The Covid-19 pandemic has pulled the brake on Greece’s real estate market, freezing deals and prices on housing, but pockets of demand have emerged from foreign buyers looking at property on Greek soil.

Interest from investors located mainly in European countries, led by UK nationals, has increased in recent months as they search for property either for investment purposes or to be used as a holiday home, real estate agents report.

Demand has been focusing mostly on homes on the Athens Riviera, the southern beach stretch running from Piraeus to Sounio, as well as islands such as Mykonos, Crete, Corfu, and Paros.

Homes worth 7 to 10 million euros are on investor radars but the majority of enquiries concern properties in the range of 500,000 to 1.5 million euros, Christos Mourdoukoutas, sales analyst at Algean Property, tells IN+SIGHTS GREECE.

“They are mainly looking for a place in a prime location that is close to international airports – popular holiday destinations and the Athenian Riviera – which could offer a good yield too, since their interest is usually related with investment purposes,” he says.

Growth in Greece’s real estate prices had been growing steadily, recovering from a ten-year slump, when the pandemic hit. Data from the Bank of Greece, the country’s central bank, showed that prices last year jumped 7.3 percent and then by an annual pace of 6.9 percent in the first three months of this year.

Since then, local buyers and home owners have adopted a wait-and-see stance due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the recession at hand.

Due to travel restrictions, interest in buying Greek assets comes mostly from nearby European nations as investors from further away are still having a hard time getting to the country. This is a trend seen globally, with real estate investors currently preferring their own regions due to travel restrictions.

Market officials say that buyers from China, who have been a main source of foreign investment in Greek homes in recent years, are still showing strong interest in Greek homes.

A key reason why buyers remain keen on Greece is that prices in the country remain well below levels seen in other European countries. Additionally, yields offered on homes on islands, such as Mykonos, exceed the 8 percent mark, ranking among the highest in Europe, according to data provided by Algean Property.

The country’s successful handling of the pandemic over the lockown period earlier this year boosted its appeal as a safe destination, with homes offering privacy and large areas sought after.

“We see that more than half of those interested have accelerated their decisions and want to invest in a private vacation and place for relaxation. For many, the pandemic has led to a review of their priorities, resulting in them speeding up decisions to leave their jobs and are now seek to buy a luxury property for the rest of their lives,” Savvas Savvaidis, president and CEO of Greece Sotheby’s International Realty told Kathimerini.

In March, Sotheby’s handled one of the biggest deals to take place in the residential market in Greece in recent years. An Australian business owner purchased a villa in Corfu for 12 million euros, with the sale going ahead normally despite the lockdown period. It is Sotheby’s third sale above 10 million euros in Greece in the last year.

*Images courtesy of  Sotheby’s International Realty

Stelios Bouras
Stelios Bouras

A journalist for nearly two decades, Stelios has covered everything in the Greek capital, ranging from the politics and the economy to dancing architects and the souvlaki. Writing is his passion. After covering Greece for The Wall Street Journal and Reuters, he is now narrowing in on real estate and architecture. He believes that homes are more than a place to eat and sleep in and that light, design and space shape lives, along with the features of a building. Originally from Melbourne, he knows how to break down complex Greek issues into easy to understand stories for a foreign audience. He writes on real estate and the economy on his blog GreekGuru.net

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