PROPERTY

Golden Visa program shrinks

golden-visa-program-shrinks

The drop in Golden Visa issues in 2020, due to the pandemic, is evident from the revised official data, which showed only 938 new five-year residence permits had been issued for investors who brought a total of 234.5 million euros into the country last year.

In 2019 the Greek authorities had issued 3,503 permits to non-European Union nationals investing a total of €876 million in the local realty market. This means the drop in property investments aimed at securing a Golden Visa fell 73% annually.

The signs for 2021 are even worse: Up to early June only 117 permits had been issued, representing investments of just €29.25 million.

Property market professionals associate the recovery of the Golden Visa program with the course of vaccinations and the pandemic in general, as well as with air travel restrictions, as they mostly concern non-EU countries of origin.

If there are no negative and unforeseeable developments in the second half of the year, there is optimism that there will be a gradual rebound of investments, especially from China, which has been the main source of funds in this program. However, if fears about the fourth wave of the pandemic prove correct, the expected rebound will have to be postponed for later – i.e., until at least the last quarter of the year.

Since the introduction of the Golden Visa program in mid-2014, the Greek authorities have issued 8,692 residence permits to non-EU citizens who invest at least €250,000 in local realty. This means that more than €2.17 billion has been invested in Greek property in those seven years through that program. Investment migration experts actually put that figure near €3 billion, as about half of the investors have spent far above the minimum requirement.

The program accounted last year for 27% of all foreign exchange inflows for property purchases. Bank of Greece figures showed those inflows at €875 million, far below the €1.45 billion in 2019, when more than half went to Golden Visa investments (approximately €874 million).

In January-March 2021, net foreign direct investments in property dropped 7.3% annually to €214 million.