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New Thresholds, New Opportunities: Greece’s Updated Golden Visa Program

Christina Georgaki of Georgaki & Partners
IMI Official Partner

The recent changes to the Greek Golden Visa have produced a more flexible, dynamic, and interesting program for investors. The bracketed investment thresholds create a fresh framework that can lead to greater diversification and potentially remarkable returns.

While a Golden Visa cannot be responsible for shaping a housing market (barely moving the needle), it can have a trickle-down effect. As Golden Visas undergo changes, stakeholders go into high gear, innovating new products and investment opportunities for investors.

Typically, these new approaches yield better financial results. Take Portugal’s Golden Visa as a prime example. After limiting residential real estate to the country’s interior in 2021, developers and fund managers began creating commercial hospitality real estate options that could yield better returns than their residential precursors. 

Expect this to happen all throughout Greece as developers innovate new solutions within the new program parameters.

But even now, as things stand, Greece’s property market remains one of the world’s most exciting and beneficial investment destinations. The government’s excellent work in elevating the economy and the continued demand for prime real estate in one of the world’s most naturally stunning and culturally diversified countries keep Greece on top.

An Economic Revival Underpinning Market Growth

The Greek government’s effective economic management has been pivotal in enhancing the country’s appeal as an investment destination. With robust GDP growth, significant reductions in unemployment, and a series of reforms aimed at improving the business environment, Greece is positioning itself as a stable, profitable, and attractive market for international investors. 

The success of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, substantial foreign direct investments, and ongoing improvements in infrastructure underscores the government’s commitment to economic stability and growth.

Greece’s cities are experiencing a real estate renaissance, with urban home prices soaring 14.14% year-over-year in Q2 2023. Powering this upswing is insatiable foreign buyer demand – overseas investors accounted for 80-85% of Greece’s €1.1 billion in real estate transactions in just the first half of 2023, a 39.9% annual increase.

Catalyzing Greece’s real estate boom is an economic revitalization resetting the nation’s trajectory. The economy expanded 5.9% in 2022 and projects around 2.5% growth this year. Rising foreign direct investment – nearly €2 billion for property purchases in 2022, up 68% annually – reflects heightened global confidence.

This momentum is reinforced by suspending VAT on new construction and providing tax relief on investments. Residential permits were up 11% through July 2023 as developers race to meet accelerating demand. For investors, the tailwinds translate into rising asset values and robust rental yields already reaching 3.45-7.71% in prime Athenian locales.

For investors able to match the €800,000, the luxurious areas in Attica and Thessaloniki remain top-tier investment destinations. 

The massive demand for property ensures that investors who opt for the €250,000 options, be it restoration or conversion, can still make an impressive profit, not to mention the possibility of finding unique properties that align with the requirements.

I expect developers to innovate within the €250,000 categories, primarily to keep the lower threshold operating at full capacity and because there is so much room for creative approaches within those categories.

For those looking at the middle ground, two areas of Greece stand out within the €400,000 category.

The Peloponnese: Cultural Treasures and Coastal Charms

Beyond cities, the fabled Peloponnese peninsula exemplifies Greece’s powerful fusion of ancient charm and modern investment potential. 

Thanks to the revised €400,000 golden visa threshold, investors can secure Greek residency while laying roots in this storied landscape overflowing with historic villages, sun-drenched vineyards, and transcendent natural beauty.

The Peloponnese’s property market appeals to an array of buyer preferences and budgets. From modern apartments to traditional stone-built homes and villas, the region’s architectural diversity mirrors its varied terrain, stretching from the azure Ionian coastline to the rugged Parnon mountains. Residential prices span from €59,000 for a 39 sq.m. flat in North Kynouria to €1.3 million for a 250 sq.m. residence in Kalamata.

The Peloponnese offers properties that are typically 10-15% cheaper compared to other Greek areas. This price advantage, coupled with the area’s popularity among international buyers, particularly from Germany, Canada, and Australia, underscores its allure as a prime real estate destination.

Chalkidiki: Bespoke Beachside Luxury Awaits

On Greece’s northeastern peninsula of Chalkidiki, the allure of paradisiacal sandy beaches and cerulean waters has made the region a perennial haven for discerning vacationers – and now, investors. Under the evolved golden visa parameters, the prefecture’s scenic splendor can be yours to own.

Here, the diversity of properties matches the terrain’s dramatic shifts from rustic villages to cosmopolitan enclaves like Hanioti, where one-bedroom flats start around €65,000 while luxury 200 sq.m. maisonettes command €400,000 and up. 

Foreign investors especially covet dwellings with immediate beach access, ideal for lucrative seasonal rentals in an internationally renowned summer playground for elite Mediterranean revelers.

Beyond its tourism prowess, Chalkidiki has the infrastructure and amenities to thrive as a world-class vacation sanctuary and a full-time residential enclave. 

Investing in the peninsula’s continued development projects and boutique communities promises to unlock premium asset appreciation as the region’s renown parallels Greece’s economic ascendance.

With its seamless integration of contemporary sophistication and ancient mystique, Greece is authoring an investment renaissance – one that insightful investors can neither ignore nor afford to miss. Through the golden visa program’s thoughtfully calibrated parameters, the wonders of Greece are more accessible than ever.

To know more about the Golden Visa, contact Christina Georgaki through her website or email her directly at c.georgaki@georgaki.com