How to buy property in Greece
Make sure that you’re completely up on the process of how to buy property in Greece, from how properties are valued through to the extra costs you need to factor in.
Data on Greek property
Most of us want to buy a property that makes a little money in capital appreciation. But working out how much prices are rising and falling and where offers the best returns is not as straightforward as in the UK. Prices in Greece have dropped by around 40% from the peak of the market in 2007, but are beginning to pick up again in the main tourist hotspots.
The most authoritative source of data on prices is Eurostat (the EU’s office for statistics) or the Bank of Greece (Greece’s central bank). They both produce regular reports, in English, on property prices.
Greece house price trends
International buyers heading to Greece looking to make a killing from desperate sellers have come away disappointed, however. Even in their current financial predicament, Greeks value their property highly. The Greek government has not forcibly repossessed many properties as they have in Spain and the US, and ridiculously low offers will be viewed as an insult and risk you losing out. It is certainly reasonable to make an offer, though, certainly of 10% or so below the asking price.
As in many countries with a Mediterranean coast, property on islands tends to be more expensive than on the mainland. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has members in Greece, some of whom offer independent surveys of local prices, and can be found via the RICS website.
You won’t find many mortgages on offer in Greece, and this has helped to keep prices low, combined with the fact that there is no shortage of available property to buy. Hence the rise in demand for Greek property has not translated into higher prices, yet.
Costs of purchasing a home
Don’t forget to factor buying costs into your purchase. These have come down in recent years, since transfer tax was reduced, and now add up to around 6-9% in total, depending on the value of the house.
Taxes include transfer tax of 3% plus VAT on all the other fees. Notary, legal and registration fees each add between 0.5-1%, plus 24% VAT on top. Estate agent fees are usually split between buyer and seller, adding another 1-2.5%.
Rules to buy a Greek property
Needing to pay off its international creditors, the Greek government has imposed new taxes on everything from getting an internet connection to buying a cappuccino in your local café, and has clamped down seriously on tax avoidance. The rules are complicated and can vary even between islands. There are also various capital controls left over from the 2015 crisis that may affect a purchase or sale of Greek property and how you organise your funds. Likewise, there are penalties if you fail to pay a tax. Find a lawyer or accountant who will be up to date with the new tax rules on the island or region where you are buying.
For example, the age of the property can make a big difference. On homes less than ten years old, you must pay VAT, so most buyers opt for either off plan or older homes, neither of which have VAT added.
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The Greece Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process.The guide will help you to: