Europe Has Precious Few of These “Golden” Opportunities Left
By James Hickman - March 20, 2024

Via Schiff Sovereign

Located in Mediterranean Sea about halfway between Greece and Turkey is the island of Crete… which has attracted human civilization for more than 100,000 years.

Today roughly 600,000 people call the island home. But millions of tourists also visit the popular vacation spot each year. It’s known for it’s beaches, wine, and olive groves.

And at the moment, real estate is fairly reasonably priced.

It’s certainly not rock bottom cheap, but for such a popular destination, home prices could hardly be called expensive.

For example, a modest two bedroom stone villa next to a manicured olive grove with gorgeous views of the sea is listed for around €275,000, or USD $300,000.

A place like this on Airbnb could easily fetch $125 to $150 per night and would be fully booked for much of the year.

Now, I’m not here to encourage anyone to buy investment property in Greece. Personally I think there are much better investments right now. But buying property in Greece does have something special going for it that most traditional investments don’t have:

You can become a Greek, i.e. European resident, if you buy property.

Having residency in a foreign country is a completely sensible thing to do. It means that, in almost every case imaginable, you’ll have another place to go if you ever need it.

There are a number of places in the world that allow you to buy property in exchange for legal residency; often these programs are called “Golden Visas.”

But you would only want to go down that path if you actually enjoy spending time in the country.

And for some people, Greece is paradise. The weather, culture, ruins, history, food, etc. appeal to plenty of people who want to spend time or even retire there.

Portugal was the first of several countries in Europe to launch a Golden Visa back in 2012.

But as usual, the deal was too good to last. Swarms of foreigners came in, property prices went through the roof, and locals complained that housing was unaffordable.

So last year, the government of Portugal made their Golden Visa program much, much less attractive, and for the most part, property purchases no longer qualify.

Greece is the best game in town right now as far as European Golden Visa programs are concerned. 98% of the country’s territory, including hundreds of its idyllic islands, remains eligible for a Golden Visa in exchange for a property purchase of just €250,000.

But last year, the government raised the minimum investment threshold to €500,000 in the country’s most sought-after regions, including parts of Athens, Thessaloniki, and the islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

And we wouldn’t be surprised if they restricted the program further— after all, that is what tends to happen to these programs. So if you like the program, it’s better act soon.

Again, buying property under a Golden Visa program doesn’t make sense if you don’t enjoy spending time in the country.

But when it’s possible to get residency (which is a solid step in your Plan B) while generating positive cashflow from your rental income when you’re not using the place, that’s a pretty good deal.

Of course, Greece isn’t the only place in the world you can do this.

Panama still offers residency in exchange for a roughly $300,000 property investment— an amount which still goes a long way in Panama.

Panama’s program has also changed over time, so it also probably won’t last forever.

Then there are places like Mexico where you don’t even have to purchase a property to obtain legal residency; you just need to prove that your income or savings meets a modest threshold.

If someone asked where is the easiest place to gain residency in the Western Hemisphere, I think Mexico ticks that box. Almost anyone qualifies, and it is easy to maintain.

The larger point is that these aren’t radical steps. But they do give you another option.

And in a world full of Inspired Idiots, with so much looming risk and uncertainty, having additional options just makes sense.

But great options don’t last.

We go through periods where one residency may be easy and simple to obtain, and over time those rules change and become more difficult and cumbersome.

So when you find something that works for you, take action and make it happen.

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