ATHENS – Greece was awash with tourists this year, more of them increasingly the wealthy and uber-rich preferring luxury resorts and even snapping up property and now the country’s golf courses are beckoning them.
A number of new courses, including designed by famed professional golfers on the PGA tour, have been added, the country offering a near-perfect climate to play the game almost all year long.
In a feature, the New York Times reported how people with money are pairing acquisition of real estate with wanting to spend their free time whacking away on a golf course, many tied to luxury resorts.
Michael Valdes, President of the real estate firm eXp Global, said the game is propelling a growing real estate market that’s appealing to buyers from places such as Britain, the United States, Scandinavia, Germany and France, the paper said.
“Golf is a new discovery in Greece and an additional reason for second home buyers and retirees to purchase a property in a country that already has a lot to offer,” Valdes said. “A decade ago, people flocked to the Algarve in Portugal or southern Spain when they wanted a golf home coupled with other diversions. Now, they’re turning to Greece.”
That’s because of Greece’s high quality of life and low cost-of-living, even if that’s not a factor for those with money to burn and time to spend doing what Mark Twain called “a good walk spoiled.”
Valdes said that, “Your money will go a lot further here than it does in many other countries,” Greece already a hot destination for foreign visitors and those wanting to buy vacation homes and second homes.
Katerina Katopis-Lykiardopulo, an Athens-based hospitality and real estate consultant, told the paper that the price for a three-bedroom single-family home near the water starts at $350,000, a drop in the sea for the endowed.
“Further, day-to-day living is inexpensive with regards to prices for groceries, meals out and entertainment such as concerts and movies,” she said, although you couldn’t likely convince many Greeks struggling with record inflation and a 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on food, including in supermarkets.
Renowned chef Maria Loi, who is filming a series for PBS based in Greece, said that, “The weather is generally sunny year-round; the food – produce, meats and seafood – is fresh and healthy,” Loi said. “Plus, the locals couldn’t be friendlier, and the infrastructure is strong with good roads and hospitals.”
The site Sothebysrealty.com said that searches for Greece and golf lifestyle increased by 205 percent from January through July of this year, compared with the same period in 2021, the report added.
Savvas Savvaidis, President and chief executive of Greece Sotheby’s International Realty, said the company had $50 million in home sales in Greece in 2022 in areas or developments where golf is a main interest, compared with $10 million in 2017.
Most of the market for golf homes in Greece is concentrated in the Peloponnese, but Glyfada, a suburb of Athens, and the island of Crete, figure in, and places where the rich and golf players congregate.