The glory of buying Greek
John Price gives several good reasons why Greece should come at the top of your list
THE challenge of buying a second home abroad is finding the perfect bolt hole — where prices are not yet as hot as the climate, and the deal does not end with your fingers burnt.
But first get real with yourself on where you want to be and how you will get there. Don’t buy in a country just because it’s cheap. You need to know something about the place, to like it and its people, and to be able to get there without spending half your holiday travelling.
So how does Greece measure up?
It’s not Bulgaria: And it’s not Italy, where registering a low price and then paying a pile of “black money” euros is rife. It’s not Spain either, where foreign buyers who have been cheated into buying properties developed without planning consent face demolition orders or fines.
The Olympics: The last Games were a shot in the arm for Greece. Athens got a new airport, so did Sitia on Crete. Roads are getting better.
Spoilt for choice: With a stunning mainland and 2,000-plus islands, Greece offers everything from smart harbourside flats to old stone houses, which can be bought for £25,000 and less if you feel up to a big renovation.
A good investment: Usually when airlines start taking off, so do property prices. A case in point is GB Airways, an offshoot of BA, which doubled its services to Crete this summer with five direct flights a week from Gatwick to Heraklion, and there are new direct services from Manchester to Heraklion and Gatwick to Rhodes.
Unspoilt beauty: Andrew Langton, the managing director of Aylesford, the international property consultants, who has a house on Corfu, says: “Greece is still one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Europe. Drive around Spain, Portugal and Italy and everywhere the coastline has been ruined by development. Greece still has a wealth of lovely villages and thousands of properties you can add value to.”
Good prices: They are shooting up but they are still nothing like as high as in France, Spain and Italy. “We will see nothing but growth for some years to come,” says Andrew Langton. “My advice is play it all by the book. Don’t pay ‘black money’. Stick to all the planning regulations, otherwise you’ll end up with no electricity supply. And declare any rental income — taxes are low and paying up will keep you out of trouble.”
Safe feeling: In Spain and Italy people worry about crime but not in Greece. Phillios Hadjigeorgiou, of Leptos Estates in Greece, which has three developments under way close to Chania in western Crete, says: “There are real communities in every village so it’s much safer, with no crime.” Kirsty Beavis, of the London-based Crete Property Consultants, also notes low crime rates as a reason Britons want to buy in Greece.
•Leptos Estates, 020-8883 2333, www. leptosestates.com, has three projects close to the sea outside Chania in western Crete. They range from one and two-bed flats at €185,000 to spacious stone-built houses on 20,000 sq m plots.
•Crete Property Consultants, which is exhibiting in London tomorrow and on Sunday (www.creteproperty.co.uk or call 020-7328 8209 for details), has a wealth of properties on its books. Cheapest, at €10,300, is a two-room stone-built house of just 45 sq m at Kritsa, on Crete; however, it needs complete renovation.
•At the top end, Aylesford International, www.aylesford.com, 020-7351 2383, has stunning properties on Corfu.