ECONOMY

Eastern Attica no longer just for holidays

The property market along Attica’s eastern and southwestern coasts is booming and is no longer confined to holiday homes, as used to be the case. Areas such as Saronida, Lagonissi and Anavyssos in the southwest, Sounion at the southern tip of the peninsula, and Porto Rafti, Rafina and Nea Makri on the eastern side, were, in the past decades, Athenians’ first choice for their holidays, due to their proximity to the city and their relatively unspoilt appearance. Beginning in the late 1980s, however, the increased density of housing and sea pollution had caused interest to drop off in favor of locations further away but with cleaner waters. The building of the waste treatment plant at Psyttalia, off the coast of Piraeus, has had a beneficiary effect on the quality of water around Attica and, consequently, revived demand for housing. At the same time, extensive road building, mostly connected with the construction of the new Athens international airport at Spata, has made these regions more easily accessible from Athens, creating a demand for housing. Many holiday homes have also been converted into main residences, as the roads were followed by other services, such as shops, which the area lacked. «Certain categories of professionals, such as doctors and businesspeople prefer to have a holiday residence close to Athens. Still, with the improvement of infrastructure, buyers of homes to be used as main residences proliferate, even if those who rent a home just for the summer are still numerous,» says real estate broker Mina Bouyonikolou. She adds that the extra demand has driven prices 20 percent higher over the past five years. As for holiday home rentals, the crucial factor is distance from the sea. The average cost of renting a 70-80 square meter apartment for the four-month holiday season ranges between 4,400 and 5,280 euros. House prices also vary according to location. In Nea Makri, for example, the price of an old 80 sq.m. house on a 300 sq.m. plot of land varies between 103,000 and 117,300 euros. In Rafina, the asking price for a similar house is between 117,500 and 146,300 euros. Mati, between Nea Makri and Rafina is the most expensive location. For newly built houses, prices are 30 to 40 percent higher. As for the prices of land plots alone, they vary between 235 and 590 euros per sq.m. in Nea Makri, Rafina and Porto Rafti, the latter price being asked for plots right next to the coast.