Georgaki & Partners
IMI Official Partner
The Greek Government has finally released information regarding the changes to the Greek Golden Visa.
After months of speculation regarding details of the impending changes to the Golden Visa, the Hellenic Government has followed up on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ statements announcing a price hike.
New regulation L. 5007/2022 Articles 91 and 92 detail the areas that the price hike will affect and the conditional grace period, respectively.
Under Article 91 of the new regulations, the following areas will be subject to the price hike, raising the minimum qualifying real estate investment from €250,000 to €500,000:
- North, Central, and South Sectors of Athens
- Municipality of Vari – Voula – Vouliagmeni (Region of Attica)
- Municipality of Thessaloniki (Region of Central Macedonia)
- Regional Units of Mykonos and Santorini (Region of South Aegean)
Any property in a region other than those mentioned above will maintain the €250,000 price point moving forward, highlighting the plethora of options prospective Golden Visa investors still possess.
Attica and Central Macedonia are but two regions out of 13 in Greece, which means that investors still have the majority of the country available to them at the €250,000 price mark. Some of these regions may even come as an upgrade as potential real estate hotspots going forward.
Chalkidiki offers a great alternative to Thessaloniki, and its proximity to the bustling city and its airport makes it a great option for investors who are interested in the Macedonian Region up north. Dubbed the Greek Monaco, Chalkidiki offers investors higher yields than Thessaloniki at a lower minimum threshold to qualify for the Golden Visa.
Palairos may become a magnet for luxury investors. The western city has one of the highest average property prices per sqm, and the new developments popping up on its pristine shoreline may attract Golden Visa investors. A bit west into the Ionian Sea, the magnificent island of Corfu is another option, with high-end housing projects in a serene setting.
The island of Paros, situated between Mykonos and Santorini, remains eligible for the €250,000 pricing, and it has one of the highest property yields in the country at 7.1%, which is higher than that in Santorini. The Cyclades Island Group has about 30 islands within it, so investors that wanted that seafront property within the stunning island range in the Aegean are still flush with choice, while Crete also remains eligible at €250,000.
The point is; the new regulation covered only a very small portion of Greece, a portion that undoubtedly had a global brand associated with it but, for investors looking for a good deal with interesting returns, there remains the overwhelming majority of Greece's regions to choose from.
A conditional grace period
As Athens was the recipient of the largest single share of Golden Visa investments (41% of all property acquisitions for the purpose of gaining a Golden Visa), interested investors with an affinity for the city can consider themselves lucky that the new regulations come with a grace period, albeit one with conditions.
As per Article 92, any investor who wishes to purchase a property or properties in one of the areas undergoing a price hike may still qualify for the Golden Visa at €250,000 if they make a deposit equalling 10% of the property price or rental price of hotel accommodation or tourist residences by the 30th of April, 2023, either by signing a notarial deed or a private agreement of a specific date and a relevant proof of credit from the buyer's bank for the transfer of the advance payment to the seller's account on the deadline date.
This regulation gives investors a limited window of opportunity to act, finding their preferred asset and locking it in before the deadline, even if they need more time to collect the documentation for the Golden Visa application.
The new law also states that if the purchase of the property may not be completed by the 30th of April 2023, for which the deposit of ten percent (10%) of the purchase price was granted, the applicant may complete the investment in another property or properties, with a minimum investment value of €250,000 and not later than the 31st of December, 2023.
Swift action and diligent inspection are crucial
The Greek Government's decision to maintain the price hike within specific areas and introduce a grace period comes as good news for everyone involved.
Historically speaking, blanket price increases or new regulations that take immediate effect tend to derail residency or citizenship by investment programs, and that would be a shame considering the Greek Golden Visa has approved over 9,500 main applicants since 2013, making it one of the most popular programs in the world.
The way the Greek Government handled its decision-making process has been measured, and it has resulted in a small window that allows investors who were previously on the fence to take advantage of the current price point if they act quickly.
However, while swift action is needed, it does not mean they should indulge in hasty investments. Investors must thoroughly inspect their proposed investments, as it is in transitional times when some property owners may try to set higher mark-ups to take advantage of the situation.
Utilizing an experienced law firm, such as Georgaki Law, can help investors conduct proper due diligence on properties before they make the deposit. This proactiveness safeguards the investor's money while also ensuring that they do not have any issues when applying for the Golden Visa.
Another essential thing to note is the Government's conditions concerning the grace period. While the criteria may seem simple on paper, getting it right in practice requires the assistance of an expert immigration attorney.
The process is delicate and needs expertise and refined touch to ensure that an investor can qualify with a €250,000 investment in one of the areas subject to the price increase before the deadline. Any misstep may result in the rejection of an application, and then the investors must either invest another €250,000 or look at properties in other locations while forgoing their deposit.
There is time for investors to qualify under the current regulations, but only if they do it right, and to do so, they need the help of local experts.
But even for those who wait past the April deadline, they still have a plethora of options set at €250,000 outside of Athens and Thessaloniki to choose from, so it is as if nothing has changed and business remains as usual.
At Georgaki Law, our team excels within the realm of the Golden Visa, and we have our process down to a science. While our intimate understanding of the law and the new regulations means we are in the best position possible to help, investors take advantage of the current situation. If you are interested in exploring the Golden Visa before this opportunity ends, contact us today through our website.