House Hunting in Greece: Sugar Cubes on the Aegean Sea for $2 Million
House Hunting in Greece: Sugar Cubes on the Aegean Sea for $2 Million
A Modern Five-Bedroom House on Mykonos
$2.1 MILLION (1.9 MILLION EUROS)
This five-bedroom villa is nestled in a rocky hillside overlooking Kalo Livadi, one of the longest sandy beaches on Mykonos, the Greek island in the Aegean Sea.
The 2,600-square-foot house, a three-story version of the quintessential sugar-cube homes of the Cyclades Islands, was built in 2015 from whitewashed concrete with accents of local stone. Known as “Morgan,” it sits on half an acre in the southeastern part of the island.
The property was designed with a sense of fun and romance, said Savvas Savvaidis, president and chief executive of Greece Sotheby’s International Realty, which has the listing. “You have the luxury to enjoy outdoor living,” he said, with several separate entertainment and relaxation areas, from the curved infinity pool and cliffside hot tub to a screening area with comfy seating to a beach bar with a DJ booth and room to dance. The outdoor kitchen has a beer station and a barbecue grill.
A gated driveway shared with the neighboring house winds uphill to a separate parking area above each villa. Steps curve down to the main floor on the middle level, with an entry door opening to a vestibule intersecting the open-plan kitchen, dining room and living room.
Straight ahead, the dining room easily seats 10 and has a picture window overlooking the property and the Aegean Sea beyond. To the left, the living room has sliding-glass doors to a covered terrace with a similar view.
The white concrete base of the curved living room fireplace has an open shelf to one side. The other side wraps a corner, becoming the foundation for sofa cushions. From the back of the sofa, the concrete extends toward the kitchen in a half-moon shape as a breakfast counter.
The kitchen has concrete countertops and lower cabinets accented with blue-gray wood doors and a bright blue Fischer & Paykel refrigerator. Lower cabinets extend into a hallway with a glass door opening to outdoor stairs down to the pool level.
Ceilings are covered with white painted wood planks and matching beams. Floors throughout are gray and white polished cement, the traditional Cycladic “patiti tsimentokonia,” said George Kasimis, an agent at Greece Sotheby’s International Realty.
Next to the kitchen, a curved staircase leads up to an antique wood door opening into the master bedroom, with en suite bath and private veranda with sea views.
Each of the four bedrooms on the lower level has an en suite bath with a shower; three have ceiling fans and open to the outdoor areas. The front bedroom has a sliding door to a covered terrace with a Paola Lenti double-seater swing. The property is being sold furnished.
To one side of the pool area, a long, curved sofa is built into a stone wall. Beyond the outdoor kitchen, a dining area is under cover.
Hidden lights installed into the rocky hillside create a “super-cool ambience at night” for parties at the “secret disco” that in the past has attracted celebrities, Mr. Kasimis said.
The Greek island of Mykonos, with about 10,000 residents, beckons tourists with its sunny climate and vibrant culture. The villa is a five-minute drive to Kilo Livadi beach, which has two popular restaurants and, on the golden sands, rows of thatched palapa umbrellas shading lounge chairs. Just over a mile away is Ano Mera, a traditional Greek village with shopping, tavernas, bakeries and cafes with outdoor seating.
The house is a 15-minute drive from cosmopolitan Mykonos town, also known as Chora. Mykonos International Airport is 18 minutes away.
For the past few years, Mykonos has been a global magnet for the rich and famous, drawn by its premium nightlife, international restaurants and 16th-century windmills.
“Mykonos, because of its robust luxury property market and its strong appeal to high-end tourism, led the recovery of the Greek property market as early as 2014 while the rest of the country followed a couple of years later,” Mr. Savvaidis said.
Since 2015, the luxury market, ranging from about $1.1 million to $13.6 million, has grown in sales volume “on average by 15 percent year to year, per year,” he said.
The island “gained a lot of visibility around the world by attracting second-home buyers,” said Georg Petras, chief executive of Engel & Völkers in Greece, “making it one of the top international second-home destinations.”
Still, Mr. Savvaidis said, at the high end, prices between 7,000 euros and 10,000 euros a square meter ($929 to $1,022 a square foot) are “way lower” than similar second-home markets in the Mediterranean.
Condominiums are “scattered around the island,” said Ioannis Revithis, owner of Mykonos Real Estate and a former president of the Greek Real Estate Federation. New condos, no higher than two stories by law, are being built mostly in the “blue zone,” an area encompassing several coastal villages in the southern part of the island. Many have sea views, while others are in walking distance of the Aegean and “some even have private beaches,” Mr. Revithis said.
Prices for a studio, one- or two-bedroom apartment start at about 250,000 euros ($280,000), he said.
Mr. Savvaidis said that despite — or perhaps because of — the coronavirus pandemic, during April and May his agency saw a “surge and explosion of requests,” registering a 166 percent increase year to year in “qualified leads.” He attributed the inquiries to Greece’s flat curve during the Covid-19 crisis, a result of the “immediate lockdown measures” taken by the government when neighboring Italy was overwhelmed. (There were 180 recorded deaths in Greece as of June 8, compared with 33,899 in Italy.)
“The people complied,” he said. “This is now considered a safe place.”
Besides the precautionary measures taken, Mr. Petras said, “the consequences are not going to be dramatic” for the housing market because the pandemic hit Greece during an off-season for tourists. “Right now, Greece is promoted as a best-example country in the reaction of the crisis and it is ready to start officially the touristic period,” he said.
He called 2020 year “a chance year” for investors and buyers as the market is “reorganized” and “stabilized” under new circumstances, “offering right now smart investment opportunities.”
Fani Dritsa, a real estate consultant at Savills Greece, said “It is too soon to know the real impact of the pandemic,” noting that the success of the post-pandemic market depends “what will happen when the travel restrictions stop and international buyers will be able to travel.”
International flights from 29 countries are scheduled to resume in Athens on June 15, and on Mykonos and other Greek islands on July 1.
Mr. Savvaidis has “already scheduled a significant number of viewings” and anticipates prices will increase on average from “zero to 5 percent.”
Mr. Revithis, however, was “certain that there is going to be a decrease in the property prices, but we do not know the percentage yet,” speaking of both sales and rentals. “We do not predict a huge price drop since we believe that people will feel safer choosing villas and houses over hotels.”
Who Buys in Mykonos
“Mykonos is an international destination which brings buyers from around the globe,” Mr. Revithis said. Foreign buyers are mainly from the United States, Britain, Germany, Switzerland and France.
Mr. Kasimis said an Australian buyer landed a $12 million home in mid-March, and that interest among Australian buyers is on the rise.
Middle Eastern buyers come from the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Petras said.
A tax identification number is needed in order to begin the sales process. “There are no restrictions for European buyers, but other foreign buyers must have a VAT number,” Mr. Petras said. A Greek bank account is recommended, but not required, to proceed with any purchase, for convenience with transactions regarding the sale.
Although closings must be done by a notary, buyers are advised to hire a lawyer for due diligence to assess whether the house is in satisfactory shape and conduct the title search, Mr. Savvaidis said.
Languages and Currency
Greek; euro (1 euro = $1.13)
Taxes and Fees
Closing costs run 8 to 9 percent of the purchase price, including a 3 percent transfer tax, 2 percent real estate agent commission for buyer, one to 1.5 percent notary fee and 1 percent to 2 percent lawyer costs.
The property taxes on this villa are about $1,700 a year, Mr. Savvaidis said.
Savvas Savvaidis, Greece Sotheby’s International Realty, 011-30-210-968-1070; sothebysrealty.gr