Update on Real Estate news

On May 30, a seminar was held in Aurora Hotel in Moscow on "Investment opportunities in the tourism & real estate sectors in Greece and the program of the Greek Golden Visa", organized by the Greek Embassy in Russia and the state organization for attracting investments “Enterprise Greece”. The Greek Ambassador in Russia Mr. Andreas Friganas, and the Plenipotentiary Minister of the Embassy for Trade and Economic Affairs Mr. Athanasios Karapetsas, as well as professionals of the sector spoke about the key growth factors of our country.

The Economy has stabilized

On top of its timeless competitive advantages such as strategic location and natural resources, Greece is finally emerging from the long lasting crisis, demonstrating economic growth, stability, a decrease in unemployment and a significant increase in investment and foreign capital.

The level of confidence in the country has been restored. Ιn 2017, GDP showed an increase of 1.5%, and this year, according to experts, the figure will increase to 1.7%. The volume of direct investment by Russian entrepreneurs amounted to $683 million, but in reality this figure is higher, as many funds were transferred by Russian citizens and companies from accounts in other countries. The volume of net foreign investment increased by 29.4% last year to € 3.6 billion.

Other comparative advantages of Greece’s economy are its market consolidation, the high competitive costs of running operations and a general open mind to foreign direct investment which has become a top priority for the country and its people (for instance, it is notable that Greece has the largest percentage of professionals at a high level and at a supportive level that speak at least one foreign language).

Prices of real estate are increasing

A strategy from the perspective of a visionary real estate buyer is determined by how timely he can "enter" a particular market, taking advantage of the actual situation. And today Greece is definitely THE market to enter. In the next three years, prices in the real estate market in Greece with the current economic indicators are expected to raise 20-25 %. This is an important factor for investors who are striving for a profitable purchase: real estate prices in the country are still lower than pre-crisis. At the same time, key directions already demonstrate a stable increase in prices.

Development is an ongoing process

Foreign and local funds are investing in infrastructure works and private tourist facilities.

- In 2016, the reconstruction of Piraeus commercial port (the third largest in terms of container traffic in the Mediterranean - total amount of redevelopment and privatization amounted to € 1.5 billion);

- the privatization of 14 local airports;

- the regeneration project of the former Athens airport area with its 3,5 km coast and its size being three times larger than Monaco!

- the purchase of the famous island of Scorpios by the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev - a luxurious resort with 22 villas are projected (development plan of €120 million);

- the opening of the first Four Seasons hotel on the site of the legendary Astir Palace Vouliagmeni on the Athenian Riviera (investment estimated at € 100 million to operate soon);

- the One & Only project on Kea Island. As Philip Zuber the president of One & Only resorts has said “…. In Greece as the prospects for the high end tourism market are inexhaustible.”

Opportunities for stable profit

Greece offers advantageous investment options not only for large investments but also mid-size and even small investments. Net Foreign Direct inflows are increasing significantly the last years. Many attractive investment opportunities in areas such as agrifood, energy clean tech, logistics, ICT, cultural and creative industries and real estate and tourism where one of the consequences of the crisis led to the urging necessity to renovate many small and medium-sized hotels in promising locations. The same applies to single apartments or residential buildings in big cities - Athens, Thessaloniki. An advantageous investment option is the purchase in view of renovation and further management of such facilities (direct management or tourist business under own management or through a management company). Average annual profit on leasing is from 5% to 9% per year.

The tourism sector shows record figures

Last year, Greece was visited by more 30 million tourists from different countries and broke for the 5th year in a row its old time record in tourist arrivals. Tourism is a central pillar of the Greek economy. It accounts for an impressive 10% of total GDP. During 2016 only, 142 project files were submitted to the authorities for new and existing 4 or 5 stars hotel and 4 new large investments of Complex Tourist Accommodation. Investments opportunities list in the sector or Tourism and real estate are important in sectors such as medical tourism, privatization of public assets etc … Thus, according to various “European Best Destinations” organizations, Athens was recognized as the fourth most attractive destination in Europe in 2017 by EBD (European Best Destinations organization) and 60%. It is worth noting that it is in Athens that the most dynamic real estate market in the country is observed: various sizes’ investors purchase apartments for renovation that are used all year round since the best shopping and recreational areas of the country are met in Athens.

Real estate drivers

- Historical data shows that real estate pays better than any other investment in Greece

- New private and public projects under way

- New law for the construction of tourism residences together with 5* tourism projects

- Golden visa program

- New law making it easier for non Greek to purchase real estate in Greece’s boundaries and islands

- New law for Real Estate Investment Companies (REIC) with favorable conditions

The most attractive and cheap "Golden Visa" program in Europe

The Greek "Golden Visa" program is by far the most attractive in Europe. With purchase of a property of at least €250,000 the investor obtains directly a residence permit in Greece and the EU, respectively. The program "Golden Visa" allows the investor and his family (his/her parents, his/her parents in law, children up to 21 and even extended to 24 years old) to apply for residence permits and get it at once. Such permit gives the right (not the obligation) to reside permanently in Greece and to travel with no visa in all Shenghen countries and stay for 3 months per semester. Renewal of the permit is issued and renewed after five years, provided that the status of the owner of Greek real estate is preserved. If all the necessary requirements are met, after seven years the foreign citizen can apply for the citizenship of Greece.

Worth stating that the Golden Visa can also be obtained for Investment Activity and Strategic Investments.

Russians confirm the benefit

In total, since the commencement of the "Golden Visa" program, 6612 residency permits have been issued to real estate owners and their families. According to the number of applicants, Russians occupy the second place after Chinese with 952 permits issued. As for the distribution by regions, the most “busy” area are Piraeus (30%) and Athens (26%), Palini, the eastern suburbs of Athens (21%), Poligiros, Central Macedonia (6%), Chania, Crete (5%), Thessaloniki (5%). Russians invest the most in Polygyros Central Makedonia (32%), Corfu (10%), Thessaloniki (10%), Palini East Attica(10%), Hania (7), Piraeus (5%), Agios Nikolaos, Crete (4%), Heraklion, Crete (3%), Corinth, Peloponnese (3%). This distribution reflects very well the traditional preferences of Russian investors in Halkidiki area and Thessaloniki and Southern suburbs of Attica.

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