Home hunt in Greece: seaside splendor on Tinos island for $ 1.8 million

This five bedroom goods sits on a hill in Ktikados, a village near the southern coast of the Greek island of Tinos in the Aegean Sea. Built in 2006 in local stone, the property has a main house with two bedrooms, plus two small guest houses separated by a garden of olive and fruit trees, on just under half a hectare.

Tinos, at around 75 square miles, is larger but much quieter than the nearby town of Mykonos, the popular tourist destination known for its party atmosphere, said George Kasimis, Aegean Sales Manager at Greece Sotheby’s International Realty, which owns the list.

“Tinos is one of my favorite islands,” he said. “The entire island has a sophistication that has grown over the years around culture and religion.”

Most of the houses on the island are owned by Greeks, and the architecture tends to reflect its long tradition of stone craftsmanship, he said.

The main entrance to this house opens into a spacious foyer with double height ceilings. An arch to the right frames the dining room, which has a seating area at one end. The living room is a few steps down to the left. The walls, all in exposed stone, are bordered by arched windows. The floors are ceramic tiles.

A large contemporary kitchen with stylish gray cabinetry sits off the dining area. An adjoining prep kitchen has a pantry and a staff bedroom above.

A wide wooden staircase in the hall leads to an open mezzanine, currently used as an office. The two upper level bedrooms each have a private bathroom, a large private balcony and a sea view to the south.

A small hallway off the kitchen leads to a stone cave covering part of the outdoor swimming pool. An opening in the cave provides access to the rest of the pool, which is surrounded by stone arches that provide protection from the sun. The pool area has a shower, a built-in barbecue and a traditional stone oven.

Behind the main house is a small two-story building with a living room, kitchenette, bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor, and a second bedroom and bathroom above. The garden is behind this house, and at the far end is a barbecue / dining area and the second guest house, this one with a single bedroom and a bathroom.

The property has a garage for one car and three outdoor parking spaces.

The village of Ktikados has two authentic Greek taverns and a few small markets, Kasimis said. Other necessities can be found in the town of Tinos, about a 15 minute drive away. Mykonos Airport, the nearest international airport, can be reached via a ferry ride from Tinos which takes 20 to 30 minutes.

The island of Tinos, with less than 10,000 inhabitants, is a place of pilgrimage for religious faithful visiting the Holy Church of Panagia Evangelistria, a 19th century Greek Orthodox church built in honor of the Virgin Mary. It was one of the first large structures built by the government after Greece declared independence from the Ottoman Empire.

“People crawl from the port to the church, if they are very religious, and there they light a candle as tall as their waist,” Kasimis said. “This is a very important site for Tinos.”

After 10 years of deep recession and staggering debt, Greece is now recovering rapidly, with the economy and housing market showing signs of rebounding.

“All macroeconomic figures are improving more and more,” said Antonis Markopoulos, co-founder and managing director of Prosperty, a real estate start-up that uses a digital platform designed to make transactions faster and more transparent. “And after not spending during the pandemic lockdown, people are looking to invest their money in a safe investment like real estate.”

Mr Kasimis said 2021 was the best year so far for Greece Sotheby’s, which has been operating since 2016. “We had four or five times more sales in 2020 than in 2019, and this year is even better,” said he declared. “People buy like there is no tomorrow.”

The pandemic lockdown created positive momentum in the market as people began to view real estate as a safer investment than currencies or commodities, agents said. Mr Markopoulos said apartments in central Athens, Greece’s capital and financial center, are particularly in demand by local buyers, as well as international investors.

“There is a massive demand for short-term rentals, so the return that investors can get is extremely high,” he said.

Depending on the neighborhood, apartment prices in the city center range from 1,500 to 3,500 euros per square meter ($ 158 to 368 per square foot), he said.

The southern suburbs of the capital are also attracting considerable interest from international buyers, in part due to a massive resort development planned for the site of the former Ellinikon International Airport, he said.

Strengthening demand for housing is reflected in higher prices. In the third quarter of this year, apartment prices across the country rose 7.9 percent from a year ago, according to data the Bank of Greece. In Athens, prices increased by 9.8%.

Wealthy Greeks who have recently prospered from the shipping industry are helping to displace the high end of the market, said Yannis Ploumis, managing director of Ploumis Sotiropoulos Real Estate, a subsidiary of Christie’s International. Sales have been strong on the islands of Mykonos and Porto Heli, where his agency sold a $ 27 million estate last month, among the highest prices on record there.

In Tinos, which also has a large Catholic community, “the strong religious aspect prevented the island from becoming a party island,” Kasimis said. While the sellers are predominantly Greek, the buyers these days are largely foreign and the island is emerging as “a quiet suburb of Mykonos,” he said.

The US Department of State has issued a travel recommendations warning against travel to Greece due to recent surge in Covid levels. Travelers to Greece must present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test on arrival. Proof of vaccination is also required to enter most businesses and utilities.

Greece has long been popular with foreign buyers, most of whom are from the European Union, agents said.

But Mr Ploumis said his agency is also working with buyers from the Middle East, Turkey, Britain and the United States.

There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in Greece except for certain border areas where government approval is required, Ploumis said.

Residence permits are available to buyers outside the European Union through the government Golden Visa program, which requires an investment of at least 250,000 euros ($ 283,000) in a property. The permit can be renewed every five years as long as the buyers own the property. Permits are also available for foreigners who make a financial investment of at least 400,000 euros ($ 452,000) in Greece.

So far this year, the government has issued more than 9,300 residence permits, up from 8,575 last year, most of them for Chinese, Turkish and Russian investors, according to Enterprise Greece, the official trade promotion agency of the country.

Buyers should always hire a lawyer to perform proper due diligence, Ploumis said.

Greek; euro (1 euro = $ 1.13)

Buyers pay a transfer tax of 3 percent of the purchase price. Legal fees are around 1% and notary fees around 0.25%, Mr. Ploumis said.

The agent’s commission is split between buyer and seller, with each typically paying 2% of the sale price, he said.

Annual property taxes on this home are less than $ 1,000, Kasimis said.

George Kasimis, Greece Sotheby’s International Realty, 011-30-6973-555-350; sothebysrealty.gr

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