BUSINESS

Tourism bolsters construction

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Economy, Tourism

The positive course of the Greek property market after a decade of constant decline has been confirmed by an increase in construction activity, thanks to tourism-related projects that have strengthened expectations in the sector and improved the situation in several areas of the country.

The reconstruction or renovation of hotel units and houses destined to be used as tourist accommodation, especially the development of new luxury complexes, has contributed significantly toward reversing what was until recently a negative picture in construction.

According to Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data, total construction activity in June amounted to 1,374 building permits, which accounted for an area of 299,000 square meters and volume of 1.4 million cubic meters. This constitutes an annual increase of 16.2 percent in permits, 20.9 percent in area and 25.5 percent in volume.

Notably, the greatest growth was recorded in the region of the Southern Aegean, which is particularly popular with tourists: While the yearly increase in licenses came to 28.3 percent, these concerned 191.2 percent more area and 186.2 percent more volume.

There was also a remarkable increase in volume in Attica, amounting to 70.7 percent year-on-year, as a result of the impact of homesharing through online platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway, leading to renovations aimed at attracting foreign visitors.

In the first half of the year construction activity showed a yearly rise of 7.8 percent in permits, 17.3 percent in area and 15.5 percent in volume.

The positive trend of the market is also reflected in other indexes beyond construction activity: ELSTAT figures showed a 35.8 percent annual increase over the first quarter of the year in construction project output, while public infrastructure construction declined by 24.5 percent. Similarly, while investment in the construction of new residential properties had been in decline from 2008 to 2017, the trend was reversed in the first quarter of this year with 10.7 percent annual growth.

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