apartments gaining points in market
Plus, 23 October 2009
In contrast to the market for newly built houses and apartments, where
the climate remains subdued, demand for older properties has picked
up in recent months, although their availability lags by comparison.
For a start, their considerably lower prices makes financing much easier
and opportunities are not hard to come by.
According to realty agents, demand is stronger for properties near
metro stations. And, although their prices are higher, they remain
lower than the respective ones for new construction. In the particular
category, demand is strongest for apartments built after the 1981 earthquake,
when building specifications changed. But sometimes it extends even
to 30-year-old properties, as their costs rarely exceeds 1,500-1,600
euros per square meter - when a new apartment in the same area is near
the 2,500-euro level.
A noticeable change concerns size. Most prospective buyers are now
looking for smaller residences - measuring between 70 and 110 square
meters - than they were previously. Conditions in mortgage credit at
this time favour the purchase of old apartments, especially if the
sum involved is no more than 150,000 euros.
Opportunities seem harder to find in the suburbs but this does not
mean that there is no margin for bargaining. Nevertheless, the overwhelming
majority of sales in the suburbs concern new constructions, usually
by developers who continue to maintain a "hard" stance and are not
easily amenable to bargaining. Cases have been reported of new apartments
that remained unsold for three of four years - their owners preferring
to rent them out rather than lower the sale price.
According to the Bank of Greece's monetary report, which came out on
Tuesday, new property prices in the Athens area in the first nine months
of 2009 were on average 4 percent lower than in the same period last
year. According to realtors, 2009 looks like one of the worst in the
property market in the last 15 years. Much regarding the sector's prospects
will depend on how the new government settles the issue of the illegally
altered areas ("imiypaithrioi") in older apartments and other initiatives
regarding property taxes.
A key factor will also be the availability of mortgage credit, which
remains in a slump.