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Get to Know the Corfu Property Market
Faced with outrageous prices, gloomy weather and through-the-ceiling stress levels, no wonder the 'Brit Migration'
to warmer climates is stronger than ever. Corfu has always welcomed hundreds of thousands of tourists as one of the top holiday destinations in Greece. Many people have visited Corfu for years, and perhaps dreamt of living here someday, but until relatively recently it was very difficult for foreigners to buy a home in Greece. Fortunately this has changed; when the property market opened up to overseas buyers in the 1990's, Greece finally became home to many of us. And while property prices have gone up considerably, did you know that the second home market in Corfu is still at the beginning of its growing curve? Coupled with the fact that Corfu Greece is one of the safest, most reliable property markets in Europe investing in Corfu property market now makes perfect sense. This is why.
First and foremost, there is stability. Greece is a stable, predictable country politically, religiously and socially.
It has been a member of the European Union since 1981 (EEC at the time). With the Euro as currency since 2001, the Greek economy enjoys extra security and the country's GDP is well ranked amongst the Euro zone countries.

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Quality of life in Corfu is very high. Greek society remains very family-orientated in urban and rural communities alike. the home ownership rate, at more than 80%, is among the highest in Europe. Home ownership – 'having a roof over one's head' – has always been at the centre of the Greek families priorities. This principal is an important one, as it directly affects the makeup and stability of the local property market. In a nutshell the property market in Corfu is an established market. It could be compared to the UK property market, save for the recessions that the latter seems so susceptible to! The Greek property market has seen a constant, uninterrupted upward trend for the past 30 years, and it is predicted to follow this pattern in the foreseeable future. Annual capital growth across the board is an estimated 10% with some areas averaging even higher percentages. As previously mentioned, what sets the Corfu property market apart from other Mediterranean destinations is that it never relied on, nor was it created for foreign buyers.

As a matter of fact, local home buyers here in Corfu outnumber foreign buyers by 10:1. In practical terms this
means that Corfu's' property prices are shaped by Greek buyers, unlike other Mediterranean or Balkan property markets where international real estate fever has pushed prices so far up that locals can no longer afford a home by any stretch of the imagination. This trend is commonly found in hyped-up real estate markets promising an alluringly quick capital growth. The problem with these markets is that they are volatile; sudden upswings bring sudden downturns. The Greek market has grown, and keeps doing so, at a slower but steady and highly predictable rate; its promise of long-term gain is a much more realistic one.  So where does the overseas buyer enter the picture?

Simply put, "a market within a market" has emerged over the few years. Still in its infancy, this second home market
is somewhat of a niche market at the start of a growing curve. In contrast other popular second home destinations in the Mediterranean have peaked, with inflated prices and properties unable to deliver the promised capital growth rate. These markets have been trapped in over-supply mode. To better illustrate this point, we may compare Corfu to the Costa del Sol in Spain and to the island of Cyprus, respectively; both areas have the sake length of coastline as Corfu. Home density in Cyprus significantly outnumbers that in Corfu, whereas home density in Costa del Sol is so high that it is beyond any comparison. On the flipside, property supply in Corfu is relatively limited. A combination of planning laws, forestry and/or archaeological restrictions prevent turning Corfu into another concrete jungle.

To obtain a building license outside town planning zones, for example, a large plot of land (4000 sq.m) is required even then, the building cannot exceed 2 floors and a designated area size. Furthermore, the archaeological and forestry commissions keep a tight rein in certain areas to prevent deforestation or illegal construction in areas of archaeological interest.  The limited property supply rolls over to the rental market as well. Rental accommodation (beyond large hotel accommodation, which also fills to capacity during summer months) is highly sought-after. Privately owned properties thus yield excellent rental income. Consider that, on average, a 3-bedroomed villa with private swimming pool is rented for approximately €1500+ per week. The rental season in Corfu extends to 6 months. Rental properties are typically booked for the season by February of the same year; bookings are routinely made for peak periods of the following year as well. With millions of people visiting Corfu each year, renters are out there. It's the properties that aren't. With this in mind, the simple formula of rental income + capital growth equals an impressive return on capital better than any bank rate could provide. Take the example of a €300.000 mortgage which, in Corfu Greece buys a 3-bedroom villa with pool: Loan amount: €300.000. Reimbursement period: 360 months (30 years).

Consider also the following:
- T
he Corfu property market is safe. Corfu Greece is easily accessible. Direct air travel from the UK is only 2.5 hours
- Air transport to the UK has increased in frequency. Easyjet are now flying direct to Corfu from Gatwick daily from the end of March until the October and all other major tour operators fly until the end of October.
-  Complete infrastructure includes – but is not limited to – excellent transportation, healthcare and communication networks. After all, more than 100.000 people live and work here permanently.
- The university in Corfu Town has a large student population, which translates into a good market for long-term lets
- The large ex-pat community in Corfu keeps getting larger. Ex-pats tend to come together in snowball fashion; a young couple moves to Corfu, the young couple's siblings follow, in-laws come next, and so on. Demand for housing considerable increases.
- Buying a house is the biggest investment most people make in a lifetime. This statement has been used to the point of a cliche, only because it's true. Buying a house in a foreign country is an even bigger decision.
We realize that; and, because a good article usually creates more questions than it answers, our staff are always available to answer questions and to help you make informed decisions

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