The frenzy of investment in properties in the center of Athens is showing no signs of abating, as Chinese, Turks, Russians and Israelis, along with Greeks, continue to acquire apartments with the aim of turning them into short-term rentals as advertised on platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway.
In the first eight months of the year, the Athens Property Register saw a 60 percent yearly increase in the number of property transaction contracts, with the rate constantly increasing during that time – annual growth stood at 50 percent after the first five months. In 2017 the growth rate was 18 percent, after having risen 27.7 percent in 2016.
Foreign investors are scrambling to buy apartments in Athens for a number of reasons, mainly the low cost, as property prices in the capital have fallen 44 percent on average since 2009. However, the main targets of said investors have seen an even greater price drop, close to 55-60 percent in some cases, as they are properties aged over 30 years that require extensive renovation.
Crucially, if Athens is compared with rival cities in Europe where the Airbnb phenomenon is flourishing, the cost of buying properties is much lower in the Greek capital, while at the same time there is the prospect of future capital gains, so, besides using them for short-term rentals, these properties can fetch a handsome profit upon resale.
Last month’s data on such rentals show that the average daily letting rate in the center of Athens amounted to 51 euros, while occupancy reached 70 percent, which translates into monthly takings of 900 euros. Until recently rental rates in the center of the capital hardly ever exceeded 500-600 euros per month.
Of course nowadays many landlords are raising their rental rates significantly, especially in areas of high tourist traffic, with the Panhellenic Association for the Protection of Tenants speaking of a wave of evictions, including tenants who have not run up rental dues.
All this has also bolstered sale prices, with Bank of Greece figures showing an annual growth rate of 0.8 percent year-on-year in the second quarter.