Greece’s appeal as a property investment destination is increasing once again as the country continues to bounce back from severe economic trouble and years of austerity.
There have been signs recently that stability is returning to Greece after nearly a decade of turmoil, including riots on the streets, mass emigration, high unemployment (particularly for those under 25) and harsh austerity measures as a requisite for the bailouts it has received.
While the economy has shrunk by a quarter (25%) since the crisis began, and it will take decades for Greece to pay off its debts of 180% of GDP, the economy has now started to stabilise - even growing slowly - and Greece is allowed once more to borrow on international markets.
It’s also becoming far more attractive to overseas investors again, shown by the 20% growth in real estate investment between 2017-2018 (according to the New York Times). Greece, one of the most popular holiday destinations for tourists from across the globe, also benefits from one of the strongest Golden Visa programmes in the world, drawing approximately 10,000 investors from China, Russia and other non-EU countries, according to the Greek Ministry of Immigration.
How did Greece get into an economic mess in the first place?
Like most countries who have suffered economic misery in recent years, Greece was badly caught up in the 2008 global financial crisis which triggered a worldwide recession. For years, Greece had operated with huge government debt, borrowing much higher amounts than it was able to claw back through tax revenues.
This came to a head in 2010, when the economy crashed, Greece revealed its sky-high deficit and was subsequently frozen out of the bond markets. It called on the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial bailouts, with the emergency loans enacted in 2010 - albeit with the caveat of severe austerity measures attached.
In all, Greece received three successive packages totalling €289 billion (£259 billion), but years of political and economic turmoil followed as pensions and salaries fell dramatically, high taxes were imposed and drastic spending cuts were enforced.
With Greece’s economic recovery ongoing, worldwide confidence from tourists and investors has been clear. It was recently announced, for example, that 'one in every €5 spent in Greece came from travel and tourism last year', while Greece also outperformed the EU’s average regional travel and tourism growth rate by 2.4%.
What’s more, earlier this year the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that Greece’s economic progress was among ‘the top performers in the eurozone’. This was later followed by a successful early repayment of its €10 billion eurozone bailout fund, owed to the IMF.
Meanwhile, iconic hotel chain Four Seasons recently launched a new hotel in Athens - Astir Palace – while One&Only is set to open its second European resort (also being delivered by Dolphin Capital) on the Cycladic island of Kea, the closest to mainland Greece.
All of this offers a positive forecast for a country that is still coming out of recession, and which announced its first annual budget in eight years last November.
‘Significant investment’ potential
Dolphin Capital – in partnership with co-owners Grivalia Hospitality - recently revealed a prime investment opportunity for second-time buyers and those looking to invest in the country’s growing property market, with purchasers of the two-bedroom villas at Amanzoe, a luxury development in the Greek hills, ‘now guaranteed a beneficial rental return of 5% net revenue for five years’.
Nestled in the hilltops of the Peloponnese, only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Athens, Amanzoe launched in 2012 and is described as ‘an ideal holiday location for individuals, couples and families’. Buyers of the two-bedroom villas will be able to include their villa in the Aman rental programme - overseen by the Amanzoe Management Programme – which offers a return on investment for buyers and an alternative accommodation option for guests of the hotel.
The Peloponnese has long been a region that is attractive to high net worth individuals (HNWIs) – and has even been a particular favourite amongst royalty like the King of the Netherlands.
The villas include minimalist interiors, architecture designed by architect Ed Tuttle, ‘intuitive and personal service’, a 20m private swimming pool and spacious indoor and outdoor living and dining areas.
The villas also include access to all the resort’s facilities, such as the Aman Spa, an exclusive Beach Club, a library, an Aman boutique which stocks creations from local Greek designers, and several F&B outlets.
“Amanzoe was Greece’s first luxury resort of its kind and is considered to be one of the most sought-after and exclusive residential developments in the Mediterranean,” Katerina Katopis, director at Dolphin Capital, said.
“(As) a country that draws as much as 20% of its gross domestic product from the hospitality industry, it’s no surprise The Aman Villas at Amanzoe have been very successful and we are pleased to be able to launch a new offering. Unrivalled and partnered with a trusted and iconic brand, the two-bedroom villas provide a competitive investment opportunity for future buyers looking to invest in a growing economy.”
They don’t come cheaply, however. Prices for a two-bedroom (320m2) villa, built on a lot of at least 4,000m2, start from €3.2 million (around £2.86 million). Pricing includes the land price, construction costs, landscaping and all furniture, fixtures and equipment, with one of the six villas available already sold.
Elsewhere, Dolphin Capital Partners and Kerzner International Holdings Limited recently celebrated the breaking of the ground of One&Only Kéa Island in Greece, in a ceremony which took place on the Cycladic island on Monday 8 July 2019.
Located in a 60-hectare beachfront site on the west side of Kéa Island, the ultra-luxury development on the Aegean Sea will comprise of 75 resort villas, as well as a limited number of One&Only ‘Private Homes’ for acquisition.
One&Only Kéa Island will be the second One&Only resort in Europe following the opening of One&Only Portonovi in Montenegro in 2020, and forms part of the brand’s strategic expansion.
Kerzner, a leading international developer and operator of ultra-luxury resorts and residences, has plans to continue to grow and develop the One&Only brand globally. Dolphin Capital Partners, meanwhile, will be in charge of the management of the project and the sales of the Private Homes.
Kéa is the closest Cycladic island to Athens and easily accessible by ferry, speed boat or yacht from Lavrio Harbour, and One&Only Kéa Island’s aim will be to provide the ultimate hideaway for guests with a choice of accommodation and secluded villas that are ideal for couples or large families, all with private swimming pools.
Designed with a ‘contemporary Greek elegance’ by Heah&Co., the resort will aim to celebrate the natural setting of the Cyclades as well as honouring the country’s rich culture and traditions. One&Only Kéa Island will be home to a destination spa with holistic wellness at its heart, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, gourmet culinary experiences and a vibrant beach club, with homes targeted at all generations.
The project, being developed in Vroskopos Bay in the northwest part of the island, will be built in a style akin to a Greek amphitheatre, maximising the sea views on two slopes of the bay. In all, the total investment of the project is €150 million and is a joint venture between Dolphin Capital Investors, Dolphin Capital Partners, architect John Heah and Kerzner International.
You can find out more about Greece’s rising house prices and economic recovery here, while The Times recently outlined the nine things you need to know about the property market in Greece before thinking about investing there.