Israel-Greece Conference "The bad news for Israelis is that we have sold everything in our latest projects"
"The bad news for Israelis is that we have sold everything in our latest projects"
In a panel on real estate as part of the Calcalist Israel-Greece Conference in collaboration with Aroundtown and Brown Hotels, Eleni Vrettou of the Greek real estate giant Lamda Development said: "You will have to wait for the next wave."
The Greek real estate field is one of the main sectors that attracts Israeli investors to the Mediterranean country, and at the Calcalist Israel-Greece Conference in collaboration with Aroundtown and Brown Hotels, a panel was held that dealt with the Greek real estate world. "We are doing a lot of renovations and upgrades of existing buildings. We are seeing a continuous increase in the last three years - about 20%. But it is important to put things in context: since the beginning of the crisis we have seen a dramatic drop. Therefore, we have not yet reached the peak of 2007. Moreover, we are still the cheapest housing market in the whole of Western Europe and we are much cheaper than Israel. We see a rise in demand but supply is relatively low. That is why we 'use' and renovate the buildings," said Errikos Arones, CEO of Hellenic Properties, which specializes in residential real estate but is now expanding into other areas, including the renovation of existing buildings.
Eleni Vrettou, Chief Strategy and IR Officer at Lamda Development, Greece's major mall developer which now also specializes in huge projects that combine residential, real estate, offices and commercial space, also presented a very optimistic picture: "The bad news for Israelis is that we sold everything in our latest projects, so they will have to wait for the next wave. We see high demand and there are great opportunities. What is important is to choose the right partners," she explained. But like the other panelists, she believes that despite challenges in all areas, and the global economy in particular, there is still room for growth.
Stavros Tolias, CEO of the ZOIA Private Equity Real Estate, a platform for investment in Greece by Israelis, also believes that it is not too late and that the challenges resulting from the deteriorating global economy should not be feared. "Talking to Israelis and Greeks about challenges is easy, because they are very used to challenges. As a Greek, I do not remember days when we were not challenged. In the current situation we see every possible challenge: war, inflation and also still a pandemic. This is a challenging environment. My answer to the current situation is that we must do business in the same challenging environment, since we must not forget that the challenges are always accompanied by many opportunities."
Alongside the classic real estate market, one of Greece's vital industries is hotels. Natalia Strafti, Managing Partner at Grivalia Management, which specializes in income-producing real estate and has recently entered the luxury hotel industry, commented on what's happening in the hotel world: "We want to attract premium international tourists. It is very different from what the Israeli chains are doing here. We believe that this niche has huge potential. Since we have a huge portfolio, we have a pretty macro vision. There is a huge amount of construction of hotels here as well. I believe the income-producing real estate will face challenges in the near future, especially in terms of demand - since a certain slowdown in growth is expected."
Alexandros Angelopoulos, Managing Director of Aldemar Resorts, one of the largest in the country, also commented on what is happening in the hotel market: “We are seeing a change in consumption habits. People stop looking at the 'stars' of hotels. It doesn’t matter how many stars it has, but the price for what you get. This is the parameter: the price in relation to the value. Today we are measured by comments on websites. The level of real estate prices in Greece is now high. There are many challenges here. We must look at the demand."