For those overseas property investors looking for a whole new life, there are free houses available on one small but picturesque Greek island.
With many parts of Greece groaning under the weight of over-tourism, one island has the opposite problem: the population is so small it’s now paying people to move there.
Antikythera, measuring just eight square miles of land between Crete and the Peloponnese, has only 24 residents, but is willing not only to give successful applicants free houses with a plot of land, but also €500 (about £450) a month to live on for the first three years.
Families with young children in particular are what the council on Antikythera is looking for, to enable them to bring down the average age of the population and boost the school that recently reopened when its first set of new settlers, who arrived last September, brought three children to the island.
Also hoping to boost tourism to the island, its official website states: ‘Antikythera is one of the tiniest, non-modernized, inhabited Greek Islands. With so little commercialism and the landscape unadulterated, Antikythera is a haven for visitors who will like the simplicity of laid-back holidays, soaking up the glorious Greek sun, exploring on foot, meeting all the locals, eating local produce and swimming in the crystal clear, sparkling sea from one of the two tiny beaches to cool off.’
Anyone taking up the offer of free houses on Antikythera will find that the island’s only village of Potamos has just one food store but no bank or cash machines. For the hoped-for influx of tourists, it has one property on Airbnb, and one other form of accommodation, the Municipal Hostel of Antikythera, so there is potential to offer new tourist accommodation.
Despite its tiny size, the island is famous for a very important discovery made there in 1902: the Antikythera Mechanism, an archaeological item recognised as the world’s first computer.
Valerios Stais found the rusty remnant in a 2,000-year-old Roman shipwreck. An intricate system of more than 30 sophisticated bronze gears housed in a wooden and bronze case the size of a shoebox, it was used by ancient Greeks to chart the movement of the sun, moon and planets, predict lunar and solar eclipses and even signal the next Olympic Games.
Any overseas property investors, preferably with young families, looking to be part of a friendly island community with free houses thrown in, may want to investigate Antikythera.