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How the pandemic has changed the map of the real estate market in Greece

It is difficult to predict when and where the balance of real estate and rent will be outlined, how much prices will be adjusted, where opportunities are presented.

After a cumulative loss of 45-60% of the cost and 75% of investment activity during the 10 years of the crisis, when the wider real estate sector faced a “perfect storm”, stabilization of the real estate market began in mid-2017. In 2018, prices rose by an average of 6-7%, peaking in 2019 with an average growth of 12-15% before stabilization in the first quarter of 2020 and before the pandemic led to a “freezing” of a new upward cycle, who entered the Greek real estate market.

Although it is assumed that in the current situation it is difficult to predict where the balance of real estate and rent will be outlined, the first data show that it is possible that they will partially experience pressure, at least in the short term, while the final picture will depend on how much time will it take for the Greek economy to return to normal.

Reliability

Restoring demand from foreign investors, given the successful management of healthcare, which has significantly increased the reliability and brand name of the country, as well as increased domestic demand along with the development of bank lending, are considered extremely important factors for the restoration and purchase of real estate.

Route

Some foreign consulting firms estimate that the fall in prices for residential real estate can reach 10%, but if the economy recovers relatively quickly, prices can recover from 2021, and from 2022 they will again be at their previous level in 2019. In the medium term, the Greek real estate market remains attractive, since prices remain significantly lower than those that were fixed before the previous debt crisis, and especially in houses that are still at an average level of 35-40% lower.

“Investment interest remains, but potential buyers took a wait-and-see attitude, expecting at what level the prices would equalize, as real estate sales plummeted, so prices are not indicative, since it was almost impossible to complete any deal in the middle of a pandemic,” real estate agents say.

According to their estimates, investment interest will gradually increase, but it will take about 2 years for the real estate market to return to the pre-pandemic level. In addition, the real estate market moves along the economic cycle, as a result of which the faster the economy recovers, the faster the turnover of real estate will return with the likelihood of maintaining positive as demand accumulates.

Investment companies

At this stage, mobility is initially expected from the sector of real estate investment companies (AEEAP), with the transition from stores and offices to storage facilities, logistics centers and data centers, and to houses or real estate properties with the state as a tenant. On the other hand, while in 2019 the Greek real estate market attracted 35% of the total foreign direct investment in Greece, foreign investment in Greek real estate increased by 28% compared to 2018 to 1.45 billion euros, which is attributed. in particular, Golden Visa and Airbnb, mainly in Athens and tourist areas, foreign investors should first check the situation in their main market and stabilize their existing portfolio, and then decide on any new investments. Although they continue to have a positive attitude towards Greek real estate and must complete the agreements reached before the pandemic, they will now turn their attention to neighboring markets such as Italy and Spain, as the intensity of the health problem has created opportunities.

Elite real estate

In any case, according to the leaders of the real estate market, interest in first-class, premium real estate will soon recover, as a result of which the gap with other categories of real estate will widen, although the pandemic is the reason for rationalizing the return on professional real estate, especially in the case of first-class shops and offices (class A) whose profitability has fallen below 100% over the past 12 months to below 6% (when profitability falls, prices rise). However, in the field of logistics, demand remains high, and prices will continue to rise, both in high-quality office premises and in data centers.

Commercial premises

The next day will be judged on the commercial market by the available liquidity of retail companies, and it should be noted that during the lockdown period at Lamda Development’s Commercial Centers (The Mall Athens, Golden Hall and Mediterranean Cosmos) and Athens Metro Mall in Agios Dimitrios tenants were offered a rental discount of 70%, combined with a 40% reduction in rents from the state.

A huge decline is expected in the tourism real estate sector, since in 2020 it seems that tourism revenues, even with a good scenario, are unlikely to reach 50% of 2019 revenues.

Rent

Significant pressure on the value of commercial real estate and corresponding rental rates is expected in the areas of catering, entertainment and retail, which also face the rapid growth of online stores.

Short-term tendency to abandon

Gradually, some objects have a tendency to leave digital platforms (Airbnb, HomeAway, etc.) in the direction of buying traditional apartments, as profitability decreases. The real estate market will be affected by the decline in tourism and its impact, in particular, on short-term rental, restaurants, etc., while, according to leading bankers, the short-term rental market is expected to be transformed into more professional management. specialized companies will gradually take over the management of apartments owned by owners with a small number of real estate.

Investment Opportunities for Hotels

Some analysts say that the tourism and hotel sector will remain on the map of foreign investors because it provides real investment opportunities for competing destinations, however, believing that they will take a short-term position by suspending or changing their investment plans, expecting normalization of the situation, as well as possible reduction in prices and construction costs.