Mr. Haris Menelaou talks about Gate and the Greek property market.

1. Please tell us a bit more about your company and what makes you so special? 

Our team, the people, the diverse experience which the group has as every single colleague carries with him/her a lot of years of experience in real estate plus academic knowledge, together with our passion for excellence and what we do (real estate).

We go beyond the clientele relation, we make our clients our friends, and we build our properties as they are our own space to live in.  We really put a lot of care for what we do, for example we thoroughly design our architecture plans, we make changes on changes aiming to offer comfort; yet we select the best materials in the market for our own developments.  Most importantly, we don’t forget the basics, a prime location property can’t go wrong even if the market collapses, this is what we have experienced over the years observing the market during crisis times.

Having said that, we have established offices in locations which we value as ‘prime’; that is the capital city of Athens, the beautiful town of Chania in Crete and the dynamic city of Limassol in Cyprus.  There is a nice synchronization between the three offices and teams, we share information about each market and we grow together.  We look every day for new opportunities within the property market and we pass those to our clients.  We have divided our companies into two groups, we are running a development company which builds boutique properties, plus we have the real estate and investment agency which adds value to our portfolio in general, and makes us offer more variety of properties, locations, and specialized property investment consultancy.

At last, I should emphasize the dedicated clients’ after sales services we offer aiming to offer VIP service and maintain their properties in good condition.

2.     How has your experience with international clients been so far, particular from the GCC ? 

I often say that we (my team) are blessed to have the opportunity to meet with so many different people and nationalities, we learn from our clients, every one has his/her own taste and way of selecting a property and location; I think this is what I enjoy the most in my job.

As I mentioned earlier, we have friends in so many different countries and we receive such a special job satisfaction when they are happy about their purchase in Greece or Cyprus.

We like to see every client as a unique case, we try to understand the needs of every person and family, and offer exactly they property which they want and dream off.  I keep saying to our sales executives to remember this every time they meet new clients.

3.      Greece with its mild climate and beautiful islands seems to be a safe haven for property investment, looking at other countries like the UK with so much uncertainty Brexit going on and a turbulent property market?  Wouldn’t you agree?       

You know I’m a RICS member and I have read so many different economic analyses about the Brexit, and we have very good partners in London etc., but we won’t know the consequences unless we live it..

Greece is, in my opinion, having lived and travelled in many places around the globe, if not the most, definitely one of the most beautiful countries worldwide.  The nature of the country never stops to amaze me, there is a sea view almost everywhere you look at, it is a country of the seas anyway, and the islands are its jewel, thousands of jewels in the sea.. and then you visit the mountains of Greece and you are wondering in what part of the Alpes you’re… and then all the historical monuments and the Greek history, the friendliness and openness of the Greek people who have a unique humour and smile in their faces in bad and good times, the food… the weather…

All these are reasons to have a home in Greece.  It’s a true Mediterranean destination, which offers a pleasant living and lifestyle.  Also, the low cost flight carriers help the overseas home owners buy a holiday home in Greece instead of let’s say out of Moscow or London…

And this is what it’s happening for some people indeed, I share now the experience of some of our clients and how they think, which they tell us specifically that they can get faster in their home in Greece, instead of driving out of Moscow or London and reach their second home …

In addition, the Greek tourism has nearly doubled (tourist arrivals) over the last ten years!  That has created new rental opportunities, it has changed the real estate industry and the ‘map’ of ‘great locations’ within Athens, or out of Athens and islands which offer either good connection by air or sea (from Athens and even European cities which have direct flights to Greek islands).  So the Greek property market has been gaining a lot of attention, and the studies show that the demand meets supply, and therefore the prices are pragmatic.  It’s definitely a value for money destination both for tourists and property buyers.

In addition, Greece has started to go out of the deep recession which hit hard in 2008 till 2012, and there is a positive political will to perform and bring the economy into positive growth.

It is also of a great significance to add, that in 2013, Greece opened up the door to foreign investors with the implementation of the Greek Golden Visa program !   Since 2013, more nationalities and property buyers mainly non-EU, have entered the Greek property market and this itself has given a great boost to the economy in general.

4.      You offer also advisory services for the Greek Golden Visa program, how in few words would you describe the main advantage for Non-EU residents investors?

The people from non-EU countries, have the luxury first of all, to diversify their wealth and put ‘their eggs into more than one basket’ by investing in a European country which is using the euro currency.  They are given the right to own a property forever, pass it on to their children.

Along with that, almost the whole family is qualified for the Golden Visa:

  • Buyer
  • Buyer’s spouse
  • Buyer’s parents as well as spouse’s parents
  • The children below the age of 21 years of age
  • Free public health care system
  • Free public Schooling
  • No obligation to live in Greece and/or visit the country
  • Travel in other Schengen countries (if we talk about the Greek Golden Visa)
  • Greece is their ‘gate’ to Europe
  • Establish businesses in Greece


5.      You offer services in both countries Greece and Cyprus, how has the real estate market changed over the last 10 years in both countries? 

I think we can divide our markets into two phases, the ‘era’ before the immigration-real estate programs, and after it; and the break up point is around 2011 which I think it was when Cyprus passed the law about the ‘golden visa’ and for Greece the year of 2013.

The reason I make this distinction, it’s because with the immigration programs connected with real estate investments, we have the appearance of Asian buyers to Cyprus first, and Greece later.  The number of buyers increased, the type of projects changed, i.e. we have high rise buildings in Cyprus over the last 2-3 years, and we may see this too in Greece next year.  We

6.      Finally, what’s the best piece of advice given to you?

There are so many which it’s hard to put one on top of the list, you know there is no a single magic word for success, it’s a combination of many things.  I hope I named a few above, for you.  ‘’There is always room for improvement’’, let’s close with this.

Thank you.

Haris M.