Home purchases soar, prices inch up


The Greek property market appears to have emerged from its decade-long hibernation: Bank of Greece figures showed that 1.35 billion euros flowed into the country last year for property purchases (mainly houses) by foreign investors.

That figure constitutes a 172 percent annual increase, after an 86.5 percent rise in 2017, when inflows had amounted to 500 million euros. House prices increased 1.5 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, when there had been a 1 percent yearly decline.

Realty professionals say that investments by foreign individuals and medium-sized investors in the local housing market peaked in 2018, with a focus on flats in the center of Athens, apartments in the southern suburbs of Attica and luxury holiday homes.

This huge rise was fed by the prospects for the utilization of apartments through short-term leasing platforms such as Airbnb, Booking and HomeAway, by the appeal of the Golden Visa program, which grants five-year residence permits to foreign nationals who invest at least 250,000 euros in Greek realty, and by the continued increase in tourism, which has raised demand for holiday homes.

Data from the land registry of Athens concerning the first eight months of 2018 showed a 60 percent annual increase in transactions.


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