Foreign investment in Greece

Is buying property in Greece a good investment? Today, the answer is positive. The local economy is rapidly recovering after the crisis of the previous decade. Many sectors of the economy are actively growing and offer optimal conditions for launching a business. This state is becoming a consistently better place to live and work. In this article, we'll analyze the perspectives of foreign investment in Greece. Plus, we'll inform you how to become a resident of this welcoming country and relocate there with your dearest and nearest.

Reasons to Invest in Greece

Here are the key arguments to invest in this Mediterranean state:

  • Its government has successfully implemented economic reforms to overcome the crisis of the 2010s
  • Businesses receive generous subsidies
  • Local people, institutions and laws are very friendly toward foreign investors
  • Entrepreneurs can expect a high ROI because Greece isn't a 100% developed market yet and has impressive growth potential in many sectors
  • Investing in Greece gives you access to the whole EU market with its developed infrastructure and high paying capacity
  • Three continents will be at your arm's reach
  • Foreign buyers of costly properties can get Golden Visas together with their family members

Keep reading this article to learn more about these aspects!

Current Economic Situation

In the 2010s, Greece faced an economic crisis. By now, it has largely overcome this issue. This country significantly improved its structural budget balance. It has successfully got rid of the external deficit. The banks have restructured and refinanced. There have been structural reforms in the labor and product markets.

Other EU states actively invest in Greece — especially Germany, France and the UK. Commercial services attract the largest amount of funds from abroad while the industrial sector comes second. The Greek authorities financially support tourism, real estate and other niches.

Promising Sectors

When comparing investment opportunities, pay primary attention to these sectors:

  • Tourism
  • Global business services
  • Energy
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Life sciences and pharmaceuticals
  • Agriculture
  • Aquaculture
  • Logistics

In Greece, more young people have higher education than the European average. Many of them speak fluent English. In the 2010s, talents left this country en masse because they failed to find decent jobs in their homeland. Now, they're coming back with the accumulated experience of working for foreign and international companies. It gives a considerable boost to the workforce quality.

Tax Incentives

The authorities want to attract foreign capital to the country. That's why they offer tax incentives to those who:

  • Launch new businesses
  • Extend already existing ones
  • Fundamentally change existing ones
  • Diversify into new product areas
  • Purchase the assets of closed companies

If you tick one of these boxes, you might not need to pay taxes on the profit that you generate locally. Plus, you can expect to get subsidies and grants. The maximum amount of a subsidy can reach 75% of the required investment, so you'll only need to add the remaining 25% from your own pocket. If your project qualifies for a strategic one, the process of obtaining all the necessary permits and licenses will be very fast.

Owners of international companies need to pay locally only the tax on the income that they generate in Greece — but not on their worldwide income. There are three free-trade zones in the ports: if you use them to import goods that you'll re-export later, you'll be exempt from taxes and customs duties.

Invest in Greece for Citizenship

If you invest at least €250,000 in a house, apartment, commercial building or plot of land for construction, you'll qualify for Golden Visa. It will grant you a permanent residency for five years. Then, you'll be able to renew it for five more years — and in two years after the renewal, you'll be allowed to apply for citizenship. Please mind that in the most popular touristic areas, the minimum required investment is not €250,000 but twice as high. These areas are Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos and Santorini.

The process of purchasing the property lasts around two months. You need to get a taxpayer number, open a local bank account, verify the clean title to the chosen property and pass due diligence. To keep your residency, it's not necessary to live in Greece for any required time period. In five years, you'll get the right to resell your investment without losing your residency.

As an alternative to buying a property, you can invest €300,000 to €400,000 in local businesses or shares or deposit funds in a local bank. This will grant you a Golden Visa too — but the process tends to be more complicated than purchasing real estate.

Investment in Real Estate

Now, let's have a closer look at property investments. It's the easiest path to residency and the first step for relocating to this welcoming country.

Who Is Eligible

To become eligible for citizenship by investment in Greece, it's enough to:

  • Have funds and be able to prove their legitimate origin
  • Be in good health
  • Have always been law-obedient

Your current nationality and residence don't matter.


Expats invest in real estate in Greece for the following reasons:

  • The prices are more affordable than in Italy, Spain and other countries of the region
  • By renting out your property, you can expect to make an income of up to 10%
  • Those who don't want to take care of the rented properties themselves can entrust this task to a managing company and get a passive income
  • If you decide to resell your property in a few years, you should be able to do so at a profit because the prices are growing
  • Expats enjoy tax incentives
  • Three generations of your family can obtain the Golden Visa together with you

Please check the other passages of this article to find out the details about tax incentives, the trends of the real estate market and the requirements for obtaining residency and citizenship.

Real Estate Market Overview

To get a notion of the Greek real estate market, you should memorize three trends:

  • Locals prefer buying accommodation to renting it. A typical family owns several properties.
  • When foreign students and professionals come to Greece, they struggle to find accommodation for rent. If you offer something worthy to them, they will be likely to sign a contract for at least three years ahead.
  • The demand for short-term tourist rentals remains high from April to October nationwide. In Athens, the tourist season lasts all year round. The tourism sector accounts for 20% of the national GDP and 10% of the population is involved in it.

Right now, it's a good moment to purchase a property in this Mediterranean state. On the one hand, the prices are still low. On the other hand, they're on the rise, which can guarantee a nice ROI in a few years. The government strives to attract foreign capital to the country. The authorities came up with VAT exemptions and other benefits for large-scale investors. Big renovation and construction projects are going on. In 2021, Ernst & Young included Greece in its rating of the ten most attractive investment destinations in Europe.

Where to Invest

There is no one-fits-all recommendation about the best place to invest. If your goal is to cut down your expenses, feel free to consider any region of the country. If you can afford to spend half a million euro, Athens and the adjacent territories should be the perfect option.

Around 33% of the country's population lives in Athens. It's the best location for running a business. On the flip side, the air temperature in the city tends to be higher than in other parts of the country.

The Ellinikon is located to the South of Athens. Huge funds are being invested in the construction on the site of the old airport. The authorities want to create a modern touristic hub with hotels, villas, apartments, skyscrapers, office centers, restaurants and casinos.

If you drive 15 minutes away from the capital, you'll find yourself on the Riviera. It's an idyllic location for beach holidays.

Curious enough, the most expensive properties are located not in the capital. Houses and apartments have even higher price tags on the island of Crete. It's an especially sunny spot: it rains there less than 50 days per year.

Santorini is a picture-perfect island with snow-white buildings. Consider it if you're planning to buy a tourist accommodation to rent out.

Tourist Properties

After you purchase a property in this Mediterranean state, you have the right to rent it out for a short term or a long term. The approximate profit range for this type of business is from 2% to 10%.

To make your house or apartment more attractive to tenants, check in advance whether there are parking lots around it. If you buy a parking space, it can cost you €20,000, on average. If you don't want to invest in it, your tenants should be able to leave their vehicles in the adjacent streets. In popular touristic spots, the streets are narrow and might be challenging to find space even for a scooter there.

The second aspect to pay attention to is elevators and stairs. Even new buildings, let alone old ones, can have elevators with doors that you need to close manually. Stairs tend to be spiral, which makes them earthquake-resistant and saves space inside the building. Make sure that it will be comfortable enough to reach the apartment that you buy.

The third point for your consideration is heating. In the colder months, the air temperature might drop down to 0°C at night. Selected older houses might lack a heating system. Modern ones feature systems that consume gas or diesel fuel. Typically, people turn on the heating for only a few hours at night. The ideal option would be an apartment with an individual heating system. In older buildings, all the apartments share a common system. If some neighbors refuse to pay for it, the others have to pay more. If you refuse to compensate for the lack of payment from your neighbor, the whole house might get disconnected from the system.

The best news is that you won't have to furnish the accommodation that you're planning to rent out. In Greece, tenants normally bring furniture and decor items with them.

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