Gold visas: Greece tightens rules to combat housing crisis

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The amount of investment needed to benefit from the program, launched in 2014, increases from 250,000 to 800,000 euros.

This March 31, 2024, Greece tightened the rules for obtaining so-called gold visas, which grant residence permits to foreign citizens by investing in real estate, in order to combat the housing crisis.

The amount of investment needed to benefit from this program, launched in 2014 during the Greek crisis when real estate prices were falling and construction was in crisis, increases from 250,000 to 800,000 euros, according to the amendments presented by the Ministry of Finance on March 22.

In popular areas such as Attica (around Athens), Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini and islands with a population of more than 3,100, this figure rises to 800,000 euros, while in other regions it will be at least 400,000 euros.

“We are adopting balanced measures regarding the gold visa program, which take into account the housing needs of families, without forgetting the need to attract investments to the country,” said Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, quoted by AFP.

According to the government official, “these measures are part of the government’s housing policy which aims, in cooperation with the private sector, to guarantee affordable and quality housing for all citizens, taking into account the need to continue investments under more favorable and balanced conditions”.

Rents up 20% in Greece since 2018

According to data from the Bank of Greece, rents have soared by 20% since the country officially emerged from a decade of economic crisis in 2018, reducing families’ purchasing power.

Investors must now purchase a property of at least 120 square meters (m2), while for industrial buildings converted into housing the minimum investment amount required is 250,000 euros, the same as for investment in a historic building.

The government has also implemented measures to encourage the conversion of buildings into housing, the protection of historic buildings and a ban on short-term rentals of properties acquired through a golden visa.

According to data from the Ministry of Migration, this program saw ‘record’ demand in 2023, with 10,214 applications for acquisition or renewal, and last year 5,701 visas of this type were granted, for a total investment of 1 billion euros.

Other southern European countries hit by the crisis, such as Cyprus, Spain and Portugal, have used similar programs to attract foreign investment.

Spain to end gold visas in exchange for house purchase

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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