The real estate market in Greece has been clinically dead for years, and a long planned revision of real estate valuations for tax purposes was supposed to lower the tax valuation in order to bring them in line with market prices.
That was an enormously difficult task from the start, because when there are hardly any real estate sales, except for those who sell property for a pittance due to dire financial straits, anything approaching an objective market value is well nigh impossible.
What the finance ministry’s real estate appraisers intend to do now is to jack up the tax valuation in areas – parts of Athens and tourist spots around the country – which have proven popular among Airbnb and other short-term renting companies, and also to raise the tax valuation in working class and other neighbourhoods where the existing price per square metre is considered very low.
In Athens, the areas of Koukaki, Mets, Petralona, Psyrri, Keramikos and Metaxourgeio are among the most popular neighbourhoods for Airbnb clients, as they are centrally located, in some cases fashionable, and fairly close to popular tourist spots.
The increase in the valuation per square metre, however, will lead to higher ENFIA real estate taxes for property owners, regardless of whether they are profiting from the Airbnb boom or not.
But even those who are renting out houses and apartments through Airbnb or other platforms are now being saddled with high taxes on rental income, which means they are in for a double tax whammy.
About 250 appraisers have been given an additional week, until 22 March, to finish their work. They have already come up with a price per square metre in 9,600 out of 10,200 zones nationwide.
In the so-called inexpensive zones, they are proposing huge value hikes, reaching even 40 percent.
In real estate zones considered expensive, or around 2,000 euros per sq.m., they are proposing a price reduction of between1-15 percent.
Once they have finished their job, the list of values will be sent to a second committee that will compare the valuators’ appraisals with Bank of Greece data on the prices paid for actual real estate transactions in specific areas, if and when those exist.