Russian buyers are scrambling to buy bargain properties in Greece as the financial meltdown has eroded luxury real-estate prices, Damien Sharkov reported for Newsweek.
Just to give you an idea of the scale of sales: The Greek real-estate agency IRM Aegean Estate has put properties in package deals, with two villas in Corfu —private beach and all — selling together for $4.9 million.
According to the German magazine Bild, the number of luxury Greek villas bought by Russians has more than doubled in the past year, Newsweek reported.
That’s partially because of Russia’s own currency crisis — rich people are looking for safe places to park cash — but also because real-estate prices in Greece have fallen roughly 50% since 2009, Bild reported.
“If a villa on the Greek island of Syros still cost €1.6m a few years ago, it is now selling for just €800,000,” IRM founder Isabelle Razi told Newsweek. That’s a fall to roughly $870,000 from $1.74 million with today’s exchange rates.
The strengthening relationship between Russian buyers and their Greek holdings is mirrored by ties between their national governments.
Last month the two countries agreed to build a $2.27 billion gas pipeline, Sharkov reported for Newsweek, and some critics are concerned the move signifies a tug-of-war between the West and Russia, as Athens may be inching toward the Kremlin’s umbrella of influence.