The 63-year-old has been been trying to buy an apartment ever since she was evicted from the home she rented for 32 years – when it was bought by Chinese investors two years ago.
“I want some security in case the same thing happens again,” says Ms Hynes, originally from Ireland. She earns a modest salary as an English teacher, while her Greek husband’s monthly pension was cut from €1,500 (£1,315; $1,690) to €500 during the country’s economic crisis, which began in 2010.
“When we were evicted there were still apartments selling nearby for €100,000. Now I can’t find anything under €250,000. These are Chinese and Russian prices. Not Greek.”
Greece’s financial crisis a decade ago shrank the country’s economy by more than 25% in the following years, but there are finally signs of improvement.
The property market, once completely dead, is on the rise – house prices in Athens rose 3.7% last year…
The boom appears to be driven by a controversial “golden visa” scheme, in which non-EU citizens receive residency and free movement in the EU’s Schengen zone, in exchange for investing in property.
The worry is that foreign investors are benefiting while ordinary Greeks miss out.
Many EU countries including the UK, Portugal and Spain, have golden visa schemes, but Greece has the lowest threshold. Investors receive five-year residency after purchasing €250,000 of property, making the country a new hotspot for foreign buyers.
Here is the full Jessica Bateman BBC story, via Ray Lopez. Does a culture of renters bring a bohemian, non-complacent dynamic urban core? Or a bunch of whiners who oppose economic progress? Or both?