One of the key challenges in investing in real estate is picking the neighbourhood that is on the way up. The area that has moved out of the doldrums and is drawing a lot of attention. In Athens, right now, many brokers and real estate experts say this is Kypseli.
Located 2-3 kilometers away from Omonia square, Kypseli is next to trendy neighborhoods like Exarcheia, full of theaters, a short distance from the city center and very close to the National Archaeological Museum on Patission street. Just as importantly, real estate in the area is cheap and there are plenty of places on sale to choose from.
"Buying interest has shifted from the heart of the city, such as Kolonaki, due to a lack of supply in these parts. Now demand is spreading to Kypseli and Omonia," says Evita Eleftheroudaki, who owns real estate brokerage Epsilon team.
Her office recently had a client from Turkey looking to buy five small apartments on Patission street, which joins Omonia with suburbs such as Kypseli and Patissia. "Investors previously skipped these areas but not anymore," she adds.
The range of investors with an eye on a Greek asset is also changing. In addition to buyers from countries such as China, Israel and Turkey, investors are appearing from Japan, Eleftheroudaki points out.
Airbnb is fast changing Greece's real estate map. The country's strong tourism market is providing demand for homes that can be offered for short term stays to visitors, fuelling demand for a property market that had been been decimated during the country's economic crisis. In 2018, residential property prices recorded their biggest jump in ten years.
Kypseli had been an area that had been shunned by Athenians for decades. Once an upmarket district popular with the middle and upper class in the sixties, Greeks have been switching it for the northern suburbs. In more recent years, the area became popular with migrants, many of whom rented ground floor apartments or basements.
Although property prices in Kypseli are cheaper than elsewhere in Athens, they have started to increase.
Industry data shows that apartment prices in Kypseli have climbed to about 1,000 euros per square metre, from 400 euros (sq/m) some three years ago. This compares with about 1,625 (sq/m) in Exarcheia and 620 euros (sq/m) in Amerikis square.
Like any area, there are risks involved, point out experts. Demand is almost solely coming from investors with an eye on the Airbnb market, which means that they might not be interested in holding onto the asset for the long term. Additionally, there are calls for authorities to help make the streets safer and cleaner in a bid to help Kypseli compete against other central Athens districts popular with tourists.
"Kypseli is drawing buyers looking to take advantage of the Airbnb market and then flip the property in the next couple of years. It is a fashionable area with potential but for this to be realised, improvements need to be made to its infrastructure and living conditions," says Arthur Asimis, head of sales and management at ADAK real estate.
"Investors are looking at Kypseli for a short term gain, demand is not coming from people who want to live or rent their home on a regular long term basis. This is what is needed to secure a sustainable recovery in the neighbourhood," he says.
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