Buying property in Greece and the Greek islands

Buying Property in Greece & The Greek Islands – Greek Property Buyers Guide

If you are searching for that dream holiday home abroad or looking to invest in an overseas property then buying property in Greece, or on one of the magnificent Greek islands could be just what you’ve been looking for. Greece is an incredibly diverse country blessed with a long and fascinating history, plus some of the most beautiful holiday destinations in the world. It boasts one of the longest coastlines in Europe and includes thousands of Mediterranean islands, the largest of which include Crete, Lesbos and Rhodes.

Investment Property Partners overseas property buyers guide covers a number of important issues that you will need to consider if you are considering buying property in Greece or on a Greek island either as an investment or as a holiday home abroad.

Considering Buying Property in Greece or on one of the Greek Islands?

Having revelled in the heavenly appeal of Greece and the surrounding Greek islands whilst on holiday many Brits have been tempted to explore the possibility of purchasing a property there which would allow them to spend more time relaxing in its sun-kissed charms.

And why not?  There are so many positives to take into account both from a lifestyle and an investment perspective.

For instance, language should not be a barrier as most Greek people speak good English, more so in the popular tourist areas such as Corfu, Crete and Rhodes.

In any case, it is estimated that about 80 per cent of holiday home buyers on Crete for example, are British, many of them retired people who are able to draw their UK pension in Greece… it is home from home really.

How about getting to Greece? Well, the number of direct flights to Greece is increasing every year so that is no problem… it is very affordable, too.

The Warmth of the Greek People

In some countries around the world second home buyers are frowned upon, so what is the reaction of locals in Greece?

Such incomers are generally welcomed with open arms, particularly on the larger Greek islands, because this makes the area a genuine all-year-long destination and therefore brings in extra revenue for local businesses, the bigger retailers and the Greek government as well.

How do Greek Property Prices Stack-up?

If you are seriously considering buying property in Greece then you’ll need to get to grips with the property market there, what prices are being paid, and where the best areas are… so what about the cost of property in Greece? Good news again.

You could currently buy a renovated village house on one of the Greek islands for about €40,000 to €50,000, and the severe economic down-turn there still means that prices are very competitive.

So in summary, there are some excellent property buys to be had for those property buyers that are prepared to do their research, search out the best bargains and negotiate well.

Off-Plan & New-Build Property in Greece

If you’re not keen on buying an older property and your preference is for an off-plan or new-build property while retaining the traditional style, there are many detached two and three bedroom houses set in private, walled courtyards, available for prices starting from around €100,000.

High-End Properties

At the top end of the Greek holiday property scale there are some excellent contemporary designed homes located on exclusive estates, usually overlooking the sea and with superb panoramic views.

For such high-end properties you’re likely to require a budget of at least €700,000, but if that is within your financial range then such a property is eminently desirable and could prove excellent value for money.

Studio apartments, kampanas, townhouses and villas are all also readily available on the market, so you have plenty of choice with regard to size, location and cost.

If you are buying property in Greece or on one of the Greek islands then the choice is yours but again, doing your home-work, researching local property prices, possible discounts, holidaymaker demand etc. will stand you in good stead when it comes to searching out that property bargain.

The Process of Buying Property in Greece?

As a member of the European Union, there are no restrictions to buying a property in Greece for any fellow EU member citizens, which includes at least for the time being those from the UK.

So how do you go about buying property in Greece on the Greek islands?

If you’re seriously considering buying a Greek property then we would recommend that the first step is to hire a good local property lawyer or solicitor experienced in helping Brits buy property there – there are a number based in Greece who speak excellent English and we’d suggest you consider using one of these.

Your solicitor will be responsible for performing the necessary “due diligence” and ensuring the protection of your personal interests in throughout the property transaction.

Making a Formal Offer to Purchase a Property

The next step is to make a formal offer for the property you’ve identified as being the one you really want.

If your offer is accepted by the seller, your solicitor will then proceed to draw up an initial purchase agreement, which you and the seller will have to sign.

At this stage you will also be expected to pay a 10 per cent deposit of the agreed property purchase price to reserve the property.

The Importance of Title Searches

The next step is a title search.

Your solicitor will check if there are any current charges made against the property, if the original construction has been completed in line with the local planning regulations, and whether or not all due taxes have been paid.

If you are considering purchasing an older Greek property you should be aware that there may be difficulties with regard to obtaining good title.

Once your solicitor is satisfied that everything is in order you will then be expected to pay the balance of the property purchase price, along with all relevant government duties.

Be aware that it can then take between four to six weeks for everything to go through, so please be patient.

During this period your solicitor will obtain copies of the title; appoint a notary to prepare the contract deeds; and also satisfy themselves that the sale documentation has been correctly prepared and is in order.

Completing the Sale & Signing the Sale Documents

Once all checks are completed both the buyer and seller are then required to sign the contract deed in the presence of a notary.

If you are unable to be present for the signing your solicitor can be granted power of attorney to do this on your behalf if that is more convenient.

Once everything is signed the transaction will then be registered in the public record.

You should also bear in mind that you will need a valid passport, your tax registry number and if necessary, a special permission to purchase in order for this to be completed.

Greek Property Purchase Costs & Fees

If you are buying property in Greece then as a general rule you should look to budget between 10 to 16 per cent for all purchase costs and fees associated with the acquisition.

Buying Greek Property as an Investment

If you are looking at buying property in Greece or on one of the Greek Islands purely as an investment then there are two aspects that you should carefully consider, they are capital growth and potential rental yields both now and in the future.

Capital Growth

In relation to capital growth in Greek property, Greek property values did increase by an average of five to ten per cent per annum in the first decade of this century, however there is now an imbalance between supply and demand which, coupled with the severe economic down turn that is still affecting Greece means that capital value growth is currently very difficult to predict.

Rental Yields

As regards rental yields on properties they are still low, especially in the big cities including Athens, and have fallen considerably from about 2007 when they were between five and seven per cent.

However, generally there are not so many properties available to rent in Greece, which is to an investors advantage if this is the route you intend to take.

The holiday lettings market is also one that any property investor should consider very carefully.

Greece and the Greek islands are still a very popular holiday destination for many Brits and other EU residents.

Capital Gains Tax on the Sale of Greek Property

If you are buying property in Greece then it is also worthwhile noting that any capital gains realised from the sale of your property if it has been held for less than five years, is currently taxed at 20 per cent.

If you are resident in the UK for tax purposes and you own the property as a personal investment then you will be liable to pay tax in the UK on your total income, which includes the profit made on the sale of your Greek property.

Overseas Property Investment Solutions

As a leading independent property and land investment specialists Investment Property Partners offer expert advice and support to clients across our specialist areas of expertise helping them to achieve their investment objectives.

If you are an investor searching for overseas property investment opportunities or a second home in Greece please contact us today to discuss how Investment Property Partners can help you.

Further reading…

More information about Greece… here →

More about and buying property in Greece and the Greek islands from the Hellenic Property Federation (POMIDA)… here →

More about finding a lawyer from the UK’s Law Society… here →