Property recovery picks up speed but homes disappoint

Home market recovery picks up speed; buyers disappointed

The recovery of Greece's housing market is picking up speed, with prices advancing in 2017 for a second straight year, but the quality of homes for sale is disappointing buyers, says real estate agent RE/MAX.

According to its annual survey, residential housing prices last year added 7.3 percent after advancing 1 percent in 2017. Figures collected by RE/MAX show that price gains for homes more than five years old hit 8.9 percent, versus a rise of 6.9 percent for newer homes.

In the broader Athens area, older homes prices advanced 6.9 percent whereas the cost of newer homes showed a 10.7 percent hike.

Although prices in the sector are recovering from a severe slump brought on by Greece's nine year economic downturn, the real estate market is facing major challenges.

Lending from banks remains minimal, as the financial sector wrestles with mountains of bad loans, and the homes available for sale are often dated, failing to meet buyer demands.

"What can be seen from the data in recent years is that the freeze in construction activity has limited the available product and new developments, resulting in a stock of property that does not meet the modern needs of the buying public. This is particulalrly evident in the area of housing," says RE/MAX.

"Higher returns offered by short term property rentals are dominating the city center and many tourist areas, and play an important role in the increase of prices. These properties are the top picks for interested buyers as returns offered are something that would make even the most ambitious real estate investor

envious," it adds.

In the country's north, a breakdown of the figures shows that price hikes in Thessaloniki reached 7.9 percent (for homes more than five years old) and 3.1 percent for newer homes.

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