House Hunting in Greece: A Custom Made Sea Bass on the Aegean Coast

Built into a mountain on the steep coastline of Dikastica Bay, this five story house It is located in Dikastika, a small city in the Attica region of Greece, about 30 miles northeast of Athens.

Specially built for vendors in 2015, the 5,920-square-foot home offers breathtaking views from every floor along the Petalioi Bay in the Aegean Sea. “A terrific offer on an outstanding property with stunning views,” said Theo Bosdas of listing agent Engel & Volkers MMC Greece. “A house like this on the Athenian Riviera in the southern suburbs would cost twice as much.”

Alongside a quarter-acre of hilly land, the home’s landscaped grounds encompass adjacent public parkland, where vendors plant palm trees and other greenery with permission from local authorities. “It doesn’t belong to them, but they wanted to expand the sense of land they had,” Mr. Bosdas said. “It adds to the rich feel of the home.”

From the road, a chiseled steel door opens to a short driveway and a three-car garage. Upstairs, a pair of en-suite guest bedrooms share the same floor with the open tiled deck and kidney-shaped pool. The owners built the pool as an extension of the house rather than underground; the façade is covered with rough hewn rocks that were salvaged from the construction of the house.

The master bedroom suite is located on the third floor with a large bathroom and a walk-in closet with custom closets. “Everything is big there,” said Mr. Bosdas. From the pool level the master bedroom is accessed by a private staircase. Elevator also serves all floors.

On the fourth floor, it has a large room, living and dining areas and a fireplace. The room’s 26-metre ceiling crosses the fifth floor. The oak spiral staircase in the center of the room wraps around a chiseled floor-to-ceiling oak panel.

Outside the dining room, the kitchen features a horseshoe-shaped breakfast bar with custom Italian cabinetry, SMEG appliances, and Grohe fixtures. Directly opposite, it includes a covered outdoor lounge area, pizza oven and barbecue pit. A triangular white canopy protrudes from the house to cover the living room area. “Some of the decor has Art Deco influences mixed with these modern elements,” said Mr. Bosdas.

The fifth floor, called the “Captain’s room”, offers unobstructed sea views and has its own bar and kitchen, fireplace and built-in sofa. “Because of the location of the house, you can see both the sunset and the sunrise,” said Mr. Bosdas.

Furniture imported from America has a bargaining share. Mr Bosdas said the most likely buyer of the house would be “American, Asian or Russian”. “Pretty flamboyant.” And the house “may sound distant to a Greek buyer,” he said, “perfect for people who want a little bit of isolation. One of the two or three best properties in the area.”

About an hour from the center of Athens, Dikastika borders Schinias-Marathon National Park, a five-square-mile patch of protected wetland and forest. Yannis Ploumis, the company’s general manager, said that while “not exactly on the map” for foreign luxury buyers, Dikastika is “a beautiful area and the beach is great”. International Real Estate by Ploumis Sotiropoulos/Christie in Athens. “House values ​​are moderate and you can live close to nature.”

A big market serving Dikastika; Mr Bosdas said retail, hospital and professional services are available in the town of Nea Makri, about 10 miles south. Athens International Airport is approximately 25 miles south.

While Greece has long been popular with foreign buyers, the Greek government has enacted policies designed to keep the market competitive. The residency-by-investment program, known as the Golden Visa, was launched in 2013 and ties the residency visa to a 250,000 Euro ($293,000) property investment in Greece or a financial investment of 400,000 Euro ($470,000).

In 2019, the real estate market received another boost from a scheme aimed at attracting retirees and high-net-worth buyers: Investors who parked 500,000 euros ($586,000) in Greece receive tax residency in Greece with an annual flat tax of 100,000 euros ($117,000) Worldwide income from any of the 57 countries with which Greece has a tax treaty.

Both programs helped property prices gradually recover from the lowest level in the last decade. debt crisisIt almost bankrupted Greece. “There’s almost a full market recovery from this loss,” said Alexandra Sekouri, founder of Athens real estate consulting firm. Litos Investment and a vice president Greek Association of Realtors.

But in 2020, the pandemic lockdowns “frozen” Greece’s roaring real estate market, Mr. Sekouri said. Based on data Bank of GreeceHe said transactions in Athens, Greece’s capital and largest city, fell nearly 50 percent from 2019 to 2020. Similarly, Golden Visa program revenues fell nearly 75 percent in 2020, but applications increased again as borders reopened.

The reopening of borders this year pushed prices higher as foreign buyers returned and inventories contracted. Ms. Sekouri said house prices in “Athens’ most expensive areas”, including Kolonaki, Parliament and the Athenian Riviera, could now exceed $1,100 per square foot and reach $2,700 per square foot in luxury beachfront villas or apartments.

Giorgos Gavriilidis, co-founder and CEO of his company, said that Athens house prices increased by 6.4 percent in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year, according to his firm’s data. Elxis At Home In Greece, a real estate agency and real estate law firm with offices in Greece and the Netherlands. “Athens is very popular right now, mostly for houses close to the historic centre.”

Nationwide, Mr. Gavriilidis predicts that prices rose 4.4 percent from the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021 and will “continue to increase by 5 or 6 percent each year”. Yet Greece remains a bargain when compared to comparable European locales, he said: “Property in the south of France is 10 times more expensive than on the coast of Greece.”

Real estate should benefit from Greece’s growing appeal for global trade. According to 2021 Ernst & Young report Greece is among the top 10 most attractive countries for foreign investment for the first time, with 10 percent of respondents mentioning Greece among the three most attractive countries for 2021. Microsoft announced announced last October that it would set up a European cloud services center in Greece.

Ms. Sekouri said foreign buyers in Greece are “divided into two main groups”. The first is looking for Golden Visas, most of them from the Middle East, Turkey, Russia and China.

He said the second group is “investors like Airbnb looking for a good return on investment,” most of whom come from Germany, France or Italy. Mr Ploumis said the post-Brexit Golden Visa program has also attracted British buyers “who want to enter the EU”.

Noting that Americans and Canadians are not major players in the Greek real estate market, Mr. Gavriilidis said, “We see some, but the majority are from elsewhere.”

Helen Alexiou, managing partner of the Athens law firm, said buyers from outside the European Union face very few restrictions in Greece. AKL. “You need government approval to buy property near borders and on some islands,” he said. “I’ve seen agreements break down on this as the process can be lengthy,” he said.

Ms. Alexiou said that lawyers are essential for foreigners to make real estate deals. The Greek government has begun digitizing property records to streamline transactions, but title approval is still based on printed records that “only a lawyer can search for.” After an attorney approves ownership on a property and any building restrictions, a notary collects closing documents from both properties to effect a closing, he said.

The application fee for the Golden Visa program is 2,000 Euros ($2,345) for the primary applicant and 150 Euros ($175) for each family member, excluding children under 18 years old. Ms Alexiou said the residence permit is “valid as long as you own the property,” but it must be renewed every five years.

Tax consultant and company co-founder Giorgos Vlastos said most foreign buyers pay cash. Greek Consultants, a Rhodes real estate consulting firm and brokerage. Greek banks “may offer financing under certain conditions, but we don’t see that very often,” he said. Almost all foreign buyers open a Greek bank account to remit money to sellers and pay taxes and expenses.

Hellenic; euro (1 euro = 1.17 dollars)

Mr Vlastos said buyers pay a 3 percent transfer tax calculated on the value of the property. In December 2019, the Greek government suspended the 24 percent value-added tax on properties built after 2006 for three years. The exemption will expire on December 31, 2022.

Attorney fees are set at 1 percent of the value of the property up to 44,000 euros ($51,500), 0.5 percent of the value of the property at 44,000 to 1.4 million euros ($1.64 million), and 0.4 percent of the value above that.

Notary fees range from 0.8 percent of the value of the property to €120,000 ($140,000), and up to 0.65 percent for properties up to €2 million ($2.3 million), Vlastos said.

Ms. Sekouri said real estate agent fees average between 2 and 3 percent of the sales value and split between buyer and seller.

The listing agent, Mr. Bosdas, said annual property taxes on this home were “less than $3,000 – considerably lower than other competitive beach areas.” He estimated maintenance costs, including the pool, gardens, and heating, at around $1,000 per month.

Theo Bosdas, Engel & Volkers MMC Greece, 011-30-6936-580-777,

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