Country property market in hibernation
Athens Plus, 15 January 2010

Countryside properties are no exception to the slump hitting the Greek housing market and this continues to be true in the winter months.

There have been few transactions involving properties on the Greek mainland; in fact, they are practically frozen, especially in the case of expensive ones, while small apartments and plots are faring better. We are witnessing a correction trend in prices but without steep reductions. Recent data compiled by the Bank of Greece show that prices outside big cities fell just 0.9 percent in the first nine months of 2009.

Market sources point out that demand in the holiday home segment is so subdued that mountain properties with spectacular views go for prices that applied three years ago. The supply of chalets of all sizes in the regions of Parnassos, Kalavryta, Karpenisi, the Corinthian uplands and Pilio and resorts in the Pindos Mountains has increased dramatically, as attested by the hundreds of ads in the papers.

Buyers on the whole seem to have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, anticipating a further deterioration in economic conditions and changes in property taxation - where there are fears of additional burdens.

In general, prices have fallen by about 10-15 percent in the last two years, particularly around Mount Parnassos - the country’s most expensive winter resort, some 200 kilometers northwest of Athens - and Pilio, on the eastern mainland. However, Arachova on the slopes of Parnassos, which has been dubbed "the winter Myconos," remains the favorite for winter property buyers and prices remain by far the highest, at 2,000-4,000 euros per square meter. Local realtors say transactions have fallen about 60 percent since the beginning of the slump. In Amfikleia, on the northern side of the mountain, prices of newly built houses are lower, at 2,200-2,600 euros/sq.m. Near the ski center at Polydroso there are dozens of unsold properties going for 1,800-2,500 euros /sq.m.

In Pilio, which is popular year-round, costs vary between 2,000 and 3,500 euros/sq.m., and plots of land from 150,000 to 350,000 euros per quarter acre. Makrynitsa and Portaria, close to the city of Volos, attract the strongest demand.

In Litohoro, on Mt Olympus prices range from 1,200 to 1,700 euros/sq.m. and 20,000 and 60,000 euros per quarter acre.