Greece Aims to Raise $50 Billion From Sales of State-Owned Property Assets

Greece plans to raise 35 billion euros ($50.5 billion) from state-owned real estate assets by 2015, according to a report released yesterday by the Greek Finance Ministry.

“The state owns a vast portfolio of real estate assets that today is underdeveloped or is exploited by uncontrolled, private vested interests,” the Finance Ministry wrote in the presentation, adding that the development and management of the assets is an “obligation for the state.”

The plan is part of a 50 billion euro asset-sale program to reduce Greece’s public debt, the highest in the European Union as a percentage of gross domestic product.

The government will value and register all state-owned commercial real estate assets and record them for the first time in a single land registry, according to the presentation.

Greece is the only country in Europe without a centralized registry of deeds. About 40 percent of registered state properties are disputed and an additional 25 percent don’t have enough data on their legal status and are “questionable,” Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told lawmakers last month.

Greek and international banks will create real estate investment portfolios grouping the assets and four of them will be presented by 2012, according to the presentation. The first will be put forward in June.

Other measures to be taken this year by the government to ensure the success of the plan will include legally establishing long-term leaseholds, defining conditions for vacation and tourist accommodation and speeding up processes for obtaining building and development licences, according to the report.

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