Useful information about owning property in Kefalonia
The following sections have been created to help make the construction of your dream home in Kefalonia as smooth and as stress free as possible. Here you will find information on Greek property law, property development costs and general information on lifestyle and culture.
If you are planning a permanent move to the island you will also find plenty of useful tips and advice on all aspects of your move including info on financial matters, moving your belongings and importing your car.
Why shall I consider buying or building property in Kefalonia?
The reasons are many. Here are a few to consider:
- Kefalonia is a short flight (just under 3 hours) from most European airports. There are direct flights between April and October from London Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Bristol, East Midlands and Newcastle airports in the UK as well as Switzerland, Sweden, Cyprus and several other European countries. So visiting your property or your loved ones back home is convenient and relatively inexpensive.
- Kefalonia's climate is mild and slightly wet in the winter and warm and dry in the summer. Expect 7-8 hours of sunshine daily on average.
Thanks to its unique and unconventional shape Kefalonia offers easy reach to both mountain and sea. You are never too far from the beach or the top of a mountain.
- Kefalonia is the fifth biggest Greek island but has a population of just 45,000. No over-crowding or traffic jams here, not even during the busy summer period.
- Greece has one of the lowest crime rates among all EU nations. Kefalonia itself has one of the lowest crime rates in Greece.
What is special about Kefalonia perhaps compared to other places in Greece?
Kefalonia is truly unique in many respects. Firstly, the weather is near-perfect. Summers are warm but mainly dry and winters are mild with a bit of rain. Other Greek islands can feel significantly hotter. Secondly, the island never feels over crowded. It is a very large island with lots to see and do but its population is under 50,000. Thirdly, the island has managed to keep its unique Greek identity. Finally, the average cost of living is lower than most other Greek islands.
What does Kefalonia have to offer international holiday home buyers and retirees?
Virtually zero crime rate, easy access to both sea and mountain, outstanding and varied scenery, a great mix of pebble and sandy beaches, most of the island is unspoilt/undiscovered. Kefalonia is very close to the UK - most flights are under 3 hours to any UK airport and just two hours from the Greek mainland by ferry and under 30 minutes from Athens by plane. Kefalonia is also much better for long term property investment compared to places such as Spain and Cyprus. There are also several work opportunities for people with the right skills.
What kind of people buy in Kefalonia?
They fall into three main categories:
1) Retirees or semi-retirees of all ages who have worked hard and now deserve several weeks a year of total relaxation and high quality of living.
2) People with chronic health conditions (asthma, arthritis, polio, etc) who are looking for a dry and healthy climate all year round.
3) Investors who are looking to buy property that offers steady growth over a longer period.
Is Kefalonia for everyone?
The honest answer is that Kefalonia may not appeal to you if you are used to visiting the so-called tourist hotspots of Cyprus and Spain. The vast majority of people who decide to buy a property here do so because they want to get away from large crowds and organised British communities.
Are property prices on Kefalonia reasonable?
Yes, very much so. €200,000-€250,000 will buy you a 3-4 bedroom villa and a pool with spectacular sea and mountain views.
Can you expand a little on Greek planning regulations?
- Property in built up areas can be of any size and the total build area must not exceed 60% of the plot's size. A distance of 2.5 metres must exist between the building itself and the plot's boundary.
- Property within village limits requires a minimum of 500 square metres of land. The total build area must not exceed 50% of the plot's size if the plot is under 500sq m and 80% if the plot is larger than 500sq m. A distance of 2.5 metres must exist between the building itself and the plot's boundary.
- As far as property outside village limits is concerned the law states that a minimum of 4,000 square metres (43,000 square feet or 1 acre) of land is required. The total build area cannot exceed 200 square metres. A distance of 15 metres must normally exist between the building itself and the plot's boundary but there are exceptions to this rule. Where plots are located outside village limits but within the specified residential zone, 2,000 square metres or less may be sufficient.
What are the main options when it comes to building a property?
There are two main choices: a) Concrete construction and b) Timber construction with concrete foundations. Hybrid constructions (such as half-concrete, half-timber) are also possible.
What are the main costs involved?
Costs to the buyer are divided into two main categories:
- Land and home purchase costs (should you decide to buy your own land or buy an existing house respectively)
- Building costs (should you decide to build a property on land that you already own)
I am moving to Kefalonia. Shall I bring my own car or buy one when I arrive?
Let's try answer this questions first by confirming that Greek drivers and roads are some of the worst in Europe! Overtaking around a bend with virtually zero visibility is a national sport and for this reason alone we would strongly advise that you import or purchase a left hand drive car on purely safety grounds.
Greek law allows British nationals moving permanently to Greece to import a car free of tax subject to meeting certain criteria. For more information on this, visit the Greek Consulate's website.
There are several reputable car dealers in the UK that sell quality used left hand drive cars. If your budget allows, you may want to consider buying a new car in Greece (prices are similar to the UK) but remember that you will not enjoy the tax free benefit mentioned earlier.
If you do decide to use a removal company to bring your own car from the UK there are two main methods:
1) By ferry. This is the least expensive option (around £600-£900).
2) By lorry. This is a viable alternative but is more expensive. Expect to pay in the region of £1,500 to transport your car this way. The main benefit of this option is that your car can be collected and delivered with your other household goods.
Alternatively, you may wish to drive the vehicle yourself through England, France, Italy and then loading it onto the Brindisi to Kefalonia ferry. The total distance of the driving trip (i.e. excluding the ferry journey from Brindisi) is around 1,000 miles. Consider the cost of petrol, accommodation, insurance and breakdown cover before going ahead with this option.