Thessaloniki rents up 25 pct; key transport projects move ahead

Thessaloniki rents jump 25 pct; key transport projects move ahead

The cost of renting a home in the centre of northern Greece's Thessaloniki has jumped by 25 percent in the last year, according to estimates from real estate experts.

Data presented at a recent conference in Thessaloniki showed that the average cost of renting an apartment in the broader city area rose 10 percent in the last 12 months, with demand sharply higher in central districts.

In areas close to universities, renting a one bedroom 40 to 60 square meter place ranges between 250 to 400 euros, depending on the age of the building. In the heart of the city, rent prices range between 3 to 11 euros per square meter.

Just like in Athens, demand for homes to be leased on a short term basis to tourists is pushing rents higher and resuling in a drop in the number of homes available for long term leases.

With progress made on the construction of the city's underground Metro train line, interest from foreign investors (mostly from Israel, Turkey and Russia) has been growing. Improving transport links to the city, Greece's second largest, are also seen as proving it with a major boost.

The time need to travel on the Athens-Thessaloniki train route is being reduced, while Germany's Fraport is spending 100 million euros to upgrade the local airport as part of plans to turn it into a Balkan hub.

Foreign buyers have been mostly targetting apartments more than 30 years old that are priced up to 100,000 euros, or apartment buildings priced above 400,000 euros, according to real estate valuer Alexandros Vasileiou.

With almost no construction activity in residential housing having taken place in the center of Thessaloniki in recent years, buying options for investors are limited to older buildings.

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