Economic growth increasing
Lalaine C. Delmendo | March 11, 2022
However, when adjusted for inflation, house prices actually dropped slightly by 0.31% y-o-y in Q3 2022. The huge difference between the nominal and real figures is due to high inflation, which is expected to reach 10% this year, sharply up from an annual average of 0.2% from 2011 to 2021.
On a quarterly basis, house prices in urban areas increased 4% (3.78% in real terms) during the latest quarter.
This strong growth was mainly seen in the major cities:
- Athens led with an annual house price increase of 13.02% in Q3 2022 (1.21% in real terms), up from the previous year's 10.83% growth. During the latest quarter, house prices rose by 4% (3.78% in real terms).
- In Thessaloniki, the country's second largest city, house prices rose by 11.07% (-0.53% in real terms) during the year to Q3 2022, its biggest y-o-y growth since Q1 2007. Quarter-on-quarter, prices increased 3.53% (3.31% in real terms) in Q3 2022.
- In other cities (excluding Athens and Thessaloniki), house prices rose by 9.39% (-2% in real terms) in Q3 2022 from a year earlier, up from the previous year's 6.85% y-o-y increase. During the latest quarter, prices increased 2.99% (2.77% in real terms) in Q3 2022.
Demand from foreign homebuyers is rising strongly. In the first three quarters of 2022, the total value of real estate purchases by foreign buyers, which accounts for 80% to 85% of all real estate purchases in Greece, soared by 60.2% y-o-y to €1.28 billion, based on central bank figures. For the whole year of 2022, foreign buyers' property purchases are expected to reach €1.7 billion, surpassing the €1.45 billion recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Foreign investors have been attracted to Greece, mainly due to the Golden Visa Program, which offers residency to non-EU investors purchasing or renting property worth over €250,000.
The housing market is also buoyed by the country's strong economic performance. After expanding by a robust 8.4% during 2021, the Greek economy is projected to grow by another 6% this year, as the government's National Recovery and Resilience Plan provides significant support to the economy. The economy contracted by a huge 9% in 2020 due to the adverse impact of the pandemic.
Analysis of Greece Residential Property Market »
Rental returns are moderate to good in Greece
The Gross rental yield is the rent the landlord will earn - before taxation, vacancy costs, and other costs - compared to the property's purchase price.
In central Athens, specifically Athens Historical Center and Kolonaki - Lykavittos, gross rental yields range from 3.9% to 5.8%.
Athens suburbs' gross rental yields are moderate to good, ranging from 2.7% to 5.7%. In Glyfada, for a 120 square metre (sq. m.). apartment, you will typically get a rental yield of 5.7%, which is surprisingly good. Many expats favored living in this area because this is a seaside suburb and has access to variety of restaurants, cafes, pubs and shopping districts. In Voula, where most locals live and which is considered an ideal overseas property destination, you can earn a rental yield of 5.69% for a 120 square metre (sq. m.) apartment. Voula is richer than Glyfada. However, you will probably only earn around a 3.38% rental yield for a 120 square metre (sq. m.) for an apartment in Vouliagmeni.
In Kiffisia, one of the most expensive suburbs in Northern Athens, the gross rental yield can be surprisingly high. A 50 square metre (sq. m.) apartment can yield 8% and a 120 square metre (sq. m.) apartment can yield 7.2%.
Smaller apartments tend to have higher rental yields than larger ones.
How much do apartments cost?
Central Athens’ average apartment price ranges from EUR 3,000 to EUR 4,000 per square metre (sq. m.), while in the suburbs of Athens, apartments cost around EUR 3,000 to EUR 7,000, relatively more than in the centre. Apartments in Crete cost around EUR 1,000 to EUR 4,000 per square metre (sq. m.), much lower than in Santorini, which costs approximately EUR 5,000 per sq, m. Rental yields are moderately lower here than in Athens Center and suburbs.
Round trip transaction costs are quite high for residential property in Greece. See our Residential transaction cost analysis for Greece.
Income tax is moderate to high in Greece
Rental Income: Rental income is taxed at progressive rates, from 9% to 44%.
Capital Gains: Capital gains realized from the sale of property held for less than 5 years are taxed at a flat rate of 15%.
Inheritance: Inheritance tax is levied at different rates depending on the relationship between the deceased and the beneficiaries.
Residents: Residents pay taxes on their worldwide income at progressive rates, from 9% to 44%.
Total transaction costs are moderate in Greece
The total roundtrip transaction cost, i.e., the cost of buying and selling a property, ranges from 6.88% to 11.04%. Transfer tax is levied at a flat rate 3% as of 01 January 2014.
Tenant protection laws are neutral in Greece
Rent: Rents are freely negotiable between the tenant and the landlord. There is no legal limit on the deposit.
Tenant Security: All residential rentals have a minimum legal duration of three years. If a contract for a lesser period is negotiated, the three years period applies to the landlord, but not to the tenant. A contract for three years or longer terminates automatically at the end of the contract period, without need for notice.
Improving public finances, robust economic growthAfter four years of surpluses, Greece recorded a huge budget deficit in 2020, equivalent to about 10.2% of GDP, due to massive stimulus packages to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The shortfall fell to 7.5% of GDP las year, and is expected to narrow further to 4.1% of GDP in 2022, according to the European Commission (EC).
The country’s debt stood at 193.3% of GDP in 2021, down from a recent record of 206.3% of GDP in 2020, but remains far higher than the 180.7% of GDP seen in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic. Public debt is projected to fall to about 171.1% of GDP this year, based on EC estimates.
After expanding by a robust 8.4% during 2021, the Greek economy is projected to grow by another 6% this year, as the government’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan provides significant support to the economy. The economy contracted by a huge 9% in 2020 due to the adverse impact of the pandemic.
“The Recovery and Resilience Plan will provide notable support to the economy, while the broad-based government support measures to mitigate the impact of high energy prices are set to partly cushion the impact of high inflation on businesses and on households’ real disposable income,” said the European Commission. “These measures will continue until the end of 2023 without, however, hindering primary surpluses in the coming years.”
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate feel to 11.6% in October 2022, down from 12% in the previous month and 13.3% a year earlier, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority – Greece’s lowest in more than 12 years but still one of the EU’s highest.
There were about 542,900 unemployed people in Greece in October 2022, down from 621,400 unemployed in the same period last year.
Overall inflation eased to 8.5% in November 2022, down from 9.1% in the previous month and the lowest level since February. But it remained far above the ECB’s target of 2%. Inflation is projected to surge to 10% for the full year of 2022, according to the European Commission, sharply up from an annual average of 0.2% from 2011 to 2021.