ECONOMY

Yields grow on commercial property

Yields on Athens prime commercial property climbed this year as pessimism over Greece?s economy and the prospect of banks selling assets depressed real estate values, according to Colliers International.

Yields on the best office properties in the Greek capital rose to 8 percent this year from 6.9 percent in 2009 and prime shopping-mall yields increased to 8.5 percent from 6.3 percent, said Ana Vukovic, the broker?s managing director for Greece.

Yields from income-producing real estate move in the opposite direction of property values. ?Prime yields are moving upwards in 2012 driven by the high cost of money and low availability of capital combined with suppressed demand? and pressure on banks to sell properties to bolster their balance sheets, Vukovic said.

The country?s economic crisis is prompting local businesses, banks and other commercial real estate owners to close stores and branches, opening opportunities to investors.

Greece has pledged to raise 50 billion euros from state assets, around half of which is real estate, by 2020 to meet conditions tied to 240 billion euros in foreign aid pledged over the past two years.

Prime office vacancy rates in Athens doubled to 16 percent this year and rents fell to about 21 euros per square meter a month from 32 euros per square meter at the peak, according to Colliers.

Prime retail rents fell to 150 euros per square meter a month, from as much as 280 euros per square meter a month at the peak in 2006 and 2007.

[Bloomberg]