From the Ancient splendor of Athens...to the beautiful Greek Islands. Advice on living, retiring or buying real estate in Greece.
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- Population: 10,772,967
- Capital City: Athens
- Climate: Temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers
- Time Zone: GMT+2
- Language: Greek
- Country Code: +30
In the early and mid-2000s, Europe’s real estate markets embarked on a massive tear. People re-financed, often to buy a vacation home or make a speculative investment in Europe’s sunnier locales. Values rose and rose…until everything stopped. The market imploded and real estate owners found themselves deeply under water. By 2009, with a few exceptions, Europe’s real estate markets had halted. Transactions simply stopped. The gulf between sellers’ expectations and what buyers were willing to pay was so great that there was nowhere for them to meet. Now markets are moving again. And in four countries in particular—Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Spain—I see opportunity today. An added plus is the current strength of the U.S. dollar. At time of writing, your U.S. dollar buys you 24% more euros than it did in March 2014. Now, I’m not a currency guy, and I’m certainly not making a call on future euro-dollar exchange rates, but it makes European opportunities all the more attractive right now.
Unless the European crisis is news to you, you probably know that Greece just suffered through its own Great Depression. Its economy shrank for six years in a row. Economic output fell by a quarter. The unemployment rate is 27%. And asset prices collapsed. No wonder, then, that some of the most successful investors are in Greece picking up bargains—including Dan Loeb’s Third Point, Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial, Seth Klarman’s Baupost, and John Paulson’s Paulson & Co.
A view, good-value real estate, low cost of living, friendly locals…they’re all important as you search for a new community to settle in abroad. But if you have a green thumb, you may have some special requirements for your dream home. You’ll need good soil and the right light. Maybe you want multiple growing seasons, which is possible in some tropical areas.
Pundits are divided on whether Spain’s property market will see further price falls. A huge overhang of unsold homes remains, but for the first time in seven years, sales in Málaga province showed an increase in 2013. Spain will always be a popular retirement destination for northern Europeans, and the number of U.S. citizens registered as living in Spain has increased, too.
What’s not to love about cultural riches and cobbled charms? Throughout most of Europe, the property market remains in the doldrums, which means you can find bargains. From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean…from Ireland to Greece, there’s a tempting array of move-into properties that will leave you change from €100,000 ($137,000).
You’ve just weighed anchor on another night of bliss, lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of your sailboat in the calm sea. Before you is a small cove lined by craggy cliffs. Clear blue waters end at a white-sand beach. You’ve had it all to yourself for the last week. It was supposed to be just an overnight stop. But it was so beautiful, you decided to stick around. After a quick dip, you’re enjoying a cup of coffee and a light breakfast on deck as you contemplate which island paradise you’ll go to next.
From 1993 to 1999, I traveled and lived all over the world. And during that time, I got to experience wonderful places like the white-sand beaches of the British Virgin Islands…the cafes of Aix-en-Provence, France…the wild summer parties of Corfu, Greece…the exotic culture of Bali, Indonesia…and more.
On a lazy weekend afternoon when I was 13, I thumbed through my school geography text book, pausing from time to time to admire the amazing photographs of some of the wonders of the world. I was inspired. So began my dream fantasy to visit these wonderful places myself. Today that’s exactly what I do.
If you are working an average job in the U.S., you might be just like I was a few years ago. I was working a 9-to-5 desk job at a bank, spending what little daylight hours I had running errands, cooking and cleaning up, and preparing for it all to start over again. Like most people, I had a yearning for adventure deep in the pit of my stomach, and didn’t know how to “fix” it.
During the decade since I first published my popular Passport Book, now in its 10th edition, rarely have I seen so many countries at one time willing to trade official access for foreign cash.
There’s a way you can buy real estate in some of world’s most stunning locales and pay a fraction of what your neighbor paid. I’m not talking about buying in a depressed backwater.
They may not have the tropical vibe or clear blue waters of the Caribbean or the Far East, but the islands of Europe do exude their own brand of natural beauty…and are infused with history.
In case you don’t know—and some don’t—copywriting means writing ad copy. The headlines. The print ads you see. Billboards. TV ads. And sales letters.
I love to travel…but the experiences I have tend to be a little different from the usual vacation. That’s because these days, I get special treatment wherever I go.
I can see the Mediterranean through the kitchen window. Just outside the door, a tree of candy-bright mandarin oranges means I’ll have freshly-squeezed juice with my breakfast on the long verandah that fronts this traditional Greek house. The nearby lemon tree is heavy with enormous, fragrant fruit, perfect for my afternoon lemonade.
Venice is one of the world’s most romantic cities, a place where graceful vessels glide along 700-year-old canals in the shade of historic mansions. Lots of people come to visit, but not many get to stay. You could, however, by taking advantage of one of the many opportunities that exist for funding a life overseas. In fact, there are more of these opportunities than ever these days, opportunities that often don’t reveal themselves until you are on the ground.
The euro may implode at any moment. The euro zone is deep in recession. The slow-motion debt crisis there trundles on. We still don’t know what will trigger a full-scale meltdown. All we know is that there’s now a good chance it will happen.
Greetings from the Greek island of Santorini. I’m coming to the tail end of a two-week trip to Greece. I’ve been reminded how truly stunning her islands are. I’ve also got under the hood of what’s happening on the ground with their politics, economics and real estate market.
Greece faces a great crisis today and its real estate is about to get dirt cheap. The country is in a classic “blood in the streets” situation…one that looks so hopeless that the public believes only a fool would want to buy real estate in the shadow of Athen’s Acropolis or on one of the country’s stunning Aegean islands. The story to this crisis goes back a few years.
There will be many more potential tipping points as Greece’s economy and politics continue to unravel. I won’t be watching the news feed. I’ll be on a flight to Greece for two weeks of serious boots-on-the-ground research. That’s more important than the Angela/Antonis body language.
Right now, doom and gloom in Europe runs deep. But there is a story not being told…one of opportunity borne of this crisis. A story of places where you could own your own piece of the Old World…for less than half the price of a budget family sedan. In Greece and beyond—prices are falling like a rock. And for anybody who ever mused about a European retreat, that’s the silver lining.
I wrote to you in June on the eve of Greece’s second election in six weeks. Greeks faced a choice between the bad and the ugly. Continue with the agreed bailout plan—more austerity, more unemployment, more emigration, more downward pressure on already-dropping real estate prices.
The Spanish Soccer team aside, the doom and gloom in Europe runs deep. But there is a story not being told…one of opportunity borne of this crisis. A story of places where you could own your own piece of the Old World…for less than half the price of a budget family sedan.
Greece faces a great crisis today and its real estate is about to get dirt cheap. The country is in a classic “blood in the streets” situation…one that looks so hopeless that the public believes only a fool would want to buy real estate in the shadow of Athen’s Acropolis or on one of the country’s stunning Aegean islands.
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme do well in Crete´s sweltering climate, but if ‘70s songsters Simon & Garfunkel came to chill on Greece´s largest island, they´d probably have an urge to add lavender to their list. “The local people are fascinated—they see us as Martians.”
Imagine perfect, white-washed homes…and churches with rounded roofs…that cling to the sheer edge of an ancient volcanic crater. The sun sets like a fiery cannon ball at Oia. Yes, the black beaches are interesting, but here it’s all about the dramatic views from the crater edge. This is the Greek island of Santorini. My favorite. And like the rest of the Greek islands, real estate here is about to get dirt cheap—because of the great crisis the country faces today.
In this edition of Property Picks, we take a look at some of the world’s most picturesque island real estate.
Greetings from Quito, Ecuador. In a few moments, I leave for the north coast. This is Ecuador’s nicest stretch of coast. We have the opportunity to buy lots here with monthly payments of $500 or less. Because of the new highway we’ll reach the coast by 9.30 a.m. or so. In time for morning ceviche on the beach.
I’m looking forward to seeing the improvements in the coastal highway that runs south to Canoa since I last visited. I’ll send you my full report soon on the infrastructure developments and improvements at the Jama Campay project.
In fact, while the year is winding down…my travel schedule and deal pipeline is filling up. These are exciting times.
The only sounds are waves lapping against the hull and the occasional ﬂ ap of a sail as it captures the gentle breeze. Gliding through the turquoise waters of the Aegean aboard our yacht Destiny, we’re leaving the Greek island of Milos and heading west into the southern Ionian Sea. Our next destination is Elafonisos, one of the largest inhabited islands in the Peloponnese, known for its sandy beaches.
The 2008 collapse of Lehman Bros ignited a financial meltdown that resulted in widespread bank failures and caused the Dow to lose 18% of its value in just one week.
Most see bailouts as the “answer” to Greek crisis. Bailout economics will help in the short term. But real decisions are needed for any lasting solution.
Europe and the IMFs $61 billion bailout package for Greece has sent the euro to a one-month high against the dollar. Strength in the euro won’t last – Greece is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Europe’s debt problems.
In the buildup to the 2012 Olympics, London is turning into the world’s most tourist-friendly city. Long gone are the gray days of an unhealthy city with bad food, high prices, and serious-looking people.
Seasonal cheer is in full swing in the Kamares club-house. Glitter, mince pies, sherry–it’s the annual Christmas Bazaar, and stalls are loaded with arts and crafts.
Discover your dream beach hideaway with International Living…
Some IL colleagues say Europe is too expensive. That Americans aren’t interested. That our readers’ insatiable desire is for cheap beachfront.
Protect the “Land of Fire and Ice” Glaciers, hot springs, volcanoes, midnight sun…hiking, whale-watching, skiing, kayaking…it’s no surprise that Iceland has become one of Europe’s most popular vacation destinations. Sadly, this increase in mass tourism is taking its toll on the country’s fragile ecological environment. British company BTCV offers packages to volunteers interested in conservation […]
The world’s longest man-made structure—stretching more than 4,000 miles—China’s Great Wall also ranks among the World’s 100 Most Endangered Sites. Beyond its restored areas—those that are most-visited by tourists—hundreds of miles lie in disrepair. Volunteer vacationers are sought to help clean and rebuild sections of the wall where restoration projects are already underway.
From the far side of the narrow main road, my back pressed up against the building opposite to get as much perspective as I could, I looked at the “house” expecting to see a donkey’s tail swishing through the gaping hole of the doorway. Except most donkeys would be more particular. For one thing, they would probably prefer a roof…especially as this was a mountain village likely to be dusted with snow come Christmas.
Wooded valleys plunge to the infinite sapphire of the sea. Byzantine monasteries lie hidden in the folds of the hills. Winding through the olive groves, pathways lead to stone-built villages contentedly trapped in another time.