The average Greek needs the savings of 12 to 14 years of work to buy a 100 m² apartment. home. Greece tops all European Union countries struggling to get residency, along with Ireland, where even more years of work and savings are needed.
Although in most EU countries it takes “half an effort” (6-8 years), the issue of the difficulty of obtaining housing for households has reached the concerns of finance ministers and is entry on the Eurogroup’s agenda.
For the first time, the issue can be viewed as a whole, not just as a risk of a ‘bubble’ in the economy or how much it costs to buy a house versus the rent, but also as a function of how many years it takes to work with today’s wages to buy a house.
A pan-European solution is now sought, because with all the problems of pandemic, war and austerity, the debate on how to manage housing is now underway.
Despite an atmosphere of war in Europe, a first attempt was made to record and approximate the housing reality for each country, and a map explained all the details.
The map shows that only two EU countries are “painted” entirely in dark colors: Ireland and Greece, because the acquisition of a 100 m². the house requires income over 12 years of work.
Only a few regions or individual areas in Europe present a similar picture (eg Corsica), but in no other country, not even in the former East, do people need a total of more than 10 years of work to buy a house.
Expect lower prices
Greece also has one of the highest percentages of homeownership, around 70%. Higher percentages, above 80%, show the countries of the former Eastern bloc (Poland, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, etc.).
“E9 property declarations in Greece exceed E1 income tax declarations,” the finance ministry is told (E9 8.8 million, compared to E1 6.5 million).
However, they recognize that this does not mean that households meet their housing needs.
This is also evident from the fact that, although real estate market prices are soaring, construction activity in 2021 has jumped 45% in one year (!) with trends for a further increase in the construction of new buildings in 2022.
As the Eurogroup discusses how to make housing more affordable for Europeans, in our country finance staff are developing a new housing policy with a focus on young couples, using innovative tools and opportunities .
However, in order for prices to fall in the short term (in the next 3-4 years) in our country, the government considers that the supply of real estate must increase.
For this, initiatives will be taken at all levels, with the development of state land, with incentives for renovation, and the supply of urban land in the future.
Specifically, as they estimate, in Greece there are at least five sources of unused properties that are not in use and that could increase their supply very soon.
The areas that the government sees as suitable for major investments in the first phase are:
- Properties abandoned due to the crisis, apartment buildings and entire neighborhoods, in urban centers and in the regions: many buildings due to the crisis of more than ten years have not been renovated or remain closed off the market.
- “Closed cottages which”, as competent executives say, “belong to another era and another standard of living, but remain abandoned and fall into disuse”.
- “Trapped” in debts, funds and red mortgages. It is estimated that over 100,000 vacant properties are off the market and have not been auctioned. Thousands of second, third or even fourth (non-primary) properties make up the bulk of the confiscated properties that are stagnating. For all this, even utilities are not paid and apartment buildings and neighborhoods are in ruins.
- Thousands of unused properties of the state, organizations and institutions, etc. or hundreds more of which – in many cases – these bodies have not even registered ownership or acceptance!
- New buildings that are already under construction, although for at least two decades, new spatial and urban planning, inclusions or extensions of city plans, etc. are absent.
Kostis Plantzos contributes to new money.
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