The Golden Visa program of Greece is the most popular in Europe as rich non-EU citizens are lining up to get theirs – for a minimum investment of 250,000 euros ($244,300) that will be doubled.
According to a recent survey provided by property brokers, Tranio Greece leads the international demand in European Golden Visa Programs for the third quarter of this year.
The survey revealed that the demand for the Greek Golden Visa program increased by a total of 290 percent, following the increase in the minimum investment requirement from €250,000 to €500,000.
Portugal, Latvia, Spain, and Montenegro follow in demand for the Golden Visa.
Greece to double investment requirement for Golden Visa program
The Golden Visa program, also known as the Residency by Investment Program, allows internationals to acquire residency in European countries that run such programs, provided they invest in these countries and meet specific conditions.
The program gives five-year residency to investors and their families and the European Union passport although the minimum to be eligible in Greece is being raised to 500,000 euros ($488,750.)
That was being done, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said because investors were snapping up Greek properties, particularly in Athens, and driving Greeks out of their own neighborhoods and raising rents.
Despite the fact the new changes have been introduced in September, it has not been confirmed any specific date when the new changes could take effect; however, it has been indicated that the new rules can become effective starting next year.
Demand for real estate in Greece grows
According to data from the Bank of Greece, during the second quarter of the year capital inflows from abroad for the acquisition of real estate in Greece amounted to 414.4 million euros, an amount that represents an increase of 67% compared to the corresponding period last year.
Apartments in the center of Athens, quality constructions in the Athens Riviera and luxurious country houses in popular tourist areas are the main areas chosen by foreign investors.
During the first half of 2022, foreign capital inflows in Greece registered an annual increase of 61% to 788 million euros, compared to 488 million during the corresponding period of the previous year.
Analysts say that based on the current pace and considering that traditionally real estate investment activity is strongest during the second half of each year, it is now almost certain that 2022 will set a new record.
To date, the largest amount that has flowed into the country in a calendar year was 1.45 billion euros in 2019. This year, it is likely to approach 1.6- 1.7 billion euros.
Cyprus stopped the Golden Visa program after scandal
The program is not without critics, however, including the EU, which said it can be susceptible to money laundering and a way for criminals to hide their income and be rewarded with passports.
In 2020 Cyprus abruptly stopped the issuance of Golden Visas after corruption was uncovered in the process.
The government rescinded the citizenship of hundreds of foreigners since then after an independent committee concluded that there was “criminal and political” culpability.
“It is obvious the Cyprus Investment Programme was operating between 2007 and 2020 with gaps and deficiencies, an inadequate legislative framework, and almost no regulatory framework,” former supreme court judge Myron Nikolatos said at the time.
The scathing report found that more than half of the 6,779 passports granted through the program were issued illegally.