Find your little paradise in Greece

It’s not just the pristine turquoise beaches and un-spoilt Mediterranean lifestyle that’s luring foreigners to Greece and its islands in recent years. The country is one of the most attractive to non-EU citizens, including Britons, who wish to invest to get residency in a European country, as well as one of the most affordable in terms of taxation and day-to-day living. Not convinced? Consider these points.

Greece’s residence by investment program(RBI) is one of the most accessible so-called Golden Visas in Europe. The scheme enables investors from non-EU countries to gain Greek residency through purchasing property with a minimum value of €250,000. The application process should take no more than two months, after which the residence permit lasts for five years and when permanent residency can be applied for.

Holders of Greek residency benefit not only from the right to live and work in Greece, which extends to family members, but also visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone, which includes most of the EU. As from 2021, when you purchase your property in Greece, your lawyer will assist you with the application.

Tax

In a bid to make Greece an appealing place for expats to come and live, last year the Greek Government introduced an attractively low tax scheme for retirees. It means that foreign pensioners who move and become tax resident in the country now pay a flat rate of seven per cent tax on any foreign-source income. So not only are UK pensions taxed at this massively reduced rate, but so too are any dividends, rent or capital gains derived from investments based in the UK.

The benefits last for 15 years and in order to qualify the applicant can’t have been resident in Greece for five out of the last six years. Also, your current country of residence must have a double taxation treaty with Greece, like the UK has.

A further boost to foreign buyers is that for a limited time new property in Greece is exempt from VAT (usually levied at 24 per cent), a move the government introduced to stimulate the market. This also applies to properties completed after 2006 but yet to be sold for the first-time. Transfer tax is still applicable on all transactions.

Cheap way of life

Throw into the mix the fact that the cost of living in Greece is notably cheaper than the UK (around 17 per cent, not to mention the EU average, and it’s hard not to see the appeal of the country.

Property hot spots

Greece caters for all budgets, from luxury properties down to the simpler, more rustic end of the market. What you pay and what’s available will depend on location, and with mainland Greece and plentiful islands, there is no shortage of choice.

According to a recent survey by immigration consultancy Astons, property prices currently are highest in the Cyclades, followed by Kefalonia and Lefkada. The remainder of the top 10 includes Athens, Argosaronic Islands, Chania (Crete) Corfu, Chalkidiki, and Zante, respectively.

The average property price in the Cyclades is currently €222,348, according to the survey, which represents an increase of 5.9 per cent over the last year. Lefkada has also seen prices rise by a notable 8.7 per cent annually with real estate there now averaging €164,976.

Golden Opportunity!

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