The remarkable mobility that has recently been observed in the Greek real estate market is attributed to the Airbnb phenomenon and the “golden visa”, according to the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ).
As reported in the extensive article of the newspaper, increasingly more foreign investors are constantly focusing on the Greek real estate market as, due to the crisis, property prices have plummeted in recent years. It is noted that this is not the only reason though, as many see Greek properties as a way to gain free access to the EU thanks to the so-called “golden visa”, an additional “source of revenue” that, although already existed in Greece already in 2013, began to pay off more lately.
Comparing the Greek “golden visa” program with other countries offering similarly favourable conditions to attract foreign investment, NZZ points out that it is the cheapest one, since in Greece, it is enough to buy a property worth € 250,000 for a five-year visa in principle, while in Portugal, from € 350,000 to € 500,000. Another factor that makes the Greek program attractive is that it does not require a minimum period of residence in the country while there are generous arrangements for the rest of the family.
Thanks to the growing interest of foreign investors, the Greek real estate market is experiencing an unprecedented boom after years of sedimentation. Starting in 2013, citizens from non-EU countries have invested more than one billion euros in the Greek market. According to the report, there is once more, mobility in the construction sector after the fall of 90% recorded last year in new building permits, and prices have started to pick up.
In many areas of Athens, especially in the centre, prices have climbed to pre-crisis levels again, but this is not only due to foreign investment interest. According to recent surveys, the Airbnb phenomenon is equally if not more responsible than the golden visa. Only in the capital, more than 12,000 apartments are rented through the online platform, while over the country over 50,000. Specific districts of Athens that were previously neglected are now aware of an unprecedented – due to Airbnb – development. In Koukaki and Exarcheia, according to the report, rents rose 35% on average last year.
The resentment of the Airbnb phenomenon intensifies
Purchasing capability remains limited despite the seemingly slight recovery of the Greek economy. The Airbnb phenomenon, while satisfying owners, is a cause of concern to tenants because there are more and more people unable to pay for high rents, and at the same time, there is increasing discontent over Airbnb as the principal cause for this development.