As geopolitical headwinds and market volatility increase global uncertainties, international investors, particularly HNIs (high-net-worth individuals) seek a safe haven where both their lifestyles and capital are maintained and safeguarded. This has led to a surge in the demand for alternative residency and citizenship programs.
In meeting these objectives, investors’ core concern is finding tax-friendly jurisdictions that protect business interests while also providing their families with a secure and luxurious style via the best real estate investment options. Additionally, long-term stability in the tax regime is equally important since a change in government in some geographies can lead to sudden and unforeseen policy changes.
Secure Investment Destinations
HNIs seeking hot destinations that tick all the above boxes need to look no further than the two lovely Mediterranean nations of Cyprus and Greece. In the case of Cyprus, the island has one of the widest double-tax treaty networks in Europe along with a low corporate tax rate, various personal income tax incentive initiatives, including no capital gains tax on the sale of properties purchased before 2013, no inheritance tax and virtually no withholding taxes.
Cyprus’ residence investment option needs a minimal investment in real estate of €300,000 (approx. INR26.7 million) + VAT, making it popular among overseas investors, including people from Asia. Best of all, its Permanent Residence by Investment Program offers application approvals within six months if the main criterion on specific investments is met along with some other requirements.
Besides relevant investments ranging from the purchase of residential realty valued at a minimum of €300,000, prospective investors may also invest in any type of commercial real estate all within the minimal monetary threshold mentioned earlier. Around INR 2.5 Crore
The other requisite terms include applicants being of legal age, without criminal antecedents, with a legitimate income source and ample financial resources to ensure mandatory investments while also ascertaining their family members possess a clean track record.
Furthermore, Cyprus’ Residence by Investment Program offers investors access for visa-free travel across the European Union. What’s more, investors can enjoy the excellent Mediterranean climate of Cyprus. Its beautiful beaches and vibrant cultural legacy also make it an irresistible holiday getaway for overseas tourists. As its luxury villa market gains global popularity, short-term rentals, particularly in the peak tourism season, can mean high occupancy levels together with attractive rental rates. As a result, it can deliver significant returns on investment.
Benefits of the Golden Visa Program
The second jewel in the European investment crown is Greece. Here, the Greece Golden Visa Program needs a minimum investment of €250,000 in real estate for eligibility under the renewable 5-year residence permit. As from August 2023, Greece has increased the minimum value of property required for its Golden Visa, from €250,000 to €500,000 for the areas of Athens, Thessaloniki and the islands of Mykonos and Santorini.
In Crete ( the biggest island of Greece) & in Paros it still remains very economical at € 250000 ( just over INR.2.15 Cr)
In Greece, the most favourable locale is Crete, earlier the centre of Europe’s first advanced civilisation. Apart from its lovely 365-day climate, beach-facing villas in Crete’s western part provide the best views of the mountains. Prices of apartments start at 250000 € ( INR 2.15 Crore)
The price of Huge 4/5 bedroom Luxury fully furnished & fitted villas on a plot size of 20,000 square feet begins from €1.25 million (with zero Vat Around INR 9 Crores.
Introduced in 2014, the Golden Visa Program retains its popularity with foreign nationals seeking safe overseas investments. The Immigration and Asylum Ministry’s data indicates that this program has added almost €1 billion to the Greek economy in the first half of 2023. The overall value of real estate sold in this period reached €975 million, nearly thrice the number recorded last year.
Expats and wealthy persons relocating to Greece under its Golden Visa Program can also enjoy several tax incentives. Golden Visa investors transferring their tax domiciles may pay a lump sum of €100,000 as tax for 15 years, irrespective of their foreign-sourced income. Once they complete seven years of lawful residence and also meet other legal norms, Golden Visa holders may apply for Greek citizenship. A European Passport
Ultimately, whatever the destination they choose, international investors will undoubtedly obtain the best value for money in both Cyprus and Greece.