Revisiting Golden Visas in a New Legal Landscape
Golden Visa - Invest Migration | May 2024
Revisiting Golden Visas in a New Legal Landscape

The Golden Visa landscape is shifting in Greece and Europe. These changes tell a story of success for some, and disappointment for others. Last month, the Greek Government announced a move to a four-tiered Golden Visa system. The minimum threshold remains at its previous level of €250,000 for commercial to residential conversions and restorations only – in other instances it will rise to €400,000 or €800,000 depending on location.

Spain, meanwhile, has followed the Netherlands and Ireland in axing their schemes, while Portugal recently scaled its programme back.

The changes to Greece’s Golden Visa are born from its astonishing success – as outlined in a recent Legal500 report.

These changes mean the options available for would-be investors into Europe have significantly altered. To view this as part of a wider universal decline for Golden Visas however, would be premature. In fact, an examination of the underlying reasons behind different Golden Visa changes tells a story of huge success in the Greek market, while its competitors have floundered.

Take the Spanish system, which has fallen victim to its long-standing limitations. Its original entry point, at €500,000, was too high. Its bureaucracy was infamously lengthy. Its residency period, at three years, was too short. It therefore failed to provide the stimulus to Spain’s housing market that it was supposed to, and despite a recent uptick in applications, its scrapping comes as little surprise. By contrast, the changes to Greece’s Golden Visa are born from its astonishing success – as outlined in a recent Legal500 report. Applications between 2021 and 2024 have more than quadrupled, earning €4.3bn for the economy in that period.

Now, the Greek Government are sensibly introducing flexibility to the system. In Attica, Thessaloniki, and on islands with 3,100+ inhabitants, the investment threshold rises to €800,000. Elsewhere in Greece, it will be €400,000. A transition period for both means investors may apply under the current €250,000 threshold if a 10% deposit is paid by August 31st and the investment is finalised by December 31st. The two exceptions to these rises are notable, with conversions from commercial to residential properties and the restoration of listed buildings maintaining the minimum investment threshold of €250,000.

This all makes sense. By increasing the minimum investment threshold, the Government are keeping the price of a visa in line with demand. By introducing a four-tiered system, they acknowledge the need for a greater premium for some properties and areas, based on population density, a location’s attractiveness, and local housing markets.

By abolishing Golden Visas for short term rentals, they underline their commitment to putting local residents first. And by maintaining the €250,000 threshold for conversions and restorations, they invite investors to focus on properties where an influx of money is most desirable, and which will be most beneficial for local areas. All four tiers provide brilliant opportunities for investors to acquire residency in globally desirable locations. In all, this means Golden visas are not just alive – in Greece they continue to thrive, and this new legislation ensures they’ll remain both sustainable and advantageous for a long time to come.

 

Article written by Christina Georgaki, originally published on City A.M.

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