With a population estimated in July 2009 to be 10,737,428, Greece presents interesting issues of economic growth, debt reduction, and rising inflation. The population growth rate is estimated at 0.127% in 2009, with the Gross Domestic Product per capita rising in each of the years 2006 through 2008, though it's only about two-thirds that of the leading euro-zone economies.
In the period 2003 - 2007, increased credit availability sustained record consumer spending in Greece, and the economy grew by nearly 4% each year in the same time frame. This was partly due to infrastructure spending for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The 4% growth rate dropped to 2.9% in 2008 in tune with the world financial problems and tightening credit. Though they are improving, public debt, inflation and unemployment in Greece are all higher than the euro-zone average. Unemployment in 2008 was 7.7%, as compared to 8.3% in 2007. Both imports and exports increased from 2007 to 2008 as well. However, exports did better, rising 22% as compared to a rise in imports of 16%.
Real estate in Greece hasn't suffered as much as some other countries in the region, though tightened credit has resulted in a decline in property sales dollar volumes. Tourism, accounting for approximately 15% of GDP, does bring real estate buyers from outside the country. Some tips for those outside Greece who wish to purchase real estate include:
• If from outside the European Union, certain areas of Greece require special approval for real estate purchases. These tend to be areas bordering neighboring countries, such as Libya, Turkey and Albania. Though this approval is usually granted, it is a necessity.
• A tax number must be applied for, and those from the US and UK will be required to show their passport to make application.
• You'll be required to declare your source of funds, and it must be legal.
• As money to purchase property in Greece must be transferred from a Greek bank, you'll need to open an account.
• Public notaries oversee the process of purchasing property, and do the contracts. But, it's recommended that you also hire an attorney to check the ownership of the property.
The general view seems to be that the Greek government is working diligently to lower debt and improve the economy. Beautiful country that it is, there will always be those who want to purchase real estate there, and market-watchers think it's a good time to do so.
By www.holprop.com (November 16, 2009)
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