Culture, History, and Business
Crete’s history is impressive even by European standards. Humans have lived on the island for at least 130,000 years and it was here that the first advanced civilization in Europe—the Minoan—was born. The ruins of Knossos, the center of Minoan politics and culture, are today a World Heritage Site and arguably Europe’s oldest city. Over its long history, Crete has been controlled by Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians, and Ottomans. Since 1913, it has been part of Greece.
Historically, agriculture has dominated the economy of Crete and wine, orange, and olive production are still important elements of the Cretan economy. However, tourism has been the dominant sector of the Cretan economy for a few decades now. The island enjoys a high standard of living and low unemployment rate, and economic conditions here are generally more positive than they are elsewhere in Greece.
Crete is an extremely popular destination for holiday properties, with wealthy individuals from northern Europe showing an almost insatiable demand for second homes on this sunny Greek island. While Crete weathered Greece’s economic crisis better than most areas of the country, the period of economic instability did take a toll on property prices and tourism numbers. Fortunately, Greece appears to be coming out of the worst of the crisis, which means that now may be an especially good time to find a deal on real estate in Crete before prices start to rise.
Crete’s position as a real estate investment opportunity is helped in no small part by regulations that make it very easy for foreigners to buy and rent out property. Citizens of European Union countries can live and work in Crete very easily. Even non-EU citizens can buy property, make income from rentals, and even qualify for permanent residency with relatively few restrictions.
With so many things going for it, Crete is an almost unrivaled investment opportunity.