A study conducted by the National Bank of Greece (NBG) and published in its magazine, calls for the urgent completion of a reliable and complete land registry, as well as for extensive reforms simplifying investments.
According to NBG estimates, Greek reforms in the domestic land market would result in an additional annual tourism revenue totaling €8.1 billion per year (€6.3 billion in additional tourism receipts and €1.8 billion in additional investments).
The major issue that prevents land investments in Greece, is the uncertainty over land ownership, mentions the NBG study. Nearly half of Greece’s surface area (65,000 square kilometers out of a total of more than 130,000 sq. km) is claimed by private owners. However, according to historical sources, title deeds have been issued for only 40,000 sq. km of land, most of which stemmed from the land distribution between 1871 and 1938. The remaining 25,000 sq. km may have legal title deeds according to the law regarding adverse possession, which is however not applied for land owned by the Greek state. Forestland, remains as a rule, public. However, the state’s forest claims, amount to some 80,000 sq. km, as they are based on air photos taken in 1945.
With 60% of Greece’s surface area being claimed by the Greek state and 50% by individuals, the percentage of overlapping claims at this time is at least 10%, a rate high enough for becoming a serious obstacle to potential investors.
The study underlines that the problems in the Greek land market are multifaceted and structural. On the other hand, the potential benefits are significant, thus making the need for bold reforms necessary.