ECONOMY

Alpha Bank upbeat on property

The mortgage market is expected to rebound as of 2009 after the residential property sector’s two-year correction period, according to Alpha Bank, Greece’s third largest lender by market capitalisation. Alpha Bank officials, presenting the group’s first-half earnings figures to analysts, said they were confident that market conditions were ripening for a rebound as of next year. The officials also said they believe that Greece will start drawing more foreigners interested in acquiring a second home – mainly pensioners looking for a place to retire. Higher interest rates and a slowdown in the economy have weighed on Greece’s residential property market which had been experiencing strong growth rates in recent years. Other industry sources, however, see the Fall period which is considered the busiest time of year, as being crucial for determining the short-term to medium-course of the sector. If there is no improvement over this period then we will either see a number of construction companies going broke or a considerable correction in the prices of newly built homes to fuel sales growth, according to a senior source. A recent university study showed that about half of those questioned in the residential property market said they expect prices to remain steady in the second half of 2008 and that excessive supply will not be absorbed by buyers for at least another three years.