ECONOMY

Homes got 12 percent cheaper in 08

Sales prices in Greece’s residential property market fell up to 12 percent in 2008 as the credit crunch and uncertainty stemming from the global crisis boosted the number of unsold apartments, said a research company yesterday. Research company Hellastat said a slower pace of mortgage growth and negative sentiment created by the general feeling of economic uncertainty have resulted in an additional 200,000 unsold residential properties. «As a result, sales prices declined by about 10 to 12 percent over the 2007-08 period, with large apartments having been most affected,» Hellastat said in a statement. Investment activity in the construction sector accounts for approximately 7 percent of the country’s annual economic output and some 400,000 jobs in the country’s 4.5 million work force, according to government data. In April, the Economy and Finance Ministry announced measures aimed at boosting investment and protecting jobs in the construction industry, including subsidizing mortgages and increasing tax benefits. Turning to problems faced by the sector, Hellastat said bureaucracy and delays in issuing permits were among the most significant obstacles to investment plans being implemented, increasing uncertainty among investors.