Authors Posts by Les Calvert

Les Calvert

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Les Calvert is the owner and CEO of many internet property and travel related websites including this overseaspropertymall.comand he regularly writes news and articles for his websites, trade magazines and newspapers.

Global house prices continued to rise rapidly in 2006, but at a slower pace than in 2005. Northern Europe leads the house price boom.

Leading the charge was Estonia with an impressive 54% house price increase in 2006. This followed average dwelling price rises of 57% in 2005, and 25% in 2004 (see table).

Estonia was followed by Denmark which experienced 23% house price rises in 2006, then by Norway (14%) and Ireland (13%). Other countries in northern Europe also had impressive house price increases, including Sweden, UK, and Finland.

Early indicators suggest that Latvia’s strong house price growth will continue in 2006, following 27% house price rises in 2005. This will be verified as soon as official statistics come in.

Outside Europe, South Africa, 2004’s star performer, continues to experience strong house price growth, with 2006 house price rises of 12.7%. However, this is a far cry from the 33% increases recorded in 2004, and the 17% rises of 2005.

Countries attracting immigrants are also experiencing strong property price increases, particularly Canada (11%), New Zealand (10%) and, to a certain extent, the US (8%) and Australia (6.5%).

Central Europe lags behind

Southern Europe, the favorite destination of second home buyers and holidaymakers, is also experiencing strong house price increases.

France experienced a 12.5% house price increase from 3Q 2005 to 3Q 2006, while Spain registered a 10% rise in 2006 and Italy 6.6%. However property prices in Portugal dipped marginally (-0.4%), following a lacklustre recent past.

Austria’s housing renaissance continued, with 6.8% price increases in Vienna, after 8% price rises during 2005.

Most countries in Central Europe, however, remained unexciting. 2006 saw very small price increases in Switzerland (2.9%), Luxembourg (2.9%), Germany (2.8%) and Poland (2.2%).

Philippines leads Asia

The Philippine real estate market registered the highest price growth in Asia during 2006 at 11.6% (Philippine property prices had dropped most after the 1997 Asian Crisis).

Indonesia’s house prices rose 8.76%, from 3Q 2005 to 3Q 2006. However Indonesian inflation was high in 2006 at 13%, so in real terms Indonesian house prices actually fell.

Singapore’s residential property price index rose 7.6% y-o-y to 3Q 2006, the city state’s highest price increase since 2000.

Malaysia and Taiwan are still muddling through, and saw only marginal price increases of 1.4% and 1.1%, respectively.

The previous strong house price growth in Thailand during 2004 and 2005 came to an end, as the political crisis spilled over to the economy, and 2006 saw house price falls of almost 1%.

Japan has not seen the end of more than a decade of property price falls. Commercial property values are rising in Tokyo and some major cities, but in the rest of the country property prices are still static.

The global property boom is slowing

Many more countries experienced nominal house price increases in 2006, than price falls. Yet the pace of housing price increases in 2006 was generally down on 2005.

Several countries experienced quite significant slowdowns in their housing markets, without seeing actual price falls. Countries in this category, where the price rise rate dropped by more than five percentage points, include Poland (6.6 percentage point reduction on previous rate of house price rise), US (5.6% reduction on previous rate of house price increase) and New Zealand (5.02% reduction on 2005’s price-rise rate).

However, US house prices showed no actual decline in 2006, either during the year, or from one quarter to the next, according to the OFHEO house price index, despite some press reports to the contrary.

It is tempting to attribute the slowdown in many countries to interest rate rises, especially in Europe and the US.

However, other forces came into play in some countries. Israel (typically not included in most ‘global’ house price reports) experienced price declines in 2006 (-4%), after a recovery in 2005. The price fall can be attributed to the war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, and other political troubles.

The dramatic upsurge of Hong Kong property prices in 2003 and 2004, and sudden cooling down in 2005 and 2006, also deserve a better explanation than the usual speculative bubble theory.
Description
The Global Property Guide is a research publication and web site (http://www.globalpropertyguide.com) for the high net worth investor in residential property.

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Speak to property investors these days, and they will talk of Eastern Europe’s emerging markets, or how promising Morocco and Dubai are looking. But for all that, France remains a strong favourite, and with good reason.

Average property prices rose by 10.3 per cent in France in the 12 months to June, and with 60 million visitors expected this year, its second-home and investment markets are unlikely to disappear any time soon.

“Hard-nosed investors might want the higher returns of Bulgaria, but they wouldn’t retire there,” says Stuart Law of Assetz, a property investment consultancy. “Capital growth is slower in France, but the rental market is strong and reliable, underpinned by the tourism industry. And property prices, though rising, remain considerably lower than in the UK,” he says.

In order to try to boost the quantity of accommodation in tourist hotspots and increase revenues, the French government introduced the Residence de Tourisme classification, which is basically a leaseback scheme.

If a new development in France has negotiated Residence de Tourisme status, a buyer can purchase the freehold of the property without paying VAT, and then lease it back to the developer for an agreed period with an annual rent guarantee, typically 3 to 7 per cent. At the end of the lease, the property is returned to the owner.

For the rentals company to guarantee the rent for nine years, the property must be in a high-demand location with good facilities, which would normally hold it in good stead for sizeable capital appreciation. The management company is responsible for upkeep, and pays all utility bills. The local taxe fonciare is the responsibility of the owner. For a two-bed apartment in southern France, this is about €300 (£200) a year, although no taxe fonciare is due on new properties for the first two years.

The freeholder can sell the property at any time. However, the longer the remaining period of the lease, the lower the sale price, and the seller would have to refund the government a proportion of the VAT discount.

But wouldn’t you earn more if you bought a property and rented it out in the usual way? Generally, yes, but there are three points to consider.

First, your annual rental income would not be guaranteed. Second, if you use a lettings agent to manage your holiday home, you must pay them up to 25 per cent of all rentals. Third, you have to sort out advertising, maintenance, change-over costs and emergency arrangements.

Buying an older property in France usually attracts transaction fees of about 10 per cent. Leaseback transaction fees are only 4-5 per cent. Leaseback properties can be put into self-invested personal pension plans, or Sipps. To conform with regulations and attract maximum tax advantages, pension holders would have to cash in unit trusts and transfer the funds to a Sipp, then invest the pension proceeds tax-free in leaseback property.

But there are drawbacks to leaseback properties. As Penny Zoldan, of Latitudes.co.uk, a French-property website, says, “Some allow no subletting, and few people seem to sell during their lease period – they wait until it expires and either negotiate a renewed lease or sell”.

It’s also a specialist market: “Leaseback properties on leaseback developments may develop a separate market,” she says. So leaseback property won’t always appreciate at the same rate as “mainstream” homes in the surrounding area.

However, at least this French scheme does offer one of the few long-term guaranteed rental returns for investors – whatever happens in the market.

Source: The Independent Property

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Eyeing substantial increases in property sales to overseas investors, Turkey has said it is to model new regulations along the lines of those in place in Spain, promoting construction new holiday home complexes to be sold off plan. The announcement came from Turkish Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan and Tourism Minister Atilla Koc on their return from a fact finding mission to Spain.

In the past the Turkish property market has been off limits to most foreigners. However, new regulations saw increasing sales to overseas investors in the years immediately before a constitutional challenge to those regulations last year. For example, just short of 2,900 properties were bought by foreign nationals in 2002, 4,000 in 2003, 9,000 in 2004, and 6,000 in 2005 up to the point at which sales were halted.

With a newly revised law, once again allowing properties to be purchased by overseas investors from countries offering Turkish nationals reciprocal rights, some 4,600 properties were snapped up by foreigners in the first six months of 2006.

Now that EU membership is a firm hope, Turkey is expecting the number of overseas property buyers to increase and is now planning for a building boom of Spanish proportions in Spain around 1m residential units mostly for summer use have been sold to overseas investors at an average price of around £123,000, Unakitan pointed out.

In comparison sales of Turkish property to overseas investors have so far been tiny only some 57,000 units in 83 years.

Currently 62,500 foreigners from 70 different nations own properties in Turkey. Originally most foreign buyers were Syrian, and Syrians still hold by far the largest area of land. However, more recently Brits and other Europeans have been buying the largest numbers of units.

According to Unakitan, there have been 14,500 UK buyers 14,400 German, 14,000 Greek, 3,100 Dutch and 2,500 Syrian since 1934.

He has asked Turkish officials to draw up plans for copying the Spanish model in which most developments are constructed as managed complexes, are sold off plan and are often marketing overseas scale models and artists impressions.

Source: Fly2let

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France and Spain remain the most popular choice for overseas property buyers, according to a new survey.

This is because the majority of British overseas property buyers are ‘traditionalists’ who see their overseas purchase either as a holiday home or somewhere to retire to.

But a growing number of more adventurous Brits and hot spot investors are driving up the popularity of more far-flung destinations like Canada, Bulgaria and New Zealand.

Foreign currency specialist HIFX reports that France and Spain made up almost half (43 per cent) of all its currency transactions for buying property abroad in March.

Australia was in third place with 11 per cent of transactions, followed by Bulgaria (ten per cent), USA (four per cent), Canada (two per cent) and South Africa (one per cent).

The majority of Brits are looking for an overseas property that can be used for regular holidays, is easily rentable, with cheap flights, and offers a quick escape to the sun.

Those considering retiring abroad are also looking for a well established expat community to help them feel at home.

But HIFX has identified a more adventurous group of Brits the adventurers who are buying overseas property in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

This group does not mind travelling long distances in search of a more exotic location than the traditionalists, and often consider emigrating to their holiday home at some point.

For this reason they do not want the hassle of a language barrier and are seeking somewhere that is culturally similar to that of the UK.

A further group of Brits hot spot investors  are buying overseas property primarily for financial gain.

They are looking to places like Bulgaria and Dubai, which could offer excellent investment returns because they are up-and-coming holiday destinations and have rising house prices.

HIFX marketing director Mark Bodega said: “People buy abroad for many different reasons but they tend to fall into three main categories.

“For some it’s an emotional decision based on a lifelong dream, for others it’s an exciting step into the unknown and for some it’s simply a financial investment.”

Source: AboutProperty.co.uk

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In recent years, there has undoubtedly been a significant shift in investment attitudes within the UK, with a growing number now prepared to buy property in emerging markets.

With Bulgaria attracting a huge amount of interest from investors keen on making the most of the forthcoming accession to the European Union, it is perhaps unsurprising that it has almost stolen the thunder from some of the more traditional investment choices.

Regularly compared to Spain in the 1980s, Bulgaria certainly has huge potential for growth, helped by the fact that it now has an enviable reputation not only for the beauty of the Black Sea resorts but also for its stunning ski slopes.

Nonetheless, France should not be ignored, according to property developer Trisha Mason, not least because it is a much more stable market.

“Fashion has pointed to such countries as Bulgaria or Romania where the entry price is a lot lower but where there is no clear exit strategy,” wrote Ms Mason in an article for 999 Today.

“Whilst such emerging markets may be interesting for a good value holiday home, for the property investor they could be a cause of concern,” she suggested.

Many investors would dispute the claim, and there are certainly numerous case studies of individuals making huge gains on their investments in Bulgaria.

At the same time, however, it is undeniable that France represents the safer bet at the moment and it is certainly a choice that boasts several advantages over its European rivals.

Primarily, according to Ms Mason, France has a stable market and also has a proven track record. Property investors, while notoriously keen on speculating, also like to see evidence of former growth and France can certainly illustrate this.

Last year, the country enjoyed capital growth of around 15 per cent, while experts are predicting a further nine to 11 per cent growth this year. While some areas in Bulgaria are likely to see growth well in excess of this figure, the unpredictability of the market means that the risk factor is fairly high.

Ms Mason has also pointed to the fact that France has extremely good rental investment potential, because of its status as a leading country for tourism. When investors consider the fact that there is continuously high demand for property in France, it is difficult to argue with the fact that it remains a European hotspot.

A further advantage of France is the leaseback scheme, which has been supported by Assetz managing director Stuart Law. It was originally conceived in an attempt to boost tourism and construction in the country and it has developed into a favourite investment policy for many from the UK in particular.

As recapped by Ms Mason, the French government will refund the VAT of 19.6 per cent after the contract is signed, while investors also have the advantage of being able to rely on the rental company to look after the property in terms of cleaning and maintenance.

With freehold property available as well, France certainly offers an impressive range of options for investors and there is no doubting its status as a leading European investment choice.

At the same time, savvy property investors will be keeping a close eye on Bulgaria and other emerging markets, with most analysts expecting significant growth within the next decade.

Source: Assetz News

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Many of us love the idea of a place in the sun. And despite surveys regularly claiming that Bulgaria, Romania or Estonia are the place to be, it’s Spain where most Brits still opt for a holiday home.

Thanks to Spain’s popularity and easy access, for many there has been the added bonus of being able to rent out the property to friends or holidaymakers and make some spare cash.

But a large number of Britons who let properties have been omitting to tell the Spanish taxman and, after years of turning a blind eye, the authorities are now on the hunt for extra revenue.

A bill to catch foreigners avoiding tax went before the Spanish parliament early this month and even before new legislation comes in, the crackdown has begun.

Having latched on to the opportunity to make some cash from the half-a-million Brits with homes in Spain, the taxman has started hatching cunning plans to snare dodgers.

The authorities have begun searching rental agents’ listings, scanning small adverts and talking to local businessmen and hoteliers to find out who is renting out properties and comparing their findings to people who have registered for tax.

And thanks to the internet, the taxman’s task has become a lot easier and a lot more lucrative, with holiday rental sites providing rich pickings.

Britons who own Spanish homes but are non-resident in the country should pay two sets of annual taxes.

There is a wealth tax, based on a property’s value, and levied on a sliding scale – generally in tranches of e170 and starting at 0.2%.

In addition, there is a notional annual income tax that should be paid even if a property is not rented out, which is based on a percentage of rateable value.

Frank Porral, a Madrid tax specialist for Rastrollo Porral Abogados, says most areas have set the level of this tax at 1.1% of the rateable value, with the taxpayer charged 25% of that figure.

If a property is rented out, a further tax of 25% on actual income should be paid, which can be offset against the notional tax, with income declared within 30 days of the rental period.

While this may sound like an impenetrable maze of confusion, Mr Porral says in fact there is one simple form that covers all the taxes, but unfortunately most Britons are unaware of its existence and it only comes in Spanish.

He said: ‘The problem is the majority of people rent out properties through third parties and don’t realise that their information about rental income can end up in the hands of the tax authorities.

‘If the agent then doesn’t inform them, then they can expect a letter from the taxman telling them to pay up and imposing a penalty.’

‘The Spanish authorities should help people though and print the simple form in different languages. People could even file it on the internet, if only they could understand what they were filling in.’

As part of the tax-drive the Spanish authorities have started targeting letting agents and firms that sell apartments off-plan claiming guaranteed rental income.

British residents renting out properties in Spain should also be paying tax on income to the British taxman and with the Spanish crackdown starting, there is the possibility dodgers may be reported to HM Revenue & Customs too.

A tax treaty exists between Spain and England, which means people should not pay double tax, so the 25% income tax in Spain could be offset against a higher-rate payers tax in Britain.

Simon Rylatt, tax specialist at British firm Boodle Hatfield, said: ‘If you are subject to UK income tax and capital gains tax then any income should be declared on your UK tax return.

‘In principle, if you don’t do this then the Revenue can impose penalties, interest and back tax. It is always safer to disclose everything.’

Source: Simon Lambert, This is Money

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Bank of Ireland today announced details of a new venture with leading Spanish bank, ‘la Caixa’ to provide additional mortgage options for Irish people buying property in Spain. ‘la Caixa’ is the third largest bank in Spain with 4,800 branches and 6,800 ATMs.

The Bank’s venture with ‘la Caixa’ offers three options to people seeking to finance a property purchase in Spain.

1. Equity Release from Bank of Ireland Mortgages
With the value of property in Ireland having increased by 80% over the past 5 years, most people have accumulated significant equity in their property. Customers with an existing mortgage with us may be in a position to release equity, which can then be used to buy their dream property in Spain

We will lend up to 90% of the equity built up in a home, subject to repayment capacity, at new business rates including tracker, fixed or variable. Mortgage terms available range from 5 to 30 years.

2. A Mortgage from “la Caixa”
Alternatively, customers can borrow directly from “la Caixa”, with the mortgage secured on a Spanish property. Customers can borrow up to 75% of the value of a property up to €500,000 and 60% of the value of a property above €500,000 at a competitive interest rate, 12-month EURIBOR + 1.20%. Customers can avail of mortgage terms of up to 30 years, with the option of interest only for the first two years.

“la Caixa” will ensure that all dealings will be in English and that third parties, such as solicitors and valuers, will be recommended. An arrangement fee of 1% of the value of the mortgage is payable to “la Caixa”. Applications forms and details of a “la Caixa” mortgage are available from mortgage advisers in every Bank of Ireland branch countrywide.

3″la Caixa” Mortgage and Equity Release With Bank of Ireland Mortgages

Customers can apply for a “la Caixa” mortgage to purchase the property (subject to maximum loan to value as outlined in no. 2 above). Customers can apply to fund the remainder of the purchase price and costs associated with buying a home in Spain (such as stamp duty, VAT, tax and arrangement fee etc) via an equity release mortgage with Bank of Ireland Mortgages.

Gabriel Bannigan, Head of Strategy & Marketing, Bank of Ireland Mortgages said: “This is a positive development in European banking and is a direct response to the growing trend of Irish people buying property abroad. Without knowledge of the local market, financing the purchase of properties abroad can be difficult. This can be further compounded by language difficulties. The venture between Bank of Ireland and “la Caixa” offers Irish people both practical support and the reassurance that they are dealing with reputable institutions”.

la Caixa, General Manager for Southern Spain, Mr. Manuel Romera, added: “We are delighted to offer customers of Bank of Ireland the additional option of a la Caixamortgage to finance the purchase of a property in Spain. In addition, customers can also avail of the broad range of other financial services offered through our extensive branch network”. Bank of Ireland’s mortgage advisers are fully trained to advise people on the most appropriate option for their individual circumstances. People planning to buy a Spanish property can call into any Bank of Ireland branch to speak to a mortgage adviser and have the options explained.

Source: FineFacts

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Source: AMEInfo – The slowdown reported in apartment sales in Dubai has not been apparent for villas. Even off-plan villa sales are still going strong, and the re-sale market remains a seller’s market. This new dynamic to the market has been developing for some time. 

The mismatch between the supply of villas and the latent demand has been apparent for many years. In the early days of the first Dubai Marina apartment sales Emaar Properties noted huge demand for the very small number of villa units at the base of the development.

This is one reason why Emaar went on to build the 2,000 villa Meadows and 4,000 town-house Springs developments, and then the very successful Arabian Ranches project. The first two schemes sold out long ago, though the release of villas at The Arabian Ranches continues. Nakheel enjoyed similar success with its 6,000 Jumeirah Islands villas.

Victory Heights

Only last week-end the Victory Heights villas – a 900 villa development in seven villages as a part of the Dubai Sports City – sold 164 villas or 70% of its first phase, with town-houses priced from $350,000 up to six-bedroom villas at $2.2 million.

Now the Victory Heights is a nice project around an Ernie Els designed golf course called The Dunes, and villas near to golf courses tend to sell at a premium. Emaar has certainly used this to advantage with its projects facing on to the Emirates Golf Club and The Montgomerie, as well as the desert golf course at The Arabian Ranches.

However, investors are interested in more than an attractive location. For over the past year there has been a realization that villas may well offer the best investment returns in the long-run in Dubai.

For a start pricing per square foot is generally cheaper for villas than apartments, despite the fact that villas come with a plot of land and a garden. In most cities of the world this factor makes villas more expensive than apartments and not vice-versa.

Stable villa rental yields

The rental market for villas in Dubai is also well established and given that the supply of villas built in recent years is, if anything, behind the demand curve then the outlook for rental yields on villas should be considered more stable. In short, there is not a massive oversupply of villas about to hit the market whereas the same can not be said for apartments.

This is one explanation why the re-sale market for villas in Dubai is currently strong, with properties not remaining on the market very long, while re-sales of off-plan apartments in a number of projects is difficult.

So it looks as though two different property markets now exist in Dubai: villas and apartments; although to be fair completed apartments in The Greens, for example, are still in demand, and the off-plan apartment market is where the main problems exist.

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A combination of reduced demand, continuing high levels of building, and the aftermath of natural hazards could see property prices in Spain and Portugal fall by 10 per cent next year, Guildford based Tribune Properties has concluded.

The rate of new builds on the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca hasn’t slowed any great degree, “and before long there could be a price correction as there is going to be quite an oversupply in the market”, said the firm.

Europe’s worst drought in living memory has had an affect on the markets in Spain and Portugal, leaving many would be buyers wondering if they would be able to use their pool in years to come. Meanwhile property investment opportunities in eastern European countries have diverted interest in that direction.

“Second home buyers are seeing properties offered in Bulgaria at less than half the price they thought they would need to own a home overseas, and the traditional markets of Spain and Portugal are losing out”, said Roger Munns of Tribune Properties.

Spanish and Portuguese property buyers will be in their strongest negotiating position since the mid to late 1980s when prices dropped by nearly a third on the Spanish Costas’, said the firm.

“Already we have seen villas in Menorca drop in value by around 10 per cent, and they could, and probably will, go lower still”.

Tribune’s predictions are at odds with recent findings of a Barclays survey and official Spanish estimates.

Barclays found that almost a third of those 2.2m people planning to buy an overseas property would be looking first in Spain, while Portugal was the first choice of 5 per cent the same as the combined percentage of those nominating Bulgaria and Croatia as their first choice.

Meanwhile Spain’s tourist office has said its internal estimates suggest relaxation of the UK’s pension rules allowing self invested pension plans (SIPPs) to hold overseas residential properties will stimulate the Spanish market, resulting in sales of approximately 150,000 homes.

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From the yet-to-be-installed rooftop jacuzzi of his house near Kilada on the Greek Peloponnese, architect Mark Potiriadis reckons he will be able to see eight or nine snow-capped peaks across the clear blue waters of the Argolic Gulf.

What he won’t be able to see, he assures me, are the ten other luxury houses on the hillside below, each of which has been carefully positioned to maximise their sea views, but avoid overlooking each other, with trees and landscaping finishing the job. Potiriadis and his wife, Isabella Gilmartin, are the first residents of Kilada Hills, a development of 11 striking contemporary houses he has masterminded in one of mainland Greece’s most chic locations. Next-door neighbours include a couple of shipping tycoons, while the Heineken family own a villa nearby.

Potiriadis was inspired by the site itself, he says, to build a collection of houses that draw inspiration from the Greek cube. ‘They are a man-made thing that enhances the landscape,’ he says, conceding that his creations in concrete and glass have met some initial resistance from his compatriots. ‘Greek architecture is dominated by respect for neo-Classicism and folk architecture,’ says Potiriadis. ‘There are few modern houses and Greeks haven’t been exposed to them. A lot of people are against these houses at first, but then they warm to them.’

Potiriadis spent 34 years practising in the UK – specialising in leisure resorts and free-form swimming pools – before returning to Greece in 2000 to help the country prepare for the Olympics. Now he’s trying to shake up his compatriots’ design sense with a collection of houses unlike anything else in Greece.

Kilada is just around the corner from Porto Heli, a two-hour jaunt by Flying Dolphin from Athens, making it a favourite spot for weekenders from the capital. The islands of Spetses, Hydra and Poros are a sea-taxi ride away. The houses themselves are aimed at the top of the market, from 240 square metres of living space upwards, each including at least four bedrooms and bathrooms as well as home cinema, extensive terracing and an infinity pool.

Everything is suitably high-spec, from the Pilkington K glass used in the floor-to-ceiling glazing and balustrades, to the fittings and furnishings from the likes of Phillipe Starck, B&B Italia and Duravit. There’s underfloor heating and cooling, state-of-the-art security and technology and outside landscaping that will include a huge sum spent on mature cypresses and other trees. For a fully finished house including everything but the furniture buyers will pay around €3,500 (£2,400) a square metre.

The showhome, with all its fittings and furnishings, is on the market for a cool €3 million. What is unusual is that only two of the houses are completed; the rest will remain as shells, allowing the buyer to decide exactly how they want each of the floors to be configured, where they want the pool, and to choose their own fittings. Buyers will also have the final say on what colour their house is painted: the two finished so far are a burnished orange and an acrylic blue.

Just who will buy these properties remains to be seen; early interest has come from Germany, the Lebanon and the US – as well as Brits and Greeks. This is, in any case, all something of a precursor to a much larger development that Potiriardis has planned a little further down the line. On the hills behind, above the nearby fishing village of Kilada, his company, Ergotex, has secured a 240-acre plot among olive groves that he is planning to turn into Greece’s first Championship golf course. Greece currently has only around five or six golf courses and the Government recently began to recognise the potential of mixing high-quality courses with upmarket holiday homes, as has happened in Spain and Portugal.

Potiriadis has secured four sites around the country for this purpose, and at Kilada he plans to develop around 70 high-end villas and 245 serviced apartments with full resort facilities for the non-golf playing members of the family. ‘We are going to do it in a Greek style, keeping the maximum number of olive trees, and making the least impact on the landscape,’ says Gilmartin, who is Ergotex’s marketing director.

Water will be pumped from below the ground and Ergotex has also agreed to clean up sewage from Kilada itself, to provide further irrigation. It’s hard to envisage such a large-scale development in what has been a sleepy part of the country. But Greece does seem to be waking up to the potential of the overseas property market to bring in investment to the local economy. ‘The aim of the local authorities is not to lose the character of this as an agricultural community,’ says Potiriadis. ‘But they see it as a chance for Kilada not to have to rely on seasonal jobs. We want to create a development that is sustainable and will create full-time jobs, and that will mean that local children don’t have to leave and go to Athens.’

Source: Guardian Unlimited