By Nikos Roussanoglou
The rise of tourism and the popularity of certain destinations such as Mykonos and Santorini have sent demand for and purchases of luxury holidays homes soaring. The first half of the year saw a 63.5 percent annual increase in the inflow of capital for property buys in Greece, following a 45.3 percent rise in the entire 2016 year-on-year to reach 270 million euros.
Another factor boosting investments in holiday homes grow is the considerable decline in prices – averaging at 50 percent – compared to the period before the financial crisis, around 2008. The drop mainly took place from 2009 to 2013, as this section of the property market has become stable since then with some growth signs mainly regarding properties that have unique features and are regarded as emblematic.
Several foreigner buyers are scrambling to complete their acquisitions within the year, sensing that the window of opportunity may shut in the coming months, as there already are cases of owners who are raising their asking prices in view of the spike in demand.
Franceska Kalamara, the head of the Franceska Properties estate agency that is active in the Mykonos market, told Kathimerini that “the buyers from abroad are interested in sizable and luxurious properties, from 400 square meters upward, and at very favorable locations, as close to the sea as possible. These are mostly individuals from Egypt, Lebanon and Israel, but also from the US, while there has recently been particular activity by Cypriot buyers.”
Among the recent well-known buyers of luxurious homes on Greek islands are Israeli entrepreneur Teddy Sagi (owner of Camden Market in London) who bought a series of properties on Mykonos, according to estate agency sources, and Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, buyer of two villas on the same island costing a total of some 11 million euros.
It should be noted that the actual volume of the funds invested in the Greek holiday home market is far greater than reported by the Bank of Greece, as the majority of sellers ask buyers to deposit the money in bank accounts abroad. This trend has grown considerably since the imposition of capital controls two years ago.