Greece has been a member of the European Union since 1981. It has a small population of around 11 million people. Greece’s hundreds of islands have long been a favourite holiday destination and also attract a strong contingent of overseas buyers. Greece has the advantage of not being over-developed and in general has very competitive property prices. It is a safe place to live and the Greeks are known for their warmth and acceptance of foreign residents.
Schengen Area Member: Yes
Greece has an ancient culture, but is a modern country and a member of the European Union since 1981. It has a relatively small population of around 11 million spread over its large mainland that borders Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria in the north, and Turkey to the east. However, it is Greece’s islands, and there are hundreds of them, that most attract tourists and property buyers. Each island has its own attractions, and some of them have larger communities of particular nationalities than others. For example, Corfu is a favourite with British buyers. But, some parts of the Peloponnese are becoming more popular due to its unspoilt scenery and fantastic beaches.
Greece has the advantage of not being over-developed with properties for foreign buyers, though there are a number of new high-end developments in various locations, such as Porto Heli. In general, property prices in Greece are very competitive and this combined with a sunny climate and its crystalline waters make Greece an attractive place to purchase a holiday home. Travel is primarily by plane and boat. Some islands are accessed via a flight to Athens and boat from Piraeus, whilst some islands have their own airports. This is an important consideration when buying.
It is important to note that any overseas residents should have private medical insurance as there is no state healthcare available to foreigners. EU citizens can use the EHIC card in emergency situations, but only for a limited time period.
It is well known that the Greek economy has been going through turbulent times over the last few years and it is partly due to this that property prices and living costs have remained lower than in other Mediterranean destinations. This has made it even more attractive to holidaymakers and buyers, who are able to get more for their money and the areas where most buyers tend to flock to have stayed busy and vibrant, which is good news for those planning to move there.
Greek people are by nature warm and friendly, and foreign buyers should find integrating into the local communities relatively easy. Greece is generally a very safe place with a low serious crime rate. The cost of living here is 30% lower than in the rest of the European Union, although cities such as Athens are generally more expensive than the rest of the country. The standard of living is high, particularly if you are working as an expat in Greece. Cash is king in Greece, so don’t expect to pay with plastic in many places, and although French and English is spoken by more Greeks now, it is advisable to learn Modern Greek.
Location and price
There are so many places to choose from, whether you prefer the mainland or the islands. If you are thinking of living in and around the capital Athens, be prepared to pay higher prices than on the islands. Having said that, some islands are much more expensive than others, especially if they are boltholes for wealthy Athenians; Spetses, Mykonos and the islands closest to Athens are a few examples.
Crete attracts numerous buyers and offers a good range of prices. It also has a well-developed infrastructure and amenities that appeal to foreign residents, and its climate, is another plus for many, as is the fact that there are plenty of flights to this large island.
In terms of the islands, which are arranged in groups, the Aegean islands that include Santorini and Mykonos have a both traditional style homes and ultra modern new builds. In the Ionians, Corfu and Kefalonia have properties that range in price from millions to around €100,000. In the Dodecanese, Rhodes is booming and there is a strong demand for new and exclusive properties in the higher price bracket.