BUSINESS

Silver lining seen in Greece's sluggish real estate sector

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Property

The bulk of properties on the market haven’t experienced so much as a whiff of buying interest, but there has been some strong activity in certain sections of the market in the last few months as some people have identified significant buying opportunities despite the unfavorable tax system and the vulnerable state of the Greek economy.

According to Babis Haralambopoulos, former president of the Hellenic Valuation Institute (ELIE) and a scientific consultant of property services provider Solum Property Solutions, there is currently a marked improvement in interest in a series of property categories, and conditions are clearly improving. In contrast, demand for the majority of residential properties, stores and offices for sale in the country remains particularly low.

Haralambopoulos attributes that emerging demand in parts of the market to the rise in tourism. Demand is focused on propertiespositioned to benefit from tourism, such as hotels at destinations such as Myconos, Santorini, Rhodes, Halkidiki and Crete, as well as on holidays homes at prices that are much lower than those seen before 2009.

There is also buying interest from foreigners in ultraluxurious holiday homes, while apartments that can be let online for short periods are also in high demand.

“This trend has given the market for properties that are of interest to tourists, whether they visit Athens, Thessaloniki or the islands, a significant boost. Therefore, properties that are in the right location, and of the required size and construction quality, achieve much higher rental prices than the going rates in the market,” explains Haralambopoulos.

Recently there has also been some increased demand for select professional properties, mainly high-quality office spaces and commercial spaces in popular spots such as Ermou Street in central Athens. In those spots there are the biggest price differences with the low-standard professional properties, whose price decline has exceeded 65 percent and demand is near zero.

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