As published by: ENTERPRISE GREECE
By Marinos Giannopoulos - CEO, Enterprise Greece
Prospects for Greece’s property market remain bright. Despite a recalibration in real estate markets worldwide, asset prices across several Mediterranean markets – including Greece – remain attractively priced and offer a wide range of investment opportunities.
In the last few weeks we have seen just how wide that range is: from hotels to logistics facilities, from residential properties to land parcels for industrial use, investors continue to be drawn by the broad variety of property assets Greece offers. And, of course, Greece continues to offer breathtaking natural beauty, a Mediterranean climate and an attractive lifestyle.
The latest third quarter data from the Bank of Greece show that sales prices for residential properties in Greece are accelerating. A new Deloitte report show that Greece remains one of the Top 10 investment destinations for hospitality in Europe. And late last month, the UAE sovereign wealth fund took a stake in one of Greece’s most promising real-estate related startups.
So even though global, real estate markets are facing challenging conditions due to rising interest rates and slower growth − Greek property prices and Greece’s investment story continue to attract.
Greece continues to mark new milestones on its way to becoming a regional center of technology, with foreign investors betting on the country’s prospects as a data and communications hub, as an incubator of innovative new startups, and source of top-notch human capital.
Earlier this month, at the inauguration of a new data center east of Athens, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described the strides taken by Greece as tantamount to a “small revolution”. Within five years, he said, Greece’s technology sector will account for 10% of GDP.
The inauguration of the Athens-3 data center comes just weeks after Lamda Hellix, a subsidiary of U.S. data center giant Digital Realty, and Grid Telecom, a subsidiary of Greece’s national grid operator, agreed to expand their cooperation on Crete. Through their joint efforts, the island will become a regional telecommunications hub linking Europe, Asia and Africa.
Lamda Hellix recently announced the development of the first neutral data center, called HER1, in Heraklion, Crete’s largest city and port. The new center will be able to host submarine cable systems landing on the island from around the world, such as the new, ultra-high speed submarine data cable Greece is currently developing with Saudi Arabia.
The new data center also comes as the world’s three leading cloud computing giants – Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Google – roll out plans for regional cloud hubs in Greece, and likewise complement new R&D hubs that are being established in the country by companies like Pfizer and Deutsche Telekom, drawn by Greece’s pool of skilled talent.
With a highly educated workforce, Greece boasts one of the highest ratios of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – graduates among OECD countries. In his remarks, Mr. Mitsotakis said the country had set a new record in the filing and approvals of new patents.
In the last few years, the Greek startup ecosystem has also grown by leaps and bounds. In late November, Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ took a stake in Greece’s Blueground, an Athens-based property tech company that is seen as one of the country’s most promising startups, valuing the company at €750 mill
ion. Blueground is currently present in 26 cities around the world with a portfolio of approximately 8,000 apartments. It hopes to expand its network to 35,000 apartments in 50 cities by 2025.
Investors are seeing promise in the Greek real estate market, suggesting that the country’s property sector will remain resilient even as asset markets elsewhere contend with a rising interest rate environment.
Attractive prices in a range of asset classes – including the residential, commercial, industrial, and hospitality sectors – combined with Greece’s underlying growth prospects will continue to support Greek real estate, according to analysts.
The latest Bank of Greece data show that Greek residential property prices are up by double-digit amounts – rising at an 11.2% year-on-year rate in the third quarter, up from a 10.1% rate in the second. While a new survey by consultancy Deloitte names Athens as one of the Top 10 most attractive European cities for hotel investments in 2023.
Just in the past few months, Greece continued to draw a string of investors – with recent noteworthy deals emanating from Spain and Singapore – in the country’s booming hospitality sector. Concurrently, several landmark projects, such the €2.5 billion Ellinikon smart city project or the refurbishment of the Athens Hilton, are now underway. And in the past several weeks, property investment companies Trastor and Briq Properties have proceeded to acquire new land parcels near Athens for development as future logistics facilities.
Although Greek property prices have been rising strongly in the past half-decade, housing prices are still considered below their peak of 15 years ago, prior to the financial crisis when residential prices fell by more than 40%. Compared with other Mediterranean markets, Greek real estate prices are seen as competitive and offer attractive yields, according to one recent study.
However, in a bid to support young couples and vulnerable segments of society to afford housing, in September the government announced a new, nationwide policy to help young couples and others, squeezed by rising property prices, buy a home or find affordable housing. The €1.8 billion program targets more than 100,000 prospective home owners and renters. It envisions a series of reforms ranging from the development of state-owned real estate assets to subsidized loans to a higher investment threshold for Golden Visa applicants.
World famous since antiquity for its marble statuary and temples, Greece’s marble sector this month launched a first time ever branding campaign, highlighting the enduring quality of Greek marble and its application in contemporary construction.
The new brand identity – GREEK MARBLE Then. Now. Forever. – was unveiled at a specially designed promotional stand at the Big 5 building trade fair in Dubai, and was the result of close collaboration between Enterprise Greece and the Association of Marble Companies of Macedonia and Thrace. The new brand was then launched at a special event with invited buyers and other guests.
Greece is one of the world’s Top 5 exporters of marble and fine Greek marble graces public spaces across the Middle East and Asia: from leading hotels in India, to office buildings in the United Arab Emirates, to the mosques of Mecca and Medina. In the past year, Greek marble exports to the UAE have been growing at a 20% rate, according to industry experts.
“It is with great pleasure here at BIG 5 Dubai in a specially designed pavilion that we highlight the branding of Greek marble in the global market,” said Betty Alexandropoulou, Executive Director and Member of the Board at Enterprise Greece. “Enterprise Greece and the Association of Marble Companies of Macedonia-Thrace, collaborated with the common goal of enhancing the extroversion of this emblematic sector for Greek exports and increasing the added value of the final product.”