ECONOMY

Berlin rivals London in attracting Greek property investment

Greek capital transfers for the purchase of property abroad, particularly Germany, have acquired a steady pace in recent months.

?We are doing business with people interested in properties that are taxed less and yield higher returns than those at home,? says ImmoConsult?s Konstantin Vollbach. He notes, however, that most prospecting investors find it hard to sell a property they own in Greece in order to buy one abroad because of lack of interest and low prices.

?Most investors have sums of around 250,000-300,000 euros and make up for the remaining required amount with a bank loan. As a rule, the preferred city is Berlin, where prices are relatively low compared to other cities,? Vollbach says. One of the main advantages of the German property market is easy access to financing. Banks cover up to 50 percent of the value of the property but tend to be particularly strict in scrutinizing the legitimacy of the origin of the funds transferred.

London has traditionally been the top preference of Greek property investors, who account for about 3 percent of foreign purchases. The trend has tended to abate in recent months, in favor of cheaper destinations, including France, Switzerland and Turkey — which offers a wide price differential.

According to Greek realtors, the average annual return of a local apartment now stands at 2-3 percent.