Greece drops home auctions in courts to beat resistance

Technology used to sidestep resistance, home foreclosures go online only

Forced home sales for debts owed to the Greek state will be held exclusively online as of May after resistance to the sales blocked the auctions from going ahead in the country’s courts, according to a draft bill submitted to parliament.

The bill, set to be voted on by lawmakers late Monday, aims to reduce the growing amount of money owed to the tax office and social security funds amidst Greece severe economic downturn.

Violent resistance to the home auctions has embarrassed the left wing Syriza led government that heavily imposed home foreclosures when in opposition.

SEE ALSO: Greece scrambles to contain fallout from home foreclosures

The latest Finance Ministry data shows that Greeks owed the state more than 100 billion euros, about 55% of gross domestic product, in November, up from 90 billion euros about a year earlier. According to some estimates , the government can hope to earn about 20% of the total amount with large amounts being lost due to bankruptcies and individuals who have passed away.

Unpaid tax bills have been growing steadily in recent years as the country imposes tough austerity measures dictated by international lenders, the International Monetary Fund and eurozone countries, in exchange for rescue funding.

Real estate experts anticipate that the increase in homes going under the hammer will create downward pressure on property prices in the short term with better quality assets showing resistance to these drops.