The recovery in Greece starts with the real estate sector, delegates heard at the Market Snapshot: Investing in Greece briefing, which was held online at RealX Global, the first virtual trade fair organised by Real Asset Media.
After years of delay work has just started on the massive €8 billion Hellinikon project, on the site of Athens’ former airport, an area three times the size of Monaco. The decision to go ahead despite the pandemic is seen as a signal of Greece’s openness to outside investment and of the importance of the real estate sector.
‘Real estate has always been a pillar of the Greek economy and it’s expected to play a significant role in the recovery after the pandemic’, said Hilda Alisandratou, associate director investment promotion, Enterprise Greece. ‘Hellenikon will transform the Athenian coastline forever and make the city an all year round, world-class tourist destination,’ she said.
Ambitious reforms improved pre-Covid market
Before Covid-19 hit, the Greek market had real momentum helped by the implementation of an ambitious reform programme and a series of measures to attract foreign investors, such as “the golden visa”, the non-dom regime and tax incentives.
‘Expectations were high for 2020 and Athens was an investment hot spot, but the pandemic has caused real upheaval,’ said Alisandratou. ‘Hospitality and retail have been hit the hardest, and a recovery is unlikely this year, but domestic and foreign investors are still looking at deals and taking the long-term view’.
Big-name investors active in Greek market
Local listed companies have invested over €1 billion during the crisis and plan to invest more, especially in logistics, she said. Big international names are also active, such as Hines, which has just acquired a portfolio of hotels in Crete.
Their optimism seems to be justified: according to EU forecasts, the Greek economy will prove to be resilient. GDP will decline by -9% this year but bounce back to +6% growth in 2021.