Greece Real Estate
Good Time to Buy Real Estate in Greece?
Table of Contents
Your Guide to Buying Property in Greece
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Greek real estate has experienced challenging times, to put it mildly. However, now is the opportune moment for a resurgence. In this article, our focus will be on property prices in the following locations:
- Athens City Center
- Athens South (Athens Riviera)
- Crete (Heraklion)
Property prices have been on the rise since reaching historic lows. This appreciation can be attributed, in part, to the Greece Golden Visa program.
Make sure you read our detailed guide on buying property in Greece.
Introduced by the Greek Government in 2013, this residency by investment program has played a significant role in boosting the market. Prime Minister Mitsotakis wasted no time in implementing the right measures to attract foreign investment into the country, while the 2019 elections and the new government’s liberal economic policies also contributed to this positive momentum.
The table below displays the Bank of Greece Housing Index. In 2008 Q3, it peaked at an all-time high of 102.20. However, the economic crisis led to a decrease of over 40%, hitting rock bottom at 58.90 in 2017 Q3. Greece successfully concluded the EU/IMF financial assistance program in August 2018, which prompted financial and real estate investors to start pouring their investments into Greece, thus positively impacting the economy.
Since then, property prices have shown a consistent upward trend. However, as of 2020, the values are still 35% lower than the historical high and 14% lower than the index average (77.59) between 2006 and 2020.
It is no secret that the right time to make a profit is when you buy. Therefore, if you make a purchase during a market downturn, you can reap the benefits of capital appreciation. The aforementioned table unmistakably illustrates that Greece currently offers a buyer’s market.
However, it is worth noting that the price trends in the real estate market have not been uniform across Greece. Different regions have experienced varying trends. For a better understanding, we can refer to the Spitogatos Price Index per Area.
Please keep in mind that the Spitagatos Price Index only reflects the trends in asking prices. While it serves as a useful benchmarking tool, it may not necessarily reflect the closing values accurately. The figures presented on a monthly or yearly basis merely serve as statistical measures of change. The base value is set at 10,000, representing Greek housing prices in 2011.
In this article, we will focus on areas that have attracted international investors since 2017.
Unsurprisingly, the Greek capital, Athens, tops the list when it comes to international appeal. It offers a vibrant economy, high-quality international schools, and numerous attractions for the expat community.
It is hard to beat a fully-fledged European metropolis that allows its residents to unwind on beautiful beaches after a long day of work.
Following Athens, we have popular islands in the Cyclades, such as Mykonos and Santorini. Crete, the largest Greek island in southeastern Greece, is a favored destination for many foreigners looking to settle at least part of the year. Corfu, located west of Greece and facing Italy, is another captivating Greek island that garners significant interest from foreign buyers.
Now, let’s delve deeper into Athens and analyze the property price movements in two areas with high demand: the city center and the Riviera in the South.
In 2011 the index value for Greece was set at 10,000 overall, while the index value for Athens centre was just shy of the country overall, at 9,409. At this stage, the economic crisis had already started, but it was still in its earlier stages.
In 2017, the prices hit rock bottom. That year, the index value for Athens fell down to 4,632, more than a 50% decrease in just six years.
As of 2020, the same index adjusted to 7,015. A slight correction from the 2017 value, but still down by 25% compared to a nine years earlier.
It’s fair to state that the prices in Athens city centre went through a roller coaster in a decade. However, it was the first area to go through a modest correction. It still holds a solid upside margin.
Athens South (Athens Riviera)
In 2011, the index value for South Athens was 13,047, significantly higher than that of Athens city center during the same period. Between 2011 and 2017, the value experienced a 26% decline, followed by a 23% recovery as of 2020.
However, the current value still remains 10% below the level of a decade ago. Consequently, it can be concluded that the potential for growth in the South of Athens is comparatively smaller when compared to the city center.
Nevertheless, it is important to note the Hellinikon Project, which is set to bring significant excitement to the area. This groundbreaking initiative is the largest regeneration project in Greece, transforming the old airport into a high-end mixed-use real estate development. The project encompasses a hotel, a shopping center, residential buildings, and even a marina. It is anticipated that this project will likely drive prices to reach an all-time high in Athens.
Greece boasts an impressive array of over 6,000 islands, with approximately 230 of them being habitable. Among these islands, there are several that hold significant value in the real estate market, attracting a high demand from both American and European tourists seeking the perfect summer getaway.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular islands, all of which are easily accessible through international airports and offer both air and sea transportation options. These include Crete (Heraklion), Corfu, the Cyclades islands (such as Mykonos and Tinos, among others), and Lefkada.Crete (Heraklion)
In realm of Crete real estate, the downward trend persisted until 2019, witnessing a substantial decrease in the index value from 9,677 to 5,645 between 2011 and 2019, reflecting a 40% decline. However, there was a slight resurgence of 1.3% in 2020. Consequently, current prices remain remarkably close to their lowest levels since 2011.
Situated in the picturesque Ionian Sea, Corfu is a captivating Greek island that shares its borders with Italy. Over the period from 2011 to 2018, the index experienced a significant decline of 24%, plummeting from 8,880 to 6,774.
Subsequently, there was a modest adjustment of 9% in prices since 2018. However, even with this adjustment, the values in 2020 still remained 16% below those observed in 2011.
The Cyclades Islands, located in the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece, form a captivating group of islands. Among them are renowned destinations like Mykonos, Andros, Tinos, Naxos, Paros, Syros, Santorini, Syfnos, Ios, and a few smaller islands.
Unquestionably, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, and Santorini stand out as the most popular choices for travelers. In recent years, Tinos has also earned its place among these sought-after destinations.
Looking at the chart above, it becomes evident that the prices in the Cyclades Islands have remained resilient even throughout times of crisis. This can largely be attributed to the global popularity and consistent high demand for Mykonos and Santorini, two Greek islands that have captured the imagination of international visitors. It is worth noting that the prices of well-appointed properties on these islands exceed the Golden Visa threshold of €250,000, which also reflects the higher cost of living compared to the rest of Greece.
Known as the Caribbean of Greece, this enchanting destination is nestled in the heart of the Ionian Sea, seamlessly connected to the mainland by a charming bridge.
Between 2011 and 2019, the index value experienced a notable decline from 10,901 to 8,143. However, in 2020, it rebounded slightly to reach 8,640. Although there appears to be a modest recovery in prices, they still remain approximately 20% lower than the 2011 levels.
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Greece Visa Homes: The experts in Greece’s Real Estate and Golden Visa
Greece Visa Homes is a comprehensive investment immigration agency and investment advisory firm. We specialize in providing complete solutions for residence and citizenship through investment programs in multiple countries across the globe.
With our local office in Greece, we have successfully assisted numerous clients in finding the perfect property.
Feel free to reach out to us and speak with one of our experienced team members who will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
You can find out how to register your property in Greece in our detailed Guide.
New Incentives for International Property Investors
Obtain Temporary Greek Residence Completely Remotely
In December 2020, the government introduced a legislative amendment that revolutionized the Golden Visa application process. Previously, investors and their dependents were required to physically visit Greece before applying. However, this requirement has now been eliminated. As an investor, you can entrust your legal representatives in Greece to handle the application on your behalf. Once approved, they will receive your temporary residency paper, commonly referred to as the blue paper. Conveniently, they can then ship it directly to your home address, regardless of your location. This streamlined approach not only simplifies the process but also ensures that you can obtain your Golden Visa efficiently and effortlessly.
Tax Benefits for Non-Greek Retirees
The Greek government has introduced a new tax regulation, effective from the tax year 2020, that specifically applies to individuals who receive pension income from outside of Greece. As a result, non-Greek pensioners who decide to relocate to Greece and establish tax residency can take advantage of a favorable flat tax rate of 7% on their foreign income, provided they spend more than half of the year in Greece.
To qualify for this benefit, you must not have been a tax resident of Greece in the previous five years, and your country of origin must have a Double Taxation Agreement in place with Greece.
This new regulation has started to impact the real estate markets in popular Greek islands, as non-Greek pensioners are increasingly interested in residing there and enjoying the pleasant weather. Notably, there has been a surge in interest for locations such as Crete, Corfu, and some of the Cyclades islands.
Tax Advanatages for Digital Nomads:
The Greek government is currently developing a special tax incentive and visa program tailored for Digital Nomads. However, as of the first half of 2022, the specific details remain unclear.
According to rumors, self-employed expatriates who choose to relocate and settle in Greece may enjoy a 50% tax reduction on their income tax. This initiative could potentially provide tax benefits for the first seven years of residency.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably propelled remote work into the mainstream. With this new endeavor, Athens, a vibrant metropolis offering easy access to stunning beaches, is poised to attract significant attention. Moreover, it boasts a low cost of living compared to other European capitals.
- Athens remains the premier choice for real estate investment in Greece, boasting a thriving and dynamic property market. As the heartland of business activity and social vibrancy, the city offers unparalleled opportunities. Rental activity in Athens is bustling, with the upcoming Digital Nomad & Self-Employment tax breaks expected to have a significant impact on rental prices.
- In contrast, popular Greek Islands experienced only a minor disruption during the economic crisis, while holiday and investment destinations like Crete still hold considerable upside potential in 2022. Lefkada and Corfu are also worth considering, thanks to their promising growth prospects.
- Furthermore, the tax advantage for non-Greek pensioners has sparked significant interest from retirees in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, which is likely to drive up real estate prices on the Greek Islands.