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The Global Leader in
Residence and Citizenship by Investment

Unlocking Borders: Property as a Passport to the World

Thomas Scott

Thomas Scott

Thomas Scott is Group Head of Real Estate at Henley & Partners.

As a cornerstone of wealth generation and preservation, real estate presents a prime solution for astute investors. Investment migration has emerged as a crucial tool for entrepreneurs, granting access to leading international wealth hubs and diversifying assets to mitigate risks and seize opportunities. By investing in real estate–linked investment migration programs, investors can acquire a property as well as an alternative residence or citizenship, gaining expanded access to the world.

While traditional hubs like New York, London, and Hong Kong have long attracted attention, emerging markets present promising opportunities for discerning investors seeking portfolio optimization and high returns. Among these burgeoning destinations, the Caribbean havens of Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada, Central American jewel Costa Rica, and Mediterranean magnets Greece, Malta, and Spain stand out. These countries offer residence or citizenship by investment programs, and grant unique property and lifestyle advantages that appeal to wealthy investors worldwide, while enhancing their visa-free access to global markets.

Antigua and Barbuda: A slice of paradise

Nestled in the heart of the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda offers pristine beaches and a vibrant culture, as well as a favorable tax regime and a government that has implemented policies to streamline the process for obtaining property titles and permits, making it easier for investors to navigate the real estate market. The island nation’s tourism sector plays a crucial role in driving demand for vacation homes and rental properties, with recent trends indicating a growing demand for luxury beachfront properties, villas, and exclusive resorts.

Blue domed churches at sunset in Oia, Santorini

For an investment of USD 200,000 in an approved real estate project, investors can acquire citizenship in three to four months through the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program, which offers visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to approximately 150 destinations including Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, and Europe's Schengen Area.

Grenada: The Emerald Isle’s entryway to global markets

Grenada charms investors with its unspoiled beauty, friendly locals, and enticing government initiatives for foreign investment. The Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program, coupled with the island’s political stability and low crime rate, attracts high-net-worth individuals seeking a second passport and lucrative real estate opportunities. With its lush landscapes and flourishing tourism industry, Grenada offers investors the promise of both financial returns and a laid-back Caribbean lifestyle. The government's efforts to improve infrastructure and promote sustainable tourism contribute to the attractiveness of Grenada's real estate market.

Investors who acquire Grenadian property for at least USD 220,000, together with a non-refundable contribution of USD 50,000, receive citizenship and a passport that facilitates access to over 140 destinations, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, and Europe’s Schengen Area, in only three to four months. To boot, Grenada has the only Caribbean citizenship program that holds an E-2 Investor Visa Treaty with the USA, allowing citizens who are interested in the North American markets to be eligible to apply for a non-immigrant visa after being domiciled in Grenada for a continuous period of three years.

Costa Rica: Pura vida and profitability

Renowned for its biodiversity and commitment to environmental conservation, Costa Rica has emerged as a hotspot for eco-conscious investors. The country's stable political environment and economy, as well as its strong legal system provide confidence to expats and retirees interested in the real estate market, whether that’s affordable eco-friendly condos, rainforest retreats, or high-end oceanfront villas.

The Costa Rica Residence by Investment Program allows international investors to access the country’s business-friendly landscape and vibrant cities as residents when they acquire property for USD 150,000. Second-home buyers also benefit from Costa Rica's proximity to the USA, favorable tax policies, and high-quality healthcare system.

Greece: A Mediterranean renaissance

Steeped in history and brimming with natural beauty, Greece beckons investors with its diverse real estate offerings and competitive pricing. From historic villas on the Aegean islands to traditional stone houses and boutique hotels, to contemporary apartments in Athens, there is a wealth of opportunities for investors seeking value and capital appreciation. The real estate market in Greece offers opportunities for both short-term rentals targeting tourists and long-term investments in residential properties, particularly in urban centers and popular islands like Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini.

Through the Greece Golden Visa Program, the government incentivizes global investors to purchase real estate for a minimum capital of EUR 250,000 and receive Greek residence status in return. After seven years, residents may be eligible for Greek citizenship, which comes with EU status. (The program’s minimum investment amount is set to rise to EUR 400,000 for investors applying from August 2024.)

Malta: Where history meets modern charm and global access

As one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in the world, Malta punches above its weight in the global real estate arena. Its property market benefits from the country’s status as a global financial hub and a gateway to Europe, attracting foreign investors seeking residence or citizenship through real estate investment. The property landscape in Malta features historic properties, luxury apartments, and waterfront developments, particularly in popular areas like Gozo, Valletta, Sliema, and St. Julian's. The market has been buoyed by strong interest from both local and international buyers, driven by its robust economy and its demand for rental properties being high, thanks to expatriates, students, and tourists making buy-to-let investments a lucrative option for investors.

The Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment process allows for the granting of citizenship by a certificate of naturalization to foreign individuals and their families who contribute to the country’s economic development. This is possible following a 36-month (or, by exception, 12-month) residence period. Maltese citizens have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to an impressive 190 destinations around the world including Europe’s Schengen Area and the UK, Asian centers Hong Kong and Singapore, and North American hubs Canada and the USA. With its thriving economy and Mediterranean charm, Malta remains a top choice for discerning investors.

Spain: Sun, sea, and sustainable growth

Spain’s enduring allure lies in its sun-kissed beaches, rich culture, and diverse real estate market. From cosmopolitan cities like Barcelona and Madrid to coastal enclaves like Marbella and Ibiza, and rustic countryside estates, Spain offers investors a plethora of opportunities across various asset classes. Recent trends point to a resurgence in luxury property sales, fueled by foreign investment, lifestyle migration, and a booming tourism sector.

With the Spain Residence by Investment Program, low interest rates, and a Mediterranean lifestyle, Spain continues to attract wealthy investors seeking a blend of profitability and lifestyle benefits. The program allows international investors to purchase real estate from EUR 500,000 and receive Spanish residence after a 20-day consideration period.

More reasons wealthy investors should explore property acquisition in these destinations

Investing in real estate in these European, Caribbean, or Central American destinations presents compelling advantages for wealthy investors seeking diversification, capital appreciation, and lifestyle benefits. These countries offer a unique combination of natural beauty, cultural richness, and investment potential, making them prime destinations for discerning investors. Whether it's acquiring a luxury villa in the Caribbean, an eco-friendly retreat in Costa Rica, or a historic property in Europe, investing in real estate in these countries can unlock a world of opportunities and yield substantial returns in the long run. Moreover, with favorable tax regimes, residence programs, and the prospect of citizenship, wealthy investors can gain not only financial rewards but also access to new markets, enhanced mobility, and a higher quality of life. In an era of uncertainty and volatility, investing in real estate in these dynamic markets can provide stability, growth, and a passport to prosperity.

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Henley & Partners assists international clients in obtaining residence and citizenship under the respective programs. Contact us to arrange an initial private consultation.


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