The Greek Golden Visa program has been found to be the second cheapest in Europe for overseas property investors looking for Greek residency.
Despite criticism it could be used for money laundering and has seen overseas property investors scoop up properties on the cheap, using them for short-term rentals driving out long-time residents, the Greek Golden Visa program is being forged ahead with, offering five-year residency permits and a European Union passport.
A comparative study by Portuguese property service company Imovirtual showed that Greece’s program is the second cheapest in the European Union and the fifth cheapest globally.
Citizens outside the EU who want the visa for themselves and their families must buy properties for at least 250,000 euros, with plenty of stock in that range because of Greece’s near ten-year long economic crisis that saw property values drop.
The Imovirtual survey showed that, in Greece, an investor could purchase a 178-square metre property for the minimum amount, among the largest sizes across the EU for that purchase price.
The latest data from the Migration Policy Ministry showed that a total of 3,892 Greek Golden Visas had been issued by end-2018, and that almost 1,400 such permits were issued over the course of last year, the paper said.
The latest available data for this year, concerning the period from January to June 4, showed that another 645 Greek Golden Visas have been issued to non-EU citizens, on track to reach about 1,550 by the year’s end, a jump of 10 per cent over 2018.
The Chinese, eager to invest in Greece, got 60 per cent of the permits issued (2,757) and are stepping up purchases, followed by Russians and Turks, but there are also a few investors from Iraq and Iran.
The Greek Golden Visa property purchasers don’t have to live in the units they buy and the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OEC) said the schemes, that run in many European Union countries, are also being used by criminals to launder money and get passports allowing them to move freely around the EU.