Coalition MPs oppose plan to lift restrictions on home auctions

Plans for the government to remove restrictions on the auctioning of repossessed homes, including main residences, suffered another blow on Tuesday as coalition MPs criticized the move, with one leading lawmaker suggesting it would prompt “civil war.”

Ministers have admitted over the past few days that the moratorium on home auctions, in place since 2008, will be lifted at the end of the year. The government, which is under pressure from the troika to end the restriction, said it will seek to protect homeowners who are suffering genuine economic hardship.

However, the possibility of main residences going under the hammer has stirred opposition within New Democracy and PASOK. New Democracy’s parliamentary spokesman Sofia Voultepsi launched a strong attack against any plans to lift the temporary ban, which applies to homes worth less than 200,000 euros.

“This law already aims to protect the weak; if there are people hiding behind it then we have to find them,” she said, attributing the pressure on the Greek government to “obsessions” within the troika.

“The troika argues that if auctions do not resume, the property market will collapse, like it did in the United States in 2008,” she said. “It is better for the property market to collapse first and for there to be a civil war afterward, rather than for there to be a civil war first, in which case the property market will collapse anyway, as will banks, the government and all of us.”

PASOK MP Dimitris Karydis also slammed ministers for discussing the issue of home auctions, describing them as “irresponsible and badly prepared.” Several lawmakers from the Socialist party, including Odysseas Konstantinopoulos and Theodora Tzakri have expressed opposition.

Sources said that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s advisers believe that if the government sets clear criteria protecting the most vulnerable, the government will be able to win its MPs over.