Greece mulls golden visa overhaul

Pedro Gonçalves
clock • 2 min read
Greece mulls golden visa overhaul

Greece is studying a series of changes to its golden visa scheme as the programme came to a near halt due to the pandemic in an effort to safeguard the property market and curb shady activity.

Greece's Golden Visa programme was until recently considered among the most successful of its type in Europe. Open to non-EU nationals, those that invest €250,000 or more in Greek property are granted a renewable five-year residence permit, which in turn gives them the privilege of being able to travel freely throughout the 27-member European Union"

Interest in Greece's golden visa has not waned even during the pandemic since Greek residency allows investors to enter Europe even when borders are closed, analysts at overseas property brokerage Tranio say.

Incentives

Changes include setting limits to property values and introducing incentives for property purchases outside Attica, aimed at reviving the real estate market nationwide, local media outlet GTP reported.

Subsequently, there will be an effort to promote commercial and touristic well-being of other Greek regions which admittedly have not displayed enough development in terms of financial stability compared to Athens and Thessaloniki.

The predicted focus will be casted upon the regions of Western and Northern Greece. To ensure the productive application of this plan, the price of Greece Golden Visa in these areas will be set at lower prices. The government seeks to attract potential investors and persuade them give a chance to these underrated destinations in the country.

Under the new requirements being examined by the Greek Development and Investments Ministry, in addition to the investment sum, buyers will also have to provide a certificate of value for the property they plan to purchase.

Greek property sector experts anticipate a jump in demand from investors from Britain over the next few months. This is thanks to people interested in obtaining a Greek residence permit or even a Greek passport, so that they can move freely between the UK and the European Union after the completion of Brexit.

Increase

Although the pandemic and lack of tourists have put the brakes on Greece's skyrocketing property prices, cheap mortgages, financial support from the EU and the return of tourists will lead to a "rapid increase in prices over the next two years," says George Kachmazov, the founder and managing partner of Tranio.

In this context, as officials from global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners and investment immigration specialists Astons recently told Reuters, there has been a surge in interest in Greece and Cyprus in the last few weeks, estimated at 30% for the former and 50% for the latter.

The Greek Golden Visa program may have a lower threshold, at 250,000 of property investment, against €300,000 for the Cypriot program, but the Greek citizenship requirements include that the investor has lived in Greece for at least seven years.

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