Since late 2013 Greece has experienced a gradual and steady appetite by foreign investors, particularly interested in Real Estate which has been growing ever since, often combined with an urge to travel around and explore as many places of this magical country as possible. The beauty of Greece’s natural scenery feels almost unreal, especially to foreign visitors who are willing to travel long flights, only to take a picture of the breathtaking Oia sunset in Santorini.
One of the reasons of this growing appetite of foreign investors has been the Law 4146/2013 which promoted the “Creation of a Development Friendly Environment for Strategic and Private Investments” of the Ministry of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks and facilitates the residence of investors in Greece through the granting of residence permits for executives of Strategic Investment projects. In addition, third-country citizens (non-EU citizens) and their family members, who buy property in Greece, the value of which exceeds €250,000, may obtain residence permits in Greece and the right to travel freely around the Schengen country zone.
In May 2013 when this Law was first issued, reworded in 2014 with the Law 4251, we all became familiar with the term “Golden Visa” that came into our lives and since then real estate prices started going up. Interested third- country investors find Greece’s location strategic, the “Golden Visa” program appealing and the real estate prices, compared to other European investment destinations, not as high. Despite the abrupt pause of real estate transactions by foreign investors due to COVID-19 in 2020, the interest is still there.
Greece’s immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic was successful in minimizing the number of COVID-19 cases. Health specialists also support that Greece’s climate and temperature is contributing to limiting the expansion of the virus, making Greece one of the safest travel destinations in Europe and also revealing its potential as a medical and wellness tourism destination. This is also one of the reasons why Greece is now considered
to be even more alluring to real estate investors who are seeking to purchase their ideal home and benefit from the adopted policies. Greece is not only considered to be a “safe” destination, judging by the small number of COVID-19 cases, but also it covers many requirements and criteria for an investor.
What’s more, the so called “digital nomads” are keen, maybe more than ever, to seek shelter working remotely in Greece, rather than any other country. They have sun, sea, mountains, fresh air, excellent climate and quality food. One can never get bored of the greek natural scenery. Societies realize that everything is moving gradually to the ultimate digitalization to the point that soon we might be able to sort out almost everything in our work environment from a distance.
Certainly, the 2020 pandemic has brought real difficulty in flying around, people cannot simply book a flight just yet, they first need to check the destination’s regulations, the country’s pandemic data or other restrictions. People will have to adapt to a new reality and that’s a fact. However, at the same time, the interest of investors shows that there are
certain factors that they take into consideration in the decision making process and these factors have become more clear, especially after the COVID-19 hit. Investors look for privacy, quality of life, safe destinations. Especially Golden Visa investors who eventually want to get be granted a Residence Permit along with all the extra benefits that go hand in hand with it, will now also consider to purchase real estate in a location that will be suitable not only because of a high ROI, but also because they will want to retire in it.
Dafni Korobeli is a Greek lawyer born in Athens. She has lived in China for more than ten years. She is a fluent Mandarin speaker, holder of an LLM in Chinese Law from Shanghai Jiaotong University and an MBA on intercultural training, communication and business practices in China from Beijing University of International Business and Economics. She is also an expert on real estate transactions in Greece and runs the KCH LAW OFFICE in Athens. www.kchlaw.gr
All article photos are from Revergo Architecture creations.