Greece is looking to upgrade and adjust its golden visa programme in an effort to attract more foreign nationals investing in property, with planned changes to include the minimum purchase threshold.
The current minimum purchase value for a foreigner which is 250,000 euros is planned to be reduced to 200,000 euros whilst officials are also examining the possibility of allowing foreign buyers to launch business activities in specific sectors of the economy if the investment exceeds 250,000 euros.
The original Greek golden visa programme was launched in July 2013, following similar programmes implementing in Portugal and Spain. However the programme has not attracted the much needed cash the government was hoping for and failed the ministry’s expectations with the Bank of Greece revealing that capital inflow from the purchase of real estate by foreign investors dropped by 25.6 percent in 2015 to 185.8 million euros, compared to 250 million euros in 2014.
In its current form the visa programme granted a five-year residence permit renewable for third country nationals who purchase – individually or through a legal entity – property in Greece valued at a minimum of 250,000 euros, or who have taken out a minimum 10-year lease in hotel accommodation or tourism facilities. The residence permit does not foresee a right to employment and citizenship can only be granted after seven years of residency.
Meanwhile, according to PwC’s ‘’Emerging Trends in Real Estate: Europe 2017’’ report, Greece has staved off economic catastrophe for another year, but investors still have a gloomy view of its prospects: Athens is ranked second-from-bottom of the city rankings.
The report quotes a major international investor as saying “there is a risk of Greece dropping out of the Euro, and even if you don’t think it will happen there is still a high potential. It is a spectrum of how much risk you take on.”
Pwc underlines that for there to be a fast recovery of the real estate market, a new regulatory framework, along with measures to facilitate transactions and reduce oversupply are needed.