Demand for a Greek golden visa by foreign investors increased by 152 percent between January and July, right before the Greek government doubled its cost for the buying of property in some of the country’s most popular areas.
Launched in 2014, the Greek golden visa program grants a five-year residence permit in exchange for as low as a 250,000 euros (and now 500,000 euros in some areas) real estate investment in Greece.
According to data, by August 1 when the cost of a Greek golden visa doubled from 250,000 euros to 500,000 euros, 5,740 applications had been submitted, up from 2,279 in the first seven months of 2022. In July alone, 565 golden visa requests were submitted.
The Greek program reached a historic high by the end of July after the announcement of the doubling of the investment minimum and the two extensions to the deadline that followed. As a result, by July 31 foreign investors lined up to acquire real estate with a minimum value of 250,000 euros.
On August 1 the Greek government modified the visa-by-investment program granting five-year residency rights to third country nationals who purchase, individually or through a legal entity, property in Greece now valued at a minimum of 500,000 euros in areas such as Athens (North, Central and South Areas), Thessaloniki, Mykonos and Santorini.
According to real estate insiders, it remains to be seen whether demand from investors, mainly from China, who have swept the southern suburbs in recent years, will remain active. Insiders say that investors not keen on spending more than 250,000 euros may turn their interest to areas such as Piraeus, the western suburbs and the Argosaronic islands.
Submitted golden visa applications during the first seven months of 2023 exceeded the demand and revenue of 2019 – when a total of 4,071 requests were submitted, which translated into acquisitions of some 1.02 billion euros – and 2022, which until now was a benchmark year for the Greek Golden Visa program, which launched in 2014.
Last year, 4,365 applications were submitted, equivalent to 1.09 billion euros in investments.
With regard to 2023, in just the first five months of the year Greece’s residence by investment scheme already boosted the economy by almost 1 billion euros.
According to data from the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, the Chinese are still the key drivers of the program: of the 36,060 valid permanent investor permits, 61 percent belong to Chinese nationals, 6.4 percent to Turkish real estate buyers, 5 percent to Lebanese and 3.2 percent to Russians.
A recent study by the National Bank of Greece said the residency-by-investment program is responsible for 25 percent of the total residential real estate transactions that took place from 2018 to 2022. In fact, some 11,000 residence permits have been granted since the program came into force until the first six months of 2023 to citizens from outside the European Union who have invested more than 250,000 euros in the Greek real estate market.