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Gazi – the thriving district of Athens

26 April 2014 / 14:04:19  GRReporter
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Since the late '90s, Gazi has been an emerging residential area with a main feature: the market for so-called "lofts". This is one of the most interesting aspects of the "Gazi" phenomenon, which tries to balance the one-dimensional growth of the entertainment industry (bars, restaurants, cafés, etc.) with a series of investments which are of architectural, economic and sociological interest. Lofts are addressed primarily to single-person households and couples who are looking for different architectural expression of their personal space. The benefits of the district also include excellent transport (subway, major roads, etc.).

The young market was affected by the crisis, but it has endured, says George Stamatakis, director of Alpha Land Developers, a company specializing in the market of lofts which builds such housing mainly in Gazi. Adjustment of prices has reached 30%. According to his explanation, the supply of housing of this type is still limited, unlike the supply of other types of housing. Architects Stelios Koutsikos and Stamos Fafalios of CFCompany noted that there is a tendency in Gazi to call lofts apartments, which actually is not true. "However, lofts are a refreshing marketing element on the market of apartments, but the new elements in terms of lifestyle and design which our times require must be really effective, especially in the period after the crisis. Predicting the post- crisis era, CFCompany is continuing to work in this direction."

Rents are following fewer adjustments, noted George Stamatakis, adding that the demand for rental of good quality housing did not cease even at the height of the crisis in 2012 and 2013. "Customers are not ignorant, most buyers are suspicious. The relative improvement in the economic climate has revived the market. Since March, we have started receiving purchase inquiries over the phone, which is a sign that something is starting to move."

CFCompany believes that in the current economic conditions there is a waiting period for construction activities. "According to our estimates, some areas are ahead because of their characteristics. Gazi is one of them. Since this is a lively area in the centre - with intense activity during the day and night, including cultural activities - it attracts young people who have already entered the labour market. Since they are potentially interested in such a residential area, they require housing the architecture of which reflects and encourages a new understanding of the functionality and aesthetics of the home." George Stamatakis, however, stated that if something has changed, it is the interest of companies, small and medium-sized ones, to accommodate in Gazi. "This is something new, which started tentatively in 2012, but continued in 2013 and 2014." Thus, the human geography of the region is enriched and it is more vivid in the day.

Tenants and buyers

Naturally, the biggest "market" is the night one, or if you prefer - the evening entertainment market. Losses during the crisis amounted to 25% to 30%.

This is something good for the residents of Gazi, such as Panagiotis Dzebelikos, owner of an apartment in a building of CFCompany. He admitted that he chose the apartment because of the architecture and the quality of the apartment and the building, and not so much because of the area. He added that he would prefer that night entertainment venues be limited in a few years at the expense of art venues and new homes. George Stamatakis discriminates tenants from buyers. "For tenants who are looking for a new aesthetic, Gazi is almost the only solution. But the owner does not only buy aesthetics, but has more requirements related to the benefits of long-term investment in the region."

Tags: Gazi Athens markets real estate loft nightlife
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