ECONOMY

Property developers turn to holiday home sector

The holiday home market is one of the most attractive domains in local real estate, sporting significant scope for growth. The country’s natural beauty, combined with the mild climate, make Greece an ideal destination for those seeking a place in the sun, particularly for pensioners from Central and Northern Europe. In view of these positive prospects, Greek property development companies and subsidiaries of construction groups are turning toward developing organized complexes of holiday houses to offer an attractive and quality product that the Greek market did not have a few years ago. Crete, the country’s biggest island, is predictably the focus of construction interest for the development of such complexes and holiday units. The biggest investment taking place on the island at the moment, despite several difficulties, is by British company Loyalward, and reaching 700 million euros. The story of that investment began back in 1998, with the utilization of the 26 square kilometers belonging to the Toplou Monastery. Eight years on, the company states it has secured most of the permits required. Its plan provides for the creation of hotel units, conference installations and golf courses as well as four «villages» of 360 inhabitants each, addressed to customers from Northern Europe. Another major investment on the island of Crete is by Iktinos Technical and Touristic on a plot of 1.8 sq.km belonging to the Faneromeni Monastery. This, too, has come up against many obstacles: After five years of trying to obtain the permits required, Iktinos is now optimistic it will begin construction. The investment will reach 120 million euros, including the construction of a hotel unit, a marina, two housing areas and some golf courses. The first stage of the investment (65 million euros) spreads over 492,000 sq.m. and provides for a five-star hotel with a 500-capacity conference center, along with a spa, a marina for 85 boats and a village with 300 luxurious villas and a shopping center. The first stage will be completed at end-2009, while the second also includes the development of two 18-hole golf courses. Crete will further host the second project of J&P Development in the holiday home market, as the company has acquired a plot of 4,700 sq.m. just outside Hania, at Pirgos Psilonerou. This holiday house complex will be just 15 km from the city of Hania and 30 km from the airport, which makes it a very good choice even for main residences. Cypriot firm Cybarco Property Development, too, has invested in the Hania prefecture, in the area of Maleme. The company has completed a complex of 24 holiday homes totaling 2,000 sq.m. on a plot of 3,500 sq.m. Most of the houses have already been sold. The complex consists of eight maisonettes (ranging from 247,000 to 309,000 euros) and 16 apartments. The same firm has constructed another five seashore villas at Kalathas, near Hania, all of which have been sold. Cybarco is also involved in the Rhodes market. In the area of Kalathos, near Lindos, it has completed the Helios Resort complex of 36 holiday houses, 31 of which have already been sold. In the village of Lahania, in southeastern Rhodes, a new investment has been begun by the company of a «traditional» neighborhood of 54 houses on 21 plots of 500 sq.m. each. This development is intended as an extension of the village of Lahania and maintains the traditional character of Rhodes. The biggest investment on the island of Paros is being conducted by Sarbro Development at Naoussa, where 110 country houses are being built over an area of 125,000 sq.m. The houses take up only 5,000 sq.m. of the area. Most of the houses are two-story with up to four bedrooms and they include several 30 sq.m. studios. GEK is also present on the island, developing two holiday complexes of 99 homes. Copelouzos Real Estate’s interest in the holiday house domain is focused on the island of Naxos, where it is developing two projects. The first is on the island’s southwest coast, at Pyrgaki, with 26 cottages. The complex is named Naxos Resort, and set in an area of 37,000 sq.m. that is split into nine semicircular plots so that the best possible view is gained for each home. Naxos Resort includes 14 houses of 95 sq.m., 10 of 115 sq.m. and two 151 sq.m. homes. There are three houses built on each plot, except for one plot with two houses. The villas built include a two-level maisonette and a detached guest house. The project is expected to be completely ready within 18 months, with some houses already being sold. At the same time, Copelouzos Real Estate has started its other project on Naxos, in the area of Kastraki, which will consist of smaller houses of up to 75 sq.m.