On Greece’s Attika peninsula, there is an apartment block under construction, financed by Russians who have paid in advance for a small slice of the Aegean seashore. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, it’s not clear whether the building will be finished.
For years, property ownership in a number of countries has been a fast-track to residence papers, even passports, for foreigners looking to put down roots in the European Union, Russians among them.
Investment of more than 250,000 euros in property in Greece bought the investor a five-year ‘Golden Visa’ residence permit in the EU. Not anymore. At least, not if you’re Russian.
Greece has long been a popular destination for sun-seeking Russians who come in third place on the list of foreigners seeking ‘golden visas’, behind citizens of China and Russia. Since 2013, two thirds of such visas have gone to Chinese investors, 6.4 per cent to Turkish citizens and 6.2 per cent, or a total of 599, to Russians.
Russians have put their money into properties on islands such as Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes, as well as the southern suburbs of Attica and holiday homes in Chalkidiki and Crete, Themistoklis Bakas, head of the PanHellenic E-Real Estates Network, told BIRN.
Bakas said he feared a backlash against the Greek real estate market, potentially through Russia discouraging Chinese funds from investing. “It could be a big blow to the domestic golden visa program… and finally the Greek real estate market,” he said.