House sales keep dropping


Last year witnessed a decline of about 20 percent in house transactions, which now amount to under 10 percent of their size before the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2007, according to an analysis by Alpha Bank.

The lender estimated that the total number of transactions in the housing market came to around 13,000 last year, compared with 148,000 recorded eight years earlier. Prices have declined by 40 percent since 2008, including the annual decline of 5.1 percent registered in 2015.

A similar estimate about last year’s activity was also made by National Bank official Yiannis Gordios. In a presentation at a recent conference, he said that the actual number of house transactions in 2015 ranged between 10,000 and 15,000, which stems from the data reported by estate agencies. There are no concrete data as the Bank of Greece only records the property surveying conducted for banking purposes, not the actual transactions.

A very small share of those transactions is estimated to concern newly built homes, possibly below 15 percent, which means that construction professionals only managed to sell less than 2,500 new homes – a new historic low. The most popular houses in the market are those that are at least 30 years old, which do not necessarily fulfill the conditions required by anti-earthquake regulations of 1985.