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The real estate market in Athens: 2024 forecast

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As we step into the year 2024, the real estate landscape in Athens continues to evolve, presenting both challenges and opportunities for investors, homeowners, and industry stakeholders.

In this article, we will give you a clear picture of what's happening in Athens' real estate scene for the year ahead.

If you need a full and more detailed report, with fresh data and actionable advice, please note that you can get our property pack for Greece. This pack will also give you unlimited access to our team of experts, allowing you to ask them anything related to the housing market in Athens specifically.

How's the Greek economy doing?

Current state

The real estate market in Athens, and Greece in general, has a fascinating history, closely tied to the country's economic and political landscape.

Historically, Greece's economy has faced numerous challenges, including a significant debt crisis in the early 2010s. This had a profound impact on the real estate sector, leading to a sharp decline in property values and investment.

In terms of the real estate market, there have been periods of both growth and decline. The economic crisis hit the housing market hard, causing a drop in prices and a slowdown in construction.

However, in recent years, there's been a slow but steady recovery. This is partly due to government policies aimed at revitalizing the market, such as the Golden Visa program, which offers residency to non-EU investors purchasing property over a certain value.

More recently, the Greek government has implemented regulatory changes to encourage investment in the real estate sector.

These include reduced property taxes and simplified procedures for property transactions. Such measures have positively influenced both the local and foreign investment climate.

Athens, as the capital city, has always been a focal point for investment. Popular areas for investment include the historic center, the Athenian Riviera, and upscale suburbs like Kifisia and Glyfada. Properties in these areas are highly sought after due to their location, amenities, and potential for rental income, especially given Athens' appeal as a tourist destination.

For foreign investors, there are specific incentives like the aforementioned Golden Visa program. Drawbacks include the bureaucratic hurdles often associated with property transactions in Greece.

Comparatively, real estate prices in Athens are generally lower than in other European capitals, making it an attractive option for investors.

The legal framework for real estate in Greece has improved in terms of stability and transparency. Reforms have been made to make the property buying process more straightforward and secure, which is reassuring for investors.

Outlook and forecast

Athens' real estate market has several unique factors that distinguish it from other markets.

One key aspect is its rich cultural and historical significance, which attracts a steady flow of tourists and expatriates. Properties in areas with historical landmarks or scenic views, like those near the Acropolis or the Athenian Riviera, are particularly valuable.

Additionally, Athens has a robust rental market, buoyed by tourism and the city's status as an educational and business hub.

Forecasting the economy and stability of Athens, and by extension its real estate market, requires considering several factors. The Greek economy has been recovering from the deep recession of the 2010s, and this recovery has positively influenced Athens' real estate market.

The city has been experiencing a revival in investment, particularly in the luxury property sector and commercial real estate. This trend suggests a positive outlook, at least in the medium term.

Athens is experiencing faster growth in its real estate market compared to other regions in Greece. This is due to its status as the capital, its tourist appeal, and the concentration of business and educational institutions. The city's real estate market is becoming increasingly attractive to international investors.

Regarding government policies, there haven't been any major announcements for 2024 that would drastically affect the real estate market in Athens.

However, it's important to stay informed about potential changes in tax laws or regulations related to property investment. Such changes, if they occur, could either positively or negatively impact investor sentiment.

Specific factors suggesting improvements in Athens include the ongoing urban renewal projects, increasing foreign direct investment, and the expansion of infrastructure, like the new developments in public transportation.

These improvements are likely to enhance the attractiveness of the city for both residential and commercial real estate investments.

However, potential investors should be mindful of specific risks. Economic instability in the Eurozone, changes in global investment trends, and any political upheaval could affect the market.

Additionally, the bureaucratic processes in Greece can be challenging, and changes in property taxation or land use regulations could impact returns on investment.

If such risks materialize, the real estate market in Athens could face a slowdown in investment, fluctuating property values, or a decreased rate of new developments.

It's crucial for investors to conduct thorough research and possibly consult with local real estate experts before making significant investments. This way, they can better understand the market dynamics and potential risks involved.

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What about housing prices in Athens?

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Current state

The real estate market in Athens has seen varied trends over the past few years.

After the economic crisis that peaked around 2010, property prices in Athens, like much of Greece, plummeted. This decline was a direct result of the economic turmoil, which saw Greece grappling with debt, austerity measures, and a banking crisis.

However, in the years following the crisis, especially from around 2017 onwards, there has been a gradual recovery.

Comparing current real estate prices with those from a decade ago, we see a significant difference. Prices had hit a low during the crisis years, but recent years have shown a steady increase. This increase is not yet at the level of the pre-crisis peak, but the upward trend is noticeable.

The market has been buoyed by increased foreign investment, partly due to programs like the Golden Visa scheme, and a general improvement in the Greek economy.

Currently, the real estate prices in Athens are on a rising trend. This increase is attributed to several factors, including the return of investor confidence, an influx of tourists, and renewed interest in the city's cultural and historic assets.

Additionally, the Greek government's efforts to attract foreign investment through tax incentives and residency programs have played a significant role.

Regarding property types, the highest growth in real estate prices is observed in luxury residential properties and commercial real estate, particularly in prime locations. Areas like Kolonaki, Plaka, and those near the Athenian Riviera are seeing significant price increases.

The demand for these areas is driven by their desirability for both living and tourism-related activities, such as short-term rentals. The growing trend of renovating old properties in these areas adds to their value.

The population dynamics in Athens have also influenced the real estate market. There has been an urban shift, with more people moving to the city in search of employment and better living standards. This migration has increased demand for housing, particularly apartments in central areas.

Furthermore, Athens has become a popular destination for expatriates and retirees, particularly from other European countries, further driving demand in the housing market.

These trends are shaped by a combination of economic recovery, policy changes aimed at stimulating the real estate sector, and Athens' enduring appeal as a cultural and historical center.

While the market is showing positive signs, potential investors should always be aware of the complexities of the Greek real estate market and consider factors like legal procedures, taxation, and potential future economic fluctuations.

Outlook and forecast

In Athens, several economic and demographic factors are currently influencing real estate prices.

One of the most significant factors is the influx of foreign investment, particularly from non-EU countries. Programs like the Golden Visa, which offer residency in exchange for property investment, have attracted a lot of interest.

This influx has increased demand for properties, particularly in prime areas, thereby pushing up prices.

Another factor is tourism. Athens, with its rich history and cultural attractions, is a major tourist destination. This has spurred demand for short-term rental properties, like those listed on platforms such as Airbnb.

Property owners can often charge premium rates for short-term rentals, which in turn increases the value of properties in tourist-favored areas.

Regarding demographic factors, urbanization plays a critical role. There's a trend of people moving from rural areas to Athens in search of better job opportunities and amenities. This migration increases demand for housing in the city, consequently driving up prices.

Looking at potential factors that could lead to an increase in housing prices in the near future, the ongoing economic recovery in Greece is pivotal. As the economy continues to strengthen, consumer confidence increases, leading to more investments in real estate.

Moreover, if the government introduces more incentives for foreign investors or continues to improve the ease of doing business, this could also boost the real estate market.

These trends, however, might not uniformly affect other cities or regions in Greece. Places with less tourist appeal or economic activity might not experience the same level of growth in real estate prices as Athens.

Conversely, there are factors that could lead to a decrease in housing prices. Economic instability, either locally or globally, is a major risk factor.

Should Greece face another economic downturn or should there be significant economic challenges in the EU, this could negatively impact investor confidence and property values.

Another potential factor for a decrease could be changes in government policies. For example, if the Golden Visa program were to be restricted or if property taxes were significantly increased, this could deter investors.

Additionally, over-saturation of the market, particularly with short-term rental properties, could lead to a decrease in prices.

These downward trends, like the upward ones, may not be uniformly experienced across the country. Regions that rely heavily on foreign investment and tourism, similar to Athens, would be more vulnerable to these changes, whereas areas less dependent on these factors might not see as significant an impact.

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How's the demand for the real estate market in Athens?

Current state

The current demand for residential real estate in Athens is quite robust, driven by a combination of local and international buyers.

There's a noticeable trend of more buyers entering the market, a scenario that's somewhat tilted towards a seller's market. This means that, generally, there are more people looking to buy properties than there are properties available for sale.

The supply of new housing is an interesting aspect to consider. While there has been development, especially in terms of renovation and refurbishment of older properties in the city center and other desirable areas, the supply of new housing hasn't entirely kept pace with the demand.

This is partly due to the limited availability of space for new construction in popular areas and the time it takes to complete urban renewal projects.

Regarding the types of properties in demand, there's a significant interest in apartments, particularly those located in central Athens and in neighborhoods close to tourist attractions or with good connectivity.

These properties are popular both for personal use and for investment purposes, such as rental income through short-term tourist lets.

There's also a growing interest in luxury properties, especially from foreign investors, driven by the lifestyle and the investment value these properties offer.

The interest rates for mortgages in Athens play a critical role in shaping the buying power and demand of consumers. Traditionally, Greece has had relatively higher interest rates compared to some other European countries, which can affect affordability for local buyers.

However, for foreign investors, especially those from countries with low-interest environments, the Greek real estate market can still be attractive.

Recent changes in government policies have had a significant impact on the real estate market in Athens.

For instance, the Greek government has implemented various tax reforms, aimed at attracting foreign investment and stimulating the property market. These include reducing property taxes and offering incentives like the Golden Visa program.

Additionally, there have been efforts to simplify the property buying process and to make the real estate market more transparent and efficient.

However, it's important to note that these policy changes can have a varied impact. For local buyers, while reduced taxes and simplified processes are beneficial, the influx of foreign investors can drive up property prices, potentially making some areas less affordable.

On the other hand, these investments contribute to the overall development and revitalization of the city, which can have long-term positive effects on the real estate market and the local economy.

Outlook and forecast

In Athens, demographic shifts are playing a significant role in shaping the real estate market.

The aging population and urbanization are two key factors here. With an aging population, there's an increasing demand for properties that are more accessible and easier to maintain, such as smaller apartments or homes in well-serviced urban areas.

This shift is leading to a higher demand for properties in central Athens or in areas with good public transport and healthcare facilities.

Urbanization is another crucial factor. As more people move to Athens from rural areas or smaller towns in search of employment and better services, the demand for housing in the city increases.

This trend has led to a greater demand for apartments, particularly in areas close to employment hubs or with good connectivity to the rest of the city.

Current trends in household formation are also influencing the real estate market. There's a growing preference for smaller family units, which translates into a demand for smaller apartments or homes.

Additionally, there's a trend among younger people to rent rather than buy, which has boosted the rental market but may also have a cooling effect on the buying market for larger, family-sized homes.

Regarding real estate as an investment in Athens, there's a noticeable trend in Athens towards buying properties for rental income, especially short-term rentals aimed at tourists.

Properties in central locations, near tourist attractions, or in picturesque areas like the Athenian Riviera are particularly sought after for this purpose. These properties can offer higher rental yields, making them attractive investment options.

Cultural trends and shifts are also influencing the demand in the housing market. For instance, there's a growing awareness and preference for sustainable living, which is slowly influencing the market. While still a niche, the demand for eco-friendly homes or properties with green features is on the rise.

In terms of investment versus living purposes, there's a significant portion of the market in Athens geared towards investment, particularly from foreign buyers.

The city's appeal as a tourist destination makes it an attractive location for buying properties to rent out on short-term rental platforms.

Foreign investment plays a crucial role in Athens' real estate market. The introduction of programs like the Golden Visa, which offers residency in exchange for property investment, has attracted many foreign investors. This has particularly increased the demand for luxury properties and apartments in prime locations.

While this investment boosts the market and contributes to urban development, it can also lead to price increases, making it more challenging for local buyers.

As for restrictions and encouragements for foreign investors, while there are no significant restrictions, incentives like reduced property taxes and the Golden Visa program are clear encouragements. These policies have generally boosted demand, particularly in the luxury property segment.

Lastly, niche markets such as luxury properties and eco-friendly homes are experiencing unique trends. The luxury market, driven by both local affluent buyers and foreign investors, is seeing steady growth.

The market for eco-friendly homes, while still developing, is gaining traction, influenced by global trends towards sustainability and green living.

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How's the rental market in Athens?

Current state

The rental market in Athens is dynamic, with demand influenced by various factors including location, property type, and demographic trends.

Currently, apartments, particularly in urban areas, are in high demand. This is due to Athens' status as a cultural and economic hub, attracting a diverse range of tenants, from students and young professionals to expatriates and retirees.

The appeal of living in the city center or in neighborhoods well-connected by public transport is significant. These areas offer proximity to amenities like restaurants, shops, and cultural sites, making them highly desirable for renters.

The most sought-after features in rental properties vary depending on the location. In urban areas, tenants often prioritize location over size. Being close to work, educational institutions, or entertainment hubs is a key consideration.

Therefore, smaller apartments in central locations can be more attractive than larger properties in more remote areas.

In suburban and rural areas, the preference shifts towards larger properties, often with outdoor space like gardens or balconies. Here, tenants might be more family-oriented or looking for a quieter lifestyle, away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

Demographic characteristics of tenants in Athens vary by region. In central urban areas, there's a higher concentration of young professionals, students, and expatriates. These groups often seek smaller, well-located apartments.

Students, in particular, look for affordable shared accommodations close to universities. Young professionals might look for modern apartments with amenities like high-speed internet and proximity to public transport and entertainment options.

In contrast, suburban areas tend to attract families and older tenants. These groups often prioritize larger living spaces, proximity to schools, and a quieter environment. Therefore, single-family homes or larger apartments in these areas are more in demand.

Income levels and economic factors significantly influence rental choices. In more affluent areas, tenants might opt for larger, more luxurious properties.

In contrast, in areas with lower average incomes, there is a higher demand for more affordable housing options, such as smaller apartments or older buildings.

Athens also has regions with high concentrations of specific tenant groups. For instance, areas near universities are popular among students, while neighborhoods known for their nightlife and cultural scene attract young professionals. Conversely, quieter, more suburban areas are preferred by families and retirees.

Outlook and forecast

The rental market in Athens is influenced by several key factors, each contributing to its dynamics and trends.

Firstly, tourism significantly impacts the rental market in Athens. The city's rich historical and cultural appeal draws numerous tourists annually, leading to a high demand for short-term rental properties, especially in central and scenic locations.

Property owners are increasingly turning to platforms like Airbnb to cater to this market, which has also influenced the type of properties in demand - furnished apartments with amenities that appeal to tourists.

Evolving lifestyles and work patterns, particularly the rise of remote work, are also shaping rental preferences. With more people working from home, there's a growing demand for rentals with dedicated workspaces or in quieter neighborhoods.

This shift might lead to an increased demand for larger apartments or properties with additional rooms that can serve as home offices.

Regarding demographic changes, Athens has seen an influx of young professionals and expatriates, partly due to its improving economy and job opportunities. This demographic tends to prefer rentals in vibrant urban areas with easy access to cafes, restaurants, and cultural activities.

As a result, neighborhoods known for their nightlife and amenities are becoming increasingly popular for rentals.

Emerging urban areas, such as neighborhoods undergoing regeneration or development, are becoming new hotspots for rental properties. These areas, often offering more affordable rental options, attract a diverse range of tenants, including students, young professionals, and families looking for value for money.

Technological advancements have a significant impact on the rental market. Online platforms for finding and booking rentals have made the process more efficient and accessible.

Smart home technology is also becoming a desirable feature in rental properties, appealing to tech-savvy tenants who value convenience and modern living.

Sustainability and green living are increasingly influencing the rental market. There's a growing demand for eco-friendly homes or properties with green features like energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, and sustainable building materials.

This trend reflects a broader global shift towards environmental consciousness and sustainable living.

The rental market forecast varies across different regions of Greece. While Athens, with its urban appeal and tourism, sees a high demand for short-term and centrally located rentals, other regions might have different dynamics.

For example, in more rural or less touristy areas, the demand might be for longer-term rentals, catering to local residents rather than tourists.

Looking at the long-term outlook for Athens' rental market, considering these factors, it seems poised for continued growth and evolution.

The combination of a strong tourist market, evolving work and lifestyle patterns, demographic changes, and a shift towards sustainability points towards a dynamic and diverse rental market.

Finally, in terms of niche markets, luxury properties and eco-friendly homes in Athens are experiencing their unique trends. The luxury rental market, catering to affluent tourists or expatriates, is seeing growth, particularly in high-end neighborhoods and properties with exclusive amenities.

Simultaneously, the eco-friendly rental market is gradually expanding, driven by increased awareness and demand for sustainable living options.

Make sure you understand the real estate market in Athens

Don't rush into buying the wrong property in Greece. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Readers are advised to consult with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions. We do not assume any liability for actions taken based on the information provided.