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The Greek Island Property Market

The Greek Islands are all very different each with their unique charms and traditions. The property market offers a massive choice in terms of properties, both new and old and prices in comparison to Northern Europe reflect excellent value. Obviously the most popular and larger islands like Crete are more expensive due to high demand driving up prices. More and more new developments are coming onto the market and it is still possible to find a bargain particularly if you don’t mind renovating or are looking for an apartment. The cheapest properties can be found inland in the more rural island villages, where you can still buy a big farmhouse for the same price as a coastal apartment in Santorini or Mykonos.

Location, Location

Much time needs to be dedicated to finding the location and island that best suits your needs. It’s no good moving to Hydra if you want to spend all year living there as most of the population goes back to the mainland once the summer tourist season ends. Likewise, if you don’t want to be part of a large expat community buying in a Cretan resort will not be the thing for you and buying inland is only feasible if you have some means of transport.The Saronic islands are closest to Athens and thus have experienced high demand from Greeks wishing to purchase holiday homes. Aegina is only a 50 minute ferry ride to the mainland and has become popular with middle class Greeks, whilst offers more up-market property.
Purchasers from outside of Greece have bought property in droves in recent years and are slowly catching up in numbers with domestic ownership. The rise in the number of low cost airlines, such as GB Airlines who have increased their flights to Crete, Rhodes, Corfu and Mykonos has also made the islands more accessible in terms of property ownership.


Property Prices

Many international property owners have bought on the most popular Greek Islands for tourism like Rhodes, Corfu, Crete and Santorini. Some islands still offer old stone houses for around 20,000 Euros, but you should not underestimate the work and costs involved in doing one of these places up. Apartments are the most common offering on the island property market and prices start at about 40,000 Euros for a 1 bed roomed apartment rising to 200,000 for four bedrooms. Naturally location will have a bearing on costs as will things like a sea view, a convenient location and luxurious facilities. Rural inland locations are always cheaper than those on the coast and the same rules apply to land prices. Land prices start at around 30 Euros per sq m and come in a range of sizes being cheaper on less inhabited islands and at a premium on those that rely heavily on tourism. Villas are still comparatively cheap compared to Western markets, but not in comparison to some of the new Eastern bloc entrants and you need to have a starting budget of 120,000 Euros to be realistic as many Greek Island villas cost in excess of 250,000 Euros and some in excess of a million. The other point to note is that investment in a Greek Island property should be considered as a long term investment as you are unlikely to make quick profits given the maturity of the housing market in this country.

The global recession has brought some uncertainty to the international housing market but Greece with its stable economy and property market makes a good choice for those who have the readies to invest wisely and as with every bear market, now is the time to grab a bargain.

The Local Reaction to Foreign Ownership

The Greek Islanders are a warm and welcoming bunch of people many of whom have lived on the islands for generations, although today many seek work on the mainland to cover the winter months. They do not ‘work’ the property market as e.g. people in the UK do and tend to pass property from one generation to the next. Investment by foreigners has meant that many old properties have been lovingly restored and this has been welcomed by the local people. The strict building laws limiting the height of residential buildings also means that most new properties are in keeping with the local landscape and most foreigners tend to maintain their grounds with impeccable order, which has endeared them to the natives.