2015 was a terrible year for the Greece. Anything that could have gone wrong went wrong for them. The country came close to an economic collapse, there was a lot of talk about a “GREXIT” or Greece leaving the European Union, and people were very worried about losing their jobs. Austerity measures such as cuts in the social security and pension were pretty common.
Still, Greece managed to achieve a semblance of normalcy and stability under the leadership of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. So, how has 2016 been for Greece? Well, things are certainly better than they have been in the past, but not a whole lot better.
The government’s budget cuts, worth €5.4 billion have been widely resented by most people in Greece. Now, following the Brexit referendum of June 23, which saw Britain leave the European Union, there are renewed calls for Grexit in Greece.
A poll carried out by Kapa Research found that only 49.5% of those in Greece wanted their country to remain in the EU. The rest wanted out. There’s huge pressure on the Greek government to switch back to the Drachma, the old Greek currency.
What has gone unnoticed amid all of this is that Greece continues to remain a top tourist destination and one of the most popular overseas property markets in the world. Indeed, 22 million tourists visited Greece in 2015, which is a record for the country, amid all the doom and gloom.
The Greek Islands such as Crete, Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Kos and Milos, are as popular as ever, and they have been fairly insulated from the economic crisis enveloping much of Greece. We don’t see the sort of political protests or demonstrations in Crete or Mykonos as we see in Athens.
These islands remain oases of peace amid all the political and economic turmoil. Millions of tourists visit these islands every month. There’s always a party going on here, and everybody just wants to have a good time.
There’s no talk of crisis in Crete, for example. Now with the Euro 2016 on, most people in Crete or in the other Greek islands can be seen in bars, enjoying the football over a drink or two. There’s no talk of an economic or political crisis – everybody just seems intent on having a good time.
It’s no surprise then that properties in the Greek Islands continue to be very popular with international investors. The fact is not much has changed materially in these islands – the infrastructure is as good as ever, the streets are clean, the garbage gets taken out on time, the power is available 24/7 and the hospitals are world class.
But the prices of the beachfront luxury villas have fallen by at least 40 percent over the last few years. Indeed, there are luxury villas that were built for €20 million in 2011 that are now selling for €5 million. This presents a terrific opportunity for overseas property hunters, and many are taking advantage of it.
Russians are among the biggest investors in prime properties in Greek Islands. The Russian economy has underperformed lately and there is an urgent desire among wealthy Russians to invest in properties abroad. Luxury villas in Greek Islands look decidedly attractive.
Greek Islands also attract buyers from Britain, Scandinavian countries, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel, Egypt, India, Turkey, Australia and the USA. There’s a huge Greek expat population in the USA, Britain and Australia and there’s a lot of demand from them. Maybe now is the time to sell your apartment in Greece.
The demand for Island villas in Greece is only expected to increase as the national economy stabilises further and benefits of the austerity measures start kicking in. So, things are not as bad as everyone thinks they are in Greece and they are going to get better.