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06 March, 2023

Greece economy continues to strengthen and attract investors in 2023

The economic growth in Greece has been steady and impressive. In 2022, a primary budget deficit declined lower than expected, and the GDP growth is currently projected to surpass that of the EU. Greece's real estate market has also expanded, with foreign investors leading the way.

Today we are looking at a detailed overview of Greece’s economic resurgence, and investment potential.

Greece economy and property market continue the growth
Photo: Adobe Stock

Greece continues to emerge from the infamous government-debt crisis that affected the country in 2009. The European Commission expects a 5.5% surge in Greece’s 2022 GDP, as seen in the Winter 2023 forecast.

Tourism and export continue to be the staples of the Greek economy, contributing to more than 20% and 40% of the country’s GDP respectively. Foreigners profit from the tourism industry by investing in commercial and holiday properties. They also apply for Greece Golden Visa by real estate investment — in fact, this program had a 50% increase in demand from January to November of 2022.

GDP growth in Greece is exceeding expectations

The first half of 2022 for Greece was marked by a 7.8% GDP growth. While it slowed down during the year's second half, the 2022 GDP growth will exceed the 3.1% rate previously estimated by the government.

Moody’s already granted Greece the Ba3 credit rating with a stable outlook back in September 2022. Other major rating agencies, Fitch and Standard & Poor, rate Greece BB+, which is just one level below investment grade.

Key points of Greece’s economic rebound

  1. GDP growth for 2022 is expected to be 5.6%, according to the Ministry of Finance.
  2. Compared to the EU average, Greece’s GDP is projected to increase twice in 2022, and three times in 2023.
  3. Foreign direct investment inflows grew by 60% year‑on‑year in the first half of 2022, says the Bank of Greece. The future growth will be the highest in Europe, according to the European Commission forecast for the 2022—2024 period.
  4. Public debt ratio decline is the largest in the EU and is projected to go below 160% in 2023.
  5. Non-performing loan ratio went down from 44% to 10% of total loans over the 2019—2022 period. Deposits increased by 35%.

Greece's economic rebound results from the government's recovery and resilience plan. The measures include 106 investment measures and 68 reforms supported by €17.77 billion in grants and €12.73 billion in loans.

The successful efforts are recognized by the international community. For instance, the Financial Times Group's The Banker magazine named Greece’s Christos Staikouras the Finance Minister of the Year 2023 for Europe.

Real estate market in Greece is driven by foreign investors

The Global Property Guide states that the property market accounts for a 25—35% share of foreign direct investments in Greece. About 85% of all real estate purchases in Greece are made by third‑country buyers. The total value of properties acquired by foreign investors was €1.28 billion in the first three quarters of 2022 — a 60.2% increase year‑on‑-year.

Key factors that make Greece's property market attractive

  1. ENFIA, or the single property tax cut. The first 10—25% reduction was set in 2019, followed by the 10% reduction, on average, in 2020, and the 13% reduction in 2022.
  2. VAT exemption for all new construction buildings. This temporary suspension will last until the end of 2024.
  3. Steady price increase. House prices grew by 11.32% year‑on‑year in the third quarter of 2022, showing the best results since 2006, and starting the post‑pandemic recovery.

Another significant factor is the Greece Golden Visa program, which has the lowest investment threshold in the EU. Foreign investors can apply for a golden visa, purchase real estate for €250,000, and receive a residence permit.

Investment property can be rented out at any time. In five years, investors can resell it.

More than 28,700 investors and their family members have applied for the Greece Golden Visa program and received residence permits since 2014. The program’s steady growth, stunted by the pandemic, is now bouncing back.

A record 50% year‑on‑year boost in Golden Visa applications took place in January-November 2022. This was a result of the government’s decision to double the minimum investment threshold in four areas of Greece — Athens, Attica, Macedonia, and Aegean. Starting from 2023, investors need to put at least €500,000 into these areas’ property.

How to get Greece Golden Visa in 2023

The Greece Golden Visa program provides investors with a 5‑year residence permit status first, followed by a 2‑year permanent residence status, after which they can apply for citizenship. Golden Visa applicants choose one of the options below.

At least €250,000 can be invested in:

  • buying a residential or commercial property;
  • buying a plot for construction or agricultural project;
  • signing a timeshare contract;
  • renting a hotel or a tourist accommodation for 10 years;
  • inheriting or being gifted a property.

At least €400,000 can be invested in shares, corporate bonds, or Greek Government bonds.

Regardless of the chosen option, investors can add family into the application — namely, their children, and spouse or partner.

Investment property in Greece

Greece Golden Visa by real estate investment

Apartments with one or two bedrooms in a seaside residential complex in Kavala. Prices start at €117,000. Yield — 6% a year

Greece Golden Visa for investing in real estate

Apartments with two or three bedrooms in a seafront complex in Athens. Prices start at €840,000. Yield is 2—4% a year

Greece residence permit by investment in real estate

Villa with three bedrooms in Aegina. Price — €1,664,000. Yield is 2—4% a year

Greece residence permit for purchasing real estate

Renovated building with three bedrooms in Crete. Price — €550,000. Yield is 2—4% a year

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the EU and the Caribbean. If you want to become a resident of Greece and buy property in the country, please consult our investment program experts.

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Greece economy continues to strengthen and attract investors in 2023