Resicom – Holiday Investment – 04-21 – LB

Athens – A Property Investment Opportunity

The Greek capital of Athens suffered as much as anywhere from the global financial crisis in 2008, but it seems that things are starting to turn around in the Greek property market.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Greece grew throughout 2017 and is expected by the European Commission to continue growing at 2.5 per cent per year for the next two years at least.

In addition, overseas property investors have now spotted the opportunities, and spent twice as much on Greek property in January this year than the previous year.

The place most likely to benefit from the revival of the Greek property market is the historic capital of Athens.

As European capital cities go, Athens is particularly affordable. Property in the Greek capital averages around €1,500 per square metre.

To put this into perspective, that cost equates to around half the average price of property in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. It is about a third the price of property in Berlin, Barcelona, or Madrid, and nearly seven times cheaper than Paris.

Property prices in Athens have been falling constantly since 2008 according to the Bank of Greece and now sit around 44 per cent lower than at their peak. However, the rate of fall has been slowing in recent years to just a 0.9 per cent fall in 2017, when in the final quarter prices actually remained constant.

In fact, a report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has claimed that property prices in Athens have actually been climbing over the last couple of years, indicating that the slump is truly over.

Interest from property investors is rapidly growing, with the number of real estate transactions in Athens up by a huge 50 per cent in the first two months of 2018 when compared to the previous year.

Tourist levels in Greece are also booming, creating growing demand for rental accommodation. The number of tourists visiting Greece has doubled from 15 million in 2009 to 30 million last year.

Leading the way is Athens, a city that welcomed 4.8 million tourists in 2017, up by 10 per cent from the year before.

All of these extra tourists need somewhere to stay, and holiday rentals company Airbnb report growth on average of 66 per cent per year since 2010, more than double the growth seen in Paris.

Interest from overseas property investors has also been buoyed by the affordability of the Greek residence permit programme. To obtain a Greek residence permit, investors only have to spend €250,000 on one or more properties. This is half the level needed in Spain and also less than Portugal.

It seems that the property market in Greece, and particularly the capital of Athens is finally on the road to recovery. Overseas property investors should consider taking that road.

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