BUSINESS

Housing stock is crumbling, demand to focus on newer homes

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Property

A considerable portion of the existing stock of unsold residences across Greece is expected to remain empty and looks set for gradual abandonment, a trend likely to grow when the market finally revives.

Chartered surveyors estimate that some 150,000-180,000 homes are being completely ignored in the property market as demand is near zero. What’s more, when demand does start to recover, it will mainly focus on new or under-construction apartments instead of older residences, even if the latter do have more attractive prices.

According to Giorgos Litsas, head of GLP Values chartered surveyors, an increasing number of residences are gradually exiting the market and not being substituted. Besides the particularly low level of demand, an increasing number of properties are being turned over to the state, either through confiscations or waivers of inheritance, which in 2013 amounted to 6,079 and last year soared to an estimated 10,500.

These buildings will likely be subject to considerable dilapidation. “The dramatic reduction in housing investments has resulted in a far greater volume of withdrawals of homes from the market [due to aging, damage etc] than the number of new residences built,” explains Litsas. A 2014 Bank of Greece study put the value of the country’s housing stock at 400 billion, but 2 percent of those homes are lost every year (i.e. 8 billion euros in value terms), while new houses add up to just 2 billion euros per year.

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