becomes more attractive option
Plus, 7 August 2009
Official data showed a nearly 4 percent average rise in rental agreements
in Greece in the 12-month period to June 2009, compared to the preceding
12 months. This is one of the highest increases in recent years.
According to real estate agents, in the most popular category of apartments
- those of up to 80 square meters - the average increase has been steeper,
at around 10 percent.
This development is a reflection of a strong shift in interest from
buying to renting homes, especially since the beginning of the year.
However, despite the shift, the number of homes for rent that remain
empty has stayed high, while the average time for an empty flat or
house to be rented averages around three months.
Another strong feature of the market in the large urban centers is
the preference by many owners to keep apartments empty rather than
rent them, deterred by the high tax burden and refurbishment costs.
At the same time, the number of evictions has been rising, in line
with the number of tenants who are either unable to pay or are forced
to delay payments.
As a result of the slump in housing sales, developers and realty agents
are opting for sale contracts whereby buyers repay the sums involved
directly to them over periods of up to 20 years, thus avoiding the
problem of banks' reluctance to grant mortgage loans.
"Such schemes are proving a catalyst for the sale of many houses, since
they provide a solution to the major problem of financing, which has
risen due to bank decisions to cut mortgage loans drastically," said
one real estate agent in Thessaloniki. "In actual fact, the housing
market has returned to the situation that prevailed 20 years ago, when
most houses were paid for with promissory notes."
It has to be noted that such schemes mainly apply to houses of up to
70 square meters and with a cost that does not not exceed 140,000 euros.
The usual arrangement involves a down payment of 50 percent of the
value and regular installments for the remainder.