Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday replied to a question tabled by opposition PASOK-KINAL leader Nikos Androulakis on tackling the housing crisis, during “Prime Minister’s Question Time” in Parliament.
The premier said he “broadly agreed with the diagnosis of the problem,” and that the government was looking at possible solutions, including by raising the minimum investment limit under the golden visa programme.
Mitsotakis noted that the impact of the housing problem was also evident on other levels, especially in areas where there was great pressure on rents due to the growth of tourism, with the result that these areas often did not have the doctors they need, due to a shortage of affordable accommodation. The prime minister agreed that short-term leases have reduced the number of houses available for long-term rentals, while the price of rents has soared by 40 percent compared with 2018. “This is the flip side of the problem we encountered a decade ago, with the total collapse of the real estate market,” he said.
The prime minister also noted that, while Greece has relatively high percentages of home owners, three in 10 Greeks were forced to rent their primary residence.
“The truth is that the golden visa [programme] is a measure that brought in a lot of capital,” Mitsotakis said, noting that seven percent of real estate transactions in recent years were via the golden visa programme.
“We raised the [minimum purchase price] limit. I consider that we should go further. It is true that the division of the areas of Attica has put pressure on west Attica. What we are discussing with the Economy Minister is a further increase of the lower limit for golden visa investments and this will apply to all the areas where rents are under pressure. It may rise to 800,000 euros,” the prime minister said.
He also referred to the issue of short-term leases, saying they should be “further discussed, as the risk of changing the aspect of entire neighbourhoods is looming”. He also clarified that those who operate more than three apartments as short-term rentals will have the same obligations as those operating a hotel.