NEW YORK – As the global coronavirus pandemic lockdown begins to lift gradually in Greece, the real estate market is awaiting the return of foreign buyers especially on the popular tourist destination of Mykonos, the New York Times reported on June 10.
Highlighting the well-known island in the Cyclades, the Times article pointed out that “sugar cubes,” the typical style of the whitewashed houses on the Aegean Sea, are available for about $2 million or 1.9 million euros.
With lush photos of a modern five-bedroom villa, the Times included the description of the home “nestled in a rocky hillside overlooking Kalo Livadi, one of the longest sandy beaches on Mykonos… the 2,600-square-foot house, a three-story version of the quintessential sugar-cube homes of the Cyclades Islands, was built in 2015 from whitewashed concrete with accents of local stone. Known as ‘Morgan,’ it sits on half an acre in the southeastern part of the island.”
Savvas Savvaidis, president and chief executive of Greece Sotheby’s International Realty which has the listing, told the Times that “the property was designed with a sense of fun and romance,” adding that “you have the luxury to enjoy outdoor living.”
The property includes “several separate entertainment and relaxation areas, from the curved infinity pool and cliffside hot tub to a screening area with comfy seating to a beach bar with a DJ booth and room to dance. The outdoor kitchen has a beer station and a barbecue grill.”
The villa’s main floor middle level has “an entry door opening to a vestibule intersecting the open-plan kitchen, dining room and living room,” the Times reported, adding that “the kitchen has concrete countertops and lower cabinets accented with blue-gray wood doors and a bright blue Fischer & Paykel refrigerator. Lower cabinets extend into a hallway with a glass door opening to outdoor stairs down to the pool level.”
“Floors throughout are gray and white polished cement, the traditional Cycladic ‘patiti tsimentokonia,’” George Kasimis, an agent at Greece Sotheby’s International Realty, told the Times.
Upstairs, the master bedroom has an en suite bath and private veranda with views of the Aegean, the Times reported, adding that “each of the four bedrooms on the lower level has an en suite bath with a shower; three have ceiling fans and open to the outdoor areas. The front bedroom has a sliding door to a covered terrace with a Paola Lenti double-seater swing. The property is being sold furnished.”
Savvaidis told the Times, “Mykonos, because of its robust luxury property market and its strong appeal to high-end tourism, led the recovery of the Greek property market as early as 2014 while the rest of the country followed a couple of years later,” adding that the sales volume of the luxury market has grown “on average by 15 percent year to year, per year.”
Georg Petras, chief executive of Engel & Völkers in Greece, said that Mykonos “gained a lot of visibility around the world by attracting second-home buyers, making it one of the top international second-home destinations,” the Times reported.
Savvaidis noted that “at the high end, prices between 7,000 euros and 10,000 euros a square meter ($929 to $1,022 a square foot) are ‘way lower’ than similar second-home markets in the Mediterranean,” the Times reported.
Ioannis Revithis, owner of Mykonos Real Estate and a former president of the Greek Real Estate Federation told the Times that “condominiums are ‘scattered around the island,’ [and] new condos, no higher than two stories by law, are being built mostly in the ‘blue zone,’ an area encompassing several coastal villages in the southern part of the island,” adding that “many have sea views, while others are in walking distance of the Aegean and ‘some even have private beaches.’”
Revithis said that “prices for a studio, one- or two-bedroom apartment start at about 250,000 euros ($280,000),” the Times reported.
Savvaidis noted that the coronavirus pandemic has had an effect, pointing out that “during April and May his agency saw a ‘surge and explosion of requests,’ registering a 166 percent increase year to year in ‘qualified leads,’ [that] he attributed the inquiries to Greece’s flat curve during the COVID-19 crisis, a result of the ‘immediate lockdown measures’ taken by the government when neighboring Italy was overwhelmed.”
According to the data on Worldometers.info, “there were 180 recorded deaths in Greece as of June 8, compared with 33,899 in Italy,” the Times reported.
Savvaidis told the Times, “The people complied. This is now considered a safe place.”
Because the pandemic occurred during the tourism off-season, Petras told the Times that “the consequences are not going to be dramatic” in the housing market, adding that “right now, Greece is promoted as a best-example country in the reaction of the crisis and it is ready to start officially the touristic period.”
Petras “called 2020 year ‘a chance year’ for investors and buyers as the market is ‘reorganized’ and ‘stabilized’ under new circumstances, ‘offering right now smart investment opportunities,’” the Times reported.
Fani Dritsa, a real estate consultant at Savills Greece, told the Times that “it is too soon to know the real impact of the pandemic,” and success in the post-pandemic market depends on “what will happen when the travel restrictions stop and international buyers will be able to travel.”
Revithis told the Times that “Mykonos is an international destination which brings buyers from around the globe,” adding that “foreign buyers are mainly from the United States, Britain, Germany, Switzerland and France.”
Kasimis said “an Australian buyer landed a $12 million home in mid-March, and that interest among Australian buyers is on the rise,” the Times reported, while Petras added that “Middle Eastern buyers come from the United Arab Emirates.”