After weeks of anticipation and speculation, the Greek government has finally unveiled the eagerly awaited adjustments to the real estate investment criteria for its highly sought-after golden visa program. Our company, Beyond Global Partners, as a leading provider of comprehensive services for the Greece Golden Visa program, closely monitored the developments leading up to this announcement.

During the past month, there has been a flurry of activity surrounding potential modifications to the program’s real estate regulations. Reports varied widely, with official statements and insider insights hinting at changes while leaving many details uncertain. The government entertained numerous proposals, including different price tiers for various regions and potential restrictions on short-term leases.

Today, the Ministry of Finance released the finalized rules, which are now set to undergo parliamentary approval. Given the government’s overwhelming majority in the national assembly, any significant deviations from the outlined regulations are unlikely, as explained by our experts.

The new regulations establish two distinct investment zones:

  • Properties valued at EUR 800,000 within the Administrative Region of Attica, which includes Piraeus and most of the capital region, as well as the Regional Units of Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini, and islands with populations under 3,100 inhabitants.
  • Properties valued at EUR 400,000 in all other regions of Greece.

Additionally, the entire investment must be allocated to a single property with a minimum area of 120 square meters. However, the government has introduced two significant exceptions to the EUR 400,000-800,000 threshold:

  • Properties converted from commercial to residential use, allowing investors to qualify with a minimum investment of EUR 250,000. This conversion must be completed before the submission of the golden visa application.
  • Restoration of listed buildings of historical or cultural significance, where investors may also qualify with a minimum investment of EUR 250,000. The renovation must be finalized within five years for visa renewal.

Furthermore, there are restrictions on property usage. Investors are prohibited from engaging in short-term rental activities, such as those through platforms like Airbnb. Additionally, properties acquired through the conversion of commercial real estate to residential cannot be used as registered company headquarters. Non-compliance with these restrictions may lead to the revocation of the residence permit and an administrative fine of EUR 50,000.

The transitional period allows applicants to qualify under the existing thresholds by paying a 10% investment deposit before September 30th and completing the investment by the end of 2024. If the investment is not finalized on time but the deposit has been paid, investors have until April 2025 to purchase another property and still qualify under the current thresholds.

Looking ahead, our company anticipates that the exceptions introduced will become the primary qualifying categories under the golden visa program. Developers and investors are likely to shift their focus towards conversion and restoration projects, leveraging the lower EUR 250,000 threshold. Similar changes in Portugal’s golden visa program prompted a swift redirection of efforts towards renovation projects offering qualification at lower price points.

While the amendments hold the potential for positive outcomes, their practical implications hinge on the detailed regulations yet to be unveiled. Operational definitions for qualifying properties and renovation works will shape how these changes are implemented.

Despite the adjustments, demand for the Greek golden visa remains robust, evidenced by a significant backlog of nearly 30,000 unprocessed applications. With ample forewarning of the impending changes, another surge in applications would not be unexpected, reflecting the program’s enduring popularity. Get in touch with our Greece Golden Visa experts to have your Greece Golden Visa as early as possible.