If you thought you had a tough job, try selling Greek property in Dubai. But Leptos Estates, the largest Cypriot property developer, is doing just that. As investors ditch Greek bonds because of the country's debt crisis the developer is displaying glossy pamphlets at the Hilton hotel in Dubai of ?3 million (Dh13.5m) seafront villas in Greece and Cyprus. Leptos's "property seminars" are aimed at luring Dubai residents with beautiful Greek beaches and azure-coloured infinity pools, just as the emirate's property prices have become more competitive.
Pavlos Ellinas and his colleague Andrew K Droushiotis seem undeterred, even though potential investors are asking a few more questions. "They ask how we are involved in Greece and whether Cyprus falls under the Greek umbrella," said Mr Droushiotis. "We tell them that being part of the EU, Cyprus has actually contributed ?93m to the Greek bailout." Mr Ellinas also remains upbeat about Greece, which needed a ?110 billion bailout package from the EU and IMF this month.
"The individual investor pretty much thinks the same way he always did," Mr Ellinas said. "He will say 'I love Greece' and not have the frame of mind of a crisis." About 10 per cent of the company's properties are on the Greek islands of Santorini and Paros, while the rest are on Cyprus. "Our main target group is really the 45 to 55 year olds who came to Dubai to make money and are now looking to invest some of that," said Mr Ellinas.
Emiratis have also expressed interest in buying a slice of Mediterranean life. "Those not from Europe usually know very little about Cyprus and that offers a great opportunity to tell them all about it," said Mr Ellinas. A recent commitment by Qatar to invest about ?5bn in Greece to help the country through the debt crisis "shows Emiratis that it is still safe to invest in Greece", he added. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org