By Moustafa Daly
Greece’s national economy minister, Kostis Hatzidakis, said that raising the minimum investment of the Greek golden visa might be imminent.
Speaking at a conference last week, Hatzidakis did not specify the areas where the hike would apply. However, he said the investment might be doubled to €500,000, the current threshold in the country’s most popular areas.
“It seems that the doubling of the limit is possible in the two large urban centers of Athens and Thessaloniki,” says Penny Ap. Konitsioti Rizou, attorney and founder at Penny Konitsioti Legal Services Boutique.
Konitsioti Rizou adds that the measure could extend to other areas where the impact of the golden visa has been found to cause housing pricing issues.
If the threshold is hiked, the only exception would be listed buildings; infrastructure of architectural or historic significance that often requires a considerable investment in renovation or maintenance.
“Only in the case of listed buildings will the investment threshold be kept low,” the attorney says. “Although no official figures are available on the total number and condition of listed buildings that are abandoned, the problem in Greek cities is evident and affects entire neighborhoods.”
The Greek golden visa and housing prices
However, as seen elsewhere in Europe, increased housing prices are often blamed on golden visas. Such was the case in Portugal, which scrapped its golden visa real estate route in 2023 under this guise.
Meanwhile, in Greece, the opposition figure Nikos Androulakis has recently vowed to launch a campaign to end the golden visa, citing increased housing prices and blaming the program for “dehellenizing” the Greek economy.
But is the golden visa causing a housing pricing issue in Greece? Konitsioti Rizou thinks otherwise.
“The voices of the opposition, and especially from Mr. Nikos Androulakis for the abolition of the Golden Visa with the aim of lowering housing prices, has caused a lot of disruption lately in the Greek real estate market,” she reveals.
Moreover, the lawyer questions why such views are targeting a program that has been incredibly beneficial to the Greek economy. “Many experts question why the program is being attacked while it has provided thousands of work opportunities across industries that have had very difficult years in the wake of the financial crisis.”
Pointing to the numbers, Konitsioti Rizou says that out of over 25,000 golden visa applications made since the program launched, above 17,000 were approved. She argues that this figure isn’t large enough to dramatically impact housing prices. In fact, the golden visa program has stimulated the real estate market when it was severely underperforming, she insists.
“It is thus established in the clearest way that the golden visa has a very low impact on the housing shortage or rent increases in Greece,” she says. “So, there is no actual discussion for abolishing; however, increasing the limits of investment is likely I would say.”
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