Invest in real estate: Santorini


Santorini is a natural wonder of the world. A volcanic island located in the Cyclades in the southern Aegean, it is in a class of its own.


Breathtaking beauty and dramatic views from the island’s cliff tops have long inspired painters, poets, and more recently photographers, making it one of the most recognizable spots on earth.


The island was re-shaped after a huge eruption of the volcano that occurred in the 17th century B.C. and shaped the caldera, located between Santorini and the nearby island of Thirassia. Although dormant, the volcano is still active.


Colors take on a whole new meaning in Santorini. The shades of blue in the sky and sea are mesmerizing while red and black feature on the island’s sandy beaches as the tangerine sunsets leave you in awe.


This has all helped create one of Greece’s most popular travel spots, drawing some 1.7 million visitors per year.


The hotels are world class, while the bars, beach bars and restaurants cover all tastes.


There are a million and one things to do on the island. Beyond exploring amazing beaches, such as Perissa and Kamari, water sports and hiking are also on offer. For those looking to kick back and relax, the sunsets in Oia are magical, while a day trip by boat to the undersea caldera is also a unique experience.


The island is also of archaeological significance with the Akrotiri excavations in the south having uncovered one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean Sea.


Homes for sale

Santorini is on the radar of international home buyers seeking their own place by the sea. The island is much more than a summer resort.


Its economy is tourism-focused, but Santorini also has an agricultural sector and booming wine industry.


Year round the island has a population of some 25,000 people though this number more than doubles over the summer as workers flock to the island.


Its popularity makes home ownership a particularly profitable venture. Data shows annual home yields are among the highest in the Mediterranean region, reaching 6.1 percent. This is not only among the best in Greece but also outperforms areas such as France’s Nice and Marbella, Spain.


Its international appeal has drawn leading architects to the island. Santorini homes often rank among the most spectacular and expensive offered on short term rental platforms, such as Airbnb.


It is a small island, spreading over just 76 square kilometers, resulting in low supply levels of homes for sale. Prices per square meter vary considerably, with demand high for homes with sea views or those located along the beach.


However, despite its small size, there are a number of opportunities available to find that perfect beach house as the island’s coastline stretches over a total of 69 kilometers.


Homes and villas on Santorini feature architecture that includes a broad range of constructions with different styles. Whitewashed villages, blue-domed churches, paved paths and cubic-shaped houses dominate the island with neoclassical homes often seen in out of town areas.


The volcanic landscape has contributed to the characteristics of Santorini architecture. In a bid to make homes robust and adaptable, locals used volcanic materials to construct their homes, such as pumice stone, red rock, and volcanic dust.


Cave houses are also a key characteristic of the island’s building landscape.

They are homes built entirely, or partially, into the volcanic rock, normally by poorer residents due to its inexpensive cost. 


They were often two room houses comprising of a kitchen and bedroom built into cliff edges though a number of churches and storages areas have also been built in the same manner.  


Since then, however, this building technique has developed and some of the best-preserved cave houses are in Oia, in the north, and have been turned into chic modern homes and hotels. 


Improving infrastructure 

Due to the large attention drawn by the island, Greek authorities are constantly taking steps to improve its infrastructure. 


Santorini has its own general hospital and a recently renovated international airport, with a number of key projects in the pipeline: 


Port – Plans for a new port on the island have been approved by local and central government authorities. Officials are deciding between two spots on the island for the new port with a decision expected sometime this year. The current port, called Athinios, has been expanded to better accommodate traffic until a replacement is built. 


Energy: The island is set to hook up with Greece’s national power grid by 2023. Greek authorities are laying undersea cables across the Aegean Sea connecting its islands with the mainland’s power grid. Once completed, the island will be powered by renewable energy that will be transported from all parts of the country, boosting its power efficiency, while making it cheaper. 


Waste management: A new waste management plant will be built on the island in order to boost recycling rates and adopt more environmentally sustainable practices. The changes will start to be gradually rolled out as of 2023. This comes as the island has joined a number of other Greek islands, banning the use of plastics bags. 


Getting there 

Accessibility to the island is very easy. There are many international flights arriving at its airport every day, along with domestic flights. Santorini is directly serviced by the ports of Piraeus and Rafina and is linked by sea with all islands in the region. 


Getting around 

The road network stretches through the whole island, is in good condition and well maintained. There are frequent buses that operate from early in the morning till late at night. The central bus station is located in the main town of Fira (or Thira) taking passengers to the north (Oia and other villages) or south (Kamari, Perissa, Akrotiri).


The Weather – what to expect 

Summers are long, hot and dry with temperatures picking up in May. The Meltemi, a wind that blows from the north, constantly cools the island in the summer months. In the winter, temperatures are generally mild, but waves of bad weather, with wind and rain, may arise.  


The average temperature ranges from 12 °C in January and February to 26.5 °C in July and August.  


Buying real estate in Greece  

Greece’s government has introduced in recent years a series of incentives in a bid to draw investments to the real estate market.  


Non-Dom tax regime  

Legislation introduced in 2019 allows individuals who invest a minimum of 500,000 euros in real estate, business or legal entities to transfer their tax residency to Greece. Known as the Non-Dom tax regime, the law states that the investor pays a flat tax of 100,000 euros regardless of the total income derived abroad from any of the from any 57 countries with which Greece has a tax treaty.  


Foreign Retirees  

Foreign pensioners who transfer their tax residency to Greece and stay in the county for more than six months per year are able to benefit from a 7% flat tax rate on their global income.  


Attracting employees, self-employed from abroad  

Incentives introduced to draw foreign workers and the self-employed from abroad, as well as Greeks who left the country during the financial crisis, are able to transfer their tax residence and work to Greece. There is an exemption from income tax and from the special solidarity contribution for 50% of income from paid work and business activity for 7 years, provided that this income shall be generated in the country for these individuals.  


Digital nomads  

Greece has introduced a digital nomad’s visa for those seeking to live and work in the country for employers based abroad. Remote workers will need to be able to provide proof of employment and monthly income of at least 3,500 euros in order to have the right of legal residence in Greece.  

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