China, Russia, Turkey Investors Top Golden Visa Greece List
Some 1.1 billion euros in capital is said to have entered the Greek real estate market from Greece’s “golden visa” program, which provides residence permits to investors from non EU-countries to buy real estate worth at least 250,000 euros.
According to data from Enterprise Greece, a total of 2,014 visas have been extended to foreign nationals since the launch of the program in 2013. In 2017, 464 investors were granted visas while dozens are currently being processed. The majority of investors purchased holiday homes.
In 2016, a total of 586 visas had been granted. According to Enterprise Greece, the largest number of buyers seeking to invest in Greece are from China (850 visas), Russia (388) and Turkey (161). They are followed by investors from Egypt (98), Lebanon (85), Ukraine (73), Iraq (62), Syria (48), Jordan (46), Saudi Arabia (18) and the United States (18). Analysts note that in the last 12 months, the number of investors from Turkey has soared due to the political uncertainty in their country.
Meanwhile, the average investment per person comes to 550,000-600,000 euros, well above the minimum 250,000 euros, with buyers preferring larger properties which are being sold for much less — many at almost half the initial price — due to the economic crisis. The drop in prices has boosted demand for luxury homes many of which exceed the 250,000-euro visa requirement.
In June, Alternate Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas said the program was among the most competitive in Europe and has already secured important investments for Greece to the tune of 1 billion euros.
The golden visa grants a five-year residence permit renewable for third country nationals who purchase — individually or through a legal entity — property in Greece valued at a minimum of 250,000 euros, or who have taken out a minimum 10-year lease in hotel accommodation or tourism facilities. The residence permit does not foresee a right to employment and citizenship can only be granted after seven years of residency.
The most popular locations for real estate are central Athens, the coastal suburbs of Faliro and eastward, Mykonos, Santorini, Spetses, Antiparos, and regions of Crete.