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We Asked an Investment Specialist If Now Is a Good Time to Buy a House in Greece For Nothing

It's not a great idea and you're a terrible person.

by Lars Jellestad
15 July 2015, 10:13am


Don't try to buy this right now. Photo by Elektra Kotsoni

More on the Greek Crisis:

Photos of Young Greeks Protesting the Bailout
What Greece's "No" Referendum Vote Means for Europe
Do Greeks and Germans Hate Each Other

Greece and the EU have, yet again, managed to negotiate a staggering multi-billion euro loan to ensure that the country can remain in the eurozone. This time, the Greeks have paid an extraordinarily high price for the economic rescue package and many leading commentators and news media outlets have called the agreement a humiliation of the otherwise proud Mediterranean people. For now, it seems as if the Greeks can look forward to even more reform, cuts and economic bottleneck. In other words, there's even more hardship ahead for the already embattled Greeks.

Whether you think that all of this is the euro's fault or that it's the Greeks that've gone and fucked it, you can't deny just how serious the whole thing is. Neither the EU nor the Greeks are banking on a speedy recovery. For the cynical investor, this could come off as looking like a blessing in disguise – a chance to snap up some choice beachside real estate for next to no money. We wanted to know if that was the case, so we called up Anders Jensen, an investment specialist from private investment company, Danish Investment.

VICE: How risky is speculating on the Greek stock market right now?
Anders: You'd definitely have to be a gambler. I agree that there's some opportunities there but that doesn't necessarily mean that you should pursue them. Investment is all about risk levels and the risk associated with Greece is extremely high. Why reach and try to catch a falling knife when there is low-hanging fruit elsewhere, so to speak?

Okay, but if you were to look it from an opportunistic standpoint, what opportunities are there for people to profit from Greece's economic meltdown?
Right now, it's very limited. The banks and the stock exchange are both closed so direct investment is impossible.

Oh. I thought it was one of those situations where, all of a sudden, a house costs the same as a round of drinks.
Well, the prices are low but when the financial system is completely paralysed, it's hard to do anything. On top of that, we don't know whether or not the bottom has been reached yet. Prices could fall even lower.

How about Greek bank shares – is there anything there?
If you want to invest in Greek banks, it's safest to do it through a non-Greek bank. That way it's easier to assess what state the bank is actually in.

But it's too early to say. First and foremost, the banks need to open up again. Part of the agreement that's just been put in place is that banks need to increase their cash flow again. People panicked and pulled all their money. Opportunities may arise at some point, but again, it's extremely risky.

Are there people trying to invest?
Yeah. We get customer enquiries as to whether there are attractive opportunities for investment in Greece. But right now, we recommend that people wait for the stock market and banks to reopen so we can assess whether there is something worthwhile down there.

Are there people short selling Greek shares?
It's happened but authorities have long since put an end to short selling.

What's the stupidest thing one could blow their money on in Greece?
Given that the market isn't functioning, no one really has the opportunity to be stupid. At least not in that way. My conclusion is that there will be investment opportunities arising in Greece. But you might as well just go into a casino and play roulette – you might win but you also stand to lose a lot.

If, for some reason, you were forced to invest all of your assets in Greece, what you would you do?
I'd go to the nearest police station and tell them that I'd been forced to invest in Greece.