realty prices in a slump
Plus, 6 November 2009
The economic downturn has had strong repercussions on realty values
but also accelerated a trend of change in the uses of commercial properties
in a large part of Athensís city center, especially in the area around
Omonia Square, as well as in outlying neighborhoods.
According to traders and realty agents, the availability of empty properties
has risen to around 20 percent in the center and even higher farther
out. This sharp increase in supply has driven the price of rentals
about 20 percent lower on average over the last three years. It has
also led to many properties previously used as retail outlets being
taken over by entertainment and catering establishments.
The impact appears to have been harder regarding properties on the
upper stories of commercial blocks - which remain empty for more than
six months on average - where rents are around 30 percent lower than
they were three years ago.
"The problem does not only affect the traders but also the owners who
are seeing their properties lose value," said an agent.
The downturn has also given rise to another serious problem in the
commercial as well as the residential property market. It has had such
an impact in the so-called "gray" triangle of the city - the area between
Halkokondyli Street, north of Omonia, and Evripidou, south of City
Hall, that commercial values have fallen below those officially set
for tax purposes in transactions ("antikimenikes") - by as much as
50 percent. Antikimenikes values are periodically reviewed by the government,
in line with market trends, but until that happens again, they pose
an additional obstacle to transactions.
One of the scenarios proposed for a revival of the capitalís commercial
center is its redevelopment into a business park with specific uses
and infrastructure that would make it more friendly to traders as well
as inducing consumers to stay longer.