BUSINESS

Greek property market sees unprecedented increase in rates

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Property

The Greek property market is witnessing an unprecedented – some would say violent – increase in rates, regarding both sales and rentals.

After almost a decade of recession, when rates fell significantly, property owners appear to be trying to recover most of the losses they suffered in just 12 months, not only due to the drop in prices but also to their years-long entrapment, as they were unable to find any buyers.

Data from online property ads network Spitogatos show that the average asking price for an apartment in the center of Athens posted an annual increase of 313 percent at the end of the second quarter, to 1,522 euros per square meter. Asking prices have also soared in Piraeus, by 18.2 percent year-on-year to 1,346 euros./sq.m. In the southern suburbs the increase came to 13.3 percent, with the average asking price at 2,530 euros/sq.m.

Owners’ expectations in the city center have jumped to such an extent that the average asking price there is now higher than in the eastern suburbs (Gerakas, Pallini, Paiania, Glyka Nera, Nea Makri, Marathonas etc). On a national level the average asking price stood at 1,474 euros/sq.m. at the end of June, up 7.2 percent on a yearly basis.

Demand for apartments in the center of Athens has soared in the last two or three years thanks to foreign buyers. However, most of those people are seeking to buy for investment purposes and do not have an unlimited budget, so they will only buy if they can see potential for future capital gains. As a result, the higher the market price, the lower the yields will be upon resale.

A similar inflationary trend has also been observed in home rentals, with the annual increase across the country at 9.4 percent, to 6.88 euros per sq.m. per month. In the center of Athens the rise comes to 10.2 percent, and the rate is now 9.52 euros/sq.m./month, a rate most Greeks are unable to afford.

This suggests that the prediction by sector professionals that the center of the capital will turn into a “tourism enclave,” with properties for foreigners only, appears to be actually happening.

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