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Every year, thousands of Britons flock to Greece and its islands for holidays, yet, surprisingly perhaps, comparatively few bought properties there until recently. The Athens Olympics of 2004 made Greece the focus of extraordinary international interest, which boosted tourism and created strong demand for rental accommodation. This, in turn, fuelled the international property market. However, prices still represent good value in comparison with established Mediterranean favourites such as Spain and Portugal. And with its hot summers, beautiful beaches, low cost of living and wealth of historic, cultural and scenic attractions, Greece looks set to remain popular with both visitors and investors.
A variety of tools are available to help with further research, including television and radio programmes, magazines, the internet, property exhibitions and estate agents.
As property in Greece is at present relatively undervalued, there is excellent potential for capital growth. Some areas of the mainland are seeing appreciation again as Europe begins to emerge from recession, with some areas reporting an eight per cent rise in 2009.
Many different types of property are available in Greece, from traditional stone houses to chic new apartments. Prices depend on condition and location. For example, properties on the popular Greek islands like Crete, Corfu and Rhodes are more expensive than those in inland areas of the mainland.
A three-bedroom house in Greece will set you back between €148,000 (around £131,000) and €503,000 (£445,000), while a two-bedroom apartment will cost from €89,000 (£79,000) to €355,000 (£314,000). However, properties can be purchased much more cheaply if you are prepared to undertake extensive renovation, while for those with sufficient funds, the sky’s the limit.
An older property may look like a bargain, but many lack electricity, mains water and sanitation. It can be expensive (and in some cases impossible) to have such services connected, and renovation costs can be high. You may be better off buying a new build.
Consider also how easy (or otherwise) it would be to sell your property should you need to do so. The Greek resale market is particularly sensitive to location. Property is usually more expensive to buy in coastal and island resorts, but easier (and often more profitable) to sell.
Would your target market be international buyers or locals? If the latter, would they be able to afford the price you would need to charge in order to recoup your outlay? What competition would you face from other sellers?
The Greek islands are traditional favourites with British purchasers, while mainland Greece attracts Germans, Scandinavians and growing numbers of Eastern Europeans.
Crete is the most popular of the islands, particularly with retirees. 80 per cent of its foreign property purchasers are British. Its wealth of history and varied landscape, from snowy mountains to sandy beaches, attract holidaymakers, which gives property there good rental potential. Prices increased by around 8 per cent in 2009.
For those seeking a less established market, the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece is worth considering. Its mild climate, picturesque scenery and wealth of history, combined with excellent potential for capital appreciation, are attracting increasing international interest.
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