It’s all Greek for today’s lifestyle investors
Greece is spearheading Europe’s post-lockdown holiday revival, with plans to welcome foreign tourists from mid-May onwards. The country’s sunny outlook could also help account for why it’s a rising star amongst wealthy overseas investors – we look at a recent survey that puts Greece top of the pile.
Paradisiacal beaches, idyllic unspoilt islands, and a friendly Mediterranean culture – it’s little wonder Greece’s huge popularity with international tourists now extends as much to discerning house-hunters looking for a secure lifestyle investment.
Where are High Net Worth Individuals investing?
Greece was the preferred destination for investment amongst a group of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI), each with investable assets of £1m or more, polled in the UK recently. 19% of the 200 HNWIs surveyed picked the Mediterranean country as somewhere they were interested in investing, with Antigua (Caribbean) and Spain joint second favourites (11% each), followed by Ireland (8%). Italy, Jersey, Monaco, Portugal, Malta, St Lucia, Switzerland each attracted 8% of votes.
Why has Greece come out on top?
“It’s clear to see why Greece has become an area of intent for UK investors across a variety of sectors,” said Arthur Sarkisian, MD of Astons, an investment immigration consultancy that commissioned the survey. “Not only is the pace of life and the climate more favourable but even the most prestigious pockets of the Greek real estate market are incredibly good value when compared to London.”
Another carrot for investing in Greece is its residency by investment programme, one of the most accessible so-called Golden visas in Europe. The scheme enables investors from non-EU countries to gain Greek residency through purchasing property with a minimum value of €250,000. The application process should take no more than two months, after which the residence permit lasts for five years. Holders of Greek residency benefit not only from the right to live and work in Greece, which extends to family members, but also visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone, which includes most of the EU.
Further research by Astons reveals the areas of Greece with the highest property prices, with the Cyclades taking the top spot, followed by Lefkada and Kefalonia. The remainder of the top 10 includes Athens, Argosaronic Islands, Chania (Crete), Corfu, Chalkidiki, Lasithi and Zante, respectively.
The average property price in the Cyclades is currently €222,348, according to Astons, which represents an increase of 5.9 per cent over the last year. Lefkada has also seen prices rise by a notable 8.7 per cent annually with real estate there now averaging €164,976.
Despite prices in Kefalonia dropping marginally year-on-year by -1.4 per cent, the average property there still costs €162,036. Meanwhile, in Athens this figure is €157,416 and in the Argosaronic Islands it drops slightly to €147,168. Looking at Greece as a whole, property prices nationwide have climbed 2.7 per cent in the last year, up from an average of €127,596 to €131,040 for the average house.
Added Mr Sarkisian: “Not only is the cost of investing lower, but Greece has enjoyed a stable uplift in real estate values almost across the board, with some areas performing very well indeed. We expect this interest in Greece as the investment destination of choice will continue to build over the coming months, particularly where UK investors are concerned although the nation is attracting attention from a global audience.”