Are all investors now in Greece? Greek real estate agent comments on price increases, the Golden Visa program's doubled threshold, and popular areas for home purchases
The number of applications for residence permits in Greece has tripled. Apartments in Athens every day, but it is still possible to find properties in the country at reasonable prices. Kara Manukian, a real estate agent in Greece and author of a topical , told us how apartment prices in Greece have changed over the past year, whether there is demand from buyers for abandoned houses, and why the demand for mortgages is growing among locals.
“Those who want to get a golden visa will buy real estate anyway.”
— In November 2022, we did an interview with you about the , and even then, it was already very popular among foreigners. What new things have happened in the market since then, and how are things with demand and prices now?
— I must say that the popularity of the real estate market in Greece has not fallen but even increased—construction is more active, and the cost of apartments is rising.
As a rule, clients buy real estate in large cities or land for development in smaller villages. The most popular destinations remain Athens, Thessaloniki, the peninsula of Halkidiki, and cities nearby.
The main change is that since August 1, 2023, the in popular regions of the country is €500.000. Although last year, the amount of investment was the lowest and most attractive compared to other European countries, i.e., €250,000. Therefore, before the price increase, the number of applications for the program broke all records of previous years.
How will the market be impacted by this increase? I think not that much. Those who want to get a golden visa will buy real estate anyway. Those who have €250,000 will buy it in small towns, and those who have a sum of €500,000 could afford housing in larger centers.
“There is a growing demand for mortgages among Greeks now.”
— To demonstrate how prices have changed, let's give examples of the housing costs in several regions of the country in 2022 and how much these same properties cost now.
— Here is one illustrative example: in September 2022, you could buy an apartment in the good neighborhood Palaio Faliro in Athens for €250.000, and now the same apartment can safely be competitive with a price of €320.000.
The fact is that due to the increase in the minimum investment fee under the Golden Visa program and the increased demand for properties, many owners tried to unreasonably increase the price of housing. Of course, this situation could not last long, and finally, the market stabilized. But prices have still increased and, in my opinion, will continue to grow.
— Are there places in Greece where you can still find relatively cheap real estate?
— Sure. You can buy a small house for €40,000 in a small village in the mountains or even by the sea. But take into account that the infrastructure in such places will be poorer, and it will be more difficult to get there.
— Tell us, please, about ; what are these objects? Are they in demand among buyers?
— Each abandoned house has an owner—an individual, a legal entity, or the state. The procedure for the purchase and registration of housing in each case is different. I have not noticed a high demand for this type of real estate.
— How have the rental market and prices changed over this time?
— Renting is still relevant; the prices plus or minus are still at the same level after a big jump—on average, you can find options starting at $500. However, given the demand, every 6–9 months, prices increase naturally.
I would like to note that there are more apartments with acceptable repairs and complete furniture on the rental market, which makes foreign clients very happy.
— And another important point: how does the market look now for locals? Has it become more difficult for them to afford the purchase of housing?
— Yes, it has become more difficult because of the price increase. Nevertheless, there are apartments on the market at a reasonable price that locals can afford to buy.
I would like to point out that the demand for mortgages is growing among Greeks. Especially after the recent opening of the program for residents of the country who have not reached the age of 40. Under this scheme, the state pays part of the amount for real estate. Conditions: the property must be built no later than 2007, and its value must not exceed €150,000.