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Greek property prices stabilise after years of decline
15 Feb

Years of falling property prices could soon be coming to an end for long-suffering Greece, Reuters reports, after data from the country’s central bank noted a protracted downturn in the residential property market during the last quarter of the year as prices start to respond to a recovering economy.

In the three months leading up to December, Reuters reporter George Gavrilopoulos states that the value of residential property fell by 0.3% year-on-year. This represents a significant deceleration in falling prices when compared to the 1.9% decline in last year's first quarter.

Greece never really had a chance to recover fully from the 2008 financial crisis as they were thrust into a currency crisis which led to the country’s economic collapse. A series of bailouts from the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) saw Greece forced to adopt stringent austerity measures which took a toll on property prices due to higher taxation.

And, with the highest unemployment rate in the 19-nation eurozone at 20%, Greece still has a long road to recovery but stalling property prices after years of rapid decline suggest things are starting to look up.

In fact, the property prices have gradually eased “gradually eased from 10.8% in 2013 to 2.4% in 2016”, Gavrilopoulos writes. “with economists expecting prices to level out soon”.2017 saw prices slide by just1% year on year. "It was the smallest price drop in the last nine years," said National Bank economist Nikos Magginas.

The latest price drop took the cumulative fall in property value down by 42% since 2008.

However, on a more positive note, Magginas writes that prices are clearly in a state of stabilisation and “it is positive to see the property market responding to the economy's improvement, albeit slowly".Greece has one of the highest rates of home ownership in Europe, 80% compared to an EU average of 70%.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder that property accounts for a large chunk of household wealthy in the country.

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