House prices last year rose at the highest rate recorded since 2006, according to Bank of Greece data released on Wednesday, in a clear indication of the recovery of both the market and the economy in general.
The figures showed an average growth rate of 7.2 percent year-on-year, against 1.8 percent in 2018. The last time major annual growth had been recorded was 13 years earlier, when prices in the country’s biggest cities had risen 13 percent compared to 2005.
The decline started in 2009, and up to 2017 prices are estimated to have shrunk by 44 percent in Athens and 48 percent in Thessaloniki.
The last quarter of 2019 observed a slowdown in the growth seen last year, as after the second quarter’s 8.3 percent annual price expansion and the third quarter’s 7.7 percent, the rate eased to 7.5 percent in October-December.
Newly built properties (up to five years old) recorded a rise of 9 percent in Q4 of last year, against a 6.6 percent advance by older residential properties.
Besides the efforts of some construction firms to benefit from the improved climate in the market, several new residential developments are to be found in expensive areas such as the southern suburbs of Athens, and offer high-quality standards, which partly justifies the increased prices.
Last year house prices in Attica recorded a remarkable 10.4 percent jump from 2018, trailing only the annual rise they had recorded in 2006 (11.7 percent). In the third quarter of the year rates advanced 11.9 percent before slowing somewhat to 11 percent in the fourth quarter.
In Thessaloniki prices grew 6.8 percent in 2019 and 5.5 percent in the October-December period. In the country’s other major cities prices increased 4.1 percent in 2019 and 4.2 percent in the last quarter, while in the rest of the country (including many popular tourism destinations) rates advanced 4.6 percent last year and 4.9 percent in October-December.
“Demand is greater than one or two years ago, with most interest focusing on a few northern and southern suburbs of Athens, such as Ilioupoli, Moschato, Pefki, Maroussi, Neo Psychico and Vrilissia,” says Individual Mortgage Solutions (IMS) sales director George Gkiokas.