ECONOMY

Climbing prices for land in winter resorts

Growing demand for land and properties in certain mountainous regions around the country has lately started affecting real estate standards, by pushing prices to higher levels. The most popular of such destinations include Mt Parnassus, Kalavryta, Mount Pelion, Metsovo, Elati Trikalon, Mount Olympus, Karpenisi, Florina and Oreini Corinthia, which are all beautiful areas, but the rising land prices in these regions have made them simply a dream for most people. A major portion of demand comes from foreigners, who believe that properties in mountainous regions of Greece are cheaper to buy. Most domestic visitors seem to prefer to rent a place in these areas, either for the entire winter or the whole year. By doing this they don’t have to worry about making reservations for their weekend escapes from big cities. Preferences in recent years have tended toward certain cosmopolitan villages on Mount Parnassus and Pelion, given their close proximity to ski centers as well as to infrastructure and facilities allowing for several sporting and leisure activities. Purchasing an old home and renovating it has become popular, but soaring prices are a deterrent as they can reach as high as the costs of summer houses on some popular and very expensive Aegean islands, such as Myconos and Santorini. Land plots may in some cases cost up to -300,000 per 1,000 square meters, while traditional houses are sold at extremely high prices. Mt Pelion is a cheaper alternative to Parnassus, with a number of popular villages – Markinitsa, Portaria, Vizitsa, Tsagarada, Sagora and Milies – drawing increasingly higher numbers of potential property buyers each year. Houses on Mount Pelion are priced between -2,500 and -3,200 per square meter. By comparison, to purchase a house on Parnassus may cost up to -4,000 per square meter. In nearby Itea and Delphi, prices are 10 to 30 percent lower. In Karpenisi, one popular location is the Potamia Valley, where many villages lie within a green landscape very close to both Karpenisi town and the local ski center. Even though modern constructions are starting to appear, the region offers many old stone houses. Prices for newly built houses are steady at -1,500 to -2,000 per square meter, but local real estate agents believe a drop is on its way in the near future, especially with regard to land plots. Renting a place in popular winter resorts is another alternative for those who don’t want to spend a fortune on real estate. Leasing terms may be per season or per year. For instance, on Mt Parnassus, an 80-square-meter home may cost up to -800 per month, if rented for the entire season, or up to -480 per month, if rented for the whole year. Similar rent levels apply for places on Mount Pelion and in Kalavryta (Peloponnese), but places can be found for half these prices in some other areas, including Elati, Petrouli, Oreini Corinthia and Oreini Nafpaktia. All in all, potentially interested parties may enjoy more benefits by opting for slightly less popular winter resorts. There are many such highland resorts around the country, and real estate agents believe they are still inexpensive. For instance, Stymfalia and Kastania (in Oreini Corinthia) enjoy a good deal of demand, with land (for development) sold at -59,000 per 1,000 square meters and houses sold for -1,700 per square meter. Land parcels can be bought for even less on Mt Olympus, especially in the Litohoro village area, with prices ranging from -5,600 to -30,000 per 1,000 square meters.