Greece raises the price of the popular Golden Visa because of the fight against the housing crisis

Greece has tightened its Golden Visa rules, raising the required investment to €800,000 in a bid to help ease the housing crisis. The successful program, which has attracted thousands of Chinese, was launched in 2014, granting foreigners a renewable 5-year residence permit in exchange for a €250,000 property investment. The Ministry of Finance announced that from Sunday the threshold will rise to 800,000 euros in attractive regions such as Attica, around Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini and islands with a population of more than 3,100 people. In other areas, it will start at 400,000 euros.


"These measures are part of the government's overall housing policy, which aims, in cooperation with the private sector, to provide affordable and quality housing for all citizens," said Finance Minister Kostis Hatsidakis. According to data from the central bank of Greece, rents have increased by 20 percent since the country officially emerged from a nearly decade-long crisis in 2018. Investors must now buy a property of at least 120 square meters, while for historic properties and industrial buildings converted in residential premises, the price is 250,000 euros.


Figures from the Department of Migration for last year show record demand with 10,214 applications for initial acquisition or renewal of a visa. A total of 5,701 Golden Visa permits were issued in 2023, and 8,800 applications are pending. The investment reached at least one billion euros during the year. However, the Association of Public Enterprises and Enterprise (SAE/E) said it was "highly doubtful" the government would achieve its aim of reducing house prices and increasing the availability of long-term rental properties.


The property market and construction industry faced a severe downturn during the economic crisis that began in 2008. SAE/E says that to date around 20,000 permanent residence permits have been granted to real estate investors. About 6,405 Chinese citizens purchased residence permits in 2021, according to the ministries of migration and foreign affairs. /BGNES, AFP