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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsRecord Number of Unoccupied Apartments in Greece Amid Housing Shortage

Record Number of Unoccupied Apartments in Greece Amid Housing Shortage

Greece is one of the European countries with the highest number of unoccupied apartments
Greece is one of the European countries with the highest number of unoccupied apartments. Credit: acediscovery / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 4.0

Greece is among the European countries with the highest number of unoccupied apartments, according to a recent study conducted by the Institute for Research and Social Change – Eteron.

The finding comes at a time when Greeks have been struggling to find affordable housing. The ongoing housing crisis has made it difficult for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder and for renters to find affordable rental properties.

Unoccupied apartments

Eteron, an Athens-based research company, found that more than 750,000 empty apartments across Greece could have been used to help remedy the lack of affordable housing.

Eteron has noted that the housing shortage has been exacerbated by tourism and the popularity of Airbnb. Properties that would have been up for sale or on the long-term rental market are instead rented out to international visitors during the tourist season.

Tellingly, the number of short-term tourist rentals has reportedly increased, whilst permanent residents have struggled to find appropriate housing. In 2022, the number of properties available online for short-term tourist stays rose to 144,857, from 136,658 in the pre-pandemic period of 2019.

Eteron has described the housing market in Greece as a “major social and political stake” that is “making both young and older generations feel stressed and insecure about the future.”


Greek landlords are shying away from the long-term rental market for several reasons. Some property owners have chosen to leave their apartments empty to avoid difficult legal battles with tenants who refuse to pay or cause damages. Other landlords cannot afford to repair or renovate their apartments.

Some apparently unoccupied apartments may be used for undeclared Airbnb accommodations. Yet other owners use their apartments as second homes, offices, or professional spaces. Second homes in busy urban areas are particularly common.

The main draw away from the long-term rental market remains Airbnb—declared, or not— and tourist lettings, however. For many property owners, renting out their apartments to tourists via Airbnb generates a higher profit and can be more straightforward than dealing with long-term tenants.

More than sixty percent of properties leased on Airbnb in Greece are concentrated in Attica, the South Aegean region, and in Crete. These areas are regions that draw in many tourists.

Rental prices

The revelation that apartments across Greece sit unoccupied may be especially exasperating for Greeks struggling to pay for rent or find affordable rental properties.

Findings by RE/MAX Hellas indicate that in the period between October 2021 and October 2022, average rental prices increased by twelve percent. This varied from region to region. In Attica, the increase was 8.6 percent; in central Athens, it was 11.6 percent; 13 percent in southern Attica suburbs; and 15.1 percent in Thessaloniki.

In some urban districts, the increases were even more pronounced. Rent in some areas in Athens increased by more than fifty percent since 2017. Increases between thirty and forty percent were seen in other cities.


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