From the Times July 27 2007
Buyers are tempted by the Greek Islands
The islands of Rhodes and Crete are looking to be more than a holiday destination says Gordon Miller
Rhodes and Crete would seem like obvious hotspots for overseas buyers. Yet although many Britons love the islands for two weeks every summer, very few of us have opted for a more serious commitment.
But perhaps all this is about to change. Cybarco, a Cypriot developer, has properties for sale in Crete and Rhodes, and its ambitious developments include beachfront maisonettes on Crete and townhouses, sea-view villas and courtyard apartments on Rhodes.
Maleme is a development in western Crete, 20 minutes’ drive outside Chania, with its adjacent airport. Its 24 maisonettes, built around a swimming pool and terrace, are within 100 metres of the sea. Prices start at €150,000 (£101,000), and six of the eight so far sold have gone to British buyers. “People buy for their retirement,” explains Thalia Drousiotou, Cybarco’s marketing and sales manager. “They use the place for holidays but think about relocating later, thanks to the lack of crime and year-round warmth.”
On Rhodes, Pano Lahania is a courtyard development in the countryside a mile inland from a beach in the undeveloped southeast of the island. Its 54 apartments and villas are accessed by gates in the 4m-high external wall.
Each villa has a private pool; inside, stone floors in the living room and kitchen lead to a raised sitting room with white-painted floorboards and a stylish bathroom. Upstairs is a second bathroom with a sunken bath; two bedrooms with built-in wardrobes lead to generous terraces. The 12 villas in phase one cost from €255,000, while apartments start at €167,000.
In comparison, Cybarco’s Helios resort at Kalathos, overlooking the sweeping Vliha Bay, five minutes’ drive from Lindos, is home to 42 106 sq m three-bedroom detached villas, each standing in its own 1,000 sq m plot. The properties, with marble floors and a private infinity pool and terrace, are built on three floors. Clever planning and a natural gradient mean that they all have unobstructed sea views. Only two villas, priced from €320,000, are still unsold.
Land for building is not scarce on Rhodes, particularly in the southeast, although there is a perennial shortage of water and many of the building materials have to be imported. However, there is certainly plenty of sunshine, and solar panels are visible on the majority of Cybarco’s properties on Rhodes, Crete and mainland Greece.
GREEK FOR BEGINNERS
There are no direct scheduled flights to Rhodes and Crete, although several charter airlines fly from the UK during the summer, including First Choice. The direct flight time to the islands is four hours. [check out our lastest information on flights to Crete]
In the winter, scheduled flights to Athens are provided by easyJet, British Airways and Olympic Airlines; the flight time is 3½ hours. Olympic Airlines and Aegean Airlines have regular daily flights from Athens to Rhodes; the flight time is about 50 minutes.
Last year 1.34 million foreign tourists, including 300,000 Britons, visited Rhodes; Crete attracted 470,000 British visitors.
If you are buying a Greek property, budget 11 to 13 per cent of the purchase price in taxes and fees. The purchase tax is 9 per cent for the first £10,000 of the property price, and thereafter 11 per cent.
Legal and notary fees amount to about 3 per cent of the purchase price. Generally you need to pay a 10 per cent deposit to the seller of the property. There are no restrictions on foreigners owning a property in Greece.
It sounds obvious, but make sure you hire a lawyer who speaks Greek and English. [check out our information on Lawyers in Crete]
Check that the property is supplied with all utilities, including water, electricity and drainage. Not all villages have mains drains, so you may need to install a septic tank.
The sale is always executed before a notary and in the presence of lawyers representing the seller and the purchaser. If all the papers are in order, a sale can be completed quite quickly.
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