In recent years, Greece's real estate market has experienced significant changes, coinciding with the country's economic stabilization and signs of growth. In the 2000s, Greece faced several crises, but its economy has shown resilience and growth. Despite the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, it is expected that the Greek economy will continue to expand in 2024. Experts predict a moderate growth rate of 2% in 2024, which is attributed to the gradual recovery of private consumption and improved external demand.
The real estate market in Greece is still primarily influenced by Athens, the country's capital city. A wide variety of properties are available in the city, ranging from classic villas to both old and new apartments that integrate well into the urban environment.
The Ellinikon - a new monumental project of the capital, situated just 25 minutes away from the Athens airport, and a mere 20 minutes from the Acropolis and Athens' city center, has promised to revolutionize the Greek coastline, bringing about a significant transformation to Athens.
The largest construction project in Greece, Ellinikon, with a budget of €8 billion is set to transform the city's old airport. Upon completion of the first phase in 2026, the development will offer approximately 10,000 luxurious homes and apartments, all located on the beachfront.
Developing sustainable and LEED-certified next-generation construction is a top priority for Ellinikon. The unused Olympic athletic venues and dormant runways are currently being dismantled and repurposed for new construction. These materials are being given a new life as park benches for the greenspace or as foundations for other buildings. By prioritizing the reuse of materials on site, the majority of demolition materials remain in Ellinikon, rather than being transported offsite and discarded elsewhere.
The first phase, slated for completion by the end of 2026, will include the redevelopment of the coastline, the Riviera Galleria mall, a 50-story residential tower, two luxury hotels, an integrated casino resort, beachfront residences, and a sports complex. The Park will be Europe's largest coastal park, larger than London's Hyde Park, and will be created by converting airport runways into orchards and walking paths. Early momentum for the project has been generated by Lamda, the developer, who began selling properties in the 200-meter Riviera Tower, the country's tallest building.
The average price per square meter is €14,000, which is significantly more expensive than the average price of €1,809 in the centre of Athens and €3,368 in Ellinikon's neighbouring southern suburbs. However, the price is still lower than high-end real estate prices elsewhere in Europe. All 170 units in the tower have been sold, with most going to Greek residents and members of the Greek diaspora. Sales for leases and properties at Ellinikon have reached €1.2 billion, and residential real estate prices in neighbouring suburbs have begun to rise.
The country is also experiencing a surge in infrastructure and cultural projects, such as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center which opened in 2017 and houses the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera. In 2020, the National Museum of Modern Art was launched in a former beer factory. The city is planning to renovate the 150-year-old National Archeology Museum and has started construction on a fourth metro line which will connect densely-populated neighbourhoods such as Kipseli and Galatsi to the centre, with the first section scheduled to open in 2029.
The issue of rising property prices has been a contentious political matter in Athens. Residents are competing against wealthy foreigners, Airbnb landlords, and investors for limited housing. Unpredictable rent increases have instilled the fear of eviction among the residents. To address the situation, the government has launched a program earlier this year. The program offers low or interest-free loans to individuals under the age of 39 looking to purchase their first property. Starting from July 1, 2023, new regulations came into effect. The rules increased the minimum amount of property investment required to qualify for a golden visa. In several parts of the country, including sections of Athens, the minimum investment required will go up from €250,000 to €500,000.
Even though many parts of the world are experiencing rising construction costs, interest rate hikes, and labour shortages leading to the scaling back of big construction projects, Greece finds itself in a unique economic situation. The country is currently experiencing a resurgence in tourism, as well as witnessing growth in both residential and commercial sales, which is fuelling optimism among investors.
The financial stability report released in 2023 by Greece's central bank suggests that despite uncertainties in the global and domestic economy, prices in the residential property market in Greece are expected to continue to rise. It has been estimated that investment interest, mostly from foreign investors, will stay robust in the short term.