The “radiography” of the commercial routes of Athens

Its commercial market shows significant signs of recovery following the effects of the pandemic, as today the available in the famous commercial “piaches” is an endangered species. At a time when the rents are now for real estate located in promotional positions that are many square meters, all EUR 280 million per sq.m. In particular, as Savills’ recent survey reports, the percentages of vacant spaces have begun to decline on the main commercial roads of Athens. The leading trade routes such as Bucharest, Ermou, Kolokotroni in Kifisia and Metaxa in Glyfada are of strong interest from the retailers and most of the commercial shops that remained vacant due to the pandemic have already found new tenants. The country’s most popular shopping street, which is no other than Ermou, has a percentage of vacant stores at around 5%. On the pedestrian street near Syntagma Square, all shops are rented. It has a mix of shops from large chains such as Zara, H&M etc, with some of them holding more than one store. With huge daily traffic, it attracts interest from international retailers who wish to enter the Athenian market by opening flagship shops. Due to limited availability, new leases showed an increase of 5.7% compared to last year, reaching historically high of EUR 280/m2/month. Bucharest, is the best known commercial road due to having the most luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada etc. The most sought-after section is located between Academy and Stadium Streets, where the road is fully pedestrianized. At the beginning of the year, only 3 stores were available for rent in this area, explaining the extremely low rates of vacant shops that prevail constantly in this part of the city. However, the road of branded brands, which differs from the highest leases, showed a slight decrease in the achievement of rental prices, about 1.5% (as compared to the end of 2022). This fall was expected as rents had reached a historic high, even the recent leases made reached 320 euros/m2/month. A pole of attraction for retailers is also the commercial road of Kolonaki, despite the fact that in relation to Ermou and Bucharest it faces higher percentages of vacant stores. Since 2019 however, mostly domestic stores offering high-quality products began to reoccupi real estate on main roads such as Kanari, Chakalov and Skufa roads, with Patriarch Jehoiakim Street also showing a strong recovery with high demand levels and low percentages of vacant stores. The other commercial squares of the Centre are considered of secondary importance, resulting in high percentages of vacant shops, which in some cases reach up to 80% (mainly in arcades) during the economic crisis. However, even this market now shows signs of recovery. Today, the interest of employees mainly focuses on restaurants and cafes/bars. This shift towards catering and entertainment businesses, observed during the economic crisis, contributed to the reduction of percentages of vacant stores even in secondary locations in recent years. Currently, the percentage of vacant stores is at 15%, after a continuous reduction since 2019, despite the pandemic. Outside the centre, the Southern Suburbs feature Glyfada, which is considered one of the strongest commercial squares. Specifically, Metaxa continues to have good performance with a mixture of high-quality, medium and high-quality shops. The percentage of vacant stores is around 6% and there is satisfactory demand. However, some vacant properties are sometimes due to high rents that do not match the employees’ budget most of the time. Currently, the top rents range around 110 euros/sq/month, with some leases for small retail units (up to 50 sq mi) exceeding this range of prices. However, the expected retail growth in Greece, which will enter the market in early 2027, thus creating a new attraction for consumers, is expected to affect the market by shifting the focus of interest in retailing in this project and more widely in the southern suburbs of Athens. Strong commercial streets also have the Northern Suburbs, such as Kifisia, Chalandri and Marousi. Specifically, Kifisia faced an increase in percentages of vacant stores until 2018, however it became attractive for retailers and catering businesses that again show strong interest. This led to the rapid absorption of most vacant stores, significantly reducing the percentages of vacant stores near 9% with provision for further reduction. As a result, today remains the most advanced market of the northern suburbs of Athens in retail and catering shops. The top rents are of the order of 105 euros/sqm/month for typical retail shops in the best areas of Kolokotroni and Kifisia Avenue, where Kifisia’s main commercial offer is located. Halandri is also a dynamic submarket that attracts mainly international retail chains and smaller domestic retailers. Most central commercial roads, such as Andrew Papandreou, Pendelis Avenue and Haimanda, have rates of vacant stores under 5%. On the other hand, second viewing roads near the main shopping streets still face increased percentages of vacant stores, thus pushing the total percentage of vacant stores closer to 12%.