No Comments

Fitch upgrades Greece from “stable” to “positive”

Greece has secured its first credit rating upgrade for the new year after Fitch announced late on Friday that it has raised Greece’s rating from “BB-” to “BB” and its outlook from “stable” to “positive.”

The move has put Greece two notches below investment grade, making Fitch the first major rating agency to bring the country so close to the coveted level. Standard & Poor’s and DBRS Morningstar have Greece three notches below investment grade, while Moody’s has it four notches inside “junk” territory.

Fitch said in its report that the sustainability of Greek debt continues to improve, supported by a stable political framework, a sustainable increase in gross domestic product and a history of fiscal overperformance in relation to the targets set.

Its positive outlook, Fitch added, reflects the improved prospects of political stability and implementation of policies after the elections of last July, which brought center-right New Democracy to power, and increased certainty the debt will continue to decline.

The next rating reports for Greece, by both Standard & Poor’s and DBRS Morningstar, are scheduled for April 24.

Source: ekathimerini

No Comments

Growing property market in Greece

Greece has the fifth fastest growing property market in the European Union, according to July-September 2019 data published yesterday by Eurostat, as only four EU member-states beat the country’s 9.1 percent annual price rise recorded by the Bank of Greece.

This is a diametrically opposite picture to that of previous years, when Greece was one of the very few countries where property rates were in decline.

Greek price growth accelerated over the course of 2019: Based on the revised data from the BoG, property rates expanded 5.3 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of the year, with the annual rise climbing to 7.7 percent in Q2. Property prices across Greece posted yearly growth of 7.4 percent over the January-September period, though in Athens the rise amounted to 10.3 percent. In 2018 the nationwide average growth rate only came to 1.8 percent.

Property market professionals say that a key factor for this growth – which started in early 2018 but soared last year – has been the inflow of funds from abroad for the acquisition of properties, mainly for utilization in the short-term rental sector.

In 2018 inflows jumped 172.1 percent to 1.12 billion euros from 414.7 million in the previous year. This trend continued in the first half of 2019, which the latest data concern, with 94.6 percent yearly growth to 736.6 million euros from 378.5 million a year earlier. This is thanks to the continued improvement of the tourism sector’s figures, the improving economic sentiment in Greece and investor expectations of a further increase in their returns from the highly popular short-term rental sector, according to an analysis by Alpha Bank. It also points to the significance of the program for the concession of five-year residence permits (known as Golden Visas) to non-EU citizens who invest at least 250,000 euros in Greek properties.

Alpha’s analysts stress the significance of rising property prices, which translate into an increase in the value of loan collateral, thereby improving the banks’ net position while increasing the wealth of households.

Source: ekathimerini

No Comments

The income of all taxpayers is due for a boost in 2020

The income of all taxpayers (salaried workers, pensioners, farmers and self-employed professionals) is due for a boost as of January 1, when reduced tax rates come into effect. For the first time in over a decade individuals and corporations alike will see a reduction to their income tax burden, with a further cut being possible when the government announces its decision on the gradual abolition of the solidarity levy in mid-2020. The tax breaks are greater for taxpayers on low incomes, families with children and freelance professionals, while they will be more limited for middle-range earners, as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis admitted recently. On a monthly basis, the tax cuts for unmarried or married salaried workers without children will reach up to 13 euros, dropping to 11 euros for salaried workers with one child. The monthly easing comes to 14 euros for taxpayers with two children, and in the cases of workers with three children, their monthly savings will come to 23 euros. For example, a salaried worker earning 10,000 euros a year currently pays 300 euros in tax. From January the annual tax will drop to 123 euro, down by 177 euro per year. Notably, this concerns incomes up to 20,000 euro per year, as for the income brackets between 20,000 and 50,000 euro the tax breaks are significantly smaller. This is due to the changes implemented to the way the new tax discount (the tax-free ceiling) is calculated. Among the big winners of the new tax law are freelancers: When their 2020 incomes are examined after the submission of their tax declarations in mid-2021, they will see a reduction to their tax burden which in some cases will exceed 1,300 euros per year. This will be thanks to the slashing of the introductory tax rate from 22 percent to just 9 percent. Therefore, those who declare yearly incomes up to 10,000 euro will see their tax shrink by 60 percent or 1,300 euro, dropping from 2,200 to just 900 euro. It is reminded that self-employed professionals who do not have a labor contract are taxed from the first euro of their net income declared to the tax authorities, as they do not enjoy the privilege of a tax-free ceiling that salaried workers and pensioners have.

Source ekathemerini.