planning law affects west Crete property
Crete Journal, August 2005
A new planning law has come into force in Greece, which affects land
outside village limits, and of course applies to property in west Crete. It
is no longer possible to easily divide large plots of land and build
separate houses. Previously, a plot of (say) 12,000 m2 could
be sub-divided into 3 plots of 4,000m2 on each of which could be built
up to 200m2, as long as there was an adjacent agricultural or other
road giving a frontage of 45 metres.
The new law makes it much more difficult to do this:
▪ the land must be in separate names (in which case it would
already be separate plots anyway); joint or percentage ownership by
one or several members of a family does not count, unless there is
a purchase contract dated prior to 1973.
▪ each piece of sub-divided land must then have 25 metres frontage
onto a council-defined road (such as a community road or highway);
agricultural roads no longer count.
▪ if the land does not meet these requirements, then it is still
possible to build at the same rate of 200m2 per 4,000m2 minus a new
deduction of 15% AND the dwellings must touch. In other words,
on our example plot of 12,000m2, you could previously build 3 separate
dwellings each of 200m2, totalling 600m2. The new law means that
you can now only build 510m2 and they must be grouped together.
Already we are having to explain to confused land owners who until
recently had a financial reserve in the form of a large piece of land,
that it cannot now be sub-divided and therefore is too expensive to
sell in one piece.
The effect of this will take some time to ripple through the market,
however it is obvious that the price of land inside village limits
The law seems to encourage the building of large grouped buildings
in the countryside, an effect we're not sure has been thought through
properly by the Greek parliament.
The effect on the price of large pieces of land outside village limits
is not yet clear: it must stabilise or even drop a little, however
landowners are naturally reluctant to reduce the price of what was
until now, their golden nest-egg.
This law is clearly an attempt to reduce the number of high-density
small homes being built (mainly for foreign immigrants) in certain
areas of Greece, which is already straining the infrastructure (water
and electricity supplies, health facilities, roads, sewage disposal,
etc.) in those areas. In our opinion it does nothing of the sort:
the developers building these high-density houses will simply group
them together, in the form of condominiums.
We would have preferred to see a law that retained the previous 200m2
building limit on a 4,000m2 plot outside village limits, but added
the condition that no more than two separate dwelling units could be
built there. This would reduce the pressure on the infrastructure,
for example it is not uncommon for developers to build 4 units of 50m2
on such a plot; our suggestion would limit this to 2 units of up to
We are waiting to see what happens, but are also discussing these issues
with various trade bodies.
Please note that this law does not affect individual plots of 4,000m2
where sub-division is not needed to create them, nor plots previously