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How to Make your Space Feel Larger.

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If you do not have enough space, making it livable by decoration can be very challenging. Fortunately, many visual tricks can marvelously expand the appearance and feel of your space.

Below you may find some tips on how you can make your space feel larger.

  • Lighting

When it comes to lighting, an installation of scones can add brightness without occupying a lot of surface space. We recommend not to choose a low-hanging pendant because it will make your area feel smaller and more cramped. Instead, choose a feature that draws the eye up. You could also try flush mounts because they bring in light from above and ensure that sightlines are kept clear. Lastly, bring in floor lamps that will help combat dark corners and add height.

  • Rugs

Placing some rugs is an excellent idea since they will add a hint of warmth without visually shrinking your space. Use mats to divide one room into smaller areas. This practice will fabricate the aspect of having more than one space in a large area. Ensure that you choose the sizes of the right rugs if you wish your room to feel larger. Ensure to choose the right rugs size, as it affects the space directly. Secondly, choose light-colored carpets because lighter tones reflect light creating an overall sense of spaciousness, whereas darker rugs absorb light making your space appear smaller.

  • Furniture

To make your space look larger, tidy, and organized, ensure you go for fewer larger pieces over a bunch of small items. Less is usually more so; instead of a set of chairs and a couch, choose narrow furniture to maximize a tiny living room and decrease the look of clutter. Also, ensure kitchen cabinets go as high as the ceiling to draw the viewer’s eye up and create a false appearance of taller space. Also, you can choose statement furniture that fills the room. We recommend including types of furniture with exposed legs because they are perfect for a small space and create more open space than those that have a skirt, are boxy, or are placed directly on the ground. Include materials that allow light to pass through like Lucite and glass because they take up less space.

  • Mirrors and Art

It is important to use mirrors in all places because they diffuse the light around, making space feel larger. Strategically place mirrors to achieve the illusion of more space. We suggest placing mirrors across from the windows to reflect the light and make the room feel larger. Alternatively, you can place a large window behind an end table for a glamorous visual art genre that makes it look like a whole other space. Opt for oversized and extensive art since it makes a room appear larger in scale. If you have high ceilings, hang art high by ensuring you take your treasures, framed artwork, and photographs up.

  • Paint and Wallpaper

To make your space feel larger, you need to draw the eyes to the ceiling by adding patterns and fabulous dash colors. Anything that can draw the eye upwards can make any room feel larger.

  • Curtains

It would be best if you disguise the ceiling’s appearance to make it seem taller and make the windows looking larger by fixing your curtain rails near the ceiling and lengthening it wider than the window. Ensure that you let the light in by trying gauzy curtains that maximize sunlight and making space feel larger. You could also leave the windows uncovered to add more depth to the room. Use a transparent shower curtain in a small bathroom to make space appear larger. If you are worried about privacy, use blinds instead of curtains.  Remember that darkness makes space feel smaller.

  • Pattern

An elongated and striped runner makes a narrow room appear bigger. Go for vertically striped wallpapers because they make space appear larger. Go for small-scale patterns to create balance and make the room feel proportional to the print size.

  • Color

It is advisable to stay neutral when it comes to color because rooms in neutral tones allow more visual space, whereas rooms with darker colors tend to appear more restricted and smaller. After all, darker colors absorb light instead of reflecting it. Use light colors on the walls of the floor. Choose furniture that resembles the walls in color as this will mix perfectly well, thereby making visual space appear larger.

  • Pull Your Furniture away from the walls

If you pull the furniture away from the wall, even just a few inches, it creates an illusion that adds more space to the room. Pushing your furniture up against the walls will only make the room appear smaller and restricted.

  • Color your shelves

You need to color-code your shelves to achieve a sense of structure. Go for anything that makes a group of smaller items look well-arranged, making space appear larger.

  • Break the rules

Just because it is a living room, it does not mean you need a sofa, a coffee table, and a TV. Unexpected layout and pieces of furniture can make your space more open and generally fun. Maybe you want a bean bag for a chair or a swing inside, or perhaps you want both.

  • Design a Glide-Through Flooring

One flooring kind all over your home will lead to a significant difference in the appearance of your space. You can lay floorboards in several rooms like the bedrooms, kitchen, and living room as this is a great solution that can make space feel larger.

  • Remove The Doors off

Taking internal doors off can be a solution if banging through room dividers to create bigger openings is not an option. You could also replace the typical door with a sliding one to create valuable floor space. These changes might function well in rooms with cupboards or bedrooms and bathrooms with closets. Every millimeter counts in confined spaces.

  • Mind Restraint

Lastly, you should ensure that you decorate your place with restraint if you do not have a large space and the freedom to add multiple decorative items.

Bigger spaces are not always better. Even smaller spaces can look stunning if you maximize the area with the right tricks to make it look more spacious and cohesive. Consider the tips above and make the most of your property.

Thriving Real Estate is the Top Investment choice in Cyprus

Limassol_Cyprus

Governments and economies in general, are heavily depended on local and foreign investments in various industries blooming in their jurisdiction of interest.

The intriguing thing about investments though, is the uniqueness of each case which requires careful research, planning and execution.

There are several objectives to be taken under consideration in order for the investment to be materialized and generate profit short term or long term.

It is noteworthy to mention that the international market offers limitless combinations of investment opportunities depending on the traditional economy of the chosen jurisdiction.

Cyprus couldn’t be missing out on investment opportunities in various industries as it is widely known to be a business hub with several markets thriving while others looking very promising.

Overcoming the 2013 financial crisis, the downgrade to “junk” creditworthiness, the Bailout program and the implementation of the AML directives, has led Cyprus to rise back up, reestablish itself as a thriving business hub and regain its reputation as a stable and dynamic business center offering numerous investment opportunities.

Real Estate is a traditional type of investment in Cyprus which is greatly encouraged and boosted by the successful implementation of the Cyprus Investment program. This particular investment program is a highly valuable incentive because it attracts High Net Worth Individuals and promotes foreign direct investments.

Currently, Real Estate sector offers several opportunities with great prospects on both residential and commercial units all over Cyprus which promise a quite safe initial capital investment, capital appreciation and exceptional Return On Investment.

Taking everything into consideration, Cyprus is a small Mediterranean island with enormous investment opportunities. Investors as well as individuals have a great variety of deals to look into, in an established business center with exquisite development prospects.

Real Estate: The blooming industry is a priority for investors

Cyprus_Limassol_Marinaa

The economy of a country is usually based on various sectors, depending on each jurisdiction’s characteristics and trends.  Governments build their investment plans around those particular sectors in order to attract investors and further improve the overall financial stability of their country.

On the opposite side, investors looking to expand their business and invest in a thriving jurisdiction, must take into consideration a number of factors before making their decision where, when and how to invest. For that reason, there are specific questions to be answered beforehand, such as what their main goals are when looking for investment opportunities, what industries are blooming at that particular jurisdiction etc.

The investment decision is not an easy task and sometimes involves risk and all things considered, the sole purpose of every investment is capital increase, either on short-term or long-term basis.

Being a European Union member state and a widely recognized business hub, Cyprus offers various investment opportunities in a number of industries.

However, Real Estate industry in blooming in Cyprus and has been for the past few years, offering numerous opportunities for investment along with the traditional investment opportunities in tourism, shipping etc.

The Cyprus Investment Program is a significant booster which, when successfully implemented, encourages foreign direct investments (FDI) and attracts High Net Worth Individuals to settle and conduct their business activities in Cyprus. Today, there are numerous attractive opportunities in real estate all over Cyprus, both on commercial and residential units, that promise a relatively secure initial capital investment, an excellent Return on Investment (ROI) and capital appreciation.

Tourism is the second strongest industry with various investment opportunities due to the excellent weather conditions in the island and of course, past investments to further develop the tourism sector in Cyprus.  This particular industry is quite competitive and is constantly upgraded offering investment opportunities classified as premium, especially when large scale projects are involved.

According to the World Data Atlas, “In 2017, the contribution of travel and tourism to GDP for Cyprus was 22.3 %.”

Additionally, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mr. Savvas Perdios, has stated that “the tourism industry has the long-term potential to contribute to Cyprus’s economy by 25%.”

Being a small island with two major ports, Cyprus offers high quality shipping services renowned for its appealing legal framework and trustworthy operational infrastructure. The solid foundations set have established Cyprus as the 3rd largest ship management jurisdiction in Europe with a substantial share in the worldwide merchant fleet market.

Taking everything into consideration, Real Estate is top investment in Cyprus with countless opportunities for development and financial boost and should be top priority for every investor.

Cyprus Economic Pulse

cyprus

Facts

Cyprus is the third largest island of the Eastern Mediterranean area and is strategically located between three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa.

It is a European member state since 2004 and Eurozone member since 1st of January 2008.

Greek is the official language; however, English is one of the most popular foreign languages spoken in the country followed by Russian.

Cyprus – The Safest Country in the World

Cyprus is classified as the fifth (5th) most secure country in the world of a total of 107 countries, in a recent international research contacted by Value Penguin. The criteria of the research took into consideration the life expectancy, number per 100k people, population, carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), traffic deaths, thefts, assaults and country policing.

Also, the same research ranked Cyprus as the first (1st) safest country in the World at the category of less than 5 million population.

Safest Countries
Source: ValuePenguin and FBI

Cyprus Taxation and Legal System

Cyprus operates in an open and market driven economy and is considered one of the most favorable jurisdictions in Europe, due to its straightforward taxation system and the investment incentives offered in various sectors. In fact, the growth of the Cyprus Economy is strongly supported by the governmental authorities, therefore the economy is constantly evolving with a healthy pace.

The Legal system is based on the English common law system with strict regulations that safeguard investments, intellectual properties and business operations.  

Cyprus Economy at a Glance

Cyprus economy as per PwC report for the first half of 2019, published in November 2019, revealed that Cyprus GDP will continue to grow in the forthcoming years.

According to PwC, “Cyprus exhibited strong GDP growth for the third year in a row (3,9% in 2018), maintaining its position as one of the fastest growing economies in the EU. Based on the latest IMF forecasts (April 2019), the growth is expected to reach 3,5% by the end of 2019 and it is expected to ease further in the medium term”.

As demonstrated by IMF, the growth of the Cyprus Economy GDP is higher than the European Union real GDP growth and this is due to the international economic policies and investment incentives that Republic of Cyprus offers, for attracting foreign investments.

Cyprus_vs_EU_Real_GDP
Source: PwC | Cyprus Real Estate Market First Half in Review | H1 201 | click to see the full report |

On the other hand, based on European Commission economic forecast for Cyprus, the unemployment percentage rate will continue its rabid decline, the public budget balance (% of GDP) will maintain its surplus and the gross public debt (% of GDP) will continue to steadily reduce.

Cyprus_indicators
Source: European Commission Economic forecast for Cyprus

Cyprus is among the 10 smallest countries of Europe and ranks on the 10th place on European countries GDP growth forecast according to the Summer 2019 Economic Forecast – Statistical annex of European commission.

In addition to all of the above, Cyprus solvency has been upgraded by the acknowledged rating agencies DBRS, Fitch, Moody’s and S&P. 

DBRS

BBB (low)

Positive

Nov 15 2019

Fitch

BBB-

Positive

Oct 11 2019

Moody’s

Ba2

Positive

Sep 20 2019

S&P

BBB-

Stable

Sep 14 2018

Source: Trading economics

The main sector pillars of the Cyprus economy are tourism, real estate, financial, professional and administrative services, public administration and defense. 

According to CyStat and KPMG Analysis of the Cyprus Gross Value Added (GVA) by sector 2018, tourism, wholesale and retail trade sectors contribute 25%, financial professional and administrative services sectors 20%, real estate and construction sectors contribute 16%, public administration and defense contribute 19%, adding up to 80% of the Cyprus GVA.

Cyprus_Gross_Value_Added_a

Cyprus Real Estate Market at a Glance

Moreover, Cyprus Real estate market is constantly increasing.  As stated by PwC: “During the first half of 2019, transaction volume totaled €2,5bn, demonstrating an increase of 25% compared to the first half of 2018. The significant growth observed, appears to have been fueled by a surging flow of foreign capital in the residential property sector.”

Real_Estate_Market_a
Source: PwC

Source: The analysis was based on data from the Department of Lands and Surveys (DLS) relating to contracts of sales and sale transfers, extracted on 4/9/2019. Note: The above figures do not include :(i) Debt for Asset Swap transactions (DFAS), (ii) transaction of real estate through the sale of company shares or funds units (Share Deals) and (iii) any other transactions not filed or adequately recorded at the DLS. 

According to the DLS and PwC Analysis, the Real Estate sector in Limassol contributes 44% on the overall sector value in the first half of 2019 and 33% on the number of properties sold.  Whereas, the city of Paphos comes second with 25% in terms of total sector value and 22% on the number of properties sold, followed by Nicosia with 15% in terms of total sector value and 21% on the number of properties sold.

In addition, the residential property sector consists of 77% of the total value of transactions in the real estate sector, divided by 43% in residential apartments and 34% in housing.

According to 2019 KPMG study, “sales of high-end properties at the first half semester of 2018 increased by 8%, whereas 63% of the transactions were located in the city of Limassol”.  

In Cyprus and especially in Limassol, there are many attractive opportunities in real estate commercial and residential units that promise an exceptional Return on Investment (ROI) and capital growth.  

Except from enjoying the benefit of the Cyprus favorable taxation system, through their residential investment, entrepreneurs may be eligible to apply under the provisions and requirements of the Cyprus Investment Program, on the basis of subsection (2) of section 111A of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002-2019.

Nowadays, there are many promising new developments taking place on the island such as:

  • The integrated luxury resort and casino called “City of Dreams Mediterranean” with a completion date in 2021. A world class development, one of its kind in whole Europe, in Limassol.
  • “Limassol Marina”- A multi-million project with residentials and commercial units that are built by the sea. A large development project that offers apartments and villas, yachting, dinning and shopping, spa and fitness.   
  • “Ayia Napa Marina” – A seafront living in the Mediterranean with apartments, villas, yachting, commercial center, dinning and entertainment, fitness and spa.
  • “Del Mar”- A world-class seafront development, in ultra-desirable coastal area of Limassol in Cyprus, with unobstructed sea view offering ultra-luxury residences that will enjoy in-house services, concierge, exceptional facilities and an exclusive high-end shopping and dining plaza.
  • “One” – A striking, commanding and the tallest seafront residential high-rise superstructure in Europe, offering residential units with an uplifting level of light, incredible sea views, open, generous space and the refinement of detailing.
  • “Trilogy” – The largest mixed-use sky rise development in the Mediterranean region – a trio of shimmering beach front towers offering residential and commercial units, surrounded by a bustling inner plaza, right in the heart of Limassol’s affluent waterfront. 
  • “The Icon” – offering 54 sophisticated high-end residences on the Mediterranean coastline.  A project that is designed to house exclusive residences and a spectacular infinity pool and restaurant on the 10th floor with uninterrupted views of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • And many other smaller scale high-end apartment projects that promise an excellent ROI and capital appreciation.

Cyprus is, definitely, an attractive and friendly foreign investment island country that investors should strongly consider, since it combines business with an exquisite way of living.

Cyprus – Natural Beauty, Investment Hub, Quality of Life

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Words cannot even remotely describe the Mediterranean paradise island of Cyprus.

Its geographical position (Europe, Africa and Asia) are connected through Cyprus), countless natural beauties and the overall prosperity resulted from the ongoing business development, have established Cyprus as a significant business center and enhanced the quality of life for the island’s residents.

The golden beaches with the world-famous crystal-clear waters, the rich cultural and historical legacy as well as the countless picturesque landscapes with the wonderful waterfalls, have ranked Aphrodite’s island as an attractive holiday destination suitable for everyone.

The criminality levels are quite low, and this is the reason why people who consider relocation prefer Cyprus to gain a higher quality of life in a summery and safe destination.

The total population of Cyprus is 904,622 (2020) in an area of 9,250 km2 and with a coastline of 648 km. The island’s capital is Nicosia, Limassol is the second largest city followed by Larnaca, Paphos.

Cyprus is an EU member since May 2004 and the currency used is Euro (€) since January 2008.

Cyprus has two multi-purpose ports, one in Limassol and one in Larnaca, which handle both passenger and freight cargo while offering logistics services.

Additionally, there are two international airports, one in Larnaca and one in Paphos, which welcome and serve around 10 million visitors every year and are connecting the island to famous destinations all around the world.

The Cypriot hospitality and the island’s vivid nightlife make Cyprus world famous. World famous clubs (Guaba Beach Bar No. 17 in the world), exquisite restaurants, amazing bars and beautiful landscapes are only few of the reasons why foreigners prefer Cyprus for relocation, investments and business purposes. 

Considering all the above, it is no surprise that investors gain a lot when investing in Cyprus as the island is an attractive, business hub with multiple incentives and tax favorable regimes for establishing a business in Cyprus.

Established Double Taxation Treaties with more than 67+ countries, 12.5% corporate tax, one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe, Effective tax on royalty income of 2.5%. (subject to conditions), Exceptional taxation regime for shipping corporations, VAT exemption for international transport services when the effective use and enjoyment of the services taking place outside the EU etc, are only some of the numerous incentives offered to investors in Cyprus.

Choosing the appropriate family friendly  destination for relocation, business expansion and investment, is not an easy and lighthearted decision.

When considering all the above, Cyprus is the Queen of the Mediterranean.

A beautiful, natural gem which perfectly combines the ideal family destination with the business growth jurisdiction.

Abu Dhabi – Prospering Environment

abu_dhabi

Facts

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital. The name Abu Dhabi translates in Arabic as the “Land of the Gazelle”. The name is inspired by the fact that the emirate was founded due to the tribe being led to an island with fresh water by a young antelope.

Abu Dhabi is an archipelago due to the 200 islands stretching along the coastline. 

There are three different regions. The first one is the capital and its surrounds, the second one is the Easter Region – Al Ain and the third one is the Western Region – Al Dhafra.

It is a modern and vibrant capital which combines elements of tradition and modernity. It is characterized by its “geographically diverse scenery, rich culture and history”.  “It maintains a more distinctly Arabian ambiance than glitzy Dubai”.

Tourism

Abu Dhabi is a world-class destination with a diverse range of leisure, entertainment, and cultural attractions.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism recorded 11.35 million international visitors in 2019 which is 10.5% increase from 2018. Also, according to the Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi, the bigger number of tourists came from United Arab Emirates (1,165,071) India (403,457), China (210,089) and United Kingdom (188,720) (Figure).

International Visitor Arrivals

The Emirate’s government investments, total of 5.8 billion AED, to the Emirate’s leisure, entertainment, and cultural assets, resulted in becoming more attractive to current and potential visitors, as well as to residents from all backgrounds.

Furthermore, many high-profile international events, international exhibitions, conference and live events are being organized in this multi-awarded tourist destination as: Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi showdown Week along with Formula 1 Etihad Airways, Grand Prix, ADNEC etc.

In addition to that, Abu Dhabi’s win of prestigious international awards, the events taking place in the city and the investments placed in advertising and promotion, resulted in expanding even more the awareness of Abu Dhabi and made it a renowned destination for business and leisure.   In fact, the awareness increased by 5% from 2018 scoring a 77% in 2019. 

Moreover, according to Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi had 73% hotel occupancy which is 1.6% higher than 2018.  What is more, the total revenues from the hotel sector reached the 5.8 billion AED with 67% being from 5-star hotels, 17% from 4-star hotels and the rest 9% and 7% from apartments and 1-3-star hotels respectively (figure).

Hotel Sector Revenues per Hotel Class

It is also important to mention that the visitors’ main purpose of visit was: Leisure (58%) Business (16%), VFR (11%), Transit (11%) and Other (4%).

Abu Dhabi’s experience records showed 84% overall satisfaction, and 89% willingness to visit again.

On top of that, in 2019 Abu Dhabi accommodated more than 250 business events which attracted hundreds of thousands of professionals from a wide variety of industries.  At  the same year, Abu Dhabi won the ‘Middle East’s Leading Business Potential’ at the World Travel Awards which is a solid indication that Abu Dhabi has the capabilities to welcome an array of world known corporate and non-corporate type of events, conferences and exhibitions.

Furthermore, the Emirate’s Culture and Tourism Department developed several customized campaigns promoting Abu Dhabi to key trade and industry partners, in order to enhance even more the   destination awareness growth and acquire higher inbound tourism.  Some of the key trade and industry partners are Russia, India, China, Australia etc.

Economy

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s ‘Economic Vision 2030’ aims at achieving economic growth using New Zealand and other countries ‘transformation economies’, as a benchmark to assess and evaluate the city’s economic performance.

The “Economic Vision 2030” focuses on recognizing key areas that the city needs to utilize, in order to achieve economic development. 

In addition, according to the “Economic Vision 2030”, “Abu Dhabi has core commitment to build sustainable and diversified, high value-added economy by 2030.”

Similarly, the city’s 2030’s vision is not only focusing on developing a sustainable economy, but it is also concentrating on social and regional improvement for the Emirate’s population wellbeing.

Seven Pillars of Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030

Further to this, the Abu Dhabi’s plans for the sustainable economic, social, and regional growth is forecasted to have a positive impact on the Emirate’s GDP. By 2030 the GDP is expected to reach 6.7% with an economy being significantly less dependent on Oil and more dependent on the private sector.

Moreover, the unemployment rate in the United Arab Emirates was 2.64% in 2019 which is higher than 2018 by 0.7%.  According to the Trading Economics, unemployment rate is predicted to increase to 3% by the end of 2020, then fall back to 2.80% in 2021 and drop even further in 2022 to 2.70%.

Unemployment Rate Forecast
Source: Trading Economics

Real Estate

According to the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) in its 2019 report, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi “recorded $15.8 billion (58 billion AED) worth of real estate transactions”. 

The transactions were consisted of lands’, buildings’ and real estate units’ sales and mortgages.

Real Estate Transactions
Source: Abu Dhabi DMT

Also, the report of DMT indicates that the increase in transactions is directly connected to the growing demand of investors seeking for an environment which has investment potential and provides safety and stability.

Furthermore, the specific report indicates that $18 billion worth of real estate transactions were in Al Reem Island making it the highest on the list.

Yas Island comes second on the list with $925.6 (3.4 billion AED) worth of real estate transactions followed by Al Reef, Al Shanka city with $626.2 million (2.3 billion AED) and $299.5 million (1.1 billion AED) respectively.

In addition, lower in the list comes Khalifa City with real estate transactions worth of $187 million (687 million AED) and Al Faqa with $82.5 million (303 million AED).

Furthermore, according to AmeInfo, the real estate market of Abu Dhabi has seen a decrease in sales prices and rents during the second quarter of 2020; the average sales prices for villas dropped by 1.4% and 1.3% for rent prices. Whereas in the second quarter of 2020, the rental prices dropped by 2.2% for apartments and 2% for villas.

However, the market is confident that the sales volumes will increase in the remaining months of the 2020 due to the incentives provided by developers (i.e.: extended post-handover payment plans, initial service charge waivers and discounted prices) and the proactive public policy response.

In March 2020, the Abu Dhabi government unveiled several measures to support businesses in the Emirate, including the exemption of Tawtheeq real estate registration fees for commercial and industrial entities for the rest of the year. 

Apart from that, according to AmeInfo (2020), Abu Dhabi’s residential sector was supported by the “rise in loan to value ratio for first-time buyers introduced by the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), coupled with the cancellation of the Abu Dhabi Municipality fee, equivalent to 2% of a property’s purchase price, in March 2020.”

The loan-to-value ratios decreased by 5%, meaning that the asking price for deposit to purchase a new home declined from 25% to 20% for first time expatriate buyers and from 15% to 10% for Emiratis.  The experience of Covid-19 pandemic, the increase of unemployment rates and the lower demand for real estate, there have been significant learning outcomes for the real estate sector of Abu Dhabi. 

Based on the figures provided by Bayut for the Q1 of 2020, Al Reem Island remains at the top of the list for being the most attractive area in Abu Dhabi to purchase apartments.  In fact, this area experienced one of the lowest drops in average price per square feet. Also, Al Reem island is not only the most popular area for purchasing apartments, but it is also the most popular area for renting apartments.

Apartment Purchase Popular Areas and Change from Q4 2019 Web

Likewise, according to Bayut’s figures, Al Ghadeer might not be the area with the highest average price per square or the most popular area to purchase apartments, but it is the area with 8.6% in Return on Investment (ROI); the highest ROI of all Abu Dhabi’s areas. Also, it was the only area with a positive increase of 0.8% in the average price per square feet for the Q1 2020.

What is more, according to Bayut’s figures for the Q1 of 2020, the Return on Investment for Abu Dhabi’s areas were ranging between 6.5% the lowest and 8.6% the highest. 

Moreover, based on Bayut’s real estate market analysis, the Al Reef is the favorite option for potential buyers seeking to purchase budget friendly villas situated at a convenient location near the Abu Dhabi’s airport and with great connectivity.

Actually, it is one of the areas that saw an increase in the price per square feet since the Q4 of 2019.

Villa Sales Popular Areas and Change from Q4 2019

Last but not least, in Q1 2020, Mohammed Bin Zayed city proved to be the most desirable area for renting villas in Abu Dhabi followed by Khalifa City A and Al Reef. Mohammed Bin Zayed city is an affordable suburban area with spacious family villas and an array of amenities. It is noteworthy to say that most areas for renting villas and/or apartments, have seen a decrease in the Q1 of 2020 since the Q4 of 2019.

According to Chris Hobden, the Head of Strategic Consultancy Chestertons MENA, the growing numbers of the unemployment rates, the ongoing reductions in the workers’ salaries and the growing numbers of expatriates leaving the emirate are some of the most significant reasons affecting negatively the rental sector and by extent the prosperity of Abu Dhabi’s real estate market.

However, Chris Hobden concluded: “With Abu Dhabi’s economy forecast to rebound next year, we expect to see greater stability across residential prices and rents over 2021,”.

Although there have been fluctuations in the Emirate’s economy and in the real estate market over the last year, it is strongly believed that Abu Dhabi’s economy and real estate market will revive and prosper in the next couple of years.

This assumes that the government will achieve the completion of all areas covered in the 7 pillars mentioned in the Economic Vision 2030.

Bahrain – The Country of the Two Seas

Bahrain

Bahrain is a small Arab state on the southwestern coast of Persian Gulf.  Its name translates into “Two Seas”.

It has 30 islands and is considered an archipelago. It is located at one of the world’s top oil-producing regions. 

The Muslim country of Bahrain has a population of almost 1.6 million and a GDP valued at $38.57 billion in 2019.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bahrain’s government is constitutional hereditary monarchy.  “The system of governance is based on the separation of legislative, executive and judicial authorities and their cooperation under the provisions of this Constitution” (Mofa, 2020).

Economy

Bahrain has become one of the top 10 countries which advanced their business climate. It achieved a 76 score in Doing Business and gained the 43rd position globally. This is due to its nine business reforms that took place during 2019.

According to Isaam Abousleiman, the World Bank Regional Director for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) “Bahrain is making great stride to improve the business climate for small and medium-size enterprises”. He then added: “These reforms will enhance the foundation for private sector-led growth.”

Bahrain’s GDP worth for 2020 is expected to be $2.57 billion lower than the $38.57 billion achieved in 2019.

However, the country’s 2021 GDP is predicted to be valued at $37 billion and increase in 2022 to $42 billion following an upward trend onwards.

According to Trade Economics forecasts, Bahrain’s Annual GDP Growth Rate will decline in 2020 and revive to 3% in 2021 and follow a downward trend in 2022 reaching 2.50%.

GDP Annual Growth Rate
Source: Trade Economics
Source: Trade Economics

Bahrain’s economy is highly dependent on processing crude oil from the countries around it along with the newly established sectors such as financial, commercial services, communication, and tourism.

Furthermore, according to Trade Economics, the Bahrain’s biggest GDP contributor is the Services sector with BHD 1815.41 million followed by the Mining sector with BHD 605.89 million and Manufacturing sector with BHD 492.42 million.

Bahrain GDP including Sectors

Employment

Bahrain’s unemployment rate has been increasing since 2017 from 3.7% to 3.9%.  By the end of the 2020, the country’s unemployment rate is expected to reach 4.30% and then decline to 4.10% in 2022 and onwards.

Taxes

According to PWC (2020), Bahrain does not apply taxes on income, sales, capital gains or estates.

However, a tax rate of 46% might be applied to both foreign and local businesses that perform activities within “the oil and gas sector and/or derive profits from the extraction or refinement of fossil fuels.”. The specific 46% is applied on the net profits for each tax year and it has no correlation with the taxpayer’s residence.

Early in 2019, the government of Bahrain imposed a 5% VAT rate on most goods and services apart from a range of certain products and services.

Employers have the obligation to contribute a 12% in social security for Bahraini workers and an obligation to contribute a 3% social security for non-Bahraini workers.

Additionally, there is a municipality tax of 10% on commercial and residential properties rented by expatriates.

Real Estate

The country of Bahrain created an online platform called Benayat, which is a Building Permit Portal allowing users to issue permits for all types of building projects. 

This portal enables applicants to find all the necessary information, regulations, and requirements in order to apply for a building permit. It also enables Bahrain Licensed Engineering Offices to review applications for construction permits.

It is an important change as now applicants can receive an answer sooner due to the redirection of the process from Government entities to Licensed Engineering firms. It was ranked 17th on the worldwide registering property indicator.

The real estate of Bahrain is expected to experience the effects of a declining economy and the lower activities in investment and development due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The real estate market of Bahrain is expected to revive and stabilize once the country’s economy recovers from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to Property Trends, the establishment of RERA and the country’s new regulations helped to increase the investors’ understanding of Bahrain’s market and find the right investment opportunity.

Additionally, giving the figures provided by Property Trends 2019 Report, Bahrain’s rental properties both Apartments and Villas have seen a decline in 2019 comparing to 2018.

The only areas that have seen an increase in rent prices in 2019 are the Tubli and Um Al Hasam communities for renting apartments and Muharraqa and Sanad communities for renting villas.

Apartments for rent - Median Annual Rental Price
Source: Bahrain Real Estate Market Report 2019
Villas for Rent - Median Annual Rental Price
Source: Bahrain Real Estate Market Report 2019

Furthermore, Property Trend’s report states that the properties sales of the market has experienced a decrease in prices even though it has been generally more stable than the rent market in terms of prices.

Also, in 2019 there has been a drop in apartment sales price per square meter compared to 2018.

The only communities with an upward trend in sales prices per square meter from 2018 were the communities of Bahrain Bay and Dilmunia Island and Marassi Al Bahrain.

Apartments for Sale - Median Sales Price Per Sqm
Source: Bahrain Real Estate Market Report 2019

Furthermore, the villa sales prices declined in all of Bahrain’s areas with the most significant decline being in the Muharraq city from BHD 587 p. sq.m in 2018 to BHD 490 p. sq m.

Source: Bahrain Real Estate Market Report 2019

In addition, according to the Falak Studies, the key residential locations for expatriates to rent in Bahrain are: Reef Island, Amwaj Islands, Bahrain Bay, Al Riffa, Saar, Hamala, Juffair, Adliya, Mahooz and Hoora. These areas are characterized by affordability and luxury at a good location in the Kingdom.

The real estate market in Bahrain provides an array of properties from luxurious properties addressed to high end clients (HNWI) to medium-range properties attractive to buyers who could also be interested in competitive financing arrangements.

The Bahrain’s real estate market has become more organized and regulated due to the establishment of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA). 

The real estate prices now are lower than last year, but the projections indicate that once the country revive from the negative effects of the covid-19 pandemic, the flow of investments and the economic upturn will follow. This creates an opportunistic environment in which investments have the potential of high returns in the long run.

The New Kuwait Vision – Ιts Βusiness Οpportunities and Ιnvestment Potential

Kuwait

Facts

Kuwait is a small emirate located between Iraq and Saudi Arabia with its shores including the Kuwait Bay, a harbor on the Persian Gulf. The name of the country translates into “a fortress built near water”.

The country’s official language is Arabic, but English is widely spoken with a minority speaking Turkish, Farsi and Hindi.

The Kuwait is well-known for its Hot Sand Dunes, Stunning Cityscape, and its enormous oil reserves.

This Arabic gem has a population of almost 4.8 million with only 40% being Kuwaiti. The rest of the country’s population includes: 35% from Middle eastern nations (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Oman, Jordan, etc.), 9% from India, 4% from Iran and the remaining 7% from other countries (such as the US).

It is also noticeable that the country’s demographics in relation to age indicate that the population is relatively young with approximately 2% of the population being over the age of 65.

Kuwait Long Term Plan

“Kuwait aims to be transformed into a financial and trade hub regionally and internationally becoming more attractive to investors”, according to Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In fact, Kuwait’s vision 2035 is based on the notion of encouraging the private sector to lead the economy, resulting in the creation of competition that will inevitably generate economic growth, maximize efficiency and productivity in all sectors of the economy.

Although, the country’s government emphasizes the importance of developing the country, it strongly supports the preservation of the national values and, social identity, while forming an environment that is attractive to current and potential businesses.

Moreover, Kuwait’s monarchy vigorously believes that the country has the main elements for achieving its aim by utilizing the country’s strategic geographical location, balanced international foreign policy, encouraging legislative body and comprehensive judicial system.

Subsequently, the development of the country requires that it achieves a number of goals i.e. increase in the development of non-oil sectors, improvement of the citizens’ living standards, involvement of the private sector into the national’s economic activity, implementation of residential policies, governments bodies restructurings and many more.  

It should be noted that all the country’s development strategies need to be in line with the values of the Arab-Islamic identity.  

Additionally, “Kuwait’s constitution is based on democrat principles” 

In fact, the country’s parliament is the most democratic among the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries but the ruling family holds firmly the reins of power in its hands, according to   Sharmaake SABRIE and Pekka HAKALA Directorate-General for External Policies of the Union Policy Department.

Tourism

Likewise, Kuwait’s development plan (New Kuwait 2035) aims to further enhance the sustainability of the country’s tourist product and attract overseas investments in the tourism sector, so as to mitigate the country’s risk dependence mostly to oil and gas sectors.

The aforementioned strategy of the government actually has started to add value to existing hotels with international recognition such as Four Seasons, Jumeirah Messilah, Hilton and other well-known brands.

Of course, the investments increase towards the hotel’s sector by the government ultimately targets the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth through the attraction of more tourists. Consequently, this will be resulted to the decrease of unemployment rate on a national level and to the increase of the employment rate of international professionals, meaning improvement of the tourist product. 

Similarly, the Kuwait’s plan includes the creation, evolution and expansion of its transport infrastructure such as Kuwait International Airport’s capacity to 25 million passengers, the railway network and Kuwait Expressway.

According to government predictions, the country’s tourism sector is expected to offer 90,000+ jobs until 2035. “The total contribution to tourism in the short-term GDP will be about two percent, with the possibility of raising it to four percent through developing the sector that will attract foreign investment.”

In 2018, the country of Kuwait acquired 3.34 million international visitors to the country and is expected to increase by 2028.

The domestic spending in 2018 was KD1.6 billion and it is expected to reach KD2.6 billion by 2028.

The foreign spending in 2018 was KD245 million and is expected to reach KD380 million in the decade ahead. 

If we consider the fact that domestic outbound travel expenditure was KD3.7 billion in 2017 and increased to KD3.9 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow over KD4.9 billion by 2028; there is definitely untapped potential for growth in the domestic tourism industry and GDP accordingly.

Economy

Kuwait is geographically small but wealthy and with a relatively open economy.  The country’s economy is mainly relied on its oil and gas industry. It has one of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves reaching a total of 101.5 billion barrels. 

It is considered to be one of the world’s top 10 largest oil and gas producers with significant low costs of production than any other oil province in the world. Kuwait Petroleum Corporation plays a valuable role in the country’s economy and labor market.

However, being so heavily dependent on the oil prices can have adverse results.  In the last few years, Kuwait has been experiencing economic challenges due to the drop in global crude oil prices which resulted in fiscal budget deficits.

This economic downturn has influenced the government of Kuwait to diversify the country’s economy and focus in different areas.  For example, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s strategy is addressing issues that affect the oil and gas industry such as the “continued long-term global demand for crude; shift of oil demand from Europe to Asia; rising global demand for refined products, petrochemicals and natural gas; and the inevitable move towards renewable energy resources”.

Furthermore, the drop in oil prices and the decline in oil production affected the GDP negatively.

According to World Bank Data, Kuwait’s GDP growth has been fluctuating for a few years now.  In 2018 the GDP growth was at 1.2%, declining to 0.4% in 2019 and expected to decline sharply in 2020 to -5.4%.

However, predictions state that the country’s GDP growth will follow an upward trend and increase significantly in 2021 to 1.1%.

GDP Growth
Source: World Bank Data

Moreover, there are various plans for progressing the performance of Kuwait’s economy.

Some of the plans soon to be and already established are the upgrade of stock exchange of the country, the investment placed in large infrastructure programs, the conversion of the country into higher value-added downstream production within the leading hydrocarbons industry as well as attracting foreign investment.

What is more, the oil exports are expected to revamp in 2021 based on the assumption that Covid-19 pandemic will decrease or even disappear and investment recovers. 

In addition, the diversification programs such as Kuwaiti 2035 vision are vital to the further development of the country and economic prosperity.

It is also noteworthy to mention that Kuwait’s Silk City Madinat Al Hareer is a project that will add value to the country by introducing the Burj Mubarak Al Kabir Tower (expected to be Kuwait’s next tallest building), a nature reserve, duty-free area, new airport and five other Kuwaiti Islands.

In addition, the project involves the construction of trade zone at the Mubarak Port, logistics area for goods, railways capable of transporting both goods and people and the construction of an industrial city that embraces small and medium enterprises.

Investment

According to Santander trade, Kuwait’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows decreased from $204 million in 2018 to $104 million in 2019. 

The limited diversity in the economy and the decrease of oil prices have been the main elements influencing the drop of inflows.

The majority of foreign investments were directed towards the oil and gas sector, real estate/construction and financial services. 

Although there was a significant drop of the inflows, however, the Kuwait government is now focusing on diversifying the economy and attract more foreign investments in a range of sectors. 

Some of the incentives provided to attract foreign investments are:

  • allowing 100% foreign ownership in a range of sectors (such as housing projects and urban developments, hotels, investment management etc.),
  • tax breaks,
  • stock market available to non-Kuwaitis,
  • foreign banks licenses and many more.

Also, according to the 2020 Doing Business report established by the World Bank ranked Kuwait on the 83rd position which is 14 spots higher than 2019. The reason for this development is due to the valuable change made in starting a business as well as obtaining credit and construction permits. 

To sum up, some of the strong points to take into account when considering to invest in Kuwait is the country’s stable and significant revenues gained through their oil reserves, its strategic role in the political sphere of the region, the young population with high average income and high domestic consumption, good quality infrastructure and a business environment that is open, positive and welcoming to foreign investments.

Tax

According to KPMG (2019), Kuwait does not charge personal/wealth tax on individuals’ income regardless their nationality. 

However, Kuwait imposes corporate income tax to businesses with foreign entities, that are not Kuwait incorporated companies enlisted in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

 “However, depending on the nature of the incorporated vehicle, a Kuwaiti or a GCC entity with activities in Kuwait may be subject to certain other levies such as Zakat / National Labor Support Tax (NLST) and Kuwait Foundation of Advancement of Science (KFAS) by certain types of local entities.”

Moreover, the income tax is imposed to all entities that have business transactions in Kuwait.

Furthermore, contributions to social security must be made for GCC nationality and Kuwaiti employees. The employer’s contribution is 11.5% and employee’s contribution is 10.5%. there are no withholding taxes and no value added tax (VAT). However, there are reports stating that Kuwait is considering implementing VAT but there are no firm introduction date and or regulations yet.

Kuwait’s network of double tax treaties (ratified only) includes Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, Netherlands, Italy etc.

Source: Deloitte

Real Estate

“Kuwaiti market for real estate investment properties remains subject to broader demographic factors”, according to Oxford business group.

The market of real estate in Kuwait is separated in two main categories.

The first category is the private residential housing that is accessible for GCC citizens and Kuwaiti and the second category is investment housing which is lease-driven, anyone can have them, but it is mainly for expats. 

As stated in  Oxford Business Group, a significant amount of Kuwait’s population is expatriates, therefore, the growth in the investment housing (second category) plays a significant  role in the development of the country and the real estate sector, overall.

As observed, in 2019, the real estate sector of Kuwait had an outstanding growth with transactions of $12.04 billion in value. according to Kuwait Finance House (KFH).

Also, the amount of deals had an upturn of 6.4% to 6.77% over the last year. 

Although there was a significant growth in the sector however, the transaction value in 2019 decreased by 1.5% in comparison to 2018.

Furthermore, according to ProTenders, there is currently 2.296 active projects valued at $445.9 billion.

It is also important to mention here that even in the fourth quarter of 2018, the investment property sales increased by 19% to reach KD470 million ($1.5 billion), “making the fifth consecutive quarter of rising figures and a year-on-year increase of more than 300%”. 

Also, the real estate price index indicates a year on year rise of 3.7% while the amount of transactions increased by 127% over the same period.

Additionally, in 2019’s first quarter, Kuwait’s sales in real estate sector were moderate because of the decline in investment properties, falling by 47% to KD248 million ($816.8 million). The specific decline was also caused by the decreasing interest of foreigners to penetrate the market.

To sum up, indeed, there were fluctuations in the investment properties sales in 2020, however they do not determine or predict the future of Kuwait real estate market due to unforeseeable factors i.e. covid19 pandemic. 

According to Arabian Business, in 2019 the active construction projects in Kuwait valued at $494 billion.

Nowadays, there are many projects in the design stage worth of $243.5 billion, in planning stage worth of $63 billion and in the construction stage worth of $140.9 billion, in Kuwait. 

Moreover, as per Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Kuwait is about to reclassified from Frontier Market status to Emerging Markets status in November 2020 Semi Annual Index Review (SAIR) as an emerging market.

Although the current real estate market situation of Kuwait seems to be vulnerable to various national and macroeconomic health care aspects; the emirate of Kuwait has enormous potential for exponential growth.

As an emerging market, many investors who aim high investment returns will definitely invest in such a market, since high rates of economic growth are foreseen, stock prices increase and GDP growth boost.

New Kuwait Development Areas
Source: New Kuwait Summit

Dubai Real Estate Market Overview

Dubai

United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi (serve as the capital of the federation), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. Each of the UAE operates as a sovereign constitutional monarchy. 

The Emirate of Dubai is situated at the Eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, at the southwest corner of the Arabian Gulf and it is the second largest emirate of the UAE with a population reaching 2.88 million (Dubai population 2020 estimation).

Luxurious, modern and wealth are few words that may describe Dubai.  Dubai is a city that uniquely and successfully blends the characteristics of futuristic metropolis – timeless flexibility, Arabian strict and discipline style.

Dubai is among the most popular business hubs of the world and in fact, many entrepreneurs are considering it as the international financial center of the Middle East.  It has a fast-growing economy; modern infrastructure and it is one of the most technologically advanced sovereign entities and cities of the area.

Moreover, Dubai successfully combines multi cultures and offers an enhanced range of business opportunities to individuals and companies. As a matter of fact, it is a favorable jurisdiction for expanding offshore businesses.

According to World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, Dubai was ranked at the 11th position due to its favorable tax regime and straight forward incorporation procedures. 

In addition, Dubai is a well-known destination for luxurious travel, leisure, and business due to its sunny weather, desert, hospitality, safety, skyscrapers, beaches, malls, rich culture, business opportunities and many more.

Macroeconomic Analysis

According to the UAE Central Bank’s initial estimates the overall GDP of the federation had a 2.3% increase in 2019, overcoming the growth of 2018 by 0.6%. This growth is primarily attributed to the expansion of the hydrocarbon sector, which is expected to grow further, in the near future.

Moreover, the UAE Central Bank stated that the other sectors had a relative growth as well in 2019.  In 2020, according to Oxfords Economics the UAE’s GDP is expected to record a 2.2% growth and a 0.1% reduction in 2021. 

Overseas Investors Benefits

One of the most common questions that international buyers ask is: “Is purchasing properties in Dubai a smart idea?”. The UAE federation was named the best nation in the world in 2019, according to the statement released by local authorities. Overseas buyers don’t have to think about their investment protection when purchasing properties, due to the city’s safe environment.

In addition, although VAT has been implemented, it does not extend to the rental income of residential owners. Therefore, this tax-free income gain is an additional advantage for purchasing property in Dubai as an overseas investor. Furthermore, Dubai remains one of the topmost cities to visit, live in and work, thus, adding to properties a strong investment potential value.

Dubai Real Estate Market

Affordable prices and residential supply are some of the reasons that places Dubai among the major players of the worldwide Real Estate market.

Nowadays, Dubai Real Estate Market consists of competitive property rates and convenient payment options. The reason for this is the steadily increasing supply of available properties with different distinctive characteristics that can satisfy investors needs and sense of taste. 

The residential structures in Dubai are mostly following the concept of building communities.  Communities are able to satisfy all the needs of their residents, with the simultaneous creation of community schools, shopping malls, restaurants etc.   Consequently, when investors are searching for residential units in Dubai, they view very well-established residential communities. Therefore, investors can form a clear understanding of the property value since they can view the potentials of the community / neighbor. 

This practice has added a great amount of confidence to investors since it diminishes the factors of speculations of how’s and why’s that are observed in other real estate markets, with no clear structures. 

Moreover, investors can calculate the location value and performance with the use of market indicators that specify exactly what to expect in terms of investment return.  

In the Real Estate Market, it is widely accepted that location is one of the most important factors that buyers look at before purchasing.  If the location is prime, for example in Dubai City, then this may indicate that the specific real estate property will perform well, as time goes by. Certainly, there are other characteristics that investors should take into account such as property facilities, design of the property, amenities, surrounding areas and etc.

However, it is noteworthy to mention that Dubai has many prime locations that investors are able to view, since the design of Dubai’s philosophy is based on the notion that each community must have its own parks, retail stores, dining, schools etc.  Someone may say that each community is an individual city by itself.  The potential that exists in this city with its unique and well-designed neighborhoods as well as the economic growth that has been experiencing are some of the key incentives for investing in Dubai’s real estate market.

There are several examples of well–integrated communities such as: Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC),  Dubai Sports City, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah etc.

Although the location is a significant element to consider when investing, however, investors should also familiarize themselves with developers’ current and potential projects and reputation, examine the design of the community, as well as acquire knowledge for the facilities available and the surrounding area’s potentials and amenities. If all the indicators mentioned above are in good place, then investors can be assured that their property will retain its value through time and will have rent return as well as capital appreciation in case of sale.

Consequently, when an investor is thinking of buying a property in Dubai, the investor has the option of selecting from a wide and diverse property portfolio that conform to various preferences and budgets.

Dubai Forecast in Real Estate Properties

Dubai real estate outlook is extremely positive since the region has many potentials to further grow and develop. The real estate market of Dubai has an established position in the world map and is among the strong financial markets that can be compared with London, Hong Kong and New York.  Finally, the expansions and advancements that will take place on Dubai Metro, Expo2020 and Al Maktoum International Airport will further enhance the real estate market and add a positive impact in the years to come.

Greece – A Golden Destination with EU Schengen Zone Access

Greece

Facts

Greece is situated at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe. It is well-known for its gorgeous coast lines, sandy beaches, sunny weather, and the amazing nightlife.

Also, it is renowned for the unique natural beauties of its islands, rich culture, and local traditions. In fact, each island of Greece has different customs, culture characteristics and lifestyle that make it very interesting to visitors.

Moreover, Greece is very famous for its Mediterranean cuisine and the historical monumental sites, which date back to the 7th millennium BC, such as: Acropolis in Athens, Ancient Delphi and Epidaurus, Mystras, Ancient Olympia, Knossos Palace in Crete and many more. 

Greece is a member of the European Union since 1981, it has joined the Schengen Zone in 1992 and the Eurozone in 2001. The official currency is Euro.

Its official language is Greek, but a great percentage of the population speaks English, followed by French, Italian and German.

Greece has an exceptional infrastructure, which can support all business activities, especially in its mainland cities.

Additionally, it has an outstanding inland transportation, as well as an excellent transportation through air and sea. 

Equally, it has a reliable private and public medical system, which can support its citizens and visitors throughout the country.

The Educational system of Greece is very advanced and reputable all over the world. 

Greece is considered as a safe destination for travelers, since crime rates are considerably low.  Greek people are very polite, and they are distinguished for their hospitality.  When foreigners visit Greece, they feel like home and they are overwhelmed by the Greek hospitality. 

Even though Greece has been suffering from a monetary crisis in the last decade, it continues to be one of the most attractive and safe destinations in the world for investment, due to its location, safety, quality of life etc.

Similarly, Greece is considered to be a Business Hub for various industries and companies such as trading, manufacturing, tourist, energy etc.

Tourism

Tourism is one of the most important sectors for the Greek Economy. It produces high revenues and contributes significantly into the country’s GDP.   

Greece is highly dependent on its tourism sector; in 2018 tourism alone contributed €21.6 billion – 11.7% of the country’s GDP. This is €2.5 billion more than 2017. In fact, tourism in 2018, contributed directly and indirectly approximately €25.7 to €57.1 billion. 

Greece is a popular destination for many European and International visitors for their summer and winter holidays. Unfortunately, due to the consequences related to Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s tourism industry has been suffering.  There has been a decline in tourist arrivals due to the travel restrictions and a decline in domestic and international tourists’ expenditure.

Tourism numbers

Moreover, the downturn in tourism is expected to continue until the early months of 2021, which will then revive significantly reaching 308.000 persons per month in 2021 and 445.000 persons per month in 2022.

Economy

Greece’s economy is highly dependent on the country’s services sector and it has a high share of micro enterprises that are highly vulnerable to external factors. 

Prior to the pandemic that has taken over in the first months of 2020, the Greek economy was prospering with a GDP growth of 1.9%.  The growth was led by the domestic demand and the decrease of net exports and the growing tourism.  However, public debt and unemployment rates remain high.

GDP Growth

As per European Commission’s Economic Forecast figures, the country’s GDP is expected to decrease further in 2020 reaching – 9.7% and the unemployment rate will reach approximately 20%, in 2020.

GDP Forecast

Indeed, the current economic situation of Greece is uncertain and highly affected by various external influences. 

However, the European Commission’s economic forecast, states that 2021 will be a promising year for Greece and potential investors. The country’s GDP is expected to reach almost 8% and unemployment rate to decrease to 16.8% in 2021, while the tourism and trade sectors will experience a significant upturn. 

The Government of Greece took several actions to ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic is tackled in a balanced and measured way, whilst ensuring the stability of the country’s economy as much as possible.

For example, some of the measures that the government of Greece established to tackle the pandemic effects were special unemployment benefits and waivers of social security contributions, health care investments, payments postponement of certain taxes etc. Also, the government applied a 40% decrease in renting properties occupied by hotels, food catering and any other services who have been massively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

In addition to that, Greece has the major support of the EU. In fact, Greece received funding from the EU in order to get through the economic consequences brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Given the measures taken by the Greek Government and the support of the EU, the European commission  stated that the Greek economy is predicted to decrease by 9% in 2020 but in 2021 the Grecian economy is predicted to achieve a 6% increase.

Tax

The corporate income tax rate is 24% which is the same for Branch and Capital Gains tax rate. According to the table, individual income tax rate is as follow:

Individual Taxation
https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/Tax/dttl-tax-greecehighlights-2020.pdf

The real estate ownership has two types of taxes: the main tax and an additional tax. 

The main tax is based on the characteristics of the property (i.e. location, zone price, surface, size, age etc.), whereas the additional tax differs from company to individuals.

According to Deloitte’s report on Greece 2020, “For companies the additional tax is calculated at a rate of 0.55% on the total tax value of all the company’s property. Property occupied by the company is subject to 0.1% additional tax.  For individuals, the additional tax is calculated on the total tax value of all the taxpayer’s property if the total value exceeds €250,000.  The additional tax rate ranges from 0.15% to 1.15%, depending on the value property”.

Investment

The investment levels are predicted to decrease due to the lower turnover and the uncertain future of the country’s economic prosperity.

However, the Greek government along with the EU institutions are taking actions to help companies to recover from the lockdown period and have an easier, more efficient recovery. For example, a new measure was applied for a 3-year suspension period of VAT on new building permits, aiming in enhancing and improving the housing market.

 In addition to that, , the completion of the Hellinikon Project (a multibillion-dollar project, which includes the creation of apartments, marinas and luxury hotels), is projected to positively increase the value of the surrounding areas and contribute to the overall increase of the real estate market. Hence, the completion of this project will certainly attract international investments and encourage the development of more areas to accommodate the needs of locals and foreigners.

Real Estate

The real estate market in Athens during 2019 had an increase of more than 25% in apartment sales.

Attica has been on the top of the list having the highest increase in house prices, due to the high demand  of short leasing and Greece residence permit scheme, “Golden Visa” The Golden Visa Scheme attracted non-European residents from various backgrounds and  main nationalities  Chinese, Lebanese, Russian, Turkish and Egyptian.

Furthermore, the real estate market is expected to experience a growth in prices in several locations throughout the country, especially at seaside areas where tourism is highly attracted.

According to the GrekoDom, Greece currently established a temporary stop to the readjustment exercise of property objective values. The specific activity entails that price zones will be reevaluated, due to the pandemic negative effects that caused a decline in low-level properties. 

In addition, the government decided on the decrease of ENFIA (Unified Property Ownership Tax) by 8%-10%.

GrekoDom stated that, “The new ENFIA decrease is expected to delete the tax burdens, which shall emerge from the increase of the objective property value in multiple areas of the country.”. Therefore, property owners i.e. tourist areas, islands and wealthy areas shall expect a tax relief burden. 

Also, the government has established an electronic system where individuals will be able to submit parental grants, declarations and transfer of properties in electronic forms, so as to make procedures more efficient and effective.

Finally, the Greek Real Estate market, especially in Athens, is expected to have a substantial growth due to the multibillion-dollar Hellinikon Project. 

The specific project will be like a sub city consisted of luxury hotels, casinos, marinas, and modern apartments.  Particularly, the specific project will potentially attract investors and interest for potential developers wishing to enter in the developing market of Greece. Of course, this increase will inevitably lead to the country’s GDP growth, as it will attract higher numbers of potential homeowners, as well as tourists both domestic and international.