By LISA KLEIN
Many a traveler chooses to escape to the idyllic Greek islands scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas, and luxury homebuyers from all over the world are following suit.
The 227 inhabited isles of Greece make for an ideal second home location, and now many are choosing to stay year-round, thanks to the perfect climate and relaxed lifestyle.
“Living on an island has its own charm and beauty,” said Jeronymo Kontonis, owner of Athens, Greece-based real estate firm JK Property & Yachting. “You feel that every day has much more quality time to spend and to live than anywhere else.”
Luckily for those seeking out a slice of island paradise of their own, Greece is recovering quickly from the pandemic and preceding recession along with a government that is encouraging investment.
“The taxes in Greece are reducing, and the economic environment and the government are very friendly in investments from abroad,” Mr. Kontonis said. “Therefore, we have many potential buyers and investors who are searching for opportunities in Greek real estate market.”
In February, the prime minister announced that property taxes would be slashed by 13 percent. Investors can obtain a “Golden Visa” for Greek residency by purchasing just €250,000 worth of real estate, giving foreigners plenty of incentives to call the islands home.
On top of that, the country is one of the safest in Europe, with one of the lowest crime rates and proactive measures during the pandemic that ensured the wellbeing of both citizens and travelers.
Although COVID-19 stalled the second home market in Greece, things are ramping up again.
“From the summer of 2021 there is a significant increase in the demand of vacation and second homes in Greece since many people … can work from their homes more easily and they feel safer to live outside the center of big cities,” Mr. Kontonis said.
“The lifestyle is more easygoing, more relaxing and you have more creative time for your hobbies, your family and yourself,” he said.
Whether luxury buyers want a rollicking party scene, local flavor or a peaceful retreat, the Greek islands have it all.
“The most popular islands for second vacation homes in Greece are the most touristic ones like Mykonos, Corfu, Santorini, Crete and Paros,” Mr. Kontonis said.
These options are chock full of not only beautiful scenery, but shopping, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs.
For a more relaxed pace, people have begun looking to off-the-beaten-path locations where mostly Greeks vacation.
“There is an increasing demand the last two years in less well-known touristic islands like Tinos, Naxos, Sifnos and Lefkada, offering to visitors more traditional and Greek authentic living,” Mr. Kontonis said. “It makes them feel and live the Greek culture, food and local habits.”
When it comes to a primary island residence, however, it is best to stick with the larger and more populated islands such as Crete, Corfu, Rhodes and Kefalonia that have airports, infrastructure, transportation, education for children and full-range medical services.
Each locale has its own unique architecture, and most villas follow the local style combined with a more modern minimalist look.
Buyers are looking for larger, renovated houses, especially with an office space and large outdoor area, complete with a swimming pool. And, of course, a view of the turquoise sea.
“The beauty of living close or next to the sea is changing every day your view and perspective in life,” Mr. Kontonis said. “You understand the characteristics of each season and it makes you feel more connected to nature and your inner self feels more alive.”
For more on the Greek islands, read the “Party hearty” property feature and “Stride with pride” articles in the latest issue of Luxury Portfolio magazine.