State not sure what it owns

Years of shoddy record-keeping, massive amounts of red tape and the lack of a land registry are making Finance Ministry plans to develop the state’s real estate portfolio difficult, since the government is unaware of what exactly it owns. According to official data, the Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation (KED), which manages state real estate assets, owns about 71,000 pieces of property across the country, including vacant land, beach-front property and apartment buildings. The government, however, is unaware of the exact whereabouts of some 22 percent of KED’s portfolio, amounting to 16,154 pieces of property. An additional 40 percent, or 28,427 pieces of property, has been illegally taken over for development by private individuals, developers – and even the church – leaving KED with a grip on just one third of state real estate assets. Despite the unclear picture, sources value the total portfolio at an estimated 17 billion euros. The Finance Ministry is planning to improve the management of KED’s property by transferring its assets to a holding group that will obtain revenues from sale and leaseback programs and Public-Private Partnerships. Plans target raising 105 million euros of public revenue in the next five years and listing KED’s investment arm on the Athens Stock Exchange in 2010. The listing of KED’s investment subsidiary had been originally planned for the end of 2006, but has since been pushed back to 2010.