House hunting in Naxos - New York Times 29 Oct. 2014
House Hunting in ... Naxos, Greece
Real Estate in Greece
OCT. 29, 2014
SLIDE SHOW|10 Photos
A Villa Overlooking the Beach on the Island of Naxos
A Villa Overlooking the Beach on the Island of Naxos
CreditNikos Rigopoulos for The New York Times
By MARCELLE SUSSMAN FISCHLER
A VILLA OVERLOOKING PLAKA BEACH
$2.28 MILLION (1.8 MILLION EUROS)
On a hilltop on the largest of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, this multilevel home, with multiple shaded verandas and stone perimeter walls, was built in 2004 on a 1.36-acre lot overlooking Orkos Bay and Plaka Beach. Known as Tower Villa, it recalls the tower homes built by the Venetians who dominated Naxos for around 300 years, starting in the 13th century. The home’s whitewashed concrete exterior is painted a sandy hue. Modern touches include central air-conditioning, central heating, satellite TV and Internet service.
Including a separate guesthouse, the property, about 5,000 square feet, has seven bedrooms, eight baths and four kitchenettes. It is often rented to vacationers and is being sold furnished.
Down a gated stone pathway, the front door opens onto a foyer on the home’s middle level. Beyond, the living and dining “lobby” has a stone-tiled floor, a fireplace and panoramic sea and coastal views through several sets of wood-trimmed double glass doors. The entertaining area opens onto a lattice-covered veranda leading to two swimming pools. Water from the top pool cascades over a wall into the slightly lower adjoining pool, said Mareike Buchholz, the listing agent for Mobilia Real Estate of Athens.
The home’s main kitchen, open to the living and dining rooms, is fully equipped with a refrigerator-freezer, oven, microwave and cooktop, with creamy wood cabinets, a tile countertop and backsplash. Double doors lead to a covered side veranda. A powder room is off the entry hall.
A staircase off the entry hall leads up to the tower’s master suite. It has a round bed, a fireplace, a private balcony, a roof garden and a spacious, tiled en-suite bath with a double vanity, a separate shower and a round Jacuzzi.
Downstairs, beyond the lower level’s living room and open kitchen, a corridor leads to three bedroom suites, each with its own bath and a terrace or balcony. The largest of the suites has a separate sitting area and a kitchenette.
Across the terrace is a separate guesthouse with a free-standing fireplace open to the bedroom on one side and the living room on the other; a bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub, a kitchenette and a sauna. A wood-burning oven and a barbecue are set in an arched stone cove next to the pool area.
Plaka Beach, with its long stretches of white sand, is popular with windsurfers and kitesurfers as well as for horseback riding. The 166-square-mile island of Naxos, a 45-minute flight from Athens and served by a variety of ferries, has a population of 18,000. It is known for picturesque mountain villages, beautiful old churches, clusters of whitewashed cube houses, archaeological sites, locally produced traditional food and the Venetian castle that dominates Naxos Town (Hora), the capital and main port, 10 miles away. Just down the hill from this house, there are restaurants, cafes, taverns and a hotel on the beach in Mikri Viglia.
After five years of consecutive recession, “prices are not falling as much as in previous years,” said Patrick Tkatschenko, an owner of Mobilia Real Estate. “They are at least more stable this year but not rising.”
Since the beginning of this year, Mr. Tkatschenko said, he has noted a “renewed interest” among foreigners in buying second homes on the beach on the islands or in chic Athens neighborhoods. Some use the homes for vacations and rent them out during the summer; others buy for retirement.
Naxos is a bright spot with “a lot of potential,” Ms. Buchholz said. “Clients are asking for it.”
Manolis Lagogiannis, a consultant with Naxos Real Estate Agency Veronis, which sells exclusively on Naxos, said that over the last two years the market has gotten “better and better. The increase in sales is about 30 percent to 40 percent” compared with the years from 2009 to 2012, which were the worst, he said. Demand has increased more than on neighboring islands.
The budget for most of his buyers ranges from $190,000 (150,000 euros) to $316,000 (250,000 euros), Mr. Lagogiannis said. They are mainly seeking homes from 750 to 1,300 square feet “with open views and good quality of workmanship” or are buying lots to build their own homes.
WHO BUYS ON NAXOS
Foreigners typically seek waterfront and sea views and buy homes in Greece because of the good weather, appealing lifestyle, attractive prices and their affinity for the country, said Emmanouil Zervos, the office manager of Engel & Völkers Rhodes.
Stéphane Bénard, a lawyer based in Athens, said home seekers include Europeans and Americans, with a “growing interest” among buyers from China and Russia. Mr. Tkatschenko also noted an increase in interest among Middle Eastern buyers in “gems” or beautiful properties in the Greek isles.
On Naxos, Mr. Lagogiannis’s clients come from northern Europe, particularly Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and some from Italy, France, Belgium and Switzerland, with a minority from Germany, Canada and Britain.
According to a 2013 law, non-European buyers purchasing a home in Greece for at least 250,000 euros can get a special residence permit for themselves and their families for five years, renewable as long as they do not sell the property, Mr. Benard said.
TAXES AND FEES
Taxes and fees range from 5 to 7 percent of the selling price. Prospective buyers are advised to use a lawyer, who will check property title, negotiate with the seller’s lawyer and register the contract for 1 percent to 3 percent of the property’s price, depending on its value, Mr. Benard said. A notary, whose services are required, will officially issue a contract for a fee of 1 to 1.5 percent. Transfer taxes run 3 percent. Real estate agents charge a 2 percent commission. While the Value Added Tax rate on Naxos is normally 16 percent, sellers of vacation homes often include the tax in the price.
Greece tourism: visitgreece.gr
LANGUAGE AND CURRENCY
Greek; euro (1 euro = $1.27)
Mareike Buchholz, Mobilia Real Estate, (011-30) 6947 776 828, mobilia-real-estate.com