7 April 2017

The property market in Greece

Home purchases by foreigners in Greece moved back up to 2014 levels last year, mainly thanks to the considerable recovery seen in transactions over the last few months of 2016.

According to Bank of Greece data, the value of residential properties sold to foreign investors grew 34.5 percent year-on-year to reach 250 million euros, from 186 million in 2015. In 2014 the inflow of capital for the acquisition of homes in Greece had also come to 250 million euros, against 168 million in 2013 and 113 million in 2012.

Property market sources say that the actual amount invested last year was far above that recorded by the central bank because the bulk of residential property acquisitions by foreigners are conducted outside the Greek banking system. Estate agents who typically work with foreign buyers testify that the majority of Greek sellers ask that the payment be made into an overseas account. They are even prepared to travel to another country with the contract in hand to open a new account. These are entirely legal transactions taxed in Greece, but with the revenue staying abroad.

Last year the improvement of terms in the Golden Visa program, which grants residence permits to foreign investors who spend at least 250,000 euros on property in this country, served as a carrot for buyers from abroad. Figures show 1,573 such permits were delivered to property buyers in the period from when the program was introduced up to end-January 2017, with a great increase in Turkish recipients, whose property purchases both in Athens and at summer resorts have risen substantially since the July 15 coup attempt in the neighboring country last year.

Another reason is the fact country homes in Greece are much cheaper than at rival destinations for Northern European buyers. Global Property Guide data put the average rate for a high-standard asset in Greece at 2,700 euros per square metre.

5 March 2017

Greece Storms the 'Prop' Charts

It seems as if people are rediscovering their love of Greece. The Move Channel carries out in-depth analysis of property trends worldwide and the following article came out a coulee of weeks ago. Not surprising to any of us of course.

The country was the fourth most popular country on the international property portal in January 2017, its first time in the Top 10 in six months.

Greece stormed the charts at the start of the new year, rising 18 places to overtake Portugal in the monthly report. Greek real estate received 2.1 per cent of all enquiries on the international portal during January. This is the country’s highest share of enquiries since August 2013, when it accounted for 3.26 per cent of all enquiries. Greece’s last time in the Top 10 was in July 2016, when it was ranked ninth, with 1.39 per cent of enquiries.

“After a brief rekindling of interest last summer, the start of 2017 showed signs of overseas demand for Greek property flickering back to life,” comments TheMoveChannel.com Director Dan Johnson. “Interest was not just contained to one area, but across several regions, with enquiries soaring for property in the North Aegean, Crete, the South Aegean and Attica.

“After a year of political uncertainty elsewhere, talk of national debt and a potential ‘Grexit’ is back in the headlines in 2017, but Greece’s lifestyle appeal has not gone away. In fact, it is more affordable than ever, after house prices have dropped for the last eight years in a row. In 2016, however, they fell 2.2 per cent, the smallest decrease recorded since 2009. With the rate of decline slowing, and owning a holiday home now an attractive alternative to renting, foreign interest in Greek real estate may be showing the first signs of a gradual rebound."

15 February 2017

Airbnb owners, be very careful

Most of the owners I speak to have high praise for Airbnb, and I would have agreed until  last summer opened my eyes to the pitfalls of their system and made me wonder how many people are aware of this. 

Even if you have a ‘Strict’ no refunds policy, Airbnb can refund clients under their 'force majeure' clause (i.e. valid extenuating circumstance) in their terms and conditions, resulting in the guest receiving a refund and the unfortunate owner being charged (without consultation) and ending up with an empty house and no rent.

This actually happened to me last summer, and I still have a dispute with Airbnb (not that you can actually have a dispute, it’s like dealing with ‘computer says no’), and when I read this article I realised I was not alone.

UK tour operators ask their clients to verify that they have travel insurance before the booking is complete, and in this article someone suggests another alternative.

I have always recommended the all clients have travel insurance to cover them in the event of cancellation/curtailment for a valid reason, and now I am going to insist. It’s not perfect, but at least it’s something.

10 January 2017

Snow and Ice!

Probably the coldest winter that many of us can remember has arrived with a vengeance in Greece. As often happens Corfu - right over on the west - has not suffered as badly as other parts of the country (pictured), but it has still been amazingly cold, with many people experiencing such unusual conditions as frozen pipes and temperatures as low as -10C. Perhaps it feels worse because it is such a contrast to last winter which was incredibly mild.

4 January 2017

Houses with Literary Connections - 2

Not even officially on the market yet is a detached house with swimming pool in the popular village of Doukades. Owned by the author Emma Tennant ("A House in Corfu" among others) who bought it several years ago when her family home on the sea at Rovinia was sold, and now in need of some redecoration, the house is likely to be offered at a very reasonable price. Doubling up on the literary connection, the house has until recently been the local base for the author of the prize-winning blog "The World from my Window", Maggie Grigg.

Houses with Literary Connections - 1

New on the market is the lovely stone village house that features in well-known author James Chatto's book The Greek for Love. Located in the village of Loutses high in the hills above the north coast of Corfu with stunning views to the sea and the mainland beyond, this house was the home of the author and his wife, Wendy Martin, when living in a remote Corfiot village really was quite an intrepid thing to do. Warning, the book will make you cry, but the house certainly won't. It has grown over the years, and whilst it is full of character it is still basically a family home in a mountain setting. Anyone wanting luxury might be disappointed, but there is scope for modernization of the kitchen and bathroom and plenty of space for a swimming pool.

17 September 2016

Friday Morning in Corfu

At times like this it is so obvious why we love living in Corfu. With half an hour to spare, on our way to show land to some Russian clients, we had time for a coffee in Kouloura. The photo is taken from our table.