House price drop seen con­tin­u­ing

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

There seems to beno letup in the suf­fer­ing of Greek house­holds, as three in 10 home­own­ers say they will be un­able to pay their prop­erty taxes this year. At the same time, 40.5 per­cent of ten­ants say they are late with their rent pay­ments, even though al­most 70 per­cent have al­ready seen their rental rates re­duced due to the fi­nan­cial cri­sis, ac­cord­ing to the find­ings of a sur­vey by Marc pre­sented at the Prod­expo con­fer­ence in Athens.

The sur­vey, con­ducted on 805 house­holds be­tween Septem­ber 29 and Oc­to­ber 1, found that one in three mort­gage bor­row­ers were hav­ing prob­lems ser­vic­ing their loans, although 41 per­cent said they have al­ready ar­ranged for smaller pay­ments.

The neg­a­tive ex­pec­ta­tions in the prop­erty mar­ket have been con­sol­i­dated, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing the gap be­tween sup­ply and de­mand. Re­spon­dents an­tic­i­pate the fu­ture level of sup­ply to be four times as big as de­mand, with just 4.5 per­cent say­ing they would con­sider buy­ing a house in the next three years. A far greater 19 per­cent said they might sell a prop­erty in the next three years. Nine years ago, in 2006 the pic­ture was the ex­act op­po­site, as 22.6 per­cent had been con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a prop­erty, against just 12.3 per­cent po­ten­tial sellers.

About 50 per­cent of re­spon­dents said prop­erty prices will likely shrink fur­ther in the next two to three years, although this is a smaller rate than in 2013, when 65 per­cent had been an­tic­i­pat­ing a fur­ther de­cline. A sig­nif­i­cant 31 per­cent cur­rently be­lieves that prices will re­main sta­ble.

As to how the mar­ket could start re­cov­er­ing, two-thirds of re­spon­dents (65 per­cent) said the gov­ern­ment should ra­tio­nal­ize tax­a­tion on own­ers and im­prove the leg­isla­tive frame­work. Three out of eight (37.3 per­cent) be­lieve that the tax sys­tem is the big­gest ob­sta­cle to at­tract­ing in­vestors in Greece, fol­lowed by po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty (27.3 per­cent) and bu­reau­cracy (15.7 per­cent).

On the is­sue of prop­er­ties owned by Church of Greece, the ma­jor­ity (63.5 per­cent) be­lieve some of them ought to be passed on to the state, while 28 per­cent want no change.

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