For Sale

In 2008, residential property prices in Greece were through the roof, boosted by the success of the Olympics, and the denial syndrome that made people refuse to acknowledge the approaching crisis. Today, they are down by 42% (-45.3% in real terms). And everybody wants to sell – or rather, needs to sell.
People can’t afford to keep the summer villa on the islands, or the large house in the suburbs which they built with such pride and is now costing them an arm and a leg.

To revive the housing market, the Greek government recently offered residence to non-EU investors purchasing or renting property worth over €250,000. This is known as the “Golden Visa” program and has resulted in a spike in the demand for property by foreigners – especially houses – according to research published  by “spitogatos.gr”,  a website focusing on property investment in Greece. The rise in interest has been particularly evident in January and February 2017 by nationals from Arab states, China, Germany and Turkey.

This might come as a welcome respite for some Greeks; it might also be the perfect opportunity for foreigners to acquire the house of their dreams on a Greek island. And we do want foreigners to keep coming, dont get me wrong – tourism is very important to us. But there is a very dark downside to be considered.

 

The ancient theatre at Argos

At the same time, the Greek government has been implementing a selling-out of public assets in an unprecedented scale and in ways that are mostly suspect, if not downright illegal.

Ports, airports, huge pieces of public real estate including beaches, land and wetlands, dozens of properties abroad, dozens of listed and non-listed monuments, Olympic facilities, national roads, military installations, natural gas, the defense and oil industries, railways, post offices, and profit-making enterprises – all have been sold, or are for sale.

The European Union has a hand – and, of course, an interest – in this (and some countries more than others!) Reading articles about it makes my head ache – the politics and shenanigans involved are surreal. The complications and different opinions are impossible to unravel.

 

Loutsa beach near Athens

History repeats itself – we are a small country coveted by many, because of our climate, natural beauty and geographical position. We are preyed upon, while being in some way complicit in our own destruction.

In twenty years, will Greece still belong to the Greeks? Or will we be the servants of higher powers, in a country where others live in our houses and profit from our natural wealth? Thinking about it makes me scared, and sad.

 

29 thoughts on “For Sale

  1. Oh, this makes me so, so sad and worried. My ex is still there and was texting today about how angry everyone is because they’re so broke. When we arrived in 2008, Crete house prices were not quite beyond the pale but the attitude of locals was ‘keeping hope in our hearts’. It sounds like hope has gone. I thank heaven we never bought.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had no idea of this situation. Very complex and with long term consequences to consider. I guess the return of the Elgin Marbles is small compared to this – though they should of course be returned. As should anything pillaged from other countries or other people and otherwise called grand theft.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I almost agree with you, And I can understand you very well because we have same problems in here too. In there, maybe all these things happening in public, I mean you know, public know… but in here, we don’t know clearly what’s going on. But this is clear, so many places, (like airport, bridges, buildings, companies, of belong to the statement/country) have been sold to the foreigners… This is unbelievable. Unbelievable… I ask same questions to myself too… What’s going on in this world, in this century. I am sad dear, so sad. I hope and wish the minds change in right way. Thanks and Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nia, you’re always so kind. I don’t know why people are so short sighted and agressive. It’s like our two countries, instead of fighting we should be helping each other, like we did with the earthquakes…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. yes but you know politicians are not normal people 🙂 I love Greece too, and I want Greece to stay as Greece… It really makes me so sad… The world changes so fast… Welcome, Thank you, Love, nia

        Liked by 3 people

  4. For generations my Crete ancestors lived, thrived and continue to live on Crete. They have over the years been asked to sell their land and/or homes. To no avail. It stays with them as it has for generations.Just as the third generation of us here in USA all have homesteads that we intend to keep and pass on to the next generations to come. What we have is not for sale Marina.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I hit the like because she really made an important post, I do agree with her. I made like because of the action. Otherwise it is so sad what she is talking about. Thanks and Love, nia

    Like

  6. This process has been repeated in many countries that were once mainly known as holiday destinations. It is evident in large areas of London too. However, selling off beaches, national heritage locations, and public facilities and infrastructure is just unforgivable.
    A country with so much history, the ‘cradle of democracy’, and the home of philosophy appears to have been reduced to the status of a failing business, with its goods to be plundered.
    Too sad indeed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I find it so hard to understand the desire to own a piece of someone else’s country. You wouldn’t truly be the owner. You can’t pick it up and take it away, it will always be a part of that country…

    Here in Australia, we have the problem that many cashed-up Chinese have bought investment properties illegally, and are now being made to give them back. India and China own large chunks of our resources infrastructure and extraction companies, and the money they make here is being siphoned off into offshore accounts. We need investment, but we don’t need to be asset-stripped!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate – I had my response in my head scrolling down the comments: well, I think you have said it all! And said it well! I am the least racist person in the world but I nearly cry looking at the films of Saturday auctions in Sydney: almost all Chinese investors. I wonder how much of the Sydney harbour foreshore is still owned by us . . . So, Marina, methinks the fairest of us is struggling with that situation in many parts of the world . . .

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I didn’t know any of this… I’m all for mixing things up and rejuvenation of the gene pool, but I do think governments have an obligation to preserve the national identity up to a point

        Like

  8. Here in New Zealand, rich greedy Asians (not all Asians are rich and greedy!) are buying the houses for astronomical prices and renting them out to us locals for astronomical prices! I rented a house a few years back that was sold 4 times in two months, each time with another $100,000 added to the price and not a scrape of improvement done to the house!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can relate – our Government in New Zealand seems determined to let this country be sold to the highest bidder. Lots of absentee landlords means that there are a lot of young New Zealanders who can no longer afford to own a home. They are even selling off our water…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Victorian (Australia) utilities were sold off ages ago, with the ‘promise’ of cheaper prices ~ market forces at work etc. Energy prices have continued to rise, of course. It beggars belief that your fantastic historic sites can be sold. I despair for the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Marina,

    So well said! We share a lot of the same views. I totally agree with all you have written. A lot of different ‘vultures’ are hovering over our heads for the last decade. All in our ‘best interest’ of course and to save our country from all the ‘debt’ it has so carelessly accumulated!
    Everyone is in on it apart from us. It seems like we have been ‘molded’ into apathy and doomed to watch our own extinction, powerless, day in and day out.
    I refuse to believe that we cannot, as Greeks, take matters into our own hands! Kick out all of our ‘SAVIOURS’ and start being again the country we once were. Get back our own sovereignty.

    I know I may sound as a ‘Messiah’ here but I can’t stand to watch any longer our completely powerless, Puppet politicians handing over our country piece by piece. All in the name of ‘Europe’ the rescuing of the Banks, the IMF’s the CEB’s and the WTF’s of this world..!!

    Great post by the way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It makes me scared and sad as well, to see this beautiful country being “preyed upon”. Unfortunately, things don’t seem to be getting any better as we become more and more vulnerable, and unable to stand our ground.

    Like

  13. It saddens me the government is selling off the national assets. So far as I know, when such a thing happens, the people usually don’t ever get them back.

    Thank you for such an informative, although alarming, post, Marina!

    Liked by 1 person

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