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Unlocking the Solid Real Estate Investment Available: the Greece Market

Greece’s tourism industry has long prided itself on its global renown, and it has experienced a robust recovery post-pandemic. According to tourism data released by the Bank of Greece, the total travel revenue in Greece reached 20.5936 billion euros in 2023, marking a 16.5% increase from 2022. This growth is attributed to the easing of the pandemic and the reopening of international travel, as well as to the transformation and upgrading of Greece’s tourism sector. Greece’s tourism industry is shifting towards the development of luxury resorts in emerging tourist destinations and the establishment or reconstruction of high-end boutique hotels in urban areas, moving away from traditional city tourism.

 

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On April 30th, the Bank of Greece released the tourism data for Greece in 2023, showcasing the achievements of the Greek tourism industry:

 

In 2023, the number of inbound tourists increased from 29.8758 million in 2022 to 36.0827 million, representing a growth of 20.8%, surpassing significantly the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. Total travel revenue in Greece amounted to 20.5936 billion euros in 2023, marking a 16.5% increase from 2022.

 

Among these, tourists from the 27 EU countries accounted for 54.4% of the total, while those from other countries comprised 36.3% (except the data of cruise). In 2023, tourists from the 27 EU countries increased by 15.6% compared to 2022. Consequently, Greece has attracted numerous affluent individuals for investment and settlement. According to the 2023 High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) Migration Rankings, Greece ranks seventh globally in attracting high net worth individuals. Among various investment categories, real estate remains the most popular choice. Investing in real estate not only fulfills needs such as European residency, personal residence, vacation, and retirement, but also allows investors to capitalize on the prosperity of the Greek tourism industry by investing in upscale European properties and generating stable rental income through leasing.

 

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As mentioned above, Greece has long been renowned as a global tourism destination. According to World Bank statistics, Greece has a local population of 10.43 million, with an annual tourist influx of over 30 million people, making the number of tourists count three times the local population. It is estimated that by 2027, the number of tourists will reach 40 million. Commercial hotel properties have consistently yielded higher returns than ordinary residential properties. Consequently, it is foreseeable that rental income from attracting tourists will be more lucrative compared to traditional residential properties, thus facilitating capital circulation in the future. When the need for this residency diminishes, selling the property might yield a significant portion of the initial investment.

 

According to Spitogatos, Greece’s largest real estate transaction website, the lowest rental price in the outskirts of Thessaloniki is only €3.75 per square meter, while properties in the resort destination of Halkidiki command rental prices as high as €33.33 per square meter.

 

Globevisa’s exclusive project, the Wyndham Emerald Bay, is located on the famous “European Maldives” Halkidiki Peninsula, attracting over two million tourists annually, making it one of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations. According to the latest data released by Deloitte, the hotel occupancy rate in the region exceeds 80%, indicating a high demand for accommodation. Investors can start with just 190,000 euros to invest in a first-line sea-view resort hotel and obtain Greek green cards for three generations of the family. The Wyndham brand will operate under management for 15 years, providing investors with worry-free management services in the long term.

 

According to the latest report published by Elxis, a real estate consulting firm based in the Netherlands, the purchasing demand for Greek vacation homes is increasing, particularly among second and third generations of Greeks from the United States, Canada, and Germany, especially in 2023. This year, over ten percent of Greek vacation homes were purchased by Greek expatriates.

 

According to the data, among foreign buyers of vacation homes in Greece, 20.5% are from Germany, 20.5% are from Canada, and 17.8% are from the United States. Following closely are the Dutch (11%), the French (6.8%), and the Swiss (5.4%). They have purchased a large number of Greek properties, primarily in the regions of Crete, Halkidiki, and the Ionian Islands.

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In summary, investing in Greek real estate, especially commercial residences located in tourist areas, offers advantages from both the perspective of capital utilization and capital return. Additionally, the Greek Golden Visa program provides investors with a fast-track pathway to residency by purchasing property valued at €250,000 or more, granting residency for three generations of the family in one step. This program not only exempts residency requirements such as language proficiency and education but also typically receives approval within 6-8 months at relatively low cost. Upon obtaining residency, individuals can enjoy free public healthcare and education in Greece, as well as the freedom of movement within the 29 Schengen countries and one Schengen candidate country in Europe.

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