Greece Golden Visa: A Comprehensive Guide to the Latest Changes

  • 4 minutes
  • Apr 18, 2024

The Greek parliament recently passed amendments to the Golden Visa legislation in an effort to address the ongoing housing crisis. Under the new regulations, third-country citizens will be required to pay up to 800,000 euros for a five-year residence permit. The aim is to increase the supply of long-term rental housing and mitigate the impact of the Golden Visa program on housing costs.

Background on the Golden Visa Program

The Golden Visa program was introduced by the Greek government to attract foreign investment and stimulate economic growth. It offers residence permits to non-EU citizens who invest in real estate in Greece. The program gained popularity due to its affordability and the opportunity for investors to obtain residency in an EU country.

Prior to the recent amendments, the minimum investment required for a Golden Visa was set at 250,000 to 500,000 euros, depending on the location of the property. This led to a surge in housing prices, particularly in popular areas such as Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, and Santorini.

The Impact of the Housing Crisis

The housing crisis in Greece has become a pressing issue, with skyrocketing prices and rental rates. Many Greeks are struggling to find affordable housing and are resorting to alternative solutions, such as home-sharing or moving back in with their parents. The government recognized the need to address the housing crisis and its impact on the majority of citizens.

New Golden Visa Prices and Regulations

Under the amended legislation, the value of real estate that interested parties must own has increased to 800,000 euros in certain regions, including Attica, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini, and islands with a population exceeding 3,100 inhabitants. In the rest of the country, the minimum value is set at 400,000 euros.

The new regulations also stipulate that the investment must be made in one property, with a minimum area of 120 square meters. It is possible to purchase a percentage of undivided co-ownership of a property, with the minimum value set at 800,000 and 400,000 euros, respectively.

For buildings undergoing conversion into residences, the minimum investment amount is 250,000 euros. The conversion must be completed before the submission of the residence permit application. Similarly, for the restoration of landmarked buildings, the limit is set at 250,000 euros.

Rental and Usage Restrictions

Investors who acquire buildings under the Golden Visa program are allowed to rent them out, but short-term leases are prohibited. The properties cannot be used as business headquarters or branches. Any violations of these regulations may result in the revocation of the residence permit and a fine of 50,000 euros.

Voting and Political Support

The amendments to the Golden Visa legislation were supported by MPs from various political parties, including the ruling New Democracy party, the opposition center-left PASOK party, Pleusi Eleftherias, Spartans, and Elliniki Lysi. However, the left-wing SYRIZA and New Left parties voted against the amendments, while the Greek Communist Party, KKE, and the far-right party Niki abstained from voting.

Government’s Intention and Policy

The Ministry of Economy and Finance stated that the amendments aim to address the housing crisis by increasing the supply of long-term rental housing and mitigating the impact of the Golden Visa program on housing costs. The government is committed to maintaining incentives for investment capital and promoting the development of the property market.

The recent amendments to the Golden Visa legislation in Greece reflect the government’s efforts to tackle the housing crisis and ensure affordable housing for its citizens. By raising the minimum investment requirement and implementing stricter regulations, the government aims to strike a balance between attracting foreign investment and safeguarding the interests of the majority. These changes will likely have a significant impact on the real estate market and the Golden Visa program in Greece.

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