Athens office rents to fall 20 pct after 2010 slide

The cost of office rent in Athens is expected to dip by 20 percent due to Greece?s economic crisis after having retreated 17 percent last year, according to a report prepared by BNP Paribas Real Estate.

?A major negative shift in all (macroeconomic) indicators is taking its toll on property prime rents…spurring relocations or renegotiation of existing leases and putting pressure on rents as a result,? it said in a 2011 European Office Market report.

The cost of prime rent in Athens dipped to 280 euros per square meter in 2010 from 336 euros per square meter in 2009, according to the report.

Despite a drop in the pace of new buildings being completed, there is a rise in vacancy rates.

?In most cases, new deliveries that came onto the market are still unoccupied, contributing to a rise in vacancy rate (16.5 percent in 2010 from 12.1 percent in 2009) already growing from space released by companies downsizing,? the report said.