THOUSANDS OF GERMANS WANT HOMES IN GREECE
70% jump in searches for buying real estate in our country through a special platform – The most popular areas
Greece is becoming the most popular destination country for German investors and private property buyers. According to estimates by market players, over the last year, especially since the health crisis subsided, German home buyers have emerged as the most mobile, surpassing the Chinese, who had a significant presence due to the “golden visa” program.
“During the last year and compared to last year, we have recorded an increase in property searches in Greece by at least 70%,” Marios Christodoulou, head of the digital real estate platform Ferimmo, tells “K”. This platform is addressed to the entire German-speaking population of Europe, specifically to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg. It hosts approximately 40,000 properties from all over Greece, with a total value of over 6 billion euros, having entered into cooperation with over 200 real estate agencies. In relation to 2021, there is an increase in the number of properties by 25% and by 40% compared to 2020. This increase is also reflected in the figures of the Central Bank of Foreign Capital inflows for the real estate market in Greece. Based on these, during the first half of this year there is an increase of 61%, to 788 million euros, compared to 488 million euros during the corresponding period last year. In the second quarter alone, the relative size was 414.4 million euros, marking a year-on-year increase of 67%.
According to relevant analyses, it is estimated that the potential number of German real estate buyers in Greece exceeds 250,000. This size translates into a potential market worth 4-5 billion euros over time. However, to translate this interest into sales, additional moves are required. One of them is, for example, the recent collaboration between Ferimmo and Eurobank. The latter now offers special housing loans aimed at the European market, particularly the German market. “Every German citizen can now be financed to acquire a property in Greece, with a mortgage on the property itself, which was not possible until now for non-permanent residents and non-Greek citizens”, says Mr. Christodoulou. According to him, this development is expected to “unlock” a large part of the German market, which is predicted to be reflected in more buying and selling during the coming months. In the long run, as long as housing credit is developed for the purchase of Greek real estate by German citizens, a market of a total amount of 3 billion euros will be created.
Another element that strengthens the tendency of Germans to invest capital outside their country also results from the course of the German housing market. According to the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index, edited by UBS, two German cities, Frankfurt and Munich, are currently experiencing a “bubble” in the real estate market. In fact, Frankfurt is considered the second and Munich the fourth most overvalued city in the overall ranking of the 25 megacities studied by UBS. Therefore, two of the biggest markets for Germans are now considered unattractive investment destinations, while prices are also significantly high in other cities of the country. Therefore, the prospect of investing in real estate markets outside of Germany is more attractive at this time.
According to Ferimmo data, pure Germans (not expatriates from Germany) are interested in buying houses in traditional tourist destinations, such as Crete, the Peloponnese, the Ionian Islands, Halkidiki, Pelion and the Cyclades. “However, the interest we have been observing in recent times for urban centers, such as Athens and in general Attica and especially the wider area of Thessaloniki, is constantly increasing”, emphasizes Mr. Christodoulou. The type of real estate that Germans are looking for are mainly detached houses (ideally with sea and garden views), with the demand for houses with two bedrooms and above, between 100-120 sq.m. on average, while the average value ranges between 250,000 and 450,000 euros.
Of course, German real estate buyers and of course Greek expatriates have always been a key investment group in the Greek market. However, recently the interest has increased significantly, which is also attributed to the greater ease of access to the housing search in Greece. After all, this is how the real estate markets of Spain, Italy and Portugal have grown over the past two decades, as it has become easier for buyers in Northern European countries to find properties through the use of technology. Another reason lies in the country’s exit from the memorandums and the financial crisis, while the adoption of measures friendly to foreign real estate investors has also played an important role. One of them is the tax incentives for the acquisition of real estate in Greece by pensioners from the countries of Northern Europe, but also the suspension of the 24% VAT for the acquisition of real estate.