Saturday, June 22, 2024

Island Market

Greece: Interview - Farhad Vladi Talks Offers, National Pride and Bureaucratic Hurdles

Given all the press interest surrounding Greece and her islands, Private Island News thought it a good idea to catch up with seasoned broker Farhad Vladi to find out his take on the situation.

St. Athanasios - Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

St. Athanasios – Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

Greece is bankrupt. More and more people are calling for the Greeks to sell their islands. With this in mind, we spoke to a man who, for the past 40 years, has been responsible for selling private islands worldwide: Farhad Vladi, the 70-year-old founder of the Hamburg-based brokerage, Vladi Private Islands. He currently has five Greek islands for sale.

Mr Vladi – it’s been widely reported in the press that Greece has already started selling its assets. Even the US investor Warren Buffet is said to have snapped up a Greek island for next to nothing…

I’m afraid it’s all a hoax. The truth is that Mr Buffet hasn’t bought anything and that he doesn’t intend to buy anything either. Probably because he knows how difficult the situation can be when it comes to the Greeks and their islands.

Why? Don’t they want to sell their islands?

We know of a countless number of Greek island owners who are desperate to offload their island before the latest property tax hike comes into action. Indeed, we know of so many island owners in the region that I could easily list over 50 islands on my website. Ultimately, though, it would all be for nothing – in most cases, the client will end up pulling out of the deal, exasperated with the Greek government.

Farhad Vladi - Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

Farhad Vladi – Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands


Yes, because the Greek Government seems intent on doing everything in its power to make it impossible for foreigners to buy up islands there. Buyers are required to obtain no less than 32 permits, including permission from the Defence Minister, approval from the Minister for Agriculture, authorization from the Building Authorities and much, much more. We once had a client from France who wanted to by an island there – after waiting over a year to hear back about the first permit, he quickly withdrew his interest in the property.

That’s just the private islands though. What about the publicly owned islands? Is the Greek Government planning on selling off its islands to raise capital?

(Laughs) You couldn’t be further from the truth! For Greece, the islands are a matter of national pride. They’ll never sell off their islands – whether private or public. Until we witness a dramatic change of tact in Athens – and, personally, I can’t see that happening – I’m afraid I’ll have to advise clients against buying a private island in Greece. Instead, I’d recommend investing in an island on Canada’s east coast – they’re beautiful and in many cases, cost less than an apartment in Hamburg.

Have any Greek island ever successfully been sold to a non-native?

Just the once: to the Sheikh of Qatar. But only after he agreed to provide the Greek government with a loan for EUR 30 billion…

Printed with thanks to the Hamburger Morgenpost, who printed the interview in German on 21.07.2015.

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