Rich Russians Buy Greek Villas for Peanuts

vilesThe number of Greek luxury villas bought by Russians has doubled in 2015 compared to previous years, says a Bild report.

As the Greek economy keeps sinking in recession and the recent capital controls have crippled tourism, the Greek government is struggling to reach a deal with international creditors. All eyes are set on Greece, and more so the eyes of wealthy Russians who see that they can buy real estate properties in the country and pay next to nothing.

The economic crisis has forced many Greeks to sell their luxury villas and homes. Property taxes and the authorities’ scrutiny of finances of individuals who own such properties have made ownership unaffordable.

In come rich Russians who look for investments or a nice holiday home in sunny Greece.

A survey of Greek and Russian real estate agencies conducted by Bild shows that since the economic crisis onset in 2009, property prices have dropped in half.

“If a villa on the Greek island of Syros cost 1.6 million euros a few years ago, it is now selling for just 800,000,” said Isabelle Razi, the founder of the Greek realtor agency IRM Aegean Estate.

According to the report, Russia’s own economic crisis has encouraged Russian businessmen to look for real estate investment in Greece. Thus, the demand for expensive properties have nearly doubled since last year, with the suburbs of Athens, the region of Chalkidiki in Macedonia and the island of Crete being the most popular areas.

Russian and Chinese investors are after bargains in luxurious homes, but recently investors from neighboring Bulgaria and Serbia are also among those buying such properties at slashed prices.

“Now is absolutely the best time to buy,” Svetlana Kuklina from the real estate agency said. “Prices cannot possibly fall any lower,” the report concludes.