Chinese homebuyers likely to follow President Xi to Athens -

Chinese homebuyers likely to follow President Xi to Athens -

Improving political ties between Athens and Beijing are seen boosting Chinese investments in Greek residential real estate over time due to diminishing risks for Asian buyers, says Georg Chmiel, executive chairman of online property site

On Tuesday, Chinese president Xi Jinping wound up a two day trip to Athens aimed at "deepening ties with Greece" after a recent visit to China by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Greece is hoping the Chinese will invest heavily in the country, helping support its economic recovery, while China is eyeing key Greek infrastructure projects as a way of expanding into Europe.

Chmiel says Xi's visit will strengthen positive views of Greece held by the Chinese drawn by its golden visa, lifestyle, affordable prices, and sound economic prospects.

"We have seen in other places that Chinese statecraft can drive Chinese real estate demand. But property investors are not like stock market speculators. They can’t revise their investment strategy on a moment’s notice due to a new political situation," says Chmiel.

"The good relationship with Greece won’t bring large numbers of new Chinese buyers to Greece this week. Instead, it will tend to encourage Chinese investment over time as a positive background factor. The good political relationship between Athens and Beijing reduce risk for investors."

Chinese buyer inquiries for property in Greece peaked in the third quarter of 2018 but remain solid with recently recording some 1,500 indexed inquiries per quarter. Greece is the eleventh most popular country in the world for Chinese residential real estate buyers, ahead of Spain, Portugal, and Malta.

What are the Chinese looking for in Greece? Chmiel says that those who do not intend to live in the country tend to look for hands-off income-producing property.

"They want apartments that will work as short-term rentals for tourists or homes that will easily find long-term renters at prevailing market rates. They want a local management firm to take care of their properties for them and to make sure they comply with all legal and tax requirements," he says.

"Chinese who intend to live in Greece want a property that offers a suitable lifestyle. They look for proximity to good schools and universities, convenience to services and transport, and access to the more cosmopolitan retail and entertainment districts," he adds


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