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  • Writer's pictureCreimerman Product Team

Greek Golden Visa Program surges despite challenges

Catalyzed by a recent doubling of the minimum real estate investment requirements in 36 densely populated municipalities and uncertainties surrounding its Portuguese counterpart, the Greek Golden Visa program has continued its remarkable growth. Recent data reveals a surge in both application and approval records, though not without a significant increase in the backlog of pending applications.

As of July 1st, the number of pending Golden Visa applications reached 20,103, marking a notable increase of 27% (4,256 applications) in just the last two months. The breakdown includes 5,822 initial applications from main applicants, 11,430 from dependents, 955 renewal applications from main applicants, and 1,896 renewal applications from dependents.

The first half of 2023 saw an average of 692 applications per month, nearly three times the figure recorded during the same period last year. Despite an increase in processing capacity, the backlog has been steadily growing for 10 consecutive months. The government is still processing approximately 600 applications from main applicants received before 2022.

The 5,822 current applications from main applicants imply a total investment value of around EUR 1.75 billion, assuming an average investment of EUR 300,000. A significant 84% of the pending applications are related to investments in Attica, the capital region, followed by Crete (925), Peloponnese and Western Greece (700), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (514), Epirus and Western Macedonia (509), Thessaly (316), and the Aegean (252).

While the recent price increase in certain areas may slow application volumes, the program could still set new records in 2023. The imminent end of Portugal's real estate options is expected to divert property investors to Greece, further boosting application numbers.

At the midpoint of 2023, Greece had received 2,618 applications and approved 1,886. If the second half of the year maintains this momentum, the annual application volume could surpass 5,000 for the first time, with approvals potentially exceeding the 2019 record of 3,963.

Chinese investors currently dominate the active Greek Golden Visa holders, constituting 61% of the total, followed by Turks (6.5%) and Lebanese (5%). However, among those who have reached the five-year mark and received renewals, Chinese dominance drops to 32%, with Russians (17%) and Turks (11%) following suit.

Interestingly, the number of Russians holding initial Golden Visas has steadily declined throughout the year. The end of June 2022 saw 431 Russians with initial Golden Visas, decreasing to 359 by June 2023. In contrast, the number of Russians with renewed permits increased from 326 to 391 during the same period, reflecting the ban on new applications but the continued issuance of renewals.

Despite challenges and a growing backlog, the Greek Golden Visa program remains a preferred choice for international investors, poised to attract even more attention with the changes in Portugal's real estate landscape.

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