Greece and the islands are becoming increasingly property as retirement locations, and as the tourist market continues to expand, so too does the market for people imminently retiring, or planning their retirement.
It is almost like retiring to two countries – the summer one busy and active and winter one quiet and relaxed. Corfu is different to some of the islands further south – being in the northern part of Greece has mild, sometimes wet winters (the year-round greenery has to come from somewhere!), balmy spring and autumn (think UK summers) and hot high summer, yet still with shade in the olive groves. Crete on the other hand is hotter for longer, has shorter, drier winters and has a breeze even in high summer, but the incessant temperatures can prove challenging for some people.
Read our free Viewing Trip Guide so you know what to look for when visiting properties in Corfu.
What will your life be like?
The most important question must be – how do I want to live when I retire?
In the summer months life and activities tend to revolve around the beach. There are hundreds of beaches, many with tavernas on them, offering a chance to while away the days by the sea. In spring and autumn, the climate is perfect for walking, the range of wild flowers is limitless and the clear views are stunning. In the winter months, life changes, the visitors all but disappear, the main towns come into their own and many a pleasant day can be spent wanted around looking at the old buildings, visiting museums, sitting in the park, having a coffee by the harbor, all in the most relaxed way.
When you move to a new home you haven’t always got a group of friends on tap, so it is always a concern of how to meet new people who will become your new friends, and part of your social life. No worries on this score! Activities are readily available – every area has its own interest groups, from walking to music, poetry to sewing, pottery to baking – practically every interest is represented so it is easy to meet people with whom you will have plenty in common.
From walking to music, poetry to sewing, pottery to baking, practically every interest is represented
There are also many charitable groups who are highly involved with the local community, and, without the local overseas community, many of these struggle to survive let alone to be effective so the helpers are incredibly appreciated.
Sporting activities are high on the agenda….in summer swimming, sailing, diving and even the onset of winter needn’t necessarily limit these activities – then add on walking, (now that the weather is cooler), riding, golf, tennis and the list continues to expand. The average sea temperature rarely dips below 14 degrees so many people swim all year round.
Double or triple your purchasing power, so you can buy your dream home, with joint ownership. Find out how it works in our Family Buying Guide.
Corfu Town has architectural influences from so many conquering nations that you could spend days just walking around, looking up! In the summer season the towns can be hot, dry and busy, not necessarily somewhere to while away your days, but in the winter there can be no better way to spend a day than a leisurely trip your local town, pottering around the shops and markets (having a coffee on the way) and later a leisurely lunch, before returning to your own peaceful haven along quiet roads, that in mid summer are choked with rental cars and buses.
How is the weather?
Greece and the islands, have a huge combination of micro-climates, generally hot and dry in summer, fresh and sunny in spring and autumn and cooler and sometimes rainy in winter. Temperatures in Corfu rarely drop below 8 or 10 degrees and are often 14/15 degrees, so whilst you do need heating/electric blankets etc. you are never going to freeze! The best thing about winter in Greece is that it is short! This year in Corfu, we had temperatures into the 20’s throughout October and most of November, and even as I write at the end of November the daytime temperatures around the 16-18 degrees. The most ‘wintry’ of the winter months are January and February, and then the days start to get longer, the sun pops out more, and spring is with us again.
The property market
The property market in Corfu has remained pretty stable. Since there are virtually no big developments, and all properties are completely individual, there are no truly reliable per m2 prices for properties.
Prices vary according to build quality and location (closer to the sea carries premiums). In Corfu, the prime area is the northeast coast. Many properties on the island are village houses, either renovated (usually starting from around €50,000) or in need of renovation (starting from about €20,000).
If you need to raise a little more money to buy that dream home, find out how with the advice in our guide, How to Pay for an Overseas Property.
Apartment developments are few, but among what is currently on the market, a one-bedroom apartment in a seaside resort such as Glyfada is €98,000, whereas a newly renovated studio in Barbati on the northeast coast is €139,000.
There is a good selection of villas with pools in the Barbati area for around €350,000 all with stunning views, and walking distance to the sea. Alternatively in a more rural location is Rose Villa – quiet and peaceful yet only 5 minutes drive from shops and tavernas.
There is an excellent choice of property from €200,000 – €350,000 offering all types of properties, in a variety of locations, although property prices can go up to €5,000,000 for absolutely prime properties in the most prestigious locations.
How to negotiate abroad is the guide to put you back in control: