Increasing interest in Greek property market

28 Apr 2015, Market, by broosco legal team

 

The economic recession observed in Greece in the past five years has admittedly prevented people of considering it as a promising investing target. Property buyers were among them. Irrespective of how much you may enjoy holiday under the unique Greek light, putting money on a secondary residence still was an issue. Specific governmental steps to the direction of making property purchase more attractive have been implemented on several sectors:

  • Capital gains tax was suspended, permitting the seller to proceed to the sale of his property with significantly less expenses, while under the previous tax regime he was burdened with a 15% taxation on the difference of acquisition and sale price (with slight variations depending on different factors but still a heavy charge).
  • Tax estimated property values were established in most of the Greek territory and were increased in an effort to reach the market prices and contribute to the uniformity of the property taxation. The system of deciding the tax value of each property was implemented in the late 90’s , assigning to the local tax authority the valuation of each property based on several factors, but still there was a big part of the country where no such estimations existed, so the taxes depended on uncertain and varying estimations. Adopting a single and common line for all property owners contributes to tax justice and reinforces property transfer.
  • Providing the possibility to legalise illegal constructions, which were built either without building permit, either by partly violating the urban legislation, was an unexpectedly efficient measure, implemented in 2011 providing all property owners a direct solution to faster sale. On the other hand the buyers cherish the safety of a legal property feeling free to move towards an uncontested investment.
  • Following the adoption of the legalising measures, another initiative for a safer and professional property transfer was taken: the obligation of the seller to provide the buyer with an engineer's legality certificate, which may have increased the paperwork provided to the notary before the sale contract is signed, but the benefit was far more essential.: The sense of safety in transactions convinced the buyer that no unpleasant surprises will emerge after the purchase, and therefore gave a boost in the sale prices too, as it became evident that any property can be legalised and sold.
  • In 2013 important legislation was implemented to the direction of creating a friendly environment for investments introducing measures to promote foreign investments in Greece, facilitate the residence of investors in Greece through the granting of residence permits for executives of Strategic Investment projects and third-country citizens (non-EU citizens) and their family members, who buy property in Greece, the value of which exceeds €250,000.This initiative has already attracted buyers from third countries like China, Russia or Israel, who take advantage of this exceptional opportunity to buy a property in Greece accessing easily the European markets. The documentation required is simple and the procedure quite easy to handle in order to get what is being promoted as the “Greek golden visa.”
  • Changes in the tourist legislation promoted the possibility of property owners to take advantage of the law and rent their property as a tourist accommodation, earning significant income instead of leaving their holiday home unexploited for most of the year. More specifically, pursuant to the Law 4254/2014 the houses of a surface of at least 80 sqm, with an independent external access, which are self-efficient and independent residences on independent plots (therefore not belonging in the category of the basic hotel tourist accommodation) are considered as Tourist Furnished Villas without services provided and can be rented temporarily, for less than thirty (30) days. Till this amendment, the minimum duration permitted of a short-term house rental was three months.

All these measures have created a secure transfer procedure and a well organised legal framework, witnessed during the last two years, leading to the gradual recovery of the Greek real estate market which aspires to continue its rising course in the coming years.

 

 

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