ECONOMY

Bearish mood in property market

Consumers appear confused about the prospects and trends of the housing market, a new poll by the statistics department at the Athens University of Economics and Business has shown. About two-thirds of the 2,200 citizens asked for their opinion said this period is not favorable for buying a house, with those earning less being predictably more negative toward a purchase. This unfavorable climate is not expected to change anytime soon, with 70 percent of respondents saying they will not buy a house in the next couple of years. The general economic crisis is turning households away from mortgages, with 68.3 percent of respondents saying it is not a good move for now. Yet, at the same time, 55.5 percent think that prices will continue to rise. However, data from the Aspis Real Estate chain of agencies paint a more optimistic picture: In the first 10 months of 2008, it completed the sale of 1,320 houses, which is 49 percent higher than those sold in the same period last year, while average prices have shown a moderate decline, ranging from 0.6 percent in central Athens to 3.6 percent in the southern suburbs of the capital.