Study: More US Buyers Tapping into Greece’s Golden Visa Scheme
Greece is expected to see US investment activity in the property market pick up pace through the country’s popular Greek golden visa program, after Portugal decided to discontinue its residence by investment scheme, a study by property experts Astons found.
More specifically, according to Astons, Greece could now become the favorite spot for American investors seeking to benefit from its golden visa scheme, which grants five-year residency rights for third country nationals who purchase property in Greece valued at a minimum of 250,000 euros – set to rise to 500,000 euros for some areas in May.
The Astons study goes on to add that Greece reported the third highest level of applications by US investors in 2021, which increased by 740 percent in 2022.
Indicatively, Portugal was the top destination of choice for American “high-net-worth individuals” (HNWIs) seeking to expatriate. “The strong increase in American interest in Greece residency through investment is only going to grow further now that Portugal is no longer welcoming them with open arms,” said the report.
In the last quarter of 2022, Greece saw the number of new applications for Greece’s golden visa scheme increase by 231 percent in December 2022 to 1,116 from 337 in September 2022, when the announcement was made. In total in 2022, 2,767 new investor visas were granted in Greece, up by 81 percent over 2021. Overall in 2022, 4,264 applications for a golden visas had been submitted.
“In 2020, we saw a mass exodus of American high-net-worth individuals leaving the USA and it was Portugal that they had their sights firmly set on with when obtaining alternative residency via a golden visa. However, it’s likely that Greece will now become their destination of choice following the Portuguese government’s decision to close its golden visa scheme,” said Immigration Expert for Astons USA, Alina Lesina.
“Not only has it been the second most popular European golden visa scheme amongst US investors in recent years, there has also been a huge increase in this interest on an annual basis,” she said.
Some key findings of the Astons study:
– 6,705 high-net-worth individuals chose to exit the US in the first year of the pandemic, a 224 percent increase on the previous year and the highest annual total seen in the last decade
– despite dropping by 64 percent in 2021, the number of wealthy Americans expatriating from the US has started to climb, rising by 18 percent between 2021 and 2022
– Portugal had been Americans’ destination of choice, with the country’s investor visa scheme attracting the largest number of applicants in both 2021 and 2020.
Portugal said it has decided to discontinue its golden visa program in efforts to address the country’s growing housing crisis. It has however kept its digital nomad and D7 visas in place. Earlier this year, Ireland also scrapped its investor visa program.
It should be noted that as of April 30, the minimum requirement for the acquisition of an investor visa in Greece is set to rise to 500,000 euros for real estate purchases in the wider Athens and Attica region, including in Paleo Faliro, Alimos, Elliniko, Glyfada, Marousi, Kifissia, Melissia, Vrillisia, Dionysos and Ekali – all areas where massive infrastructure projects have been completed or are underway such as The Ellinikon; in Thessaloniki and on Mykonos and Santorini.
The 250,000-euro limit will continue to apply for areas further away from the Greek capital, such as Vouliagmeni, Varkiza, Voula, Saronida, Anavyssos and Sounio.
Greece’s golden visa program is the leading residency-for-investment scheme in Europe and provides through Greek residency rights instant access to the Schengen Area and the EU.
Astons have for over 30 years been active in real estate, residence and citizenship solutions.