The coronavirus pandemic is currently dominating all our lives, and is all anyone can really talk or think about at present.
In the property market, which has effectively been put on hold in the UK and many other parts of the world, it’s having a huge impact on everything from Prime Central London (PCL) to overseas investment.
Pantazis Therianos, chief executive of Euroterra Capital and Crystal Waters Global, is in a unique position to offer an insight into both these markets, as well as how the crisis has affected South East Asia – which was initially the worst-affected region until Europe was so badly hit.
Euroterra Capital operate in PCL with headquarters off Baker Street, as well as operating offices across Asia (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing) and Europe.
Crystal Waters Global – a company which started with Therianos’s passion for his homeland Greece and bringing a new type of villa-resort to the market ‘that would work in harmony with the locality and local culture’ - builds and operates serviced villa-resorts and residences, including on Lefkada Island, Tinos and Mykonos.
This provides Therianos with a clear perspective on both the domestic UK market – albeit at the very highest end – and the overseas investment market, too.
Here, we checked in with him to see what impact the coronavirus outbreak is having.
Purchasing power returning to some regions
“Since China and Southeast Asia’s lockdowns have been lifted, we are seeing purchasing power start to return to these regions, which is allowing us to continue to maintain business in Prime Central London and in Europe despite these more challenging times,” Therianos said. “Euroterra Capital has exchanged on 47 Princes Square, W2 in Bayswater – a Grade II-listed townhouse - and has sold and now handles the lettings for 16 Nottingham Place, W1 in Marylebone on behalf of an Asian investor who bought off-plan.”
He added: “We have also continued to make sales on a number of units across our newest upmarket designer developments in Athens Riviera, Greece; some of which have sold to Chinese investors and some to Asian families looking to eventually relocate to make the most of the lifestyle and schooling that this location offers.”
Dealing with the impact of coronavirus
Like with any business at the current time, the key question is how are Euroterra Capital and Crystal Waters Global navigating the effects of Covid-19? Are sales and acquisitions still taking place, just in different, more remote ways?
“In these times of uncertainty, the health and safety of our staff and all our business partners remains the priority,” Therianos insists. “We believe in the resilience of our global team and the markets we so passionately want to future-proof. We are therefore putting in place the necessary precautions to continue to operate as a business and support our many clients, investors, and business partners through these uncharted waters.”
He said the majority of staff who are based out of offices in London and Europe are now working from home and ‘are contactable as usual during office hours’.
Are the Asian offices, at the heart of the initial outbreak, now getting back to normal as restrictions start to be eased in places like China and Hong Kong?
“The same (working from home) applies for our Asian offices, apart from the Wuhan office, which is still closed until further notice.”
Therianos continued: “Like many businesses right now, we are doing all we can to keep moving and keep things as normal as possible. For example, we have specific systems online to provide virtual viewing, online sales seminars and training to agents and buyers. We are also using popular online communication systems such as Zoom, to keep in touch while the team are social distancing.”
Once this is all over, or even during it as a form of escapism, many people might be thinking about their dream holiday home abroad. But why should people consider Greece, a country which is still recovering from a devastating economic collapse and the years of hard-hitting austerity this led to?
“Over the years I have seen a huge commitment by commercial and tourism partners to upscale and improve infrastructure and flight connections, which have been key to the property market bouncing back,” Therianos explains. “There has also been a huge surge in tourism, which is now inspiring buyers to look further than the more obvious European destinations for a second home or investment opportunity.”
He believes there is an appetite for investment in less well-known islands, as well as popular destinations, which is why his company’s portfolio expands across Athens, Lefkada, Mykonos and Tinos.
“When you buy property in cities like Athens you are buying into the destination’s history and potential as it reinvents itself as an exciting global city,” he said. “Athens Riviera has huge potential from the upcoming huge infrastructure investment. With Mykonos, an island that is so well-established, you trust there will always be a demand for the glamour and beauty of a more cosmopolitan Greece.”
On the other end of the scale, he said, overseas buyers see the health and lifestyle benefits of discovering the ‘quieter, more secluded charms’ of islands like Lefkada and Tinos, ‘which are still very much about connecting with nature and local village life’.
“Greece has something for everyone, which is why our portfolio is resonating so well with buyers,” he concludes.