ECONOMY

Demand for big flats drops significantly, leads to lower rents in suburbs

A perusal through the rental classifieds leads one to conclude that there is a serious shortage of small apartments, while there are a lot of choices on offer for those who wish to rent a bigger apartment (over 100 square meters). Why is it, then, that bigger apartments dominate classifieds while smaller ones appear to be an endangered species? Simply because, as most real estate brokers admit, it is more difficult to rent a bigger apartment. «At this moment, it is very difficult to rent large-surface properties, independent of location. This is because, despite – or rather, because of – higher construction quality and other advantages. They are simply too expansive,» says a broker at the Potamianos-Kloukinas real estate brokerage. «People are switching their preferences to smaller apartments because of the cost, which, besides the rent, includes shared maintenance expenses. The big explosion in housing credit provision has limited the traditional pool of clients, that is, families, seeking apartments between 90 and 130 square meters. Each housing loan given means a potential renter out of the market,» the same broker added. Real estate brokers say that, due to this drop in demand, owners of big apartments have cut their asking prices between 15 and 30 percent over the past year. «This reduction may be apparent in the classifieds but these rent prices are not the real ones,» another broker explains. «Most times, the rent agreed is 10 to 15 percent lower, or even more. Especially in Kifissia and other northern suburbs, where there is an excess supply of apartments with an area between 120 and 200 square meters, rents have dropped 20 to 25 percent. they now average 800-1,500 euros per month, depending on location, quality of materials and other factors,» he adds. Still, an important number of households prefer to relocate to cheaper areas around Athens, such as Vrilissia or Gerakas. The crisis has also affected foreigners. Demand for houses to rent by embassies or foreign firms to house their employees – a house owner’s dream – has fallen dramatically. A similar situation exists in the southern Athens suburbs. There as well, demand for renting large apartments has fallen and has prompted a 20 percent drop in rents. In the Glyfada area, for example, rents for apartments over 100 square meters range between 800 and 3,500 euros; demand for single houses is very limited, while the greatest demand is for penthouse apartments. On the other hand, properties in the city center are holding better, in terms of prices. Near the prime minister’s and the president’s mansions, for example, some of the city’s biggest apartments can be found, ranging in area between 250 and 400 square meters. There, monthly rent is 10-11 euros per square meter on the top floors with the best views, and 6.5 to 7.5 euros per square meters on the lower floors.