Buying property in Greece as a foreigner: a UK guide

Zorica Lončar

If you’re looking for a land blessed by the gods, rumour has it Greece is the place. A sun-kissed Mediterranean country rich with historic and cultural treasures, Greece is an irresistible destination for many tourists, travellers and expats from the UK.

If you’re dreaming of life in bustling Athens or Thessaloniki, or an escape to one of the beautiful Greek islands, you’ll need to start looking into buying property in Greece.

Property ownership in Greece is incredibly common, with over 70% of residents owning their homes¹ thanks to a strong culture of family and inherited property. But don’t worry - there are still plenty of properties left on the market, so you can snap up a little piece of Greek paradise as your own.

If you’re ready to take the plunge on Hellenic property, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to buy property in Greece as a foreigner.

And, if you want to manage your money easily in both Greece and the UK, check out the Wise account. Wise lets you send, spend, receive, convert and manage your money in multiple currencies – including British pounds and euros – always at the mid-market exchange rate. Wise takes the security of your money seriously – it offers secure, fast payments, along with specialist support.


Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

What’s the property market like in Greece?

It’s no secret that the Greek economy has struggled in recent years. After a major crash in 2009, the nation struggled to regain footing. This, along with the unprecedented global coronavirus crisis, has also affected the housing market. For potential buyers, this could mean the chance to snap up a cheap property - but it also comes with a degree of risk.

House prices in Greece are once again on the rise - and rather quickly. Urban areas of the country saw a 11.32% rise in prices in Q3 2022 (-0.31% year-on-year when adjusted for inflation).²

Can foreigners buy a house in Greece?

Yes, but it’s easier for some than others. While EU residents will run into almost no restrictions on purchasing property in Greece, non-EU residents may need to prove both their connections to the country and their intent for property use.³ This application is made to the Ministry of National Defense, and mostly involves submission of documents and proof of use intent.

Buying property in Greece after Brexit

Now that the UK has officially left the EU, buying property in Greece is a little more difficult for UK citizens.

You will still have the right to buy and own property, and rent it out if you want to. But you may also face restrictions and a few more administrative processes, as mentioned above. But the good news is that as a non-EU citizen, British buyers are now eligible for the Golden Visa scheme, which we’ll look at next.⁴

Can I buy a house in Greece and get residency?

One of the main attractions of buying property in Greece is its Golden Visa scheme. This grants a five-year residency permit to foreigners investing in property in the country. You’ll need to spend at least €500,000 (starting from May 1st, 2023. Previously, the threshold was €250,000)on your home, and meet other criteria such as having health insurance and no criminal record.⁵

Once granted, the holder of a Golden Visa and their immediate family members can legally live and work in Greece. However, you aren’t actually required to live there and you can choose to rent out your purchased property if you like.⁵

If you do settle in Greece, you can apply for citizenship once you’ve lived there for seven years. Or, you can simply renew your residency permit.⁵

How much does it cost to buy property in Greece?

The cost of property in Greece is largely dependent on the type of property and where you’re looking to buy.

Let’s take a look at average prices for apartments and homes in a few of the most popular parts of the country:⁶

AreaCost of a home (€/sqm) Q4 2022
Athens South€3,261
Athens West€1,580
Thessaloniki city centre€1,857

And, if you’re arranging your property purchase in Greece while still in the UK, you’ll need a safe, reliable and preferably low-cost way to send over fees, deposits and other payments.

The Wise account could be a great solution, with transparent, low fees, and multiple layers of security, so you can safely transfer large amounts overseas.

Learn more about the Wise account

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

How can I find a property in Greece?

If it’s nearly time to start your property search, here’s how to get started.

Property agencies and agents

Because of the nature of finding homes across islands, most property-seekers choose to use a real estate agent in their search. You can go for a Greek agent, or choose one in your home country - although they’ll usually work in cooperation with an agent in Greece.

An estate agent should be able to help you with everything from getting legal advice to taking out insurance, along with finding decorators, contractors and other “next-steps” after the sale. It’s also possible to find an agent who will deal with construction services on your behalf, including supervising the work.

All in all, if you’re looking for support as you make your purchase and get ready to move, contracting an agent is a good idea.

Property websites in Greece

If you’re hoping to skip the real estate agent fees, your first stop will probably be online listings. Some good places to find houses and flats for sale in Greece are:

Best places to buy property in Greece


In Greece, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to location. There’s something for everyone, from vibrant cities and countryside boltholes to sleepy fishing villages and picturesque seaside resorts. Here are just a few of the best places to start your property search:

  • Corfu. A mega popular destination for UK expats, the island of Corfu has a UNESCO heritage old town, beautiful sandy bays and lively tourist areas.
  • Kefalonia. A little quieter than Corfu, this pretty island boasts charming fishing villages, fantastic walking trails and sparkling turquoise waters. It’s a great destination for retirees, or anyone in search of the quiet life.
  • Zakynthos/Zante. One of the Ionian islands, Zakynthos has it all - stunning beaches, historic castles, hilltop villages, family-friendly resorts and party hotspots. It’s all about finding the right place for you.
  • Crete. Chania on the island of Crete is a popular spot for UK buyers, thanks to its reputation for safety, a sun-soaked climate and a choice of bustling cities, coastal communities and pretty mountain villages.
  • Rhodes. This holiday hotspot has a wonderfully preserved medieval old town, along with lively seaside villages and great connections to the UK and Europe. Rhodes is also a good place to buy property, particularly a holiday home - although it can be more expensive than other islands.
  • Peloponnese. This large central region is bursting with history, and is a great spot for food lovers too thanks to exceptional local produce - including the famous Kalamata olives.
  • Athens. With year-round entertainment and facilities, the historic capital of Greece is ideal for those who love bustling city life. It’s well-connected too, with frequent direct flights to the UK. But it doesn’t come cheap, and you may find that an apartment is the most readily available and affordable option.

Pitfalls to avoid when buying property in Greece

Buying a home in another country - especially when you live in another country - will always come with its risks and challenges. Let’s take a look at some of the potential pitfalls of buying property in Greece.

Avoiding scams

As is the case anywhere, you may run into real estate scammers in your Greek property search. While the exact scams change every day, there are a few things to keep in mind to help ensure you’re not taken for a ride:

  • Never send money or a deposit before you have met the seller, seen the property or have a working set of keys.
  • Ask for an up-to-date property inspection. The seller should provide this.
  • Do a thorough walk through with your real estate agent with your inspection document in hand.
  • Ensure that the seller has the legal right to sell the property, i.e. they’re the real property owner.
  • Double check on your rights to the property - if it’s designated Alpha by the Greek Government (a historic home) you may have little to no ability to make updates or changes.

Is it safe to buy property in Greece?

The turbulent economy in Greece, and particularly the crash in 2009, has made some people nervous about investing in property in the country.

But provided you follow the advice above to avoid scams, and seek expert advice to buy your home - it should be as safe to buy property in Greece as it is anywhere else. Sensible buyers will do their homework, avoid overstretching themselves financially, and take steps to keep their money safe.

How do I choose the right property?


Property types – flats, houses, lands, villas, holiday homes in Greece

Villas are among the most sought-after types of property in Greece. However, it’s a good idea to remember there are other options that may serve you better or cost less in the long run.

Apartments, for instance, may come with sweeping ocean views and beach access, while being significantly cheaper to buy and maintain.

That being said, there’s no type of property you can’t find in Greece. Modern homes, historic villas, townhouses, flats, and plots of land are all available, depending on where you look.

Condition of the property

Realistically, buying a home in Greece should be approached with some caution. Because many properties are historic, they may require modernisation or rigorous upkeep - essential work which may not have been done following the economic crash.

Because of this, it’s a smart idea to bring your own inspector and walk through the house with them, so you can get a real idea of any problems or necessary maintenance. It’s possible to find well-kept, up-to-date homes in Greece, but it’s always a good idea to do your research.

How to buy property in Greece from the UK - a step-by-step guide

Buying property in Greece is a pretty straightforward process, even for a foreigner. These are the steps to keep in mind as you get started:

  1. Choose where to buy. While shopping online can give you a good idea of the property itself, it can be difficult to get a real feel for the area without being there. As such, it’s a good idea to take a trip to Greece to scout where you’d like to buy beforehand, if possible.
  2. Retain an agent. If you’d rather search yourself, begin looking online.
  3. Visit the property for a viewing. It can also be a good idea to take a builder or other professional with you to check for any structural or other issues.
  4. Get your paperwork in order. You’re likely to need proof of ID and residence/visa (if applicable), along with copies of tax returns, bank statements and other documentation.³
  5. Pick your property and make an offer. After choosing a property and doing your due diligence, make an offer to the seller.
  6. Get a lawyer. Your lawyer will do the required legal searches and manage all the necessary paperwork for the purchase, including checking whether there are any restrictions or prohibitions on the property.
  7. Get a technical survey of the property carried out. This isn’t mandatory, but it could help to flag up any serious issues early on.
  8. Apply for a tax number. To buy property in Greece, you’ll need to apply for a unique tax registry number known as an AFM.³
  9. Get a notary. The notary makes or breaks the property sale in Greece, handling the completion of the acquisition contract. So, make sure all your documents are in order so you can breeze through this process.
  10. Pay your taxes. The buyer pays for the property tax transfer in Greece, which is usually 3.09% of the taxable property value.³
  11. Enjoy your new property!

How do deposits, down payments, mortgages and bank loans work in Greece?

Choosing a bank

If you’re looking for a mortgage or home loan, you may struggle to do so. This is because many banks in the country have halted real estate lending due to the numerous “bad” mortgages they were saddled with since the market crash.⁷

While it’s technically possible for a foreigner to get a mortgage in Greece and the situation is improving, you may be better off working with your local bank for a loan instead. If you’d prefer to try your luck with a Greek bank, you’ll be better off at an institution you’re already banking with.

Deposits and down payments

Typically you’ll be asked to pay 10% of the property’s total value to “reserve” it.³ You can do so with your Wise multi-currency account, or move money via Wise to get the mid-market exchange rate and cut down on international transfer fees.

What kind of taxes and fees will I need to pay?

As you’re setting your total budget, it’s a good idea to recognise what kinds of fees you’ll need to pay up front. While it’s important to do your own research, these fees are some standard ones to look out for

Agency/Agent fees:2% – 2.5% + VAT
Notary fees:0.65 – 1% + VAT
Lawyer fees:0.40 – 1% + VAT
Public Registration fees:0.5% + VAT
Exchange rate:While this varies from bank to bank, it should be based on the mid-market rate. If you’re not getting the best rate from your bank, paying via Wise could be a money-saving solution.

And there you have it - your essential guide to buying a property in Greece from the UK or wherever you are in the world. The best of luck with your property purchase!

And if you’re looking for ways to manage your finances in multiple countries, check out the Wise account. You can send and hold money in 40 currencies, and spend in 150+ countries around the world using the Wise card.

Register with Wise today

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

Sources used:

  1. Statista - Homeownership rate in Europe
  2. Global Property Guide - House price growth in Greece
  3. Get Golden Visa - Buying property in Greece
  4. Residence-Greece - Property after Brexit
  5. Schengen Visa Info - Greece Golden Visa
  6. spitogatos - Property index
  7. Proper Star - Mortgage in Greece

Sources last checked on date: 24-Mar-2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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