Holiday home market still in free fall
Athens Plus, 17 September 2010

The Greek economic crisis and subsequent recession have seen the prices of holiday homes fall 15-25 percent this year compared to 2009, according to realtors' estimates.

The areas that enjoyed particular buoyancy in the sector in previous years, especially the 2004-07 period, such as Crete and the Aegean islands of Myconos and Paros, are now the hardest hit.

"At times of economic crisis, the first property sector to be hit is that of holiday homes. This is because that particular segment is seen as a manifestation of the luxury one enjoys when finances are on the the upside," said property consultant Nikos Giannoulelis.

Giannoulelis notes that up until two years ago, some 800 houses, of which around 750 were newly built, were sold annually on Paros. This year has dwindled to less than 100, of which only about 10-20 were new. Sale prices on Paros range between 2,000 and 2,500 euros per square meter.

The picture is similar in Crete, where prices now stand at 1,700-1,900 euros, against around 2,500 euros/sq.m. two years ago. The number of transactions has dwindled and demand is minimal.

On Corfu, where properties are the most expensive in the Ionian Islands, prices average at around 3,000 euros/sq.m. The ratio of Greek to foreign buyers is 30:70, due to the island's airport and proximity to Italy.

In the Northern Sporades, off the coast of central Greece, prices average at 2,000-2,500 euros/sq.m., while on Myconos they have dropped from about 7,500 euros two years ago to around 5,500 euros/sq.m. today.

In general, there are three types of foreign prospective buyers: Those looking for a home for all their summer holidays, those looking for retirement homes and those who want to invest with a view to reaping capital gains.

The majority of holiday-hole seekers are British, followed by Germans and Scandinavians.