ECONOMY

Home prices falling at faster rate

The pace at which housing prices are falling picked up in the first quarter of the year, dropping 5 percent on an annual basis, with the property market in Thessaloniki in a deep slump.

According to figures presented by the Bank of Greece on Thursday, apartment prices in Athens fell 5.9 percent between January and March after slipping 3.2 percent in 2010 and 4.6 percent in 2009.

In Thessaloniki, housing prices gave up 7.5 percent, after dropping 7.4 percent and 6 percent in 2010 and 2009 respectively.

The prices of newly built apartments showed more resilience than that seen among older homes.

Data showed that new home prices retreated 4.2 percent in the first quarter of the year, versus a 5.6 percent drop for apartments more than five years old.

The number of deals concluded in the property market in the first three months of the year also plummeted, falling 43.9 percent year-on-year to 12,718. The data are based on real estate transactions completed via the country?s banking system.