Think of endless summer days surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and that Mediterranean breeze. How about luxuriating in a seaside villa or coming home to a posh apartment after a day of shopping? That’s living the great life in Greece, in a nutshell. And why not?
Greece has always been on the radar of the global travel-seeking crowd, being famous for its stunning sceneries, fantastic cuisine, and fabulous nightlife. But why settle with just a visit when you can own a piece of this paradise and call it your own? With the added benefit of profiting in the medium to long term.
Most foreigners who purchase real estate in Greece are looking for a second home or a probable rental business. To date, Athens still tops the list for property purchases, and the city ranks as the best place to be in for those who are moving to Greece for business while enjoying the lavish lifestyle.
A growing number of buyers eager to make the most of profitable returns
The real estate market has always been one of the pillars of the Greek economy, where a significant portion of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into. Since 2020, the attractiveness of Greece to foreign investors has been on a steady rise. It’s among the top 10 countries in Europe that have received the confidence marks of investors. And Greece’s score is expected to increase in the next three years.
One of the significant considerations for investing in real estate in Greece is that property prices here are lower than those in Spain and Italy. Location-wise, Greece is also on the Mediterranean and offers the same almost-year-round sunshine climate.
In 2022, housing prices increased steadily. According to a report by Global Property Guide, “Demand from foreign homebuyers is rising strongly. In the first three quarters of 2022, the total value of real estate purchases by foreign buyers, which accounts for 80% to 85% of all real estate purchases in Greece, soared by 60.2% y-o-y to €1.28 billion, based on central bank figures. For 2022, foreign buyers’ property purchases are expected to reach €1.7 billion, surpassing the €1.45 billion recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The ever-growing demand for Greek real estate can be linked to the rising popularity of the Greek Golden Visa, which allows non-EU nationals a right to reside in the country by either purchasing or renting property worth €250,000 as a minimum investment.
The improvement in the real estate market is also buoyed by the growth of the country’s economy. In 2021, the economy grew by 8.4% and was expected to expand by another 6% in 2023. The government’s robust National Recovery and Resilience Plan has dramatically aided the country in getting back on its feet after the adverse effects of the pandemic.
According to a report issued by Ernst and Young on the attractiveness of Greece for 2022, “based on data from European Investment Monitor (EIM), an extensive database processed by EY that tracks investments in greenfield projects that create new facilities and new jobs, Greece attracted 30 FDI projects in 2021, fewer than last year, but, still, the country's second-best performance since 2000. Cumulatively, the investment projects of the last two years represent 24% of total foreign direct investments over the last 22 years.”
Incentivising more investments in the country
Beginning in 2021, the government rolled out a new tax policy alongside its Golden Visa program that will give significant tax breaks to foreign investors who bring capital into the country but do not reside there.
Known as the non-domicile scheme or “non-dom”, golden visa holders who are officially Greek residents but choose to live outside of the country will have a flat tax of €100,000 for a period of 15 years. These investors include ship owners, business owners and retired foreign investors. Furthermore, since these investors have designated another country as their domicile (and not Greece), they will not be subject to taxes on offshore income and capital gains, provided that the revenue from these businesses is not brought into Greece.
At the end of 2022, the Greek Government also implemented new regulations, which are set to come into effect on May 1, 2023. The main stipulation is that the minimum investment amount would be €500.000 in specific areas under the Regional Units of the North, Central and South Athens Sectors of the Attica Region, Voula, Vari, Municipality of Thesaloniki and the islands of Mykonos and Santorini. In other areas, the minimum investment amount remains €250.000. The Greek government has also extended those under the current program scheme. The current framework allows any potential investor to invest €250.000 in all areas in Greece without any restriction, provided that until April 30, 2023, a preliminary Agreement is signed and that a 10% of the purchase price (€25.000) is paid as a down payment. Following these requirements, the investor may complete the investment based on current regulations of the golden visa scheme until the end of 2023 without any limitation.
Positive growth numbers in 2022
The demand for real estate properties among foreign homemakers will increase in 2022. According to Global Property Guide, “In the first three quarters of 2022, the total value of real estate purchases by foreign buyers, which accounts for 80% to 85% of all real estate purchases in Greece, soared by 60.2% y-o-y to €1.28 billion, based on central bank figures. For the whole year of 2022, foreign buyers’ property purchases are expected to reach €1.7 billion, surpassing the €1.45 billion recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The increase in purchases mirrors the increasing popularity of the Greek Golden Visa among foreign investors and the public’s rising confidence in the country’s economic growth.
From 2014 until 2019, a total of 28,767 Greek Golden Visa permit approvals have been given to main applicants and their dependents. This translates to a total of €2.6 billion FDI that has flowed into Greece.
Among the nationalities that have benefitted from the Golden Visa program, applicants from China top the list, followed by Turkey, Russia, Lebanon and Egypt.
A 2022 report on Global Property Guide showed that gross rental yields in Central Athens, notably Athens Historical Center and Kolonaki - Lykavittos, range from 2.80% to 6.32%. Smaller apartments tend to have higher rental yields than larger ones.
Gross rental yield is the rent the landlord will earn before taxation, vacancy costs, and other costs compared to the property´s purchase price.
A proven tourist destination
As the days pass and people are confidently moving out and exploring the world once more after the pandemic, travel will be among their highest priorities.
Then and now, Greece commands a secure spot in the bucket list of countless travellers of must-see places to visit. With the growing number of global citizens looking to secure a second country of residence for themselves and their families, Greece is poised to occupy a spot in the choice of country. Consider this - a growing economy, an investor-resident friendly golden visa program, lenient tax breaks, a government committed to growing the foreign investor population, set against picturesque landscapes, world-class cuisine, sun-drenched climate, amiable people and the endless spectacle of nature’s beauty, this is luxurious living at its ultimate waiting for you.
To find out what properties are available for you in Greece, contact our dedicated team of experts at [email protected].