ECONOMY

Maisonettes going up in the world

Big apartments, particularly the newly built ones, have been affected the most from the drop in demand due to high prices and the increasing costs of borrowing. Although rising prices have eased over the last 12 months and the market has entered a phase of stabilization, this is happening at quite high levels. The final cost for the purchase of a large apartment soars to figures that would deter most buyers. This negative development in spacious flats seems to be harming both single-floor apartments and detached houses, whose value is usually affected by the land plot, while maisonettes are affected to a lesser extent. Living in a two-story house seems to remain quite fascinating for Greeks, while the normal size of a maisonette is found to be 120 square meters. Such size maintains the prices of maisonettes at more affordable levels. The factor of the location of a house plays the key role in the pricing of a maisonette, since in the expensive areas of the northern and southern Athenian suburbs the market prices are out of reach to the majority of people. Therefore, the search for a low-price maisonette must require some compromise over the location. A «cheap» maisonette ranges between -270,000-300,000 in the best of cases. «Besides the area, another crucial factor determining the value of a maisonette is whether it is detached or belongs to a small complex of four or five houses. The great supply of small complexes of maisonettes are found in the area of Gerakas, eastern Athens, where such houses are favored by the area’s town-planning requirements. Usually these small complexes include in each entity two maisonettes, including a playroom in the basement, a ground floor, a first floor and an attic, with the price per square meter starting at -1,900,» said Maria Bouyionikolou, chief executive at the Infocasa group of companies. Apart from Gerakas, there is a great supply of maisonettes that can be seen as low-priced in the broader area of eastern Attica. «In areas such as Kalyvia, Markopoulo, Paeania or Pikermi, sale prices for maisonettes range from -1,800 to -2,500 per sq.m., depending on the quality of construction and the view they offer. The surface area can be as much as 120 sq.m., so potential buyers who can spend between -230,000 and 300,000 for a house can choose a maisonette in eastern Attica or a comfortable flat in areas such as Vrilissia, Melissia or Pendeli,» adds Bouyionikolou. Seaside or suburb? If the buyer can afford more than -300,000, up to as much as -500,000, then the choice is between a detached house in Porto Rafti, near Markopoulo, or a big apartment in Kifissia, northern Athens. Another zone where the prices are relatively affordable is western Attica, with the main compromise being again the area chosen in order to acquire a maisonette. In areas such as Aegaleo or Peristeri or even the suburbs of Piraeus, potential buyers will come across little on offer. Construction companies have been discouraged by town-planning restrictions there to develop such types of houses, while the building of a maisonette among apartment blocks is not the best option. However, despite the obvious difficulties, there are many bold builders who have been constructing maisonettes inside blocks of flats, usually by merging the top two floors. In these cases, the price per sq.m. ranges from -2,100 to -2,500. Maisonette hunters can find many more options the farther they distance themselves from the city center, starting from -1,700/sq.m. in northeastern Attica, i.e. in areas such as Kapandriti, Grammatiko or Kiourka. Construction companies say that sale prices per sq.m. usually follow the sale prices in the area, while the total surface area should not spread to more than two levels. Furthermore, the maisonette may be a simple construction but its maintenance costs exclusively burden its owner, so buyers must pay close attention to the quality of construction.