A Home Of Your Own On The Blue Aegean? Now Could Be Your Chance
Jan. 26, 2015, Panama City, Panama: The new anti-austerity government and falling euro make Greece property more affordable than it’s been in a decade.
Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,
When I was in Athens in July 2013, effects of the austerity measures that had been in place for more than two years by that time, intended to help save the ailing country and its bankrupt economy, were visible everywhere. Traffic was light, restaurants along the shore were mostly empty even though it was the height of the season, garbage was rotting in giant piles across Athens, Greeks we spoke with were frustrated and demoralized, and real estate prices were low.
This last, of course, was of particular interest to me, and one big question on my mind at the time was whether real estate in Greece was a good investment.
I concluded no then, and I'm still not convinced this morning after the “anti-austerity” party won yesterday's elections in Greece.
The euro is down to 11-year lows, hovering around US$1.12 as I write, so investing in something in the Eurozone is an idea anyone with U.S. dollars in his investment account wants to be paying attention to right now. Currency pundits are calling for euro parity with the U.S. dollar before the end of this year. We haven't seen that since 2002. Again, this is a window of opportunity that you want to consider acting on.
At the same time, it's possible Greece won't be using the euro long term if the anti-austerity party now in power doesn't keep to the terms agreed for the bailout provided by the rest of the Eurozone in 2010.
Should we care what currency Greek property is priced in? It doesn't matter much if no one is buying Greek property.
So the question becomes whether the new government of Greece can turn the country's economy around... erase a 25% or higher unemployment rate... and reduce debt levels from their current 175% of GDP.
Real estate prices have fallen every year in Greece since 2008, including double-digit declines in 2012 and 2013 before a further single-digit decrease in 2014. And we could be nowhere near the bottom.