Refections on Life in CorfuWed, 11th Sep 2019
Sometimes when it seems that most of the world is in the turbulence of one kind or another it feels as if Corfu is still trundling on regardless– possibly this is because life in Greece has always been somewhat chaotic!
Overall we can’t complain about how things are going, there is a general air of optimism, which has been somewhat absent in the last few years. We’ve been in our new office for just over a year, which we love, and it seems to have been a great move with space for people to come and browse, and chat with us about the type of property they are looking for.
Property prices are starting to rise (although good properties in good locations have always held their price), tourism figures are on the up with some of the major hotel chains committing to huge investment programs and many businesses are planning expansion.
Some of this could well be ‘the Durrell effect’, as the series has been shown in so many countries, and many of our clients arrive looking to share in the atmosphere generated by the Durrells. In fact some of them say they want a house ‘like the Durrells’ or ‘in the same place as the Durrells’. Of course we also have those who ask us for ‘houses like those in Mama Mia’ – wrong island!
The rise of ‘Airbnb’ type lettings has really come to the fore. The new short term let category permits many owners to let their properties without an EOT (tourist let) licence, they merely register with the tax office, and then declare the income online - this has offered a great option for many property owners who do not make full time use of their accommodation or holiday home.
In the property business, you can rarely make firm predictions as to how the market will fare in the future, we really didn’t know what to expect. Happily, we had an enormous number of inquiries, with many viewings, resulting in a good number of sales of every conceivable type of property.
The Island of Corfu is a very mixed market with a considerable amount of property available, ranging in price from €20,000 up into the millions, for village ruins, renovated houses, land, holiday apartments, family homes and luxury villas. There really is something for everyone! This year we have sold converted olive presses, total ruins, pristine apartments, rural plots of land and a few gorgeous villas with amazing sea views.
Corfuhomefinders is a smallish agency – just 6 of us, a mixed bunch - 3 Brits (Susan, Sarah and me) a Norwegian (Lillvi), a Greek-Canadian (Aphrodite) and a Greek-Brit (Christina) and we all have our favourite areas and our favourite properties which make for interesting conversations!
So now, we are coming to the end of an interesting year, with 2019 shaping up to be equally interesting – everyone mentions Brexit but we seem to have pragmatic clients who really want to buy property in Corfu, know it well, and know that we have all been living here happily for years before there was EU membership or the Euro, so they are not deterred.
Corfu Airport is being expanded, with an increasing number of international flights from all regions of the UK and northern Europe which benefits the owners personally, as well as their holiday letting guests and on the mainland the motorways from Thessaloniki and Athens to Igoumenitsa are making it much faster for people to drive to Corfu.