TEMPTED BY THE SIRENS' CALL; Luxury Villas Overlooking the Aegean in Greece Have Become a Favourite with British Buyers, Reports Cathy Hawker

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Byline: Cathy Hawker

WHILE wealthy Greeks have been on a London spending spree, buying up (according to estate agents Knight Frank) six per cent of all homes priced above [pounds sterling]2 million in central London in last year, Greek property developers have been wooing buyers from the UK.

Greeks in London are no doubt searching for a safe haven for their money during their own country's tempestuous economic times, but Britons heading in the other direction are keen to snap up high-end holiday homes that the Greeks can't afford.

Greece has always been a favourite with the British, but is this the right time to invest in property there? Robert Key, of Cluttons Greece, a specialist in the country, says: "Property should be a long-term investment, and it is the long-term performance of the Greek economy that is important to consider. The government, though not exactly in a good place, has been working hard at its austerity measures and has received good reports from the EU and the IMF. The general consensus is that the property sector will be in much better shape in two years."

CRETAN BEAUTY Elounda on Crete's north-eastern coast has been attracting wealthy visitors since the 1970s largely thanks to the Kokotos family. They opened their first hotel overlooking the Bay of Mirabello 40 years ago and today own three fivestar resorts including Elounda Mare and Porto Elounda.

"Crete is an established second home market with 10,000 British homeowners," says Fotis Kokotos. "It is Europe's most southerly island with an ancient culture and healthy lifestyle."

The family's Diamond Residences are 15 three to six-bedroom newly built leasehold villas beside the Elounda Peninsula Hotel with private pools and gardens and direct views over the Aegean Sea. The villas have access to a beach and a private clubhouse with boat moorings. Prices start from [pounds sterling]774,765 for 969sq ft.

Further up the sloping hills, Emerald Villas, six off-plan stone villas that will overlook the bay, are priced from [pounds sterling]860,750 for 2583sq ft. These freehold villas have large gardens and pools. Owners can use all facilities including a spa, gym and a nine-hole golf course. …


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