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Investment Requirements Soar for Greek Golden Visa To Fight Housing Crisis

The increase in the investment threshold for its Golden Visa program

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In a significant move to tackle the escalating housing crisis, Greece has announced an increase in the investment threshold for its Golden Visa program.

Starting Sunday, aspiring homeowners, particularly in sought-after areas like Attica, Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini, and other populous islands, will now face a raised bar, needing to invest a whopping 800,000 euros for eligibility.

For other regions, the requirement has been adjusted to 400,000 euros.

Launched in 2014, the Golden Visa program was a beacon for foreign investors, offering a renewable five-year residence permit in exchange for a 250,000-euro property investment.

This initiative not only wooed thousands from across the globe, notably a significant Chinese demographic but also served as a lifeline for Greece’s then-dwindling property market.

The Finance Ministry’s decision is part of a broader strategy to ensure the provision of affordable and quality housing for all Greek citizens.

This move comes in light of rental prices soaring by 20% since 2018, marking the country’s exit from an almost decade-long financial crisis.

Furthermore, investors are now mandated to buy properties of at least 120 square meters or invest 250,000 euros in historic or repurposed industrial buildings for residential use.

Despite the program’s popularity, with a record 10,214 visa applications for initial acquisitions or renewals last year alone, concerns have been raised about its effectiveness in curbing housing prices and increasing the availability of long-term rentals.

Critics argue that while the program has undoubtedly spurred investment, surpassing one billion euros last year, it may fall short of its revamped objectives.

The adjustments to the Golden Visa scheme have sparked a dialogue on its implications for the real estate market and whether it will indeed pave the way for more accessible housing solutions for Greek citizens.