Bad loans hold back 'enormous' construction opportunities

Significant investment opportunities exist in Greece as a result of the decade long freeze on construction activity but the banks must first sort out problems related to bad loans, said Peter Cosmetatos, chief executive of Commercial Real Estate Finance Council Europe on Friday.

Speaking at a conference in Athens, Cosmetatos said that "there is an enormous opportunity for new buildings. You drive around Athens and it just looks old."

"To attract the mainstream institutional investors, you need to work through the non performing loans," he said.

Despite a push by Greek banks in recent months to offload non performing loans left behind by the crisis, the figure stands at 48 percent of total loans and is the highest in Europe.