The Benefits of Retiring to Greece!

During 2020, the Greek government voted a series of tax benefits, designed to attract foreign investment in the country and boost the real estate market. These benefits are of particular interest to digital “nomads”, or any other citizen interested to relocate and work in Greece, even though his employer can be based outside of Greece. 

Also in effect is a recent legislative measure (https://www.aade.gr/sites/default/files/2020-09/a1217_2020fek.pdf), which is directed towards pensioners from other E.U. countries. Retirees can henceforth transfer their tax residency to Greece and secure low taxation with an annual rate of 7% for revenues acquired outside the country.

This low tax rate is valid for 10 years. Tax will be paid each year, in one instalment, due until the last working day of July. Among the conditions to receive this favorable rate, is for the interested party to not have been a tax resident of Greece in the past five out of six years, which preceded the relocation of the tax residency in Greece. Also, the country of origin must have signed a tax avoidance treaty with Greece. 

According to a study undertaken by local think-tank diaNEOsis, in conjunction with the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, it’s estimated that the annual benefit to the Greek GDP can reach about 5 billion euros, with 60,000 new jobs created, should the country manage to become a destination for Northern European pensioners. Based on the research, during the following two decades, demand for summer/secondary housing in the Southern European countries will amount to 2.7 million properties. Researchers indicate that if Greece is able to cater for 15% of this demand, there would be a need for 400,000 houses over the next 20 years, i.e. a median of 20,000 houses each year. Those properties will either be bought, or rented by pensioners from other European countries. 

Meanwhile, people who are frequent visitors of Greece for holidays, are also among the traditional buyers of summer houses and an important part of the market, where demand is also growing. British, French and Germans are among the main buyers of properties in Greece. Also, from 2014 onwards, when the Golden Visa program was implemented, there’s been an increased buying interest from investors outside the E.U., like Chinese, Russians, Arabs and Turks. 

Additionally, according to Astons, a specialized firm of investment immigration, the UK’s exit from the EU has triggered a big increase in British citizens’ interest in the Golden Visa program of Greece. Investment demand for the Greek program is estimated to have increased by at least 30% and is expected to grow even more in the future, as a result of the cancellation of the respective program in Cyprus. 

Can US citizens acquire property in Greece?

US citizens can freely buy real estate in Greece, just like every other non-EU investors. However, they too can take advantage of the Golden Visa program, in order to also obtain a residency permit, which offers a much wider ease of travel, not only towards Greece, but also within the E.U. as a whole.