Foreign buyers pounce on Greek bargains

Agios Nikolaos, Crete Photo: DaffyDuke

Foreign buyers are snapping up property bargains in Greece, according to agents.

The country’s negotiations with lenders still show no sign of resolution, with another meeting with EU leaders set to take place in Riga, Latvia, this week.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has already ruled out a solution being reached there, fuelling continued speculation surrounding the country’s potential exit from the euro.

Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz tells Bloomberg that a “Grexit” would be “really serious” for Europe. For foreign buyers willing to brave the negative economic outlook, though, the ongoing crisis is creating good opportunities for affordable real estate purchases.

Since 2009, prices have fallen by 30 to 35 per cent, according to Alexandros Moulas of Savills , who reported a rise in buyers last year.

Combined with the strength of the pound and dollar against the euro, which has been weakened by the Greek uncertainty, spending power for Brits and Americans has been given a major boost.

In Agios Nikolaos, Crete, for exampple, an apartment building containing five units can be purchased for £159,940 , over £18,000 cheaper than the current average house price in England and Wales (£178,007, according to the Land Registry).

“We are finding the demand for local properties to be stronger in 2015 in comparison to recent years,” says Ross Michaelides, Partner at Buy and Sell Estate Agency, an estate agent and developer based in Crete.

“This has as much to do with the rise of the British Pound against the Euro as it has to do with the prolonged economic crisis, which has created many opportunities for overseas buyers.”

Indeed, a similar trend has occurred across Europe, with demand for Spain, Italy and Portugal all rising significantly, particularly among British and US buyers. Enquiries for Greek property on also increased in the final quarter of 2014 compared to the previous month. At the start of 2015, the country was the 10th most popular destination in the world on the portal, although it has since fallen to 18th before beginning to climb back up the rankings.

Michaelides adds that they are confident of the country’s future as part of the single currency.

“We believe that Greece will remain in the Euro,” he explains. “The reason is simple, both Europe and Greece want this to happen. From the little we have learned from making deals for our curtomers over the years – of course on an enormously smaller scale than the Greek monetary crisis – when both parties want to make a deal they will make it.”

If Greece does exit the euro, he adds that they “still can’t see it making a great difference”.

“Local property prices were not “tied” to the Drachma even before Greece entered the euro, they were always linked to the British Pound and/or the Deutsche Mark,” he notes.

“We are looking forward to a good summer season.”

Here are some examples of the properties now available on the market for less than the average house price in England and Wales:

3 Bed New Home – £79,970

Agios Nikolaos, Crete

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3 Bed House – £109,050

Nomos Lasithiou, Crete

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2 Bed House – £69,065

Agios Nikolaos, Crete

View the full listing