Visa scheme picking up pace

October saw a surge in new residence permits for non-EU buyers of Greek properties

Visa scheme picking up pace

The rate of new residence permit issues in the context of the Golden Visa program is picking up, as according to the latest data from the Migration Policy Ministry, 747 new five-year permits were issued between the beginning of this year up and the end of October.

However, last month alone saw 193 of these permits granted, after just 554 were issued in the first three quarters of this year, as the program conceding residence documents to real estate investors starts to gather pace again.

In total last year Greece had issued 938 residence permits for the acquisition by non-European Union citizens of properties worth at least 250,000 euros. This year that figure is expected to end slightly higher.

Of course this is nowhere near the performance of the years before the pandemic. Difficulties persist in air travel due to the pandemic restrictions, especially regarding trips to and from China, which constitutes the number 1 source of interest in Golden Visas based on the record of those that have been conceded to date.

Last year permit issues posted a decline of 73.4% compared to 2019, a record year for the Golden Visa program that saw 3,535 permits granted. That figure corresponds to the inflow of some €1 billion to Greece for the purchase of real estate.

That figure was also reflected in Bank of Greece data, as capital inflows from abroad for the acquisition of properties in Greece totaled €1.45 billion in 2019 before shrinking to €875 million in 2020.

Since the start of the incentives scheme Greece has conceded 9,322 residence permits to investors and a total of 27,944 permits when their family members are included too. The overall investment in the Greek property market through this program is estimated at €2.33 billion, although the total amount invested in the purchase of Greek property assets by foreigners is seen as far higher, possibly more than €3 billion, as a number of acquisitions concerned assets that cost much more than the threshold of €250,000 required.

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