Eight in 10 foreclosed properties put up for auction by banks are acquired by the lenders themselves, as prices are failing to attract private buyers.
In the last few weeks, at least 250 homes have been bought back by lenders, while a significant number of other properties have been ceded to banks on the initiative of borrowers who traded their assets for a write-off of part or all of their debt.
Delays in the foreclosure process have led to the accumulation of a huge property stock that is slated for sale, compelling banks to put under the hammer a large number of assets that are not only industrial or commercial properties, but also plots of land, houses and even parking spaces.
The properties that are being bought back come on top of the 15,000 already held by banks, turning Greek lenders into the country’s biggest real estate agents.
For the time being, banks are hoping to resell them at a higher rate than what they can currently fetch, amid optimism that the situation in the property market will gradually revert to normal and demand will resume in the future.
However, bankers are concerned about the high administrative costs and taxation, and the prospect of a prolonged period of weak growth in prices.