BUSINESS

Elections will hamper progress of online real estate auctions

EVGENIA TZORTZI

TAGS: Banking

The upcoming local, regional, European and national parliamentary elections, all in the next few months, are set to put the brakes on online auctions and efforts to identify strategic defaulters, raising concerns among bank officials.

That is because the forced measures will be suspended for a week before and a week after each election process, with a number of debtors looking forward to this suspension, seeing it as a chance to avert the auction of their property.

Whether the parliamentary election takes place before or after August, it will constitute the third suspension, after the two rounds of local and regional elections on May 28 and June 2 and the European election on May 26, as well as the August break when auctions will halt.

All this is set to weigh on the momentum of auctions, that otherwise would have exceeded 15,000 in total during 2019. This is making bankers worried that this year could be wasted in the effort to bring the pace of auctions back up to normal rates after the long delays of previous years.

Strategic defaulters make the most of every possible opportunity to postpone forced measures, including disputing the starting price of their property at auction; this is a practice that is responsible for more than 30 percent of auction postponements, according to estimates by competent officials.

Bank of Greece data showed that 14,900 auctions were conducted through the e-auction online platform last year, with a combined value of some 4 billion euros. However, only a third of them were fruitful (4,770 auctions), and the value of the assets that changed hands via auctions amounted to 1 billion euros; in 85 percent of cases it was the banks that won those auctions, acquiring about 4,050 properties.

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