The granting of a residence permit in Greece for investors outside the EU who buy properties worth over 250,000 euro opens the way for mass purchases and sales on the real estate market which has long been in decline. Some time ago a Chinese businesswoman signed a contract for the purchase of a house worth 252,000 euro in Markopoulo and she and her family received a visa immediately.
This was considered particularly stimulating, since it was the first deal signed on the basis of the new law. In an article from the day before yesterday, Bloomberg agency paid attention to the fact that Chinese and Russians are turning to markets of Southern Europe.
Dozens of offers:
According to Imerisiya newspaper, major real estate and construction companies have started receiving hundreds of offers for the purchase of real estate in Greece and the first contacts of foreign institutional investors and individual stakeholders who are looking for offers on the Greek market were made in the summer.
Recently, a big American law firm that works for property companies and real estate funds has made a proposal to Greek banking groups and building companies for the acquisition of 1,000 homes. This is the first such offer and that by the USA which is not a traditional source of investment in housing in Greece. There is interest in homes and rural houses in Attica and the islands, which will be sold to Americans wishing to rest permanently in Greece and in parallel, the country can serve them as a gateway to other Schengen countries without bureaucratic obstacles.
According to other information, Chinese investors have come into contact with a developer and offered to buy 200 homes, but at a price amounting to 50% of their value.
Furthermore, a large real estate company with offices around the world has sent an investment proposal from Hong Kong to the company Engel&Voelkers, asking for a portfolio of properties in Greece for 250,000 euro each as soon as possible. The number of properties should not be less than 100. “The more quality properties we can supply them, the stronger relationships will be developed with local distribution channels. Please send me the first information as soon as possible.” The company has reaffirmed the Chinese interest in Greek real estate worth more than 250,000 euro, which will be accompanied by a visa – a serious advantage for foreigners. The information makes it clear that investors from Russia and the Arab world are also moving in this direction, but the biggest bet is the huge Chinese market. It seems that the Chinese are interested in real estate in certain areas, in order for them to build China Town, i.e. whole neighbourhoods with property owners from their country. Eastern suburbs, because of the airport, as well as the centre of Athens are areas that are of greatest interest. As mentioned in the report of Engel&Voelkers from Hong Kong, demands of Chinese investors include:
Properties in the center of Athens and near the airport.
Properties with a sea view or town houses on the islands.
Quality properties that are comfortable, with easy access and a good image.
The company noted that the proposal for 100 estates is only the beginning and sufficient stock is needed in order to meet the needs of the Chinese.
For Imerisia newspaper, Director of Engel&Voelkers North Mr Bosdas confirmed the increased interest in the Greek market following the provision of an easy visa. “This is a great opportunity for Greece to sell estates to foreigners and restore the property market. China in particular can be a major source of investors in the market, because the Chinese are buying properties in order to obtain a visa for themselves and their families and be able to travel to Schengen without problems.
This opinion is also shared by Dimitris Papahristou, CEO of BuildUp – the investment company that sold the property worth 252,000 euro to the Chinese businesswoman, who is named Jin Hong. “The Chinese are generally looking for properties in areas with easy access. Asians such as Jin Hong want to come in Greece any day of the year, without having problems. That is why the region of Markopoulo is their choice, since it is near the airport. Asians want to travel to Europe without problems and delays. They want to obtain residence permits in order to come on holiday to Greece and leave whenever they want to other countries.
What are foreigners looking for on the Greek market?E-mails with offers for the Greek market
Foreign real estate agencies are sending e-mails requesting information about what the market can offer. One of them is interested in the following:
“The portfolio of E&V in Hong Kong would like to deliver as a start no less than 100 estates valued at the price that was announced. The more quality properties we can supply them, the stronger relationships will be developed with local distribution channels. Please send me the first information as soon as possible “… “I need asap a portfolio of properties in Greece for 250k EUROs each. If it is a development even better. The best would be to get properties located downtown Athens or near airport, as well as others with sea view/pool/etc. located on the Greek islands. We have to ensure quality… This is the biggest issue and we have to guard against his. It will be a major volume trade. … they are looking for quality, comfort, convenience, and image. These are the minimum requirements they have though.”
The new law
The “easy” visa is making a turn on the market
Legislation 4146/2013 on the provision of an “easy” visa is making a turn on the market. Some believe that in the coming years, thousands of homes can become property of foreigners. Initially, it was proposed that visas be given for purchases amounting to more than 300,000 euro, but afterwards this limit was lowered. Since prices in Greece have fallen significantly, there are thousands of properties that are sold at levels from 250,000 euro to 300,000 euro. Unlike Greece, Portugal and Spain grant visas for purchases of more than 500,000 euro, while in Cyprus the amount is 300,000 euro. In 2012, there were more than 1,000 buyers in Cyprus who were Chinese. Given that Greece reduced the ceiling, it immediately became a better market. People who have the right to stay in a five-year period are:
a) third-country nationals who have or are in the process of acquiring a property in Greece, with a value of no less than 250,000 euro.
b) third-country nationals who have hired hotel units or other tourist accommodation in tourist complexes for at least 10 years, with rents amounting to 250,000 euro.
c) members of their families.