By Leonidas Stergiou
The inseparable was not only caused in the notaries and tax offices for real estate transfers in order to prevent the increased objective prices in 2022. Corresponding mobility was observed in the banks and mainly in their central branches, where the payments from the transfers were made.
The official data of the Bank of Greece show the net foreign direct investment in real estate to reach 797 million euros at the end of September, ie the total amount in 2020. An increase of about 50% was recorded in the third quarter, a trend that continued in the fourth quarter and in view of the change of objective values. Specifically from the level of 200-250 million euros that fluctuated the markets from abroad in the previous quarters, in the third quarter of 2021 there was an increase to 300-350 million euros and in the fourth quarter it reached the level of 400-500 million. euros, according to bank estimates.
Queues at the counters for checks
In the bank branches, where the increase in transactions for real estate transfers remains at high levels and in the first days of January, payments are made mainly for transactions between individuals. Impression was caused by the high participation of foreign individuals who dominated on the side of buyers, with the Greeks being almost exclusively in the sellers.
Purchases also from Syria
Also striking is the fact that buyers have appeared from countries that have not traditionally had a large presence, such as Syria. According to bank executives, the emergence of buyers from Syria may be linked to immigration and obtaining visas. The presence of individuals from North America (USA, Canada) and Australia was also increased. The US had increased its presence since the end of 2019 and several investments were made through Cyprus. In 2021, the presence of buyers from Canada and Australia became more apparent.
Also, according to bank executives in stores with significant transactions, from the third quarter of 2021 until today, the share of Greeks abroad who buy real estate, such as from Britain, Australia, Switzerland, etc., is significant. However, statistically, these buyers are registered as foreigners, because in fact they are non-residents of Greece.
The shopping interest is very wide and includes from simple apartments to expensive detached houses in urban centers and islands. Many Greeks abroad bought apartments or houses that could be used through leases, but also for own housing in the future. Usually these properties are located in places with good transport and access to entertainment venues and hospitals.
As for the sellers, these were Greek individuals, who appeared in the shops either for some recent procedures, with the lawyers-representatives of the buyers in order to receive the check, or to deposit the amount. According to the same sources, there were very few cases that with the amount of the sale of the property they proceeded to some other investment (eg mutual funds, insurance-investment program, etc.). Most deposited the amount in their basic bank account even if it was current.
Finally, it is characteristic to point out that for the first time the sellers appeared so happy with the collection of the sums from the sale of real estate. Possibly, this is related to the satisfactory price and to the increase in prices that has occurred since the nadir of 2017, ie by 24%, but also due to ENFIA and in general the taxes on real estate.