Immigrant demand determines prices in inner-city areas

Most people approaching realtors to rent or even buy small apartments in the city center are immigrants, many of whom rent two- or three-room apartments, according to realtor Anna Michopoulou. «Foreigners are gradually earning higher incomes, overtaking the lowest-income Greek families,» she said. Achilleas Tsekouras said that in recent years, foreigners have started buying apartments in Aghios Pavlos, Kypseli, Metaxourgeio, Patissia and Kolonos. They usually buy apartments for around 30,000 euros (10 million drachmas), or in some cases even up to 60,000 euros (20 million drachmas),» he said. As for the future, according to investment adviser and property manager Nikolas Yiannoulelis, in Attica, owners of apartments from low- to middle-income groups, such as in Kypseli, are selling or renting them to immigrants and moving out to better areas. «I predict that this trend will be halted in 2004, because economic immigrants are mainly working on Olympic Games projects. When these are finished, they will either be out of a job or find lower-paid work, so they may be forced to move. Thus the demand in these areas will fall, dragging prices with them,» he said. Yiannoulelis said his company predicted that about 400,000 people would move out of Attica (about 10 percent of the population), including many immigrants who will seek employment in the provinces in public works under the Third Community Support Framework. «At the same time, more and more people will be settling in the Mesogeia plain area, but also the Thriaseio plain and Megara after the suburban light railway opens. So we believe that between 2005-2007, rental prices for small and medium-sized apartments in Attica will fall by 20-30 percent. In the northern suburbs, we believe there will be an annual fall in prices of at least 5 percent, as senior executives in multinationals move away, since people in these groups tend to live near their place of work. One of the reasons the northern suburbs are so highly priced is because of the offices along Kifissias Avenue and in Maroussi. However, companies are moving away out to the Mesogeia plain, and this will influence rental and sales prices in the more expensive parts of the northern suburbs,» he concluded.

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