A 20-year record is recorded by foreigners in Greek reaching almost 2 billion euros in 2022, an amount higher by 68% compared to 2021.
According to her data (BoT), net foreign direct investment in the domestic real estate market reached 1.975 billion euros in 2022, up from 1.176 billion euros in 2021 and 1.449 billion euros in 2019, the year that held the lead until today.
It is typical that the almost 2 billion euros they spent in the Greek real estate market last year correspond to 21.7% of the total amount of 9.063 billion euros which is the net foreign direct investments in real estate in the period 2002 – 2022, based on the data of the Central Bank.
During the last quarter of 2022 alone, almost 700 million euros – 698.5 million euros to be exact – flowed into domestic real estate, which is also a record amount compared to the “performances” that have been recorded in all quarters of the last 20 years.
Lead in housing
According to real estate market executives, most of the foreign capital that flowed into the domestic market was placed in the real estate sector. mainly in the areas of the center of Athens and in the southern suburbs, as well as in popular tourist areas.
The Chinese dominate
Asia and specifically the – either directly or through Hong Kong and Singapore – has held the lion’s share of capital inflows into Greek real estate since 2002 to date, as only €590 million, i.e. 30%, came from Eurozone countries .
In particular, funds from Hong Kong directed to the domestic real estate market approach 1.3 billion euros (1.293 billion euros), while half a billion euros (524 million euros) flowed directly from China. From Singapore, the corresponding funds reach 284 million euros.
From the net foreign direct investments in Greece amounted to 174 million euros in the period 2002 – 2022, while Lebanon is higher with 184 million euros.
Funds from the United Arab Emirates move to 193 million euros, while funds from Israel for the purchase of real estate in the last two decades amounted to 253 million euros, with an emphasis on the activation of leases, short-term or long-term.
During this period, funds of the order of 147 million euros came from Turkey.
The surprise of the Americans
Special mention deserves to be made to of Greek real estate, as in recent years significant interest has been recorded from expatriates, according to representatives of the real estate market. Funds of the order of 441 million euros came from the USA.
In fact, it is worth mentioning that in 2022 the American funds directed to the Greek real estate market are ranked in the top 3 of the highest inflows in terms of countries outside the euro zone, as they were more than double compared to 2021, reaching the amount of 166 million euros.
The funds from Cyprus
Among the Europeans, at the top are the buyers who transfer funds from Cyprus with 916 million euros, while those from Germany (including many expatriates) have invested 606 million euros.
The French are also moving dynamically with 397 million euros, while the Bulgarians who are outside the euro zone have spent 202 million euros.
The funds that have flowed in from Switzerland, where investors of all nationalities are known to reside, amount to 803 million euros.
Golden Visa and… golden prices
This international “sharing” captures the dynamics of the program “”, as well as the high speeds at which the short-term rental market moves (Airbnb).
It is recalled that the “Golden Visa” program, which provides for the granting of a residence permit and the right to move to the countries of the Schengen Zone to any foreign investor who purchases a property worth 250,000 euros or more, began in April 2013. In the first year, 21 properties were purchased and the same number were issued residence permits.
In the last days of 2022, the “Golden Visa” program was modified, as it became known that the limit will be doubled to 500,000 euros in the central, northern and southern sectors of the Attica Region, in Mykonos, in Santorini and in the Municipality of Thessaloniki. Also, a window of time was given until April 30 for the conclusion of preliminary agreements for the purchase of real estate (with the old regime of 250,000 euros) and until the end of 2023, in order to convert these preliminary agreements into definitive sales contracts.
Until the measures were specified since they were announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the TIF last September, buying traffic and prices, especially in central Athens, soared as foreign investors, mainly from Turkey and the Middle East, they wanted to get ahead of the changes.
In addition, towards the end of 2022, Chinese buyers also returned, after the zero-coronavirus policy was lifted, making it much easier to travel to and from China.
It is characteristic that in December 2022, 1,216 requests for the initial granting of a permit were submitted, compared to 337 requests that had been submitted the previous September, according to the data of the Ministry of Immigration Policy.
The corresponding “numbers” of this January were even more impressive. 744 requests for residence permits were submitted (649 for new investors and 95 for renewals of existing permits), a number that was 320% higher than the corresponding month in 2022.
In total, 4,363 requests for permits (investors and family members) were submitted in 2022, up from 2,005 in 2021, a number increased by 117%.
The question now is what will happen from May onwards when the ‘grace’ period expires and whether demand will shift to alternative areas, which secure a license at the lowest price but are also available for exploitation, either through short-term or through long-term rental.