BUSINESS

More and more money coming in from abroad for property buys

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Property

The inflow of foreign for the acquisition and development of real estate in Greece showed an annual increase of 130 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to data published by the Bank of Greece.

The increase is a clear indication that this year foreign investors will be at the forefront once more of boosting demand for property in Greece, despite a small swing by some Greeks in favor of buying a house. If the existing pace of property purchases continues throughout 2019, it is possible the year will end with total inflow of funds coming to 3 billion euros, another historic high for Greek realty.

In 2018, the amount of money placed in the local property market rose 172 percent from 2017, to reach about 1.3 billion euros. Almost half of that, or 655 million euros, concerned property purchases by foreign investors, while the rest regarded investment moves, such as the development and reconstruction of existing properties. In 2017, an estimated 300 million euros came into Greece for the acquisition of properties.

Real estate market professionals say that the main factors behind this massive spike in interest in Greek realty – besides a sense of financial stability after the end of the bailouts – are the expectation of considerable returns from the utilization of properties for short-term rentals and the success of the residence permit concession program for non-European Union citizens buying property assets of at least 250,000 euros.

This year, up to June 4, 645 new “Golden Visas” have already been issued to non-EU investors. At this rate by the end of the year some 1,550 residence permits will have been issued, up from last year’s 1,400 Golden Visas. In total, since the start of this program in mid-2013, Greece has issued 4,537 such residence permits, with 60 percent of them (2,757) concerning Chinese investors who continue to be the most active.

The vice chairman of the Greek-Chinese Chamber, Nikolaos Yiannidis, recently told an event at the Arexpo 2019 fair that “more than any other nationality, Chinese Golden Visa holders are taking advantage of the option of having residence permits also issued for their spouse and children up to the age of 24 years, bringing their families to Greece.”

Russian and Turkish investors take up this option at a far lower rate.

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