For less than the cost of a ski chalet in Aspen…

… you too could be the proud owner of one of these:

We bring this to your attention because German politicians appear to believe the sale of Greek islands would be a valid way for the Hellenic Republic to raise revenues to help plug its fiscal shortfall.

Here’s Reuters on the matter:

Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, and Frank Schaeffler, a finance policy expert in the Free Democrats, were quoted on Thursday as saying that selling islands and other assets could help Greece out of its crisis.

“Those in insolvency have to sell everything they have to pay their creditors,” Schlarmann told Bild newspaper. “Greece owns buildings, companies and uninhabited islands, which could all be used for debt redemption.”

And luckily for Greece, if the government did in fact decide to put some of its sovereign territory on the chopping block, they would probably find ready buyers: there’s already a market for private Aegean islands starting at just $2m.

Those partial to an archipelago or two — we’re thinking pop-stars, airline moguls and shipping magnates — should check out the blurb here:

Greek islands are the ultimate status symbol, evoking images of sunglass sporting shipping magnates sipping champagne on the deck of enormous yachts.

In reality, Greek islands are relatively affordable, costing as little as two million dollars – less than a ski chalet in Aspen or a walk up on the Upper East side.

The hot dry summers in Greece are perfect for lazing around your island, sipping Ouzo and skinny-dipping in the Mediterranean. Some private islands in Greece are available on a freehold basis. If you require tourist amenities while visiting your private island, winter is pretty quiet in Greece as most of the tourist infrastructure goes into hibernation.

And it’s so simple:

Purchasing an island in Greece is relatively straightforward. Regardless of nationality [editor note: yes, even the Germans!], anybody can be a property owner. The only exceptions occur when purchasing an island near a national border or military land.

Non European citizens will not be granted permission to buy near national borders. Foreign buyers should retain a local lawyer with knowledge of land and real estate law. All the paperwork involved in the purchase of a private island will be in Greek, so it’s necessary to have someone working for you who can translate and decipher the red tape.

Although, at an average price of $2m per island, Greece would have to sell 3,250 islands just to match Wednesday’s austerity savings. Still, that would leave them with quite a few spare, if the following blurb from the Visit Greece website is any indication:

The islands are Greece’s chief morphological trait and an integral part of the country’s civilisation and tradition. The Greek territory comprises 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Sea, a truly unique phenomenon on the European continent; of these islands only 227 are inhabited.

Related links:
Λιτότητα
– FT Alphaville
Markets pleased by Greek plans
– FT

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