The real estate market in Greece Frequently Asked Questions
How to buy a house in Greece?
Buying a house or an apartment in Greece is not an impossible mission. Still, it requires a good understanding of all the steps and implications related to the acquisition of a property.
Searching for a property
This is the exploration phase. Where do you wish to buy your home in Greece? By the sea? In continental Greece? In the Greek islands? You can get a first idea of the real estate offer by consulting specialized sites on the Internet. However, it is highly recommended to use a reputable real estate agency in Greece that has a good knowledge of the area. Its services will be handy in all your future steps.
The real estate agencies in Greece work according to a research mandate. This document must be drawn up, under penalty of nullity. Take the time to read it thoroughly and understand all the details, including the commission’s amount to be paid by the buyer.
Buying a property
Have you found the house of your dreams? Congratulations! The next step is, as elsewhere, the signing of a sale compromise. At this stage, you will need a lawyer who will verify the accuracy of the title deeds, the yardage of the land, or the building permits’ conformity.
The assistance of a lawyer is not mandatory. Still, it is strongly recommended, if only to be advised throughout the process, and be sure that the deed of purchase will be registered quickly with the Registry of Mortgage Conservation and Cadastre.
The sale compromise is followed by the payment of a symbolic deposit and the setting of a deadline for the final contract’s signature. The signature takes place before a notary whose choice is left to the buyer. The law obliges people who do not speak Greek to use an interpreter when signing the sale contract.
Owning real estate in Greece
Once the transfer of ownership has been completed, a declaration of acquisition of real estate (E9 declaration) must be filed within one month of signing the final deed.
The purchase of a house or apartment in Greece also has tax consequences for the buyer, who becomes liable for the Real Estate Tax (ENFIA). Many buyers choose to use an accountant to obtain a non-resident tax registration number (AFM) and fulfill their reporting obligations.
How much are properties in Greece?
The economic crisis of 2007 has had consequences on the price of real estate in Greece. Over ten years later, the cost of houses and apartments in Greece has not returned to its pre-crisis level, except for tourist islands such as Crete, Santorini or Mykonos, or the city of Athens, whose real estate market is boosted by rental investments.
In 2020, the average price per square meter in Greece varies between €65 for building land and €2,265 for houses with five rooms or more. The average price per m² shows a decrease of 11.1% over one year. Only the building plots are doing well. Of course, there are disparities between regions and, in Athens, between different city areas. These variations are also reflected in the price of rental properties in Greece.
Where to buy properties in Greece?
Buying a house in Greece is the dream of many people. Your project, tastes, needs, and budget will determine the type of property you will acquire and its location. Here, in our experience, are the best places to buy a home in Greece.
The best places to buy a home in Greece :
- The Cyclades
- The Peloponnese
Real estate in the Cyclades
The Cyclades are an archipelago located in the southern Aegean Sea. These Greek islands offer a great variety of landscapes, in addition to beautiful beaches. Real estate in the Cyclades is very varied. You can buy a house in Paros in the middle of nature or buy a house by the sea in Tinos. The most touristic islands are, unsurprisingly, more expensive than the less frequented ones, but good deals do exist!
Real estate in the Peloponnese
Only two hours by car from Athens, the city of Nafplio is a treasure between the city and nature. Real estate in the Peloponnese is cheaper than on the Greek islands, for equally beautiful scenery and crystal clear waters. The Peloponnese is an authentic region home to many archaeological sites such as Mycenae, Epidaurus, Mystra, Methoni, or Olympia.
Real estate in Athens
Buying a house or an apartment in Athens gives you a foot on land from which it is effortless to explore the country: the port of Piraeus is only about fifteen minutes by car and allows you to discover the islands of the Saronic Gulf. The port of Rafina is less than an hour away and takes you to the Cyclades. Between past and modernity, Athens is a laid back yet dynamic city.
Where are the cheapest properties in Greece?
Buying a home in Greece doesn’t have to be an over-expensive investment. With the Greek government keen on fostering the real estate sector’s dynamism through incentives, there are plenty of opportunities to buy a house - be it a permanent place or a holiday home - at very affordable prices. Let’s explore the cheapest properties to buy in Greece.
The Attica region
Often overlooked by foreign buyers, the Attica region offers some of the best opportunities to buy a cheap house in Greece by the sea. Some fishing villages have homes for sale for as little as €650 per m². This is a bargain for a sea view house, especially considering that the region is easily accessible via Athens Eleftherios Venizelos international airport.
The city of Patras dominates the north of the Peloponnese peninsula. The entry door to the Ionian islands and Delphi and Olympia’s mythological sites, Patras and its surroundings abound in cheap houses for sale, costing as low as €900 per m². Further down in the peninsula, the city of Kalamata boasts authentic Greek homes for sale with a price per m² as low as €750. The Peloponnese is a natural haven with sandy beaches, forests, and mountains.
Contrary to popular belief, there are cheap houses for sale in the Cyclades - just not in the most sought-after islands. The island of Tinos is a great example. Located only 20mn away from busy Mykonos, Tinos opened to tourism much later than other Cyclades islands. This accounts for its authenticity, unspoiled beaches, traditional white-washed square houses, and its laid-back atmosphere. Depending on the location, homes in Tinos can cost as little as €850 per m² - a real bargain for a property in the Cyclades.
How much are property taxes in Greece?
As anywhere else, buying a house or an apartment in Greece is not free of charge. Here is the list of the various expenses to be paid by the buyer:
- Agency fees: if you wish to benefit from a real estate agent’s services in Greece, you will have to pay a commission of 2% plus vat of the house’s selling price.
- Lawyer's fees: Even if a lawyer’s advice is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended to be accompanied by an expert. Lawyer's fees are a percentage of 0.5 to 2% of the value of the property.
- Notary fees: the signing of the deed of sale before a notary is obligatory. The costs are between 0.65 and 1.2% of the value of the property.
- Transfer property tax (FMA): this tax corresponds to 3% of the property’s value, as indicated in the deed of sale.
How do I get a Greek tax number (AFM)?
Obtaining a Greek tax identification number is mandatory to complete any real estate transaction in Greece. Known locally by the acronym "AFM" (pronounced "Afeemee"), this tax identification number allows you to submit your declaration of acquisition of a property and to fulfill your tax obligations in the country.
Here's how to obtain a Greek tax identification number (AFM):
- Go to the tax office of your choice. You will find a list of all tax offices in Greece. Please note that opening hours are generally from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm, Monday to Friday.
- Bring with you a copy of your identity document and the deed of sale. If you cannot go there in person, you can appoint the person of your choice (your accountant, for example).
- The tax officer will ask you to fill out a form, and will then verify your documents. Depending on the tax office, your AFM will be given to you directly, or it will be mailed to you within one month.
- Once you have obtained your AFM, you will need to apply for a key number on TAXISnet, Greece’s tax service platform. This number is essential to enable you to pay your property tax.
All of these steps can take time and can be quite complicated if you don't speak Greek. It is better to have an accountant assist you.
Can a foreigner buy a house in Greece?
It is possible to buy a house or apartment in Greece without being a European resident. You simply need to consider certain restrictions that apply to non-European citizens wishing to purchase a property in specific border areas of the Aegean Sea, the Dodecanese, Thrace, and some other regions in northern Greece.
These restrictions can be lifted by submitting a request to the competent committee of the region’s decentralized administration, which will then be validated by the Ministry of National Defense.
Non-European citizens can take advantage of the "Golden Visa" program. This program is aimed explicitly at non-European citizens. It allows them to obtain a permanent residence permit for five years, renewable, for any real estate purchase worth €250,000 or more. This permanent residence in Greece entitles them to free movement throughout the Schengen area, just like any other European citizen.
The "Golden Visa" program in Greece also applies to real estate purchase in shared residence if the individual investment amounts to at least €250,000. The steps to follow to buy a house or apartment in Greece are then the same as for any European Union citizen.
Which Greek island has the cheapest property?
Real estate in Greece attracts many investors for two reasons. The first is related to the attractiveness of the country on the tourist scene. In 2019, the country attracted more than 34 million visitors for an estimated turnover of more than 18 billion euros.
The second reason relates to the investment opportunities in post-crisis Greece: the stimulus measures in the real estate sector and the consequent drop in property prices make investments particularly attractive. It is these two elements that explain the soaring demand for holiday homes in Greece. However, in terms of real estate investment, all islands are not equal.
In which Greek island should you invest?
If you wish to invest on a Greek island, you can choose :
- The Cyclades: Amorgos, Andros, Folegandros, Ios, Kea, Milos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Serifos, Sifnos, Syros, Tinos.
- The island of Crete.
- The Ionian Islands: Kefalonia, Corfu, Kythera, Ithaca, Lefkada, Paxoi, Zakynthos.
- The Saronic Islands: Agistri, Aegina, Hydra, Poros, Spetses.
Investing in the Cyclades
Making a real estate investment in the Cyclades can be very profitable, depending on the island you choose. Mykonos and Santorini are the two most famous islands of the archipelago, and the price and type of properties for sale reflect this: you will find houses, apartments, and villas for sale of high standing - with a swimming pool, of course.
However, it would be a pity to neglect the less popular islands that are just as authentic, if not more so. The price of real estate in Paros, Sifnos, or Tinos is much more affordable.
Investing in the Ionian Islands
Less known to tourists - and therefore less expensive -, the Ionian Islands are real little gems. The mythical island of Ithaca is a paradise for people in search of authenticity and unspoiled nature. Kefalonia and its magnificent white sandy beaches are other well-kept secrets. The Ionian Islands’ houses for sale range from homes by the sea to apartments with sea view.
Investing in the Saronic Islands
Close to Athens, the Saronic Islands are easily accessible from Piraeus. This makes it a destination of choice for Athenians who spend their vacations and their weekends there. The Saronic Islands are a green setting surrounded by crystalline waters. The houses and apartments for sale remain very affordable, except perhaps on Hydra, the most touristic.