The group head of private clients at Migronis, Ilana, spent a fantastic week last month in Greece with our marketing team. The primary purpose of this trip was to interview lawyers, developers, local business owners, and investors to share first-hand experiences with our clients.
"My favorite part of the trip, of course, is the food and wine. We managed to snag an early morning interview with the third-generation owner of Kostas, one of the oldest family-owned souvlaki shops in Athens. In this modern day and age, it was refreshing to see family traditions live on, every ingredient is hand-selected and they prepare everything from scratch," says Ilana.
During the trip, most of our conversations were focused on how the proposed increases would economically affect the Golden Visa and real estate markets. Let’s have a look at how the rules are now going to change.
Changes were officially made
As for now, the minimum real estate investment under the Golden Visa program in Greece is €250,000. In October 2022, the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, announced the country’s plans to increase the minimum investment required to €500,000, and Parliament approved these changes on December 21. However, the situation is not as tough as it sounds. The increased minimum investment requirement will be applied only to specific regions with an installed transition period.
What regions and municipalities will you need to invest €500,000 next year?
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis explains that the municipalities affected by the recent changes are those where investors have been taking up properties and consequently driving Greeks out of their neighborhoods due to rising rents.
Athens region municipalities:
- Agia Paraskevi
- Agios Dimitrios
- Nea Ionia
- Nea Smyrni
- Palaio Faliro
Thessaloniki region municipalities:
- Ampelokipoi Menemeni
- Pavlos Melas
New rules also apply to the total agreed price of contracts for the lease of hotel accommodation or furnished tourist residences in these areas, which you must pay in full before applying for a permanent residence permit.
The amendment clarifies that the above investment only concerns purchasing a single property. In cases of joint property ownership, the minimum value of the ownership share must be €500,000 and must again affect a single property.
How will the transition period be organized for investors?
The transition period will begin on May 1st, 2023, and last until the end of the year.
According to Alexander Varnavas of Varnavas Law (reference: Ministry of Development), investors who purchase real estate in the areas listed above and have already paid 10% of the property value as a deposit by April 31st, 2023 will be able to conclude their contracts until December 31st, 2023, and apply under the scheme that requires the €250,000 investment.
Investors who have already paid their deposit will have the option to replace the initial property with another one and still apply under the €250,000 threshold, provided they conclude the transaction before the end of the transition period.
If the government makes other formal recommendations for the transition period, we will update this information.
There is still time
These changes once again remind us that governments create Golden Visa programs to suit their country’s financial needs and that the changes they often make are because they are politically expedient.
Even with the announced changes, Athens remains the most prominent Greek region for investors. Many investors working with Migronis are already spending more than the €250,000 minimum to invest in more upmarket parts of Athens or the islands. Most Golden Visa holders invest in real estate in the Athens region as it is the most reliable option for higher yields and continuous income flow from the property due to the all-year-round tourist trade.
However, if you are not yet ready to invest a minimum of €500,000 in a property purchase, remember that Greece still offers the lowest-cost real estate investment route to a European permanent residency permit for the next few months. If this has long been on your radar, now is a good time to get involved.