Ioannis Oikonomidis, owner of Life Net Ltd. and a real estate and property services and insurance agent in Greece, offers some insights about real estate there.
The National Herald: How do you see the real estate market today?
Ioannis Oikonomidis: The real estate market this year is at a much better level compared to the previous two years, which were problematic due to COVID. There is more economic activity now, and this has helped all the factors involved in real estate.
TNH: In which areas of Athens or in Greece in general is there a demand?
IO: There is demand in the center of Athens and in the northern and southern suburbs of the city for residential properties and for commercial real estate where industrial zones have been created. Tourist properties are usually available on islands or coastal areas.
TNH: What role have Airbnb and other short-term rentals played in the recovery of the real estate market, and what do you believe about their future?
IO: Short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, have created investment movements in the real estate market. Many homeowners and investors are trying to take advantage of this global trend. Having short-term rentals on the market is good as long as there are rules that are followed, and of course, if there is proper operational control of the Airbnb properties. In this way, short-term rentals will flourish.
TNH: To an expatriate or American of Greek descent who wants to invest his money in his hometown in real estate, what would you advise?
IO: Greece, due to its very good climate and other factors, has maintained a comparative advantage in tourism development over time, whether it is involves short-term rentals or any other means of generating income related to tourism. Also, due to the fact that we have been in a financial crisis for many years, opportunities have been created in commercial real estate. Combined with the fact that interest rates in banks have come down to very low levels, money may be better utilized, however, by investing it leasing, renovating, or even assuming the debt of existing properties so that title is obtained. I believe that this period, the next few years, will be the best to invest in Greece.
TNH: Are there any things that Hellenes of the Diaspora should know in advance?
IO: Of course a potential foreign investor should seek the advice of a real estate professional. He should obtain as much information as possible about taxation, required documents, and any obstacles or restrictions regarding the investment. A business plan should be developed so that the prospective buyer understands all the factors that are involved before he makes his final decision.