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01 Aug 2012

Greek Investors Seek Security In UK Property

The uncertain banking system in Europe and Greece in particular has forced Greek investors to look for an alternative, with many cash-rich Greeks seeking security in the British property market, Greek daily Kathimerini English Edition reported on Saturday.

The newspaper cited estate agents' estimates showing that Greek investors account for London property purchases worth over EUR100 million ($123 million) a year.

In addition, interest from Greeks has increased lately amid a search for a safe haven, estate agent Sandy Triantopoulou von Croy told the paper. She added that Greek investors account for about 3% of property purchases in London in terms of value.

The UK property market is attractive because of its tax regime, which is among the most competitive on the continent. The market is liquid thanks to low transaction costs and demand which has remained robust over the last 30 years. Prices of properties in upmarket London areas and for select properties which are now worth over £5 million ($7.8 million/EUR 6.4 million) have increased by around 15% over the past year or so. Properties costing between £500,000 and £2 million, which seems to be the most attractive range for Greek investors, have seen even steeper price rises.

Some agents say Greek investors interested in London property include doctors as well as businessmen. Von Croy told Kathimerini that Greek interest is focused on Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Kensington, Chelsea and Notting Hill.

She added that the UK property market is also seeing increased activity from Italian investors, while demand from Russians and investors from many Arab countries seems stable.

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