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World's Oligarchs Snap Up Greek Luxury Homes During COVID-19

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Villa in Santorinia. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Klodian Lato)

The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic that locked down much of the world and put the brakes on tourism hasn't deterred the super-rich from continuing to buy luxury properties in Greece, which hopes for international visitors to help prop up a economy put down by the disease. 

The country's luxury holiday home market is garnering interest from the multi-billionaires on Forbes magazine's list of the world's ultra-rich, said property professionals in Greece, reported Kathimerini.

That it's happening during the pandemic shows oligarchs and the world's wealthiest are still looking to snap up luxury properties with little or no concern for the virus' effect on the world and lockdowns that most people home, not in resort communities.

“In the period from May 1 to 25, we recorded a 53.5% increase in expressions of interest for the purchase of luxurious holiday residences in Greece, compared to the same period last year,” Savvas Savvaidis, Chairman and CEO at Greece Sotheby’s International Realty told the paper.

That's Greece's subsidiary of the world’s biggest agency for promoting and selling luxury properties: Sotheby’s International Realty has annual sales turnover of more than 90 billion euros ($100.2 billion,) 1,000 branches across 71 countries and employs more than 24,000 consultants. 

“What those investors have always sought after, and even more so today due to the pandemic, is privacy and security. In Greece these are both available in abundance, with the properties being offered to them located on major plots or in isolated areas, and definitely not within major holiday settlements as is the case in other regions in the Mediterranean, such as Spain or the South of France,” Savvaidis explains.

They have focused on properties that are 25.53% more expensive, totaling 3.11 million euros ($3.46 billion,) looking for only the best high-end places.

While the pandemic has other people tied down over fears for survival, health-wise and economically, that the super-rich are rising above it and even prospering more during the pandemic, Savvaidis said they are especially interested in Greece, which has one of the world's best records in holding down the number of cases and deaths.

With international air traffic slowly coming back, Greece will open for general tourism on July 1 and open the international airport outside Athens, where people with private jets can land as well as at regional airports and on islands.

The very rich got very richer during the pandemic because of investment portfolios that include many high-tech companies that have especially benefited from people switching toward online buying and working at home, the paper added.

Sotheby’s data show that visitor numbers to Greek real estate websites have soared compared with 2019, with a potential market of some 122,400 private investors seen over the next few years.