ECONOMY

Halandri tops demand

Most real estate agents have recorded a decline in the demand for houses in most areas of Athens since the start of the year, with only a handful of exceptions. This is hardly surprising after the «purchase madness» over the last few months of 2005. Those interested rushed to buy a house before an increase in the officially determined values and the imposition of value-added tax on newly built houses. Nevertheless, in the first half of 2006, demand shows some resistance to pressures in several areas, which is confirmed by the data collected by Aspis Real Estate. To date, a total of 45,485 orders for the housing market across Attica were recorded in the company’s network of branches. This figure shows that a considerable number of interested home-buyers remains. Sale transactions are significantly fewer than in the same period last year, but the lack of time pressures allows potential buyers the advantage of a wiser choice of house according to their needs and financial abilities. After all, main residences that are liable to VAT are not expected to appear on the market before the end of this year. Demand chart Aspis Real Estate’s data shows that the northern and northeastern suburbs of Athens top people’s choices. According to orders for houses in Attica in the company’s network, Halandri is in the top spot with 1,946 orders. It is followed by Maroussi with 1,738 orders and by Nea Ionia, a rising spot with new buildings and moderate prices, with 1,600 orders. The 10 most popular areas also include Piraeus (1,479 orders), Kifissia (1,283), Aghia Paraskevi (1,224), Iraklion (1,220), Pefki (1,198), Vrilissia (1,112) and Gerakas (1,054). These are the areas attracting at least 1,000 households each. These figures may not be absolutely accurate as far as general demand is concerned, but they do reflect a clear trend. According to that, buyers are turning to areas that either offer a multitude of new constructions and high quality of living, or else the cost of buying a house is lower than in neighboring areas. The northern suburbs remain on top of house-shoppers’ preferences, as also reflected in other real estate surveys both by Aspis Real Estate and by Kappa Research in the fall of 2005. Demand peaks in areas preferred by the middle classes, but not the richer set, which is why Nea Erythraia, Ekali and Kefalari are not among the top choices. The most-preferred areas in the north of Athens are Halandri, Maroussi, Pefki, Vrilissia, Kifissia, Gerakas and Melissia, while other particularly popular ones are close to Mesogeion Avenue, such as Aghia Paraskevi and Holargos. On the contrary, demand for the city center is much smaller, a sign that the northward trend continues, as the northern suburbs offer many more new houses than the city center. Ambelokipi is leading demand in central Athens with 638 orders, thanks to its two metro stations. Ilissia and Patissia follow with 560 and 533 orders, respectively. The widely expected eastward trend has not emerged yet, as only Glyka Nera (566 orders) and Pallini (503) are high in preference, with Paeania (372) somewhat lower. Finally in the south, Glyfada remains top of the list with 721 orders, ahead of Alimos (680) and Ilioupolis (605).