Greece behind the hotspots

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Greece behind the hotspots

With prices generally down by at least 25 per cent from the market peak and often much more, the Greek islands are very much on the radar again with British property hunters. But for the best value, you should look away from the big-name islands or resorts, as close by you will find those hotspot premiums just drop away. Take the honeymooners' favourite island of Santorini, or Mykonos, beloved of the party set – next door to the little-known Tinos.


This little island, renowned for dovecotes and windmills, is famous for one day of the year – August 15, when pilgrims descend on it for a feast day – but it also has properties that are 30-40 per cent more affordable than its better-known Cycladic sisters where prices went through the roof during the boom years. The downside is that you need to get a 15-minute ferry from Mykonos (ten sailings daily) – or a two-hour ferry from Athens.

“It's got all of the advantages of the nearby Cycladic islands – especially Paros and Naxos – yet it's just not well advertised as it's not on the package holiday trail,” says Nikos Alogoskoufis of Aegeis. “It's got an agricultural feel to it, traditional architecture, is mountainous with nice beaches, that won't be packed in August, and no big hotels, so it does appeal to international buyers – Germans, Canadians, the Swiss and British. “With 10,000 local residents, it's alive year-round and attracts an intellectual crowd. Plus [like much of Greece] it is 25-30 per cent more affordable than two to three years ago.”

He is selling two-bed traditional townhouses for £180,000, or new builds, constructed in Cycladic style, near the main port of Tinos, for the same price – with sea views. Alternatively you can get a three-bed home for £190,000, four-beds for £225,000, or four-beds with a separate guesthouse or larger terrace for around £285,000.


Another neighbour where you get more bang for your buck is Andros, a wooded isle just north of Tinos. “It's both good value and traditional Greece – yet the Cycladic isle closest to the mainland. It's just south of Evia, 90 minutes from Athens,” says Spyros Mantzos from A Property in Greece. “We have a three-bed home with a pool with sea views on Andros for €260,000 (£217,000), which compares with a 3-4 bed property in Mykonos for €750,000 (£625,900).” Spyros also has some other suggestions for cheaper alternatives. “Kefalonia/Zakynthos in the Ionians is another example,” he says.


“Zakynthos [also known as Zante] is over a third cheaper than the now-fashionable Kefalonia, even though it's part of the same yachting circuit. “Plus the same could be said of Lefkas and Corfu – also on this circuit. In Lefkas, we have a two-bedroom 82m2 property, with a shared pool, for €90,000 (£75,100); on Corfu, the same type costs €160,000 (£133,500).”


If you fancy an island that's not really an island, in practical terms, what about the Peloponnese? Like a plane leaf floating in the sea, this unspoilt area of Greece is famed for its fertility – it is the home of the Kalamata olive – and is unscathed by mass tourism.

“Connected to the mainland by the Corinth Canal, it is technically an island, and has all the advantages of one but none of the disadvantages, such as high property values, lack of space, water considerations, seasonality,” says Mary O'Connor of O'Connor Properties.

“[Proposed] new Ryanair and easyJet direct flights to Kalamata will also make it even more accessible shortly, and there are two new signature golf courses at Costa Navarino. “Plus it's half the price of the very Athenian-style part of the Peloponnese – Porto Heli – which is closer to the capital by an hour's drive.”

O'Connor Properties has various properties around the mountain peninsula, the Messinian Mani, with quality two-bed houses from around €160,000 (£133,500).


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