ATHENS – Greece’s move to double the amount of investments for rich foreigners to qualify for Golden Visas that come with residency permits and European Union passports came after the lower threshold saw homes and apartments scooped up, driving out Greeks.
Forbes magazine noted that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made the change after it was found that investors were taking over neighborhoods with purchases at levels many Greeks can’t afford.
That also has seen rents soar, further moving Greeks out of where they lived to other areas they could afford and which yet haven’t been targeted by wealthy foreigners who could rent out apartments and homes on short-term platforms such as Airbnb.
Many look to get a Golden Visa due to the inflated cost of everyday expenses and housing in the United States, the magazine noted, although Americans aren’t in the forefront of seeking the visas.
The firm Get Golden Visa found in its survey of 320 applicants that 29 percent were motivated by the rising cost of living and looking for a more affordable way of life, with Greece a particular lure.
But the report noted the ripple effect of rich people looking for cheaper housing they could rent out or live in, but either way making it unavailable for Greeks in more Athens neighborhoods and other cities.
“In order to increase the affordability of real estate for Greeks, we are now increasing the minimum amount of investment required for the issuance of a golden visa from 250,000 to 500,000 euros,” Mitsotakis reportedly said in early September, according to International Advisor.