ECONOMY

Prices on Saronic islands resilient

Greece’s property prices headed downward in the first half of the year, as the global crisis takes a growing toll on the economy, although the residential housing sector in areas close to Athens is showing more resilience to the downturn. Housing prices on the islands of Aegina, Hydra, and Poros – all in the Saronic Gulf – have outperformed drops in Attica as the close distance to the capital keeps buyers interested in the market. «It is logical that the prices here have not fallen due to the proximity of the islands to Athens,» said Despoina Bouloukou, head of residential housing at consultants Danos. With regular ferry routes offering easy access to the islands, a growing number of Athenians are also considering them on a more permanent basis. Athens is spilling over into surrounding areas, said one industry source, adding that property developers are looking at new districts in search of cheaper land for development. Price data on the residential market on the islands are scant, with valuations depending on the age of the property, its location and the willingness of the sellers to dispose of the asset. Property prices on Aegina range between 2,500 and 3,500 euros per square meter while on Poros they range from 2,000 to 3,500 euros per square meter. Prices on Hydra, which caters to the higher end of the market, are between 3,000 and 4,000 euros per square meter. The islands have outperformed the country’s broader real estate market hit by the downturn and the slowdown in lending. Residential property sale prices in Attica fell at an annual rate of 5 to 10 percent in the first half of the year, according to Aspis Real Estate, which pointed out that the southern suburbs fared the worst. [email protected]