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Greek housing sector's growth picks up in third quarter

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Greece'S housing market recovery picked up in the third quarter with prices increasing for the seventh consecutive quarter on a growing economy and foreign interest, central bank data showed on Thursday.

Athens

GREECE'S housing market recovery picked up in the third quarter with prices increasing for the seventh consecutive quarter on a growing economy and foreign interest, central bank data showed on Thursday.

Property accounts for a big chunk of household wealth in Greece, where the home ownership rate is 80 per cent, above the EU average of 70 per cent.

Apartment prices rose 9.1 per cent in the third quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, Bank of Greece data showed, accelerating from a 7.7 per cent increase in the second quarter.

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There has been an upward trend for both old and newly built apartments and in all regions, though the capital outperformed with prices up by 11.9 per cent year-on-year.

Home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb and a "golden visa" programme - a renewable five-year resident's permit in return for a 250,000-euro (S$377,800) investment in real estate - taken up by Chinese, Turks and Russians - have made Athens very popular.

Greek house prices fell 42 per cent between 2008, when the country's protracted recession began, and the end of 2017, as property taxes imposed to plug budget deficits, tight bank lending and a jobless rate still around 17 per cent, the highest in the 19-nation eurozone, hurt the sector.

But economic prospects have improved since 2015 when Greece signed up to a third bailout package.

The country emerged from its latest bailout in August in 2018 and it is now relying on markets for funding. REUTERS