Because foreigners couldn’t own property in Greece until 1990 the property market for foreigners is relatively young, and although Greece is now gaining in popularity, it isn’t on a par with other Mediterranean countries such as Spain, France and Italy. However, the foreign property market is on the increase (some 3,000 properties were sold to foreigners in 2003) and as a consequence prices are rising.
Note that Greeks don’t generally buy property as an investment (most live in the same house for years) and you shouldn’t expect to make a quick profit when buying property in Greece. You also need to take into account the fees, which are usually up to 15 per cent of the purchase price.
If you’re seeking a holiday home and cannot afford to buy one outright, you may wish to investigate a scheme that provides sole occupancy of a property for a number of weeks each year, rather than buying a property. Schemes available include part-ownership, leaseback and timesharing.
Don’t rush into any of these schemes without fully researching the market and before you’re absolutely clear what you want and what you can realistically expect to get for your money.
Property values generally increase at an average of less than 5 per cent a year or in line with inflation (with no increase in real terms), although in fashionable areas and on popular islands prices rise much faster than average, which is usually reflected in much higher purchase prices. For example, prices have increased by 8 per cent a year in Crete and 20 per cent a year in the Man’ peninsula in the Peloponnese. Athens is also an exception and prices in some areas of the capital, e.g. Glyfada, Plaka and Voula, have risen nearly 50 per cent since 1997.
With the exception of Athens, there’s a stable property market in most of Greece (barring recessions), which acts as a discouragement to speculators wishing to make a fast buck, particularly when you consider the high cost of fees and taxes associated with buying a home.
You shouldn’t expect to make a quick profit when buying property in Greece, but should look upon it as an investment in your family’s future happiness, rather than merely in financial terms.
Foreign property buyers in Greece are concentrated on the most popular holiday islands, e.g. Corfu, Crete and Rhodes, and the Peloponnese. A slice of the good life in Greece needn’t cost the earth, with ‘old’ apartments and village homes available from as little as €40,000, modern apartments from €60,000 and detached villas from €150,000, although prices in popular areas are considerably higher. However, if you’re looking for a substantial home with a sizeable plot of land and swimming pool, you will usually need to spend over €200,000 (depending on the area). For those with the financial resources the sky’s the limit, with luxury apartments and villas costing over a million euros!