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Q&A - what does Greece offer investors that other hotspots don't?

Like everyone else, it's a difficult time for investors in terms of planning ahead and finding out where the safe havens might be once the coronavirus crisis has passed.

Here, we check in with an expert on the Greek property market to get his thoughts on what the country could offer investors, and also ask how his own company bounced back from the global financial crisis of 2007/8 - the last time the global economy was on its knees as much as it currently is.

Miltos Kambourides is the founder and managing partner of Dolphin Capital Partners (DCP). Established in 2004, DCP specialises in real estate investments and developments, with the company's main investment vehicle being Dolphin Capital Investors (DCI), which is listed on the London Stock Exchange's AIM.


DCI is the owner and developer of Amanzoe in Greece and Amanera in the Dominician Republic, with its latest resort development, One&Only Kea Island, found in Greece's Cycladic Islands. Miltos was born and raised in Cyprus, is married to photographer Marina Vericos and has three children.

How is the Greek property investment market coping with Covid-19?

It is difficult to comment on the degree {of the impact} that it may have on the property and tourism industries long-term. For now, we are taking each day as it comes and will assess next steps as the pandemic develops.

You founded Dolphin Capital Partners in 2004, only a few years before the global financial crisis hit. How much did that, and the subsequent severe economic travails Greece suffered, affect your business and the luxury Greek market?

The 2008 crisis was a challenge for everyone, and the luxury market worldwide was no exception. When the crisis hit, we (Dolphin Capital) were about to commence development of a number of projects, which we had to stop and reconsider.

As a result, we did a lot of value engineering and prioritized the various projects we had, and decided that we were to go ahead with developing Amanzoe in Porto Heli. Following our decision, we succeeded in negotiating better construction terms while offering jobs in Greece at a time of crisis - we commenced construction in March 2010, and opened in August 2012.

It was the first project of its type in Greece and although there was a lot of scepticism while we were developing Amanzoe, we got rave reviews in the international and local press and had unprecedented success. This gave us the evidence we needed to know that the market required a product like this - sophisticated, luxurious and associated with a very high-end well-known international brand, Aman.

Despite the crisis, we still managed to sell homes at Amanzoe, offer jobs to over 200 people at the resort and manage to attract an international crowd to Greece who helped prolong the season in Porto Heli, which in turn helped to inject capital into the local economy as guests would (and still do) spend money outside of the resort in the nearby villages and towns.

The luxury market, like most sectors, was not immune - we all had to adjust and address our strategies. Our clients, though, are predominantly non-Greek so the Greek austerity measures were irrelevant to them.

In general, the crisis did not deter foreign visitors from travelling to Greece – since 2012 the number of tourists has been growing to record numbers, reaching 33 million last year. Nor has it deterred us! We have two new projects under construction – the One&Only resort on Kea Island and the Jack Nicklaus Golf resort and country club in Kilada, Peloponnese.

Confidence is definitely returning to the Greek property markets and that is why we are making sure we have the right product for them, which are world-class resorts and homes that cannot be replicated in other locations at this price and natural environment.

That being said, although we have been seeing significant investment into the country in recent years, it would be naive to answer the question without referencing the impact of Covid-19, which is currently dominating the news agenda.

Although at this stage it's difficult to comment on the degree {of the impact} that it may have on the property and tourism industries long-term. For now, we are taking each day as it comes and will assess next steps as the pandemic develops.

What does Greece offer investors that other holiday hotspots don't?      

Greece is a global brand and a timeless destination: 16,000 kilometres of coastline, thousands of beaches, and 6,000 islands and islets means there is always something new to discover.

Amazing resorts are being created on artificial islands or places without cultural and natural advantages, but in Greece there is so much history and heritage, and we work to highlight those elements in order to bring people to places they might not have ordinarily thought to visit.

We tend to choose undiscovered areas in Greece, where we can conceive and develop the ultimate combination of hospitality and accommodation in exquisite seafront locations.

When we decided to create Amanzoe, we chose a lesser-known part of Greece, the hidden beautiful gem called Porto Heli, and offered a new product to the market.

We chose Kéa Island in Greece as the site for our latest project, One&Only Kéa, not only because Kea is a hidden gem, but also for its proximity to Athens, its picturesque villages with quintessential blue, white and terracotta-coloured houses and for its pristine turquoise beaches and numerous activities - it really is one of the most scenic islands in the Cyclades and where, unlike many Greek Islands, locals outnumber tourists.

With sustainability and the environment increasingly at the forefront of everyone’s minds, how do you ensure that your resorts keep their carbon footprint low and their green credentials high?

In addition to a number of waste-reduction initiatives, all Amanzoe Villas have green roofs, as will the Private Homes at One&Only Kea, so as to ensure they blend in with the landscape.

We’re also pleased to report that at Amanzoe all small plastic bottles were replaced by glass bottles as of the 2019 season, and all takeaway dishes are now recyclable.  

It's become the forgotten topic since the coronavirus pandemic took hold, but will Brexit have any impact on British investment in Greece?

The Withdrawal Agreement has secured the rights of Brits already living in Greece, which also applies to those who settled here before the end of the transition period as freedom of movement is continuing during this time. We may perhaps see an increase in the numbers of British moving to Greece this year because of this time limit.

Anyone who was on the fence about moving overseas now has more of a nudge to do it this year. Those moving within this timeframe will have their rights protected for as long as they remain a resident in Greece. They can also benefit from a new non-dom tax legislation.

Could you talk us through the Greek Golden Visa? How does it actually work?

After the economic crisis in 2008, certain European countries, in order to stimulate their economies and increase investment flows, launched golden visa programmes, through which authorities grant residency to non-EU nationals, when they purchase real estate assets.

In Greece, we offer 'Golden Visas' when one acquires a real estate asset at a minimum value of €250,000. This is something we offer to those purchasing an Amanzoe or One&Only Kea Island Villa, should they wish to take advantage of it.

As someone born and raised in Cyprus, do you feel that the country is still untapped when it comes to property investment? Could it be a future hotspot with the right marketing, infrastructure and buzz?

In short, yes, Cyprus definitely has huge potential. Due to its British heritage, the country has a very solid legal system and an extensive infrastructure network. There are good roads, revamped public transport and excellent hospitals and emergency services.

What’s more, it’s system for issuing residency permits and passports for foreign non-EU citizens who invest significantly in real estate is very robust - Cyprus was the forerunner in the EU for this.

Added to which, Cyprus has a warm, sunny climate all year round and so it’s the ideal location for retirement, or for people looking for second homes. Not only does it have several golf resorts, we’re now seeing the development of state-of-the-art marinas and real estate around them, making them hotspots for high-end clientele.

However, in terms of property, Cyprus is lacking in branded residences with well-known international brands, and so there is certainly room for development and investment.

Poll: Is Greece somewhere you would consider as an investment destination?



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