ATHENS – Americans are joining the rush to invest enough in Greece to receive residency permits and Golden Visas that give them valuable EU passports, said the United States’ real estate service Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
That was reported by SchengenVisaInfo.com based on information from sources it didn’t reveal with Greece continuing to seek out rich foreigners while even those in the Diaspora who can’t qualify have to wait two years or more to get citizenship.
“We’re expecting a strong resurgence of interest from abroad in buying and renting real estate in Greece, especially with regard to luxury holiday homes at popular tourist destinations and on islands in the Cyclades, on Crete and Corfu,” managing partner Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Athens Properties, Kyriakos Xydis, told the site.
Greece has become attractive to rich foreigners for its climate, low cost of living and preferential tax treatment while other Greeks have to pay an income tax of up to 45 percent.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ New Democracy government is changing the scheme and increasing the minimum amount to be invested in real estate at 500,000 ($485,522) it was said.
The threshold had been only 250,000 euros ($242,761,) a pittance for the rich but still out of reach for many amid reports that some properties are being scooped up to qualify and then turned into short-term rentals emptying Greek neighborhoods and driving up rents to prohibitive levels.
A recent report provided by property brokers Traino showed that Greece is among the top-five Residency by Investments programs that attract international investors the most.
But the report added that the Golden Visa schemes in the European Union have been criticized for being open to criminal activity and money laundering, a scandal bringing about the end of Cyprus’ program.