Foreign buyers snap up Greek property
by Nikos Roussanoglou,, 14 June 2017

Property buyers from abroad are this year growing at the fastest pace in a decade, as booming Greek tourism has had a positive impact on the property market too.

According to the latest data from the Bank of Greece, in the first quarter of the year the inflow of capital from abroad for real estate acquisitions increased by 61.7 percent on an annual basis. The March figures have signaled a further improvement, since in the first couple of months the yearly rise had come to 56.7 percent.

If the existing growth rate is sustained throughout 2017, it is likely that by the end of the year more than 430 million euros will have been invested the Greek property market from other countries. The equivalent figure for the whole of 2016 had amounted to 270 million euros, up 45.3 percent on the 2015 inflow of 186 million euros.

The only time a similar growth rate had been recorded before was in the first quarter of 2007, when foreign investors spent 66.5 percent more money on property acquisitions than a year earlier.

Real estate professionals say this uptick in foreign funds entering the local property market is particularly positive because it came during a period when transactions are usually sparse: Expressions of buying interest this year started in the winter months, not in the summer when demand typically peaks. This has bolstered optimism about an even better summer in terms of transactions, which may reach their high for the entire period since the outbreak of the financial crisis.

The major rise in inflows this year is due to the increase in demand for apartments in Athens, primarily in the city center and the southern suburbs. This mainly concerns flats eligible for short-term leasing through Internet platforms such as HomeAway, Airbnb and FlipKey. It also concerns luxury mansions that would fit the bill for the same type of online platforms as well as for the purpose of getting a Golden Visas (for buys of properties worth 250,000 euros or more by investors from outside the European Union).

Besides those buyers aiming for the five-year residence permits, considerable buying interest is also coming from Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and the Scandinavian countries.