“I think Greece will go out of the euro but that didn't put us off buying there because we love it and feel far safer here than in Spain where we used to own a home”
Paul and Dianne Fieldsend from Northern Ireland completed on a modern villa in Crete's Chania region last month, after selling up in the Spanish resort of Torrevieja, reports Liz Rowlinson
You might have glimpsed the attractive Cretan fishing village of Almerida (or Almirida) on Channel 4's A Place in Greece which features a British couple hunting for their ideal holiday home. Well the Fieldsends from Holywood, County Down, also became entranced with this area of north-west Crete, which is about a 20-minute drive from Chania.
In December they bought a two-bed detached villa for €120,000 (£99k) – through A Property in Greece agency after looking at “about 100 properties” which failed to impress on the location front.
It shares a pool with three other properties, all owned by different nationalities, which was part of the appeal of this region's evolving little expat community, according to Paul, 60, a semi-retired CCTV expert.
“It might not be quite as easy to reach as Alicante, where we used to have a place, but we feel a lot more comfortable spending time there,” says Paul. “We had three cars vandalized and a handbag snatched in a local bar in Torrevieja, where life became uneasy with the Romanian gangs hanging out around our development so we sold up – at a loss - and decided to look elsewhere.
“We considered Malta, but it's mostly apartments there; and also Paphos in Cyprus but we felt that underlying uneasiness again there. We'd stopped off in Crete on a cruise and think Chania is beautiful. Initially we had a budget of €250k but we bought an investment property in Belfast in the meantime, and it's possible to get things for a good price in Greece right now.”
“After trawling round dozens of properties – we didn't want to be in a resort but in a more peaceful environment – we found our property which is a mile from Almerida and also near the villages of Plaka and Kalyves (also spelt Kalives) and next to the beautiful Souda Bay. So we have a working village with supermarket two miles away and Chania is great for more serious shopping.”
“We got the villa for a decent price and unless we want to sell it, the value is slightly irrelevant – it's a lifestyle purchase. We also hope to rent it out a little. We are fully prepared for Greece to go out of the Euro – which I think it will. Devaluing its artificially-high currency is really the only way out of the current situation as it can't keep up with Germany, the UK etc.”