From Aberdeen Chill. to Crete Dreams; Place in the Sun Ian Is Already Raking in Profit from His Greek Island Home

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Byline: LAURA DAVIDSON

Ian Lockhart found himself priced out of the property market in his native Aberdeen, so he decided to invest his cash abroad.

Instead of a flat in the Granite City, he's snapped up a holiday home on sun-drenched Crete.

Now he's using it as a springboard to buy more property in Greece and work his way up the property ladder there. It's a move that happened almost by accident - Ian sold his flat in Aberdeen in March 2006 and planned to buy a bigger flat in the city.

But after being outbid several times he felt he had no choice but to look further afield.

Ian, 45, a driver with Aberdeen City Council, said: "I had the money I'd made from the flat and I didn't want the cash lying idle.

"As a seller, the overheated property market had been good to me but when it came to buying I was in an entirely different situation.

"On one property I put in a bid 56 per cent over the asking price and was amazed when I was told it was still not good enough - in fact my bid was the 11th lowest of 22!

"It was then that I realised it was just impossible to find something which represented good value for money in Aberdeen."

Ian moved in with his parents Ann and John in Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, and in spring 2006 he went to an exhibition by Leptos Estates.

He was wowed by the Aphrodite development in the Pyrgos area of Chania, Crete's second-largest city.

He put down a deposit on an apartment that day. Ian said: "Some folk might think I was a bit hasty - I hadn't even seen the site and I'd never been to Crete but I knew a bargain when I saw one."

Ian opted for a 170,00-euro (pounds 115,000) two-bedroom apartment. It's set in lush, landscaped gardens with a large communal pool and there's a clubhouse, spa, tennis courts, restaurant, gym, health club and games room.

Ian's island home is almost complete and he is due to pick up the keys next month.

Around 70 per cent of the price was funded by the profit from Ian's Aberdeen flat. He has a mortgage for the remaining 30 per cent.

Ian said: "One of the biggest attractions of Crete for me is the watersports. I love wind-surfing, swimming and snorkelling and I am thinking of taking up scuba diving. …