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Economy

Greece Mulls More Measures to Limit Short-Term Rentals Spiking Prices

ATHENS – After inviting foreign investors to qualify for Golden Visas by buying properties, Greece is looking at limiting how many nights apartments and homes can be used for short-term rentals, which spiked prices and is drying up the market.

While the New Democracy government  has since stopped the practice, Golden Visa holders had scooped up multiple properties when the threshold for qualifying was only 250,000 euros ($270,272) and saw many put those out for nightly rentals.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis earlier had the threshold needed to qualify for the visas – which come with 5-year residency permits and valuable European Union passports for holders and their families – raised to 800,000 euros ($864,872) in popular areas.

“We are studying the Airbnb market mainly in Athens, to see if we can logically limit short-term rentals, to free up more properties for long-term rentals,” he said after those had emptied some neighborhoods.

“We will also see how much time we should allow in total during the year that a property can be rented through Airbnb-type platforms. We are studying it because it is a complex issue,” he said, as his government has also been unable to stop high food prices.

The government is said to be looking at ways to rein in the exploitation of the housing market that was created by the Golden Visa program that benefitted rich foreigners while even Greeks in the Diaspora with ties to the homeland have to wait for residency permits.

That reportedly includes prohibiting short-term rentals in more than two properties per tax registration number (AFM) of income beneficiary or time restrictions to no longer than 90 days a year.

If the property is located on an island with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, the time limit would be a maximum 60 days but if that brings in less than 12,000 euros ($12,973) it could be extended, although property owners could find themselves holding units they might not be able to rent once the limit was hit.

But the limitations, if at all, won’t apply this summer as the government is eager to keep the tourist flow going and short-term rentals are even more popular in some places than hotels, that industry complaining about the competition.

Based on the data compiled recently by the company AirDNA for Kathimerini, during the first quarter of this year in the center of Athens, 18..5 percent of properties are short-term rentals, amounting to 12,762 units, although that’s the lowest rental time of the year.

Mitsotakis also told Action24 TV  “We have already enforced restrictions and requirements for those using Airbnb for commercial purposes. Additionally, we will discuss the appropriate duration for short-term rental of properties.”

The government announced plans to consider tax incentives favoring long-term rentals and stricter penalties for non-compliance and will compile data this year to determine the effect of those regulations.

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