Despite the ongoing disruption caused by Covid-19, including numerous travel bans and restrictions, Leptos Estates has, since the turn of the year, witnessed record reservations at the recently released new phase of its Aphrodite Seafront development in Crete.
This has been followed by strong sales at Santorini Villas on the picturesque, tourist-friendly island of Santorini and at Paros Gardens on the small Cyclades island of Paros.
The typical demographic of buyers registered has been investors from Asia and the Middle East looking for a European holiday destination, but Leptos says it has also recorded a large number of enquiries from the UK.
“The Greek islands offer a fantastic holiday home destination for international investors looking for a property they can use, whilst also providing a strong rental return, if needed, when they are not using it,” Pantelis Leptos, co-president of the Leptos Group of Companies, said.
“Due to the travel restrictions, we had seen a drop in enquiries from overseas, but the most attractive islands remained popular with those still looking and the recent gradual lifting of strict measures has seen a rush of interest from certain parts of the world.”
The surge in interest from the Middle East has been part-attributed to the recent opening of a travel corridor between Greece and the UAE, implemented on May 18, with the agreement allowing citizens and residents from both countries to benefit from a quarantine-free travel corridor. They must show documentation that they have received the last dose of a Covid-19 vaccine or present a negative PCR test (no older than 72 hours before arrival).
The travel corridor has given potential investors the opportunity to visit various projects across the islands before committing to a purchase, which was not an option during the peak period of the pandemic. Greece and its islands remain on the UK’s amber list, but the current Foreign Office advice is against all but essential travel to Greece, except for the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete, based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks.
However, those who do travel will be required to quarantine upon return for 10 days, with two tests booked in advance of travel.
This is likely to put many off, but even if people can’t visit in person, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown the usefulness of virtual viewings and other technology to help when it comes to seeing and even purchasing homes from a distance.
Away from the UK, the Greek government is in the latter stages of finalising a ‘Green Pass’ agreement with Asian countries, such as China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam, with Greece’s Tourism Minister, Harry Theoharis, saying that he is hoping they can benefit from a bi-lateral EU agreement with these countries. However, if needed, they would press ahead with their own initiatives.
“We are very glad that our proposal about the ‘green pass’ has been adopted by the European Commission and we hope for a swift resolution of this initiative, ensuring that both the legal and the technical sides are up to speed to save the summer…If not Greece will have to adopt its own rules and of course recognise the vaccination certificate of each and every European country,” Theoharis was quoted as saying.
Greece’s Golden Visa programme is another possible incentive for international investors. One of the ‘most popular investment offerings in the EU’, the scheme operates a residence-by-investment visa model, issued to non-EU citizens who make a significant contribution to the Greek economy. Since the start of this year, Brits have been eligible for this visa as non-EU citizens.
There are several investment options on offer, but comfortably the most common route – as is the case in Portugal and other places with similar programmes - is through purchasing real estate worth at least €250,000.
The Golden Visa provides permanent residency for life to the applicant, spouse, children up to the age of 21 and parents of both the main applicant and spouse, which includes restriction-free travel in the EU’s Schengen Zone. If the applicant spends 180 days a year in Greece, they can also apply for a EU passport after seven years.
In addition, a new scheme launched recently gives investors the opportunity to obtain ‘Greece Permanent Residency’ immediately, without even visiting the country, helping those who are unable to travel because of Covid-19 restrictions in their countries (as is the case with the UK at present).
Leptos says there are a number of developments that are proving popular with international investors looking for holiday homes, as well as the option to apply for the Golden Visa programme. These include:
Aphrodite Seafront, Crete
The award-winning Aphrodite Seafront is situated on a prime position in Crete, boasting magnificent views of the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding mountains, moments away from a Blue Flag beach. The ‘unique development’ is located in the prestigious area of Pirgos Psilonerou and displays an intricate mix of design, comfort and construction, ‘inspired by the true essence of Mediterranean living, using locally sourced materials throughout’.
Residents can expect a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, panoramic penthouses with rooftop gardens and three-bedroom maisonettes surrounded by landscaped communal and private gardens. Prices at Aphrodite Seafront start from €285,000.
Santorini Villas, Santorini
Comprising of two and three-bedroom bungalows and two storey villas built to ‘superior standards’, these luxury residences ‘exemplify architectural design and detail, reminiscent of a seaside villa in the Mediterranean and at one of the most glamorous tourist destinations in the world’.
Santorini Villas are situated on the east coast of the island, only 200 metres from the best sandy beach on the island, the Monolithos-Kamari beach, and within easy reach of Santorini Caldera, one of the natural wonders on planet earth.
Prices at Santorini Villas range from €428,000-€458,000.
Paros Gardens, Paros
Paros Gardens is a collection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, two and three-bedroom garden villas and maisonettes, as well as ‘exquisite penthouses’ with ‘spectacular panoramic views across the Mediterranean Sea’.
The ‘superb location’ combined with the carefully planned interior designs and layout surrounding the communal gardens, clubhouse and swimming pools make the development an ideal investment or holiday home for year-round enjoyment.
Prices at Paros Gardens range from €250,000-€345,000.
Leptos Estates has over 50 projects available for sale, including Aphrodite Seafront, Aegean Villas, Viglia Villas, Fournado Villas and Paparseni Athens. Future developments include Maleme Beach Villas, Costa Nopia and Nopigia Village.