Greeks taking fright at the fiscal crisis enveloping the debt-stricken country are snapping up properties in Britain as part of a desperate flight of capital.
London is the traditional home of Greece’s wealthy shipping community. The city is being bought at an unprecedented rate by rich Greeks desperate to transfer their bank deposits.
A recent article on the Guardian reveals that estate agents refer to the new homebuyers as “cash Greeks” because of their willingness to part with large sums of money in record time to secure £1m-plus properties.
“They are all cash buyers, serious players who are only interested in the high-end market around Regent’s Park, Mayfair and Marylebone,” said Panos Koutsoyiannakis at the central London estate agents Fraser & Co.
“The other day I had one come in who said ‘I don’t have a budget’. Another bought a two-bedroom flat for £1.6m and didn’t bat an eyelid. They’re closing deals in record time with many not wanting to even take out a survey.”
Koutsoyiannakis should know. As a Greek Australian, it is he, more often than not, who is called upon to screen clients. In recent months, he said, Athenian investors have deluged estate agencies on Baker Street, where his own office is located.
“Normally,” said Koutsoyiannakis, “you’ll get a Greek inquiring about property every two to three months. Recently, we’ve had up to 15 a week and some even laugh about taking the money out because of the crisis.”
Many want to buy properties and put them in their children’s names as a way of diversifying assets, he said.
Historically, Greece’s super-wealthy elite has kept its holdings in bank accounts overseas, with Switzerland and Luxembourg among the favoured destinations.
Read full article at the Guardian.