Rushing for Golden Visas
The asking prices for a large portion of apartments in the center of Athens are now set at rates similar to those of the northern suburbs, or even higher.
Apartments of 90-110 square meters which have been renovated and are located near the popular tourism attractions, in areas such as Pangrati, Ambelokipi and Kypseli, bear asking prices of €250,000-300,000 – i.e. from €2,200 to €2,900/sq.m. – the same as newer apartments in the northern suburbs, which often come with parking spaces, a fireplace, natural gas heating and other amenities.
Accordingly, at the points of high demand from foreigners, such as Koukaki, Acropolis and Plaka, the asking prices range between €2,600 and €4,000/sq.m., while there are cases of even higher prices. The market notes that this sharp increase in downtown prices is largely a product of the past six months and is mainly due to the impending change in the Golden Visa program. Last September, at Thessaloniki International Fair, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the doubling of the minimum amount of investment required to secure a residence permit, from €250,000 to €500,000, but without giving more details regarding the areas and the way this change would apply. This was followed by a period of intense turmoil in the property market, which resulted in the intensification of property purchases by foreign investors, mainly from Turkey and the Middle East. Toward the end of 2022, Chinese buyers also returned as China’s zero-coronavirus policy was lifted, making it much easier to travel to and from China.
At the same time, the measures for the Golden Visa program were also specified, as it became known that the limit would be doubled to €500,000 in the central, northern and southern sectors of Attica, on Mykonos, on Santorini and in Thessaloniki.
Also, a window of time was given until April 30 for the conclusion of preliminary property purchase agreements (with the old regime of €250,000) and until end-2023, for converting these preliminary agreements into final sales contracts.