Greek Real Estate received a welcome boost yesterday as 6 of the Echinades islands off Ithaca, in the Ionian sea, were sold to the Emir of Qatar. The ex- husband of a cousin of mine was one of the owners, so congratulations to him, and I was pleased to read the very forthright comments from the mayor of Ithaca in today’s Guardian on the out-dated size restrictions imposed by the planning department on new building. We wish the Emir success in helping the Greek government amend these unhelpful rules.
The Ionian has previously been targeted by Greek shipowners wanting to add to their property portfolio, and build estates in these loveliest of Greek islands, and Russians enamoured the green and lush fertility of the islands, so this is an interesting addition to the club.
The Echinades were the islands where three hundred years ago, the Ithacan families kept their cattle. Back home on the “mother islands” of Ithaca and Lefkada, there are still some of the most exclusive large seafront estates that one can find, for sale and development, and a few islands as well. Unlike the Aegean, where there are literally hundreds of islands, including famous ones like Mykonos, Santorini and Paros, there are only 7 Ionian islands, and, with the exception of Corfu, they are largely undeveloped. All are blessed with calm weather and plentiful winter rainfall, and for historical reasons, one can still find vast estates and acres of unspoilt land for sale. These are the islands where savvy yacht captains head to in the summer, to explore the myriad coves and bays and escape the winds of the other side, so I am not surprised that this is where the investors with deep pockets are quietly looking.
Rumours of oil in the seabed are gathering momentum, so who knows what is in store for this area that has so much potential!