Property taxes in Greece

A few years ago, I took a tour of Greece. While in the back-country, we noticed there were quite a few unfinished box-shaped concrete homes. The second floors usually didn’t even have walls, just columns and laundry hanging out on lines between them. The tour guide explained this was because they didn’t have to pay property taxes until the construction was finished, so no one ever finished building. I recently ran across a similar story somewhere else completely which brought it back to mind.

Having some experience with the factual (in)accuracy of guides, I’m wondering, is this really true?

If that is true, why doesn’t the government change the law to prevent people from doing that? Would it be hard to write in a condition like “unless it’s been sitting there untouched for a year or more”?

A bit of googling returns…

No mention of a discount for unfinished buildings.

Sounds logical, but we’re talking about Greece here! If you expect Greeks to behave rationally, you will be continually disappointed.

I lived in Greece and was told the same thing by many people. I’ll try to remember to confirm it with my Greek lawyer friends next time I see them.

Maybe this is why they haven’t finished the buildings for the Olympics? :smiley:

I was in Greece in 1991 and I observed the same phenomenon. My sister in law and her Greek husband attributed it then and now ( I just got off the phone with them) to a couple things.

The property taxes might have something to do with it but they didn’t remember that. It’s pretty hard to get loans for building projects in Greece, even bigger ones so almost all building is done on a cash basis.

They tore down their house near the Athens city center (Vouliagmenis) and built a 5 story apartment building with all cash. As so often happens, cash runs out and the building stops.

If there is a death in the family, the Greek Probate system makes the US bureaucracy look like a model of efficiency; this can hold up building for years.

Finally according to them, even if loans are available, there is a pretty strong cultural bias against them which stems from a deep mistrust of the banks and the stability of the government.

In the parts of East Africa that I have been to, you see the same thing.
There, lots of the construction is in concrete block or brick. When you get the money, you buy another load, and put up another wall. When the money runs out, construction stops.