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Economy

Greece’s COVID-19 Handling Impresses Foreign Real Estate Investors

The scientific approach to dealing with the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, making Greece among the best performers in the world holding down the number of cases and deaths has made foreign real estate investors eager to pick up properties.

There are growing signs that 2020 will be up from the previous year despite the aftermath of the virus and a long lockdown that closed businesses temporarily and saw demand for short-term rental such as Airbnb drop off a cliff.

That's good news for an economy that was set to grow 2-3 percent this year but now is predicted to contract as much as 10 percent or more, with tourism – the country's biggest revenue engine – set to take a big hit.

Foreign cash inflow figures for property purchases in 2019 were up a startling 29.4 percent, reaching 1.45 billion euros ($1.57 billion,) beating the previous record of 1.128 billion euros ($1.22 billion) the year before.

Data from the property ad website Spitogas processed for Kathimerini showed that in April, as the pandemic was raging, that research by foreign candidate buyers increased 19.3% instead of going down.

By the end of April, that barometer jumped to 30 percent as the New Democracy government drew worldwide praise for its handling of the crisis and the trend is continuing in May.

Germany was the main origin of demand, followed by the United Kingdom, the United States, Cyprus and Australia, countries to which scores of thousands of Greeks fled during a near decade-long economic crisis, indicating interest in returning.

say that the countries at the top of this list are mainly those with a high number of Greek expatriates or that are easily accessible (even by road).

Not on the list is China, where the virus began and as Greece temporarily suspended visas for Chinese visitors and investors who had been the biggest buyers of properties they turned into short-term rentals, using the acquisitions to qualify for Golden Visas that come with residency permits and European Union passports too.

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