ATHENS – Electronic foreclosures of properties seized by the state from people and companies who couldn’t pay taxes and government bills aren’t drawing any interest wit the first sale on April 27 failing to bring a single bid.
That was the first day of so-called e-auctions from the state, following those for private homes that are also being conducted online to prevent protesters from disrupting notaries at courthouses where violent clashes had occurred.
The ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who said, “not a single home in the hands of banks,” has reneged on that promise along with its other anti-austerity vows and has let banks go after people who can’t pay because of big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings.
State debtors are also having problems paying an avalanche of new taxes that include continuation and an increase in a hated ENFIA property tax surcharge that Tsipras allowed to go on after he swore he would end it.
The 15 plots of land and buildings put up for sale at the state e-auction had starting prices between 96,000 to 600,000 euros ($116,280-$726,750) with state debts ranging from 970,000 euros to 863 million euros ($1,174,912-$1.04530,875).
Without any buyers, the next stage will offer the asking price to only a third of the original, offering even more bargains to people and businesses who can scoop up the properties of people who couldn’t pay what they owe to the state, at the same time the government has slowed or ceased paying what it owes to vendors and others.
The e-auction online platform has so far announced that 7,630 foreclosures will take place up until the end of the year, and the electronic system already allows for them to take place on all weekdays, and not just on Wednesdays, as had been the case.
Property market analysts said would-be buyers are being scared off by legal problems surrounding the properties, the paper said, and that otherwise they could fetch close to their original asking price.
Data compiled by Kathimerini show that out of the 1,241 auctions conducted from late 2017, when the e-auction platform opened, to end-March, 509 have been declared void, while buyers were only interested in 115 of them.
It also showed that banks are buying back assets they had put up for sale, repurchasing some 617 properties. The state has accelerated the auctions on orders of international creditors to whom Tsipras surrendered after pledging to defy them.