owners protest reforms
Plus, 12 February 2010
Property owners and real estate-related professionals are up in arms
over the government’s planned changes to taxation. At a press briefing
on February 9, 10 representative agencies denounced the current process
of consultation as a sham and threatened legal suits should the new
measures violate the Greek Constitution.
Developers claimed that the drop in building licenses in Attica amounted
to 37 percent in 2009 and 70 percent over the last three years, and
sounded the warning bell that rising unemployment in the sector and
the accelerating pace of recession in commercial property and its related
sectors will cause a social backlash.
The warning came just days after Finance Ministry officials told the
annual conference of Panhellenic Federation of Property Owners (POMIDA)
that the government was resolved this year to raise its so-called objective
("antikimeniki") property rates, which apply for tax purposes on transactions,
vary according to area and are reviewed every few years. The objective
rates were last reviewed in 2007.
POMIDA had asked that new reviews be postponed until the economic downturn
POMIDA is also urging the government to move on the planned restoration
of the Large Property Holdings Tax (FMAP) for properties valued at
over 1 million euros. It is also claiming that taxation on properties
that remain vacant and yield no income is unconstitutional. According
to official statistics, the number of new building licenses was down
15.3 percent nationwide in January-November 2009.
The POMIDA conference also heard from officials that the Environment
Ministry is set to announce a package of incentives for energy-saving
measures in old buildings which includes tax breaks, mortgage rate
subsidies and credit facilities for heat insulation and the installation
of solar panels.
The officials said that the ministry is studying the full subsidization
of the cost of the energy upgrade of old buildings - necessary to obtain
the energy efficiency certificates that will be required in transactions.