While Greece may be in the throes of a financial crisis, there does seem to be one market that has ironically not been affected by the stuttering economy; in fact, it’s doing better than it was.Despite airline strikes and the financial situation, 15 million tourists visited Greece in 2010, more than in 2009, according to figures from the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE). And while some holidayers come for short vacations, others are looking to tap into Greece’s cheap holiday real estate.
“Already last year the number of inquiries was three times what it normally is,” Georg Petras of Engel & Völkers, a luxury real estate firm on the island of Rhodes, told Die Welt.
Prices of villas and apartments on Greece’s many idyllic islands has fallen by as much as 30 per cent, and on the mainland, houses often cost half their original value. “You can buy houses with 100 square meters (1,076 square feet) of living space, in good locations, for 130,000 euros,” Petras says.
The Greek luxury real estate industry has a lot going for it. The country offers the cheapest land in the European Mediterranean region, and wages in the construction sector are low, Pierre Charalambides, the co-founder of Dolphin Capital Investors, told the Greek Reporter.
Despite this, a lot of homes remain unsold. Rich Greeks invest in other parts of Europe to escape the taxman, while rich Europeans looking at Greece worry that if they buy in euros and Greece leaves the eurozone and continues in recession, they would be paid in drachmas if they sold their property.
One estate agent told Die Welt the massive protests and strikes in Greece are also making investors “wonder if they’re going to have trouble getting to their home when they want to use it,” an estate agent told Die Welt.
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