Ever since Greece’s Prime Minister Mr Mitsotakis announced over three months ago that his government intended to double the minimum investment for eligibility to apply for Greece’s Golden Visa from €250,000 to 500,000, both the real estate market and the community of international investors have been eager to complete and submit as many applications as possible to benefit from the lower investment threshold. At the time, the annoucement did not specify precisely to which properties or areas in Greece this new minimum investment would apply, nor when the new conditions would be implemented. Although new details are emerging, Yiannos Trisokkas, CEO and Managing Partner at Velment, a full-service global real estate enterprise serving an international clientele of HNWI, points out that the situation is still fluid, as even the latest clarifications from market sources remain unofficial, but are one step closer to being finalized.
Recapping the changes
To date, the main financial requirement that allows a non-EU investor to apply for Greece’s Gold Visa residence permit is an investment of at least €250,000 in one or more properties anywhere in Greece. According to the latest announcements, two key changes are expected:
- The minimum investment will be doubled from €250,000 to 500,000 for properties in the center of Athens and in the northern and southern suburbs, as well as in Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini. The eastern and western suburbs of Attica, as well as Piraeus, will be excluded from this change, maintaining the original minimum investment of €250,000.
- While investors today can choose to invest in any number of properties with a combined total value of at least €250,000, the new conditions will limit the options to either one property only, or two in the same development.
Needless to say, investors are keen to find out exactly which areas will be affected by the change and when. What the latest information reveals is that the government is determined to maintain the lower threshold of €250,000 in most areas, with few exceptions. Also important to note is that there will certainly be a period of transition, before the new conditions take effect. In fact, no changes are expected to apply to any application linked to property acquired and a contract of sale signed before 1 May 2023. A further period of grace, possibly till the end of 2023, is likely to be granted, in cases where a sales contract was signed together with a minimum down payment of 10% of the total sale price. The grace period will also apply if – for any reason – a sale that was originally agreed before 1 May 2023 falls through but is replaced with an alternative property, and the final sale is concluded before the end of the year.
Official confirmation… any day now
Aiming to eliminate the uncertainty, the government is expected to make a final and official announcement any day now, putting an end to speculations circulating in the market over the past three months.
Such news is eagerly awaited by all players in the field of investment migration, and of course the high number of investors with pending applications. Anticipation is also acute among many who have expressed serious interest in proceeding before any sudden changes in the programme make it more difficult – or impossible – to take advantage of a residency by investment programme that, until now, ranked among the most favourable in Europe.
Although the minimum of €500,000 will only apply to certain areas, interest will remain high in the other areas, where we are likely to witness a ‘side effect’, as property prices are expected to rise in all the other areas, in response to increased demand from buyers avoiding the higher investment minimum. What can be said with certainty is that maintaining the option to qualify for the Golden Visa program with an investment of €250,000, even if that excludes a few areas in Greece, is very encouraging news that will be widely welcomed.