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15 June, 2024
 
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Reclaiming 700,000 vacant homes could ease Greece's housing crisis

High vacancy rates in urban areas drive up rental prices, but dormant properties offer a solution if revitalized, experts say.

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

The return to the real estate market of at least 700,000 homes that are currently closed or have stood empty for a number of years could play a key role in addressing Greece’s housing crisis.

According to data compiled by the Eteron Institute for Research and Social Change, Greece has the highest percentage of vacant homes in Europe, with large concentrations in urban areas. In 2011, the percentage of vacant houses in the Municipality of Athens was 31%, in Piraeus 28% and in Thessaloniki 28.2%.

How much these homes are “missing” from the market is reflected in rental prices, which have shot up by 40% to 50% in recent years, squeezing household purchasing power. At the same time, a large portion of the apartments available for rent today are of low quality, old and hardly ever renovated.

According to data from the online property management platform Protio, 65% of apartments available for rent today have never been renovated. At the same time, 89% of the country’s total real estate is over 25 years old, since only 11% of the country’s total housing stock has been built since 2000, a consequence of the financial crisis that ensued.

“Half of the people who come to us to help them make the most of their property, either by selling it or renovating and renting it out, have been sitting on it for years. It is, therefore, obvious that there is a problem in this part because by stimulating supply, the current housing crisis could be dealt with and the options for tenants could be multiplied,” the managing director of Protio, Antonis Fiorakis tells Kathimerini.

These properties are usually inherited, with the heirs not needing them for housing, but at the same time lacking the money needed to renovate them so they can exploit them. The usual result is that they remain closed for years.

According to Protio, the depreciation of an investment e.g. 25,000 euros for the renovation and energy upgrade of an apartment can be achieved in just three or four years, making this option particularly advantageous compared to leaving the property unused.

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Cyprus  |  real estate  |  property  |  crisis

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