ECONOMY

Plots off town-planning zones get more popular

Demand has recently increased considerably for plots outside town-planning zones, as more and more people are willing to move to areas further away from the city center to be able to build detached houses or cottages. The high prices of most of the so-called expensive areas in Attica have resulted in the soaring of costs of buying a newly built apartment, pushing up the prices of detached houses, too. Consequently, a large portion of buyers are seeking other solutions to cover their housing needs. Unlike in previous years, the willingness of potential buyers to make compromises to obtain a buildable plot, allowing them to construct a block of flats, is considerably greater today. The distance from the city center does not dissuade as many people as much as it did before, provided that the plot on offer is at an attractive price. Certainly one of the reasons for this has been the significant growth of many parts of eastern Attica. The creation of infrastructure for trade, the gradual improvement of the services provided and, of course, excellent access have now transferred a major part of housing demand to more remote areas. Already a number people have moved to further parts of Attica, contributing to improvements in infrastructure as needs have also changed. Property market professionals suggest that this trend is a natural development, as the already overdeveloped area suffers from construction saturation while Attica’s population continues to increase. As a result, the areas that lacked significant development in construction but are now more easily accessible, thanks to the Attiki Odos, the Proastiakos suburban railway and Varis-Koropiou and Marathonos avenues have now become top choices. Furthermore, the existence of many plots of land means that these areas are ideal for the construction of cottages or detached houses at far lower costs than that of the direct market. This is why purchases of plots outside town-planning zones are almost exclusively done by private buyers. Available plots outside town-planning zones can be found throughout eastern Attica, for example in Anthoussa, Anavyssos, Pallini, Paeania and Lavrion. Rates range from Varnavas’s 20.5-35 euros per square meter to Pallini’s 200-250 euros/sq.m. The time-consuming process of entering new areas in town-planning zones is the main reason for this huge supply of plots, along with the lack of funds required for many local authorities. Opportunities This does not mean that plots outside town-planning zones are to be found only in remote areas. One can find decent and buildable plots outside town-planning zones, even within the capital’s city limits, as in Vouliagmeni and in Halandri (close to Doukissis Plakentias Road and in the Patima area). Similar plots can be located in many built-up areas, e.g. in Karea, Kifissia, Pendeli, Alimos and even in Glyfada. These are small plots which have either been characterized as forest areas or were never included in town-planning extensions. Not everyone is interested in plots on which to build outside town-planning zones, however. Lefteris Potamianos, director of the Search & Find real estate agency, argues that many people show an interest in smaller patches that are not good for construction. Their aim is to make the most of the possible capital gains of these plots as soon as they enter town-planning zones. «These patches are sold for less than half of the value of buildable plots outside planned zones, so the cost is very low for buyers. Low prices are explained by the risk buyers take with such patches. Certainly, the deeds concern plots that belong to zones about to enter town planning,» said Potamianos. The most expensive plots outside town-planning areas are the buildable ones of 4,000 sq.m. Anyone who has the time and energy to seek out an opportunity may opt for the solution of plots outside town registers that are located either within a residential zone or on a central road. This way a plot can be considered as buildable even if it has a surface of just 2,000-sq.m. Still, its cost per square meter will be higher than that of a 4,000-sq.m. site. The problem is that there is no clear price context for plots outside registered areas. Usually owners determine prices themselves according to their own needs. The only parameters that still affect prices are the potential view of the site, its location, proximity to the sea and its capacity for construction or alternatively whether it is about to enter a town-planning zone and the stage of the relevant process.