ECONOMY

Greeks eye London property

Greeks are showing a strong interest in the London property market; according to Key Property Investments, which has been active for a number of years in the British capital, the interest of Greek students in buying an apartment in London is 40 percent stronger this year than last. «Greek students are coming to realize that it is more costly to pay rent for the duration of their studies. Most halls of residence of British universities offer facilities to students only in the first year of studies. On the other hand, house purchase terms are especially favorable as banks finance up to 80 percent of the cost of a house, mortgage rates are low, and the purchase can be seen as an investment which can be resold at a handsome profit,» a company official said. Although rents are roughly on a par with loan repayments, the number of rented apartments by students is also up by about 10 percent. The London property market is considered as perhaps the most mature in Europe, while tax rules are clear and favorable for foreign investors. This has led to a sharp increase in their number in recent years. According to Key Property Investments, interest in commercial property has risen by about 60 percent in this period, particularly for buildings which have been refurbished and divided into apartments. In most cases, the value of such projects after completion at least doubles, while rent yields are approximately 11 percent. House prices in central and north London this year are up by an average of 8 percent and those of commercial buildings by about 4 percent in relation to last year. This strong rise in the interest of Greek investors in the London property market this year is mainly attributable to the satisfactory returns on initial investments in recent years. So much so that Greek investors increasingly team up into groups for large deals, involving two or even three properties together, worth more than 1 million pounds (1.6 million euros). Key Property Investments recently set up two new subsidiaries; Delta Way undertakes construction and refurbishment work, while Jadelink Management is in maintenance, leasing and payment of rents to investors. The company received purchase orders totaling 1.3 million pounds in the first half of the year.