Syros is the capital of Cycladic islands. Syros is a less touristic island compared to the other islands of Cyclades and a must-see among the Greek islands. It is 101,9 km2 and 78 sea miles from Athens. The population is 21,500 according to the 2011 census. The favorite parts of Syros are Ermupoli, Ano Syros, and Vari. The harbor of Syros was more important than Pireaus in the 19th century. Some other neighborhoods in Syros are Galissas, Finikas, Pagos, Mana, Kini, and Posidonia.
Where are the Cycladic islands?
39 Cycladic islands are located between Athens and Crete to the south of Greece. People are permanently living in 24 of these 39 islands.
Which islands are Cycladic?
Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Folegandros, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros, Tinos, Thira, and Santoríni are Cycladic islands.
What does Cyclades mean?
Cyclad means surrounding islands. These islands make a rough circle around Delos island that is believed to be the birthplace of Artemis and her brother Apollo.
How can I go to Syros?
You can go to Syros from the ports of Piraeus, Lavrio, and Kavala. From Piraeus, you can go to Syros with a fast ferry in 2 hours and with a slow ferry in 4 hours.
Is there an airport in Syros?
Yes, there is. Dimitrios Vikelas Airport was opened in 1991.
Real Estate Prices Are Increasing in Greece
According to the data from the Bank of Greece, real estate prices in Greece increased by %3,2 during the first quarter of 2021. The report from the same bank also shows that the increase in the prices was %2,5 during the last quarter of 2020.
Real Estate Ownership in Greece
The percentage of real estate ownership is %75.
Greece is a country that the percentage of real estate ownership is high. A large portion of Greek people has one home and one summer house. Traditionally Greeks believe that investing in real estate is the most reliable way. This is a very rooted idea on that many generations of Greeks agree. The low-interest-rate in banks discourages investors from putting their money in banks. Compared to the money from the interest in a bank, investing in real estate and having rent revenue from this is more appealing to the investors. In 2007, when the Greek economy was in a good state, real estate prices were the highest. During the crisis that started in 2012, the prices of real estate decreased by more than half. Worth of a property which was 100.000 euros in 2007 decreased to 45.000 euros in 2017. In this period, many investors transferred their money abroad, especially other European countries with a strong economy, due to a lack of trust towards the Greek economy and state. A headline from that time explains this situation: Germany forces Greece to make structural reforms for its survival while giving Greece loans with the money that were transferred to Germany by the Greek investors.
How were the real estate prices in Greece during the crisis?
Some examples from different areas:
A 15 years old (or more) flat that is closed to the Acropolis and needs renovation was worth between 800 and 1000 euros per square meter in 2014. Now a similar flat is worth between 2,000 and 2.500 euros per square meter.
15 years old (or more) flat in Kypselli that needs renovation was worth between 500 and 600 euros per square meter in 2014. Now a similar flat is worth between 1.000 and 1.200 euros per square meter.
This decrease in real estate prices encouraged foreigners to buy a property and apply for a residence permit in Greece. The first comers were Russians, and then Chinese people. Turks started to invest later but later on; they became the second group that applied for a residence permit via the purchase of the property the most. On the other hand, Greeks tended not to buy property but to sell their properties and receive cash in this period.
Things Started to Change in 2014
The residence permit program started in 2014. At the same time, the number of refugees and foreigners started to increase. The demand for real estate after 2014 increased real estate prices.
Tsipras was elected to be the prime minister in 2015 and he stayed in government with a coalition until 2019. His term coincided with a bad period in terms of economy and Tsipras’ government was not able to manage the economic situation aptly. In 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis as the prime minister, and his party, Nea Demokratia, took over the power.
How important is the environment of trust in the Economy?
The environment of trust was finally established at the end of 2019 and Greeks started to buy more real estate at this time. People who transferred their money abroad brought their money and bought real estate. Although the Covid pandemic shook the fragile economy, half of the real estate transactions were done by Greeks in 2019 and 2020.
Greek Economy Signals Strength
3-4 months after Kiryakos Mitsotakis’ government was elected, Covid 19 pandemic broke out. No wonder that Greeks joke about the Mitsotakis family being unlucky.
Although not the most popular leader in Greek history, he is a savvy politician and the economy gives the signals of his success with the statistics of micro and macro scale. Both domestic and international markets show their trust with their transactions in this government. The reports from the credit rating agencies and the major banks abroad indicate a bright economic future in Greece.
Real Estate in Greece during the Pandemic
Although we expected a change in the real estate market, this did not happen. The Pandemic did not affect the prices of real estate in Greece. The general statistics show that the Pandemic slowed the increase in real estate prices down. However, if we look at the prices in the locations with high trade and tourist activity, we see an actual increase.
Banks and Real Estate in Greece
Due to the economic crisis in Greece, the banks tended not to give loans easily and when they did, the conditions for the loans were very heavy. In 2020, the banks gradually started to change the criteria for the loans and to give loans to Greek citizens and foreigners who are established in Greece. They tend not to give loans to foreigners who are newcomers.
For the last five years, the rents are increasing and this increase is not getting slower. One of the reasons for this increase is the number of refugees coming to Greece. This increase also affects the price of real estate positively.
Property Building in Greece
There are no giant building companies in Greece. Therefore, building activity is low. Most of the companies can build one or two buildings at a time. Most of the existing building companies did not make it out of the previous crisis and the number of building companies is also not too many.
Are Greeks happy with the increase in the prices of real estate?
For the owners of properties, the answer is yes. For the remaining part of the Greek people who do not own properties, the answer is of course no. The high rents negatively affect them. This situation encourages people to get a loan from the bank, buy a house, and live inside this house instead of paying high rents.
How are the prices of real estate in Europe?
The prices of real estate are rapidly increasing in Europe nowadays due to the monetary expansion. However, the rent revenues have not increased accordingly.
What are the expectations for the future of the real estate market in Greece?
There is an expectation of a constant increase in the prices of real estate from now on. On the other hand, the analysts state that there is a high unemployment rate in Greece and this will stop the increase in the long term. However, this number might be higher than the reality due to the unemployment pay from the government. I think that the %16,10 unemployment rate that was given by the European Commission is too high to be correct.
Is there a danger of a bubble economy in Greece?
Since the purchases of real estate are majorly done with cash in Greece rather than bank loans, I would not expect a bubble economy in Greece. Two countries in Europe can have a bubble economy in my opinion: Belgium and Holland.
How is the stock of real estate in Greece?
The stock of real estate is not low in Greece. However, the properties are old and they need to be renovated. After the crisis, banks confiscated many homes and properties. The banks will benefit from this confiscation. Although it is allowed in law, I do not find this ethical. The general increase in real estate, of course, affects the properties in the hands of banks positively and they get richer.
Who dominates the market?
Sellers are dominating the market. During the crisis, the sellers in debt were pushed out of the market and the stronger dealers benefit from this.
Who does transactions in the Greek real estate market?
During the lockdown, Greeks were the major players. A very small number of the foreign investors who could not come to Greece did transactions with a power of attorney thanks to the new law which was introduced on the 20th of December, 2020. These investors were majorly from Israel and Lebanon. After the lockdown, investors from other countries started to come and invest in Greece.
Especially the investors from Israel established companies in Greece, bought cheap apartments or buildings, and turned these into hotels or rentals in the center of Athens. They prefer properties in Pangrati, Nea Smirni, Neos Kosmos, and Exarhia.
Where do foreign investors buy properties in Greece?
For more detailed information about this subject click here:
Foreign investors buy properties (houses, apartments, and estates) in the center of Athens or its periphery. The foreign investments are again increasing with the lifting of lockdown regulations.
Ermou Avenue: Shops, Streets, Shopping Mall
Ermou Avenue (Greek: Οδός Ερμού, Odos Ermou) is the busiest street in the center of Athens. This 1,5 km long street connects Kerameikos archaeological site to the Syntagma Square via Monastiraki, Psiri, and Thiseio.
Where does the name Ermou come from?
The choice of this name for the avenue was not a coincidence. The reason for the establishment of this avenue was to provide a place for the shops and businesses that Athens needs at the center of the city. That is why they had to come up with a suitable name. Hermes is considered the herald of the gods. He is also considered the protector of merchants. Therefore, it was a suitable name for this main avenue. The avenue owes its existence to the vision of Othonas, the Bavarian prince who ruled as King of Greece in the 19th century. Othonas wanted to establish a shopping avenue at the center of the city and he succeeded in his aim.
Look at the sketch below to understand the development of the avenue.
The triangle in the sketch is closely related to the location of Ermou Avenue because the avenue is the hypotenuse of the triangle.
The P (R in Greek) at the top designates the Omonia Square. U at the bottom right designates the Panathinaikos Stadium. The first plan for Stadiou Street was to end in the Stadium, but due to a lack of funding during the development process, Stadiou Street starting from Omonia ends in the area of the Parliament.
Ermou Avenue starts from the east and ends in the west, in a way, like the history of Greece.
During the first years of the avenue’s development, many merchants moved here from every corner of Greece. From the day of its establishment until recent years, the avenue hosted local merchants rather than large international companies. However, now it boasts of many of these corporations. Greece was not a country with much-accumulated wealth in its recent history. The first buildings in Ermou Avenue included shops on the ground floors and homes of the merchants on the first floors. In those times, there were not many trade centers like Ermou Avenue.
The Ermou Avenue had shops that primarily appealed to women. Tailors and shops for men were generally located in Aiolou Street.
The trade of textiles, clothes, and shoes developed here in time. For two hundred years, customers from all around Greece came to Ermou Avenue to find the merchandise that they need. Nowadays people have to face long queues in front of the shops during the sales and holidays.
This 11th-century Byzantine church which is dedicated to Virgin Mary is located on Ermou Avenue. The church is built on top of a Greek temple which was dedicated to Athena or Dimitra. It is the oldest building on the Avenue and belonged to the University of Athens. At times, it was called “Sacred University Church”.
According to the legend, the Church was named after a tax collector in the Byzantine period. In those times, every house with a chimney had to pay the property tax. Another story tells us that the workshops in this region were producing certain textiles with gold weaves (kamoucha), the region started to be called Kamoucharea and the current name comes from Kamoucharea. During the Turkish occupation, this area was called Vasilopoulos or Prenza Church.
In 1834, the authorities were discussing demolishing the Church. However, Othonas’ father Ludovic prevented the Church from being destroyed.
Due to the lack of water channels in Ermou Avenue and heavy rains, the Avenue had many floods and Kapnikarea Church made through these natural disasters.
Ermou Avenue: The Most Expensive and the Busiest Part of the Avenue
Considering its physical separation and the rents for the shops, the Avenue consists of three parts:
- The part which is most suitable for retail starts from Syntagma and ends in Kapnikarea Church. The part between Nike and Macdonald’s and Kapnikarea Church.
- The second part is between the Church and the Monastiraki Square.
- The last part starts from Monastiraki Square and continues until Pireaus Avenue.
Our Advice on Opening a Retail Shop in Greece
If this is your first time in international operations, Greece is not an optimal market. Greece is not an easy market for international operations.
Should I open a shop on an avenue or in a shopping mall?
Greeks like to combine their shopping with other activities like having coffee with friends before or after shopping. That is why they prefer to be outdoors while shopping. The most convincing evidence of this conclusion is the number of shopping malls in Athens. There are only four currently and only two of them do good trade.
Without any doubt, the first thing that comes to an Athenian’s mind when we say shopping is Ermou Avenue. It does not matter where they are based, the Ermou Avenue is the icon for shopping.
If you are thinking of a single shop with a small operation, you may prefer to go to other avenues or streets. However, if you have a bigger operation and consider franchising your brand to local businessmen, you have to be on Ermou Avenue.
Our Advice to the Owners of the Retail Brands
If you do not have a business development department, we advise you to work with a professional in Greece. This advisor should be paid over a fixed price and should set the introductory meetings with the property realtors. If you are not yet a corporate company, it is better for you to come and see the locations for the shop yourself and decide later. Greece is a market that requires investing of individual time.
What about rents on Ermou Avenue?
You can see below the statistics for rents per square meter in retail streets (Source: Statista).
The rent of a 60 m2 shop in Ermou Avenue is between 13.000 euros and 16.000 euros.
What should be done after the purchase of a property in Greece?
After the purchase of the property, your lawyer needs to register the property as your property in the Office of Land Registry, make sure that all the fees related to the purchase are paid, and complete all the processes for the ownership of the property.
As a second step, your accountant needs to fill E9 form to register that you paid your taxes and the property belongs to you.
Later on, if you are going to live in the property that you bought. You need
- To register the electrometer under your name and get electricity service connected.
- To register the water meter under your name and get water service connected.
- To get the internet connected.
- If needed, to start the process for natural gas connection.
- To buy the furniture that you need and install them.
- If needed, renovation in kitchen and bathroom, painting, and installment of security systems.
- To let the building management that you will be paying the common expenses and attending the building meetings.
- To get the keys to the common areas of the building and the building code from the building manager. We advise you to read the regulations.
- To ensure your property in terms of thievery, fire, and earthquake. Beware that the insurance companies in Greece do not want to insure the properties that are built before the 1960s.
- To have health insurance for the application of a residence permit.
- If you are going to spend time in Greece with your family, to have family health insurance as a package.