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Greece Properties Selling to Foreigners, Golden Visa an Incentive

All the more foreign nationals are interested in buying property in Greece, with the country’s real estate market picking up pace after seven years of stagnation.

Real estate experts are seeing signs of recovery particularly when taking into consideration the golden visa program, which 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 Greek real estate market is now showing signs of stability, with its recovery being more visible. There is growing demand in the sale and purchase as well as in the rental of property,” Stelios Samoladas, CEO RE/MAX Greece told Greek daily Kathimerini.

“The market is on an upward trend confirmed by Hellenic Statistical Service data of a 25.8 percent rise in the number of sales and purchases in 2015 compared to 2014,” he added.

Meanwhile, wealthy Russians, Chinese and Turkish nationals are mostly taking advantage of the golden visa scheme with interest focused on popular tourist destinations or city centers, while buyers overall are interested in small affordable apartments in older buildings.

“Prospective buyers as well as tenants are interested in residential properties that are affordable and small (1-2 bedroom apartments), about 20 years old… in good shape. However, there is now also interest in commercial real estate for both offices and stores,” Samoladas added.

In order for the market to return to growth, Samoladas says taxation must be reduced as should the cost of property transfer procedures and property tax (ENFIA).

“The tax framework and bureaucracy are deterring transactions and investments, and thus hindering the development of Greece’s real estate market,” he added.

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