Greece’s Golden Visa numbers have started climbing again as evidence appears of pent up demand emerging for the country’s residency-for-investment program, says Enterprise Greece chief executive Georgios Filiopoulos.
In an interview with GreekGuru.net, Filiopoulos said that recent changes to the law on the Golden Visa allow the process to be completed online, though most people prefer to inspect the property in person.
Other tweaks to legislation introduce incentives for applicants to buy properties outside of Attica, a change that may be of particularly appeal to Brits looking for an EU residency in the aftermath of the Brexit.
“So far this year, we do have evidence of pent up demand and an increased number of applications,” he says.
The latest data from the Migration Ministry shows that interest in the Golden Visa has thawed amidst easing international travel restrictions. In the first five months of the year 117 new permits were issued with the total number reaching 8,692 permits. This compares with 8,575 in 2020 and 7,637 in 2019.
This trend is in line with broker’s reports of a spike in buying interest from foreign nationals in the last few months. More than eight in ten potential home buyers on the Greek islands over the summer were foreign nationals with strong interest coming from central European countries.
Since then, though, demand for homes has been spreading among Greek buyers encouraged by forecasts of strong rebound in the economy this year and next, along with job growth.
Hotels in demand
Demand for hotel investments has also picked up after the country had a stronger than expected tourism season this summer. A number of global investment funds without a presence in the country are said to be hovering above Athens and some of the larger islands, such as Crete, Rhodes and Corfu.
Most have shown a preference for hotels that are already operating and need renovation work rather than starting from scratch, avoiding time consuming permit processes.
Assets at the upper end of the hospitality market, for both luxury resorts and high-end branded hotels, are being largely targeted.
“We expect this trend to continue,” says Filiopoulos.
“As far as locations are concerned, we are seeing activity all over the country, as well as in Athens, but I would say that the next flagship project will be the privatization of the Gournes property in Crete,” said the CEO.
Among the consumer trends likely to continue and affect the industry going forward is demand for trips with a longer duration.
“This can be remote workers temporarily relocating -- an extension of the ‘bleisure’ trend of combining business and leisure on trips. In a similar vein, families are extending vacations and bringing along tutors for their children,” said Filiopoulos.
“Longer stays mean, among other things, increased demand for serviced apartments, which are being added by many hotels,” added the CEO.