How Greece Golden Visa Program Affected the Real Estate Sector

Updated: 22 February 2023

Greece Golden Visa has been in high demand since its first inception. Greece Golden Visa grants residency permits and, if the applicant keeps up with the requirements for a definite period of time, an EU passport. Since its introduction to the sector, Greece issued 4,154 Golden Visas to investors from all over the globe.

In 2018 alone, 1,399 such long-term residence permits were granted, the business newspaper Naftemporiki said in a report. Including dependents, the program numbers 11,445 people with Chinese nationals receiving 2,416 since the program began, followed by Russians and Turks.

Most of the Golden Visa issuances are through buying property in Greece. The Golden Visa program requires a minimum of €250,000 property investment. The qualified applicants obtain a residency permit without any mandatory residence in Greece. Property investors have shown great interest in Greece’s real estate during the nine-year period of the financial crisis. A big percentage of these properties have been turned into short-term rentals. With Airbnb’s entrance into the neighborhoods of Athens, the prices have gone up drastically and long-time residents lost their places.

The €250k threshold to obtain Greece Golden Visa by real estate investment will rise up to a total of €500k for particular regions in the country, namely the islands of Mykonos and Santorini, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, and the Greater Area of Athens. The investors will be required to invest the said amount as a whole in only ONE property.

Now that Greece is having an inflow of foreigners who invest in Greece real estate, whole areas that were uninhabited during the crisis are being populated. Vast majority of these properties are not getting filled by long-term residents. Tourists using Airbnb for short-term rentals and property investors who buy real estate to obtain residence permits constitute the majority of the popularity in these areas.

Athens properties are popular for rich foreign investors because they allow investors to apply for Greece Golden Visa. This program helps foreigners to bypass Greek bureaucracy which does not have a very good reputation. Even people in the Diaspora have problems with Greek bureaucracy. So, it is quite valuable for rich investors to save time through the Greece Golden Visa process.  

Real Estate in Greece is Transformed by Airbnb and Greece Golden Visa

Together with the emerging popularity of Airbnb and similar applications, Greece Golden Visa reshapes the market structure in the country. Many houses in Athens, Thessaloniki, and on Greek islands are priced at exactly €250,000, the minimum needed for buyers to qualify for the visa program. Airbnb and Greece Golden Visa also vitalize the short-term rental market. Investors who want a return for their investments choose to rent their properties. Lefteris Potamianos, president of the Athens-Attica Real Estate Association, said the visas have helped revive the market and, in turn, pushed up rental costs in some areas by as much as 30 percent.]

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