We already know who's snapping up all Greece's gorgeous villas

Luxury hotelJoh Kolesidis/ReutersA tourist swims in the pool of a luxury hotel as the Acropolis hill is seen in the background in Athens July 19, 2013.

Russian buyers are scrambling to buy bargain properties in Greece, as the financial meltdown has eroded luxury real estate prices, reported Damien Sharkov forNewsweek.

Just to give you an idea of the scale of sales: Greek real estate egency IRM Aegean Estate has put properties in package deals, with two villas in Corfu — private beach and all — selling together for $US4.9 million.

According to German magazine, Bild, the number of luxury Greek villas bought by Russians have more than doubled in the last year, Newsweek reported.

That’s partially because of Russia’s own currency crisis — rich people are looking for safe places to park cash — but also since real estate prices in Greece have fallen roughly 50 per cent since 2009, Bild reported.

“If a villa on the Greek island of Syros still cost €1.6m a few years ago, it is now selling for just €800,000,” said Isabelle Razi, the founder of the Greek realtor agency IRM Aegean Estate to Newsweek.

The strengthening relationship between Russian buyers and their Greek holdings is mirrored by ties between their national governments.

Last month, the two countries agreed to build a $US2.27 billion gas pipeline reported Damien Sharkov for Newsweek — and some critics are concerned the move signifies a tug-of-war between the West and Russia, as Athens may be inching toward the Kremlin’s umbrella of influence.

Read the original story at Newsweek.

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