Gov't misstep on constructions law draws fire

Greece's misstep on constructions law draws fire

The Greek government has been criticized by property investors for going back on an election promise to help owners renovate their assets.

After taking office in July, conservatives New Democracy unveiled incentives to encourage property owners looking to improve their homes. The plan involves providing a 40 percent tax discount for renovations work completed.

The way the plan has put together, however, does little for the market and investors, says the Hellenic Property Federation (POMIDA).

The property owners group, which proposed these incentives in the first place, says that the initial plan involved providing owners with tax credits based on the renovation expenses incurred.

These credits could be used to offset future obligations to the state in a measure that would also require invoices to be issued by tradespeople, meaning that it would help stamp out tax evasion, says POMIDA.

Instead, Greece is offering a reduction on the taxable income declared by owners in what translates into a much smaller benefit that only really helps high-income individuals.

The 40 percent discount is going completely to waste, says POMIDA in a letter sent to Finance Minister Christos Staikouras.

Property experts have called on the government to make changes to the incentives plan before it heads to parliament for approval.

The law is seen as being of crucial importance to the sector. A large number of Greece's buildings were unused during the country's ten-year economic downturn becoming obsolete as little was spent on upgrading the assets.

Real estate officials have described Greece's large stock of dated properties as being one of the sector's biggest challenges. New trends have been emerging in real estate, such as the introduction of coworking and co-living spaces, but the property market is struggling to keep up with demand amidst improving economic conditions.

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