Not too many people are buying property in Crete as an investment. But if you ever decide to sell your house in Crete it could become an important issue. So what have property values done and what is going to happen in the next few years?
Integration in the European Union in the 1990s made owning property in Greece a relatively simple matter for EU nationals and they started buying. At the beginning it was a few individuals here and there who then passed on the word that Crete was a good place to live and more and more came, creating a real property boom in some areas. Not surprisingly prices increased by a healthy percentage...maybe 20% a year on average which made property a very good investment indeed.
The demand for property was not fueled by foreigners only: until about 20 years ago only few Cretans had cars (they were too expensive). Then some taxes were lifted, inflation in Greece decreased making bank loans and cheap credit possible and within the next 10 years car ownership became almost universal. With cars, commuting became possible and more and more inhabitants of the cities started moving out into rural areas and building larger, more modern houses. Some areas such as Kounoupidiana (on the peninsula of Akrotiri) or Daratso and Galatas (to the West of Chania) became virtual suburbs of Chania and prices in these areas climbed very fast. As commuting becomes more common place people looked further afield.
Property prices increases of 20% a year were of course unsustainable in the long run. Several factors came together to reverse the trend:
Now (2014) that the situation is getting more stable and because prices are down to a much lower level the interest of bargain hunters is being triggered.
With many people (mainly foreigners who realized that Crete was not the dream they thought it was and want to go back to their country) desperate to sell property it is very much a buyer’s market.
If you want to build a house it will also be cheaper than a few years ago because builders have cut their prices (and land prices have gone down a little) but don’t expect the same bargains as buying a finished house.
I expect the market to very cautiously pick up, simply because there are bargains to be had but it will take a very long time for prices to reach their previous levels.
I don’t think that Crete has a value as an investment but if you want to live here (full or part-time) it is certainly a very good place to be and in that sense, buying a nice place, if you have the money for it, is probably an excellent idea.but don’t expect to make money out if it.
Most properties (bar the exceptions listed below) will appeal to someone but a good view will always sell much more easily. It doesn't have to be a sea view but an open view. Easy access to the main road network is also a plus point. A quiet neighbourhood, no noise from traffic are also positive aspects. The rest is really a matter of personal taste.
Houses where building has occured all around, cutting off any view, are far more difficult to shift. Small places with nasty additions done on the cheap by the previous owner will also find few takers.
Anything with additions in breach of the original building permit will also be highly problematic to sell.