PROPERTY

Property market frustration

property-market-frustration

Property market professionals have been desperate and deeply disappointed in recent months in their attempts to carry out real estate transactions or even something as simple as an inheritance acceptance.

The problems of red tape in selling or buying a property are compounded by the persistent inefficiency of state agencies suffering from understaffing and a lack of incentives and organization, as well as teething problems in the transition to the digital era and the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

The result is that the property market is in zombie mode, in that the number of transactions completed is minimal, also damaging the state that is deprived of significant tax takings.

Realty professionals tell Kathimerini that shift work across state agencies has multiplied the delays already noted before the pandemic. 

“Even getting a statement of municipal property tax payment may mean a wait of up to three months, which means that a simple transaction can take months to be completed,” notes Mina Harbali, secretary general at the Athens-Attica Estate Agents Association.

In response to these challenges, some estate agencies have introduced specialized services for the gathering of all necessary documents and the issue of certificates on behalf of their clients, provided they concede the management of the asset they wish to sell.

The process for registering property transactions on the land register also faces months of delays. This is due to the apparently complex procedure of transforming the old property registry offices into new ones controlled by National Cadaster SA. Today several property registry offices find themselves in transition status, as they also double as cadaster branches, while problems have also been observed at the original offices of National Cadaster, according to the president of the Hellenic Association of Notaries, Giorgos Rouskas.

On top of all that come the measures against the pandemic, which have either slashed the number of employees turning up at the office or forced offices to shut down completely, as has been the case in recent weeks.