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Profitable house investments March 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.

Traditional homes in villages off the beaten path are cheap with a significant upside potential when restored

Buying and restoring an old house in a village costs much less than buying a new holiday home. However, village houses often lack property titles.


Buying an old house in a village, especially if the village is located near a tourist attraction or resort, can be a good investment. These houses often come cheap and, if restored in their traditional form, can have, on the upside, significant appreciation. Such houses are being bought in large numbers in recent years, mainly by foreigners but also by Greeks.

In many tourist areas, construction companies focus on the most popular spots, thus creating a supply shortage in nearby, quieter areas, for which there is especially high demand, usually from foreigners. With the cost of a newly built holiday home rising rapidly, many are opting for older houses, even high up in the mountains. The cost of buying and refurbishing such houses remains significantly lower than buying a new one.

Lately, a lot of money has been invested in large holiday house complexes in places such as Crete, Rhodes and the Messinia prefecture in the southwestern Peloponnese. These projects, however, are still far from complete, leading many buyers, and still others who prefer quieter places, to look into houses in Greek villages. Some among the prospective foreign buyers own property in Spain, in resort areas that have now become heavily built up.

“There are many groups of people, especially Germans, who are looking to buy and restore groups of houses, around 20-30, in abandoned villages,” says a real estate professional. “This has already been done in Tinos. But there are several opportunities in places such as Mystras, an abandoned medieval settlement near Sparta, and elsewhere in the prefecture of Laconia,” he adds.

Foreign buyers also prefer to be the ones that choose the building materials and the internal decoration of their houses, much more than Greeks. This is another factor, besides price, that leads them to buy an old house and restore it.

There are several areas where interest in traditional houses has significantly increased: In the Peloponnese, two villages in the mountains of Arcadia, Langadia and Stemnitsa, have attracted a lot of interest due to their beautiful surroundings. North of Athens, there are several mountain villages in the prefectures of Fthiotida and Fokida that have maintained their traditional character. Further west, in the mountains above Nafpaktos, near the Evinos River dam, there are several opportunities. In all these areas, the cost of buying an average house ranges from 20,000 to 30,000 euro. Restoring a 100-square-meter house is estimated at 50,000 euro. Of course, real estate professionals warn, the market in almost all these areas, with the exception of already developed places, such as Arachova, is undeveloped and prices not quite set.

There are also significant buying opportunities in the area of Evrytania, in central Greece, which mostly attracts Greeks. Most of the old houses have an area of about 70 square meters divided into two levels. There prices can be somewhat higher, at 40,000 to 50,000 euro.

The mountain of Pelion, in Thessaly, attracts many foreigners, mostly British, French and Dutch who have taken holidays in the area and been attracted by its lush greenery, proximity to the sea and the old stone houses. Many of the bigger stone houses have already been renovated and are being offered on the market at prices close to those of new buildings.

Those houses still needing renovation can be found at prices ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 euro per square meter, in villages such as Makrynitsa, Tsangarada and Portaria in northern and central Pelion. In more southern villages, such as Metochi, Kastri and Trikeri, houses can be found at 500 euro per sq.m. and will rarely exceed 1,200 euro.

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