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Even During Pandemic, Rents Rise Hard Around Greece's Capital

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns that kept people out of work for months hasn't slowed rising rents in Greece's capital and surrouding area, with affordable housing shrinking fast.

The Spitogatos Property Index (SPI) showed soaring rents and a diminishing number of units within reach of the middle and lower-income, especially with the return of apartments and homes taken out of the market and used for short-term rentals for platforms such as Airbnb.

Curiously, the biggest jump in the region, 14.7 percent, was in the traditionally working-class suburb of the port of Piraeus, said Kathimerini, compared to 11.3 percent in other areas of the Attica prefecture.

That brought the average rental price in Piraeus and its surrounding area to 6.9 euros ($7.98) per square meter, but still lower than 7.2 euros ($8.33) for the ret of Attica where rents had been growing faster.

The hottest area for rentals is now in the western suburbs of Athens and Attica, areas such as Peristeri which has metro stops, a noted pedestrian walking area and easy access to the capital's downtown on public transportation.

In those areas there was a 7.2 percent increase in prices, now at 7 euros ($8.09) poer square meter, a big jump from 4.5 euros ($5.20) in 2019, two years earlier, and the year before the pandemic struck.

Rental prices in the center of Athens have stayed the same at about 9 euros ($10.41) per square meter as some neighborhoods, including the anarchist stronghold of Exarchia, are being eyed for adding metro stops and a big upgrading in public projects which could drive up prices even more.