BUSINESS

Greek banks put the brakes on mortgage credit

In Greece, banks will now only fund 70 percent of the house price compared with 100 percent before the crash, putting home purchase beyond the reach of most after six years of recession.

With an unemployment rate of nearly 27 percent, twice the eurozone average, young Greeks have to rent, if they can, or lean upon the hospitality of their parents.

“You have dreams and plans of starting a life together, and then reality hits you,” said Vasiliki Dimitriadou, who lives with her husband in her parents’ small three-bedroom apartment in Athens.

Vasiliki, 32, lost her job at a nursery a year ago, and her husband, who works at a small construction company, fears for his job, too.

Without cash, they can’t afford to rent, let alone buy.

“There were things we took for granted, like having your own house, that are now a luxury,” she said.

“I don’t see any light, our generation has been destroyed.”

In Europe’s periphery, homeownership is more culturally ingrained, with around 80 percent of people in Greece and Spain owning their home, compared with a 70 percent European Union average, according to the European Mortgage Federation.

[Reuters]

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