Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday announced – from Parliament’s podium no less – that the minimum outlay in certain parts of the country in order to acquire a residence visa in exchange for a property purchase, the highly successful “Golden Visa” scheme, may be raised to 800,000 euros.

Currently, a minimum 500,000-euro investment is required for “Golden Visa” purchases in central, north and south Athens, the northern city of Thessaloniki, jet-setting Mykonos and iconic Santorini.

Speaking in response to a tabled question by PASOK party leader Nikos Androulakis, Mitsotakis said “…it’s true that the golden visa program has brought a significant amount of capital into the country. But (only) 7% of real estate sales are related to the golden visa, and very soon there will be further intervention by the government. We’re discussing and will soon announce an increase in the investment limit that will apply in those areas that are under rent hike pressure, and I’m referring to urban centers and the islands.”

Along those lines, he cited a figure of up to 800,000 euros – up from the current half million euros – while keeping the lowest purchase price, 250,000 euros, for areas that don’t face a residential shortage – essentially most of the provincial areas on mainland Greece, remote islands and mountainous rural regions.

He also said the government is studying the prospect of banning the use of “Golden Visa” properties for short-lease exploitation, meaning a state intervention on how investors’ – non-EU nationals in this case – will exploit their properties.

In qualifying this possible restriction, Mitsotakis maintained that short-term lease properties reduces the number of units available for long-term leasing, while rent prices have increased by 40% since 2018, as he said.