The negative impact of the pandemic on the demand for property has changed the market’s landscape completely within the space of just a year, leading to a drop in the volume of transactions, an increase in the stock of unsold properties, a leap in the number of apartments available to rent and the stabilization of sale prices.
In an analysis of the domestic residential market, property service company Arbitrage Real Estate noted that although asking prices remain resilient at a high level due to the low stock of new-builds, there has recently been a relative decline, amounting to 20%. Arbitrage partner Ioannis Orfanos says, “We are expecting a small decline in residential sale prices in Athens compared to the first quarter of 2020, especially concerning old properties in secondary markets.”
According to Orfanos, residential property transactions dropped by almost 30% across the country in the last quarter of 2020 as a result of the pandemic crisis – amounting to just 3,734. “Foreign and domestic buyers who had aimed to purchase a place for tourism purposes have postponed a number of their transactions, partly due to traveling restrictions, while there was also a considerable drop in transactions via the Golden Visa program,” Orfanos reports.
The Arbitrage report, based on big data analysis, showed that buying intention on the part of households in Greece is among the lowest in the European Union. Consumer surveys by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) and European Commission reports showed that only 0.53% of Greeks intended to buy a new house in the next 12 months.
That trend is clearly reflected in the constantly growing stock of homes for sale. At the end of 2020 this amounted to 228,838 properties, or an increase of almost 10% from the fourth quarter of 2019. The Arbitrage analysts attribute this to the fact that in early 2020, a higher number of residential assets had already been put up for sale with the aim of being bought through the Golden Visa program, or for buy-to-let purposes by investors in short-term leasing.
Last year also signaled a major drop in short-term rentals due to the pandemic’s restrictions, so the number of properties available for leasing at end-2020 rose to 67,804 – i.e. a 63% jump on an annual basis from 41,587 at end-2019.