At first sight, the Greek island of Mykonos seems an unlikely property hotspot. Denuded of any kind of greenery by a summer of scorching winds, its arid-brown granite contours look as if they’ve been dusted with sugar cubes: boxy white-washed houses as uniform as the landscape they inhabit. Legend has it that the Cycladic island’s large boulders the bodies of petrified giants slain by Hercules should not be disturbed, thus homes have been built around and on top of them to produce some striking layouts and features by architects. In fact, in the past 10 years, Mykonos’ deceptively spacious white boxes have become coveted by wealthy Athenians who are prepared to pay up to €25 million for a holiday home on Greece’s answer to Saint-Tropez.
An appeal based firmly on its beaches and the classy restaurants that spill onto them also draws Madonna, Tom Hanks, the Douglases, Harrison Ford, the fashion fraternity and a lively gay crowd. ‘It remains unique in its laidback attitude to international celebrities,’ says Roi Deldimou, who’s set up the first overseas arm of Mayfair-based Beauchamp Estates in Mykonos Town. ‘If you go to Cannes, Monaco or the Costa Smeralda, you have to wear your best clothes, but here, VIPs wander in their flip-flops among backpackers and locals. You can party if you want to party, or completely escape that.’
Among the labyrinth of alleyways near her office are tiny boutiques selling Chloé handbags and Rolex watches cheek by jowl with souvlaki (kebab) shops and top-quality restaurants such as Nobu’s Matsuhisa. The island is refreshingly free from chain hotels, and there’s such a demand for villa rentals in July and August that a relatively modest one with three bedrooms commands €10,000 a week, but Beauchamp also has one with seven bedrooms for €53,800. With market values of €6,000 to €10,000 per square metre, most people’s properties are available for sale ‘at the right price’, but the typical high-end property Minimalist white interiors, 3–5 bedrooms on a one-acre plot with an infinity pool is about €3 million.
Although the cubic ‘Cycladic’ style is obligatory on the island, the Mykonos market is more akin to the New York Hamptons or Monte Carlo than the rest of Greece, according to John Batty of Aegean Blue, who says the price of land rose by 20% last year. ‘Investment is pouring into high-end properties with most buyers being Greek ship owners and entrepreneurs. The super-rich are
willing to pay prices that bear no relation to the other Greek islands [where price rises remain in single digits].’ Yannis Ploumis of Christie’s a rare international agency in Mykonos agrees. ‘Mykonos is the only Greek island other than Corfu that caters for the rich international buyer. Such buyers are mostly European especially French, Italian and British.’
Because of the strong winds or meltemi, it’s not an ideal place for yachties (or gardeners), although there’s a new super-yacht marina being built near Tourlos, an area prized for its views of Mykonos Town. Other prime areas of the south-west include Lia, Ornos, Agios Lazaros, Agios Ioannis and Kalo Livadi. Most properties are standalone, with privacy and uninterrupted sea views of prime importance, but there are a few small-scale gated villa developments with units for less than €1 million. The lower end of the market is dominated by local transactions, but you can get an apartment in Mykonos Town for €400,000.