An increasingly acute housing shortage in the Greater Athens area is forcing the Greek government to think “out of the box”. One initiative under serious consideration would provide generous subsidies to owners willing to renovate apartments that are currently shut up and offer them for rent. The Greater Athens-Piraeus area is home to roughly half of the country’s 10 to 11 million residents, and also receives millions of visitors every year.

A series of factors including increased post-pandemic demand, a “Golden Visa” scheme giving non-EU nationals a residence visa in exchange for property acquisitions (now set at a minimum of 500,000 euros in the capital), and the now ubiquitous “AirBnB” effect, have taken a significant bloc of leased properties off the market.

Funding to the tune of 50 million euros is expected to come out of the revised EU Recovery and Resilience Fund. The target, according to the Energy and Environment Ministry, is to get between 12,500 and 25,000 properties back on the rental market. The carrot, according to reports, will be a subsidy covering up to 40 percent of the renovation costs for closed or older units, up to a 10,000-euro ceiling.