The bulk of transactions concerning Greek real estate acquired by foreign nationals are conducted outside the domestic banking system, making it even harder to get a clear idea of the situation in the Greek residential properties market, particularly as regards holiday homes.
Estate agents who mainly work with foreign buyers say that the majority of sellers in agreed transactions ask for the money to be deposited in banks abroad. Sellers are even prepared to travel abroad themselves, with contracts in hand, in order to open a bank account.
“After the imposition of the capital controls [at end-June 2015], the cases of sellers requesting that money be deposited abroad have multiplied. Of course such transactions are entirely legitimate and taxed in Greece, but the revenues remain in other countries,” says Yiannis Ploumis, general director at the Ploumis-Sotiropoulos estate agency, which specializes in the luxury property market. That way, the funds paid by foreign property buyers do not enter the Greek credit system or the local economy in general.
This trend concerns virtually the entire construction sector, as well as private owners, especially those selling houses of significant value, as transactions of 50,000-100,000 euros hardly ever lead sellers to open a new bank account abroad.