Greek property: tragedy or opportunity?
As Greece’s credit rating is slashed to ‘junk status’ and thousands of Greeks, angered by tough austerity measures, set Athens ablaze, are you mad contemplating buying a property in Greece? Cheryl Markosky reports.
Riots, protests and strikes. A far cry from sun, sand and spanakopita one typically associates with Greece and its Isles.
Piers Williams, Aylesford International’s man in Greece, admits that demonstrations and disruptions have had a huge impact on the property market. Yet, he feels positive that Greece will recover and become a stronger place to put your money in the future.
“I wouldn’t recommend anyone invest in Euros in Greece right now,” Williams says candidly, “but I think it’s a good time to look with the intention of doing the deal later.”
Look now, buy later
He advises the canny buyer to put down a deposit on something they fancy, delaying completion until a time when the situation improves. With prices down at least 20% on Corfu, and good homes for sale on well-known islands such as Mykonos and Santorini, a wise purchaser could bag a classically Aegean bargain.
Despite all the controversial press, Mike Saunders of Snobby Homes claims he’s seen a rise in enquiries for homes in Crete. Currently selling two-storey detached houses from 129,950 Euros (£114,000) on the west side of the island, he believes days of buying a home just for holidays are long gone.
“The market’s changed and people in their 50s and 60s are planning to make a permanent move when they retire, knowing they can afford a better lifestyle here compared to the UK,” he says.
Stay out of trouble
With fears of Portugal – like Greece - now needing a second bailout from the EU, is it best to hold off buying property in unstable European states?
Kim Brown, director of the Overseas Guides Company, says beware of anyone claiming it’s safe to buy in troubled places like Crete, as they “must have a vested interest in the sale of property.
“Regardless of whether the country goes bankrupt or not, Greece isn’t going to recover anytime soon. With such high debt, austerity measures could mean an increase in taxes, reduction on infrastructure spend, increased unemployment, very unhappy locals and worse,” he warns.
And if you feel increasing your quality of life shouldn’t involve gas masks, then follow Brown’s suggestion of “seeking out a country that’s economically stable.”