimum investment requirement of €250,000. But that, is set to change…

Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, announced last month that he intended to raise the minimum investment amount to qualify for the country’s Golden Visa program up to €500,000 – double the current figure. The rationale behind this decision is that in so doing, Greece’s properties would become more affordable for local buyers, especially first-time buyers trying to get on the property ladder in an economy that is growing at a high rate, with real estate prices rising accordingly.

However, various analysts disagreed, arguing that the overall negative impact on the economy might well outweigh the envisaged benefits. Seeking a balance, the Prime Minister proposed increasing the minimum investment only within the boundaries of the Municipality of Athens and various suburbs still to be confirmed, while in all other areas of the country, the minimum investment will remain at €250,000.

This plan too was met with mixed reactions, with property professionals convinced that it would merely shift demand from one suburb to another and complicate the program, making it less appealing. Indeed, they feel that investors consider several factors, and consider alternatives based on the application procedure, processing period, and benefits.

Yiannos Trisokkas, CEO & Partner of Velment with decades of experience and deep insights into the industry, is very clear in his assessment of the situation. He says: “To date, the trend has been very clear. Records show that the demand for Greece’s Golden Visa rose by over 100% during the first half of 2022, compared with the same period last year. Where it will go from here is hard to say. But what can be said with certainty is that raising the minimum investment across the country to €500,000 will basically freeze the program and drive investors out of Greece and towards other destinations. Limiting the increase to certain areas will at least keep Greece on the desirable property investment map. We look forward to the government’s final decision regarding the exact locations where the increase will apply, in order to keep our clients up to date.”

At this point and pending a final decision, there is likely to be a spike in the number of applications, as the government has not set a date on which this measure will take effect. Although that might be as early as the first months of 2023, there will be a transitional period during which applications that are already being processed will not be affected.

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