National Bank of Greece (NBG) has launched its own online platform (realestateonline.gr) to sell properties tied to bad loans held by the lender.
The move follows in the steps of Greece's largest lender, Piraeus Bank, that launched its own online property auction platform last year with mixed results.
Greek banks are struggling to manage some 90 billion euros of bad loans left on their balance sheets from the country's eight year recession that sliced nearly 25 percent off the size of the economy. The launch of the online auction is seen as providing NBG with an extra tool in its battle against strategic defaulters, loan holders who have the money to pay the loan back but refuse to do so.
Piraeus Bank, which has scheduled its next online property auction for January 9-10, normally sells about half of the real estate that it places on its platform properties4sale.gr.
Eleven types of property will be put under the hammer by NBG, including homes, warehouses, industrial space and retail stores.
Interested bidders can enter the site and view photos of properties being sold, inside and outside, and also learn about each building's features, such as the year it was constrcucted and the number of bedrooms it possesses. NBG has listed 370 properties on the site that will be auctioned off soon but the lender has yet to announce when the auction sale will take place.
Greece's real estate market is picking up after prices fell by more than 40 percent during the country's economic crisis. A strong tourism sector along with buying interest from foreign buyers with an eye on Greece's Golden Visa program have helped prop up the market. A combination of these factors has led to homes in areas popular with tourists being snapped up and being then offered for short term rental, on sites such as Airbnb, particularly in neighbourhoods such as central Athens and along the capital's southern beachside coast.
The latest data from the Bank of Greece, the country's central bank, shows that average apartment prices jumped 2.5 percent in the third quarter of the year, showing the biggest rise in the last ten years.
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