Greek Islands see surge in investment from overseas as pandemic restrictions lift

Despite the disruption caused by Covid-19, the outlook for Greece’s property market is optimistic following the gradual lifting of travel restrictions and a surging vaccination programme.  

Greek developer, Leptos Estates, has recorded a surge in sales and enquiries to investors based primarily in Europe, Asia, Russia and the Middle East, with island coastal holiday homes proving the most popular. 

Since the turn of the year, Leptos Estates has recorded record reservations at its recently released new phase of its Aphrodite Seafront development in Crete, followed by strong sales at Santorini Villas on the beautiful island of Santorini and at Paros Gardens, Paros. The typical demographic of purchasers registered have been investors from Asia and the Middle East looking for a European vacation destination, whilst they have also recorded a large number of enquiries from the UK. 

Pantelis Leptos, Co-President of Leptos Group of Companies, says: “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. 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, which came to effect on 18th May. The agreement allows citizens and residents from both countries wishing to benefit from the quarantine-free travel corridor to 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). 

This has allowed potential investors the opportunity to visit various projects across the islands before committing to purchase, which was not an option during the peak period of the pandemic. 

The Greek government is also in the latter stages of finalising a ‘Green Pass’ agreement with Asian countries, such as China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam. Greece’s Tourism Minister, Harry Theoharis, has revealed 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. 

Theoharis comments: “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." 

A further incentive for international investors is Greece’s Golden Visa Programme, which is one of the most popular investment offerings in the EU. The scheme is a residence-by-investment visa model, issued to non-EU citizens who make a significant contribution to the Greek economy. There are several investment options, but the most common route is through purchasing real estate worth at least a quarter of a million. 

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