EuropeIntel & Data

Greek Golden Visa Raising €200m+ a Month: Backlog Has Tripled in One Year

Catalyzed by the advertised doubling of the minimum real estate investment requirements in 36 densely populated municipalities, which finally took effect this month, as well as the uncertainty regarding the future of its Portuguese rival program, the Greek golden visa continues its inexorable rise, logging new application and approval records with each passing month. Such unprecedented growth, however, has come at the cost of a sharply expanding backlog of applications.

As of July 1st this year, pending golden visa applications number 20,103 (up by 4,256 - or 27% - in just the last two months) , distributed as follows:

  • 5,822 initial applications pertaining to main applicants
  • 11,430 initial applications pertaining to dependents
  • 955 renewal applications pertaining to main applicants
  • 1,896 renewal applications pertaining to dependents

In the first six months of 2023, Greece recorded an average of 692 applications a month, an average nearly three times that of the same period last year. Processing capacity has also increased, though by no means by the same proportion. This has resulted in a backlog that has now grown for 10 consecutive months.

In fact, the government has yet to process some 600 applications (from main applicants only) it received in the period before 2022.

The 5,822 applications from main applicants the government now has on hand have an implied value of about EUR 1.75 billion, presuming an average investment of EUR 300,000.

Among the altogether 20,103 pending applications (from both main applicants and their family members, and for both initial grants and renewals), 84% pertain to investments in Attica, the Greek capital region, which is home to some 4 in 10 Greeks. At a very distant second, with 925 pending applications, is the island of Crete, followed by Peloponnese and Western Greece (700), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (514), Epirus and Western Macedonia (509), Thessaly (316), and the Aegean (252).

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The program could set several new records this year. While application volume is likely to slow now that the price increase in certain areas has taken effect, July has yet to be accounted for in the statistics. Moreover, the end of Portugal's real estate options now looks all but certain to take place within a month or two, which will unquestionably divert property investors to Greece.

At the halfway mark of 2023, Greece had received 2,618 applications and approved 1,886. If the second half of the year proves equally prodigious, application volume for Greek golden visas is likely to 5,000 for the first time ever, while approvals could well surpass the 2019 record of 3,963.

Among those currently holding an active Greek golden visa, the Chinese stand out with 61% of the total, followed by Turks (6.5%), and Lebanese (5%).

Among those who have already reached the five-year mark and received renewals, however, Chinese dominance is a less-pronounced 32% (the Chinese were relatively late to discover the Greek golden visa, in contrast to what's been observed in Portugal), followed by Russians (17%), and Turks (11%).

The number of Russians holding an initial golden visa has fallen steadily all year. At the end of June 2022, 431 Russians held initial golden visas, while 326 held already-renewed permits. At the end of June this year, however, the number of active initial golden visas held by Russians had fallen to 359, while the number of them holding renewed permits had risen to 391, reflecting the ban on new applications from Russians but the continued issuance of renewals to the same.

If you like data-driven articles like this one, you'll love the IMI Data Center, the world's largest collection of investment migration statistics, with more than 350 graphs and charts on dozens of IM programs and markets.

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