Chryssy Potsiou, President, International Federation of Surveyors

Efficient land and real estate markets are broadly considered to be a crucial component of a successful market economy and the sustainable prosperity for all.

The economic transition in the late 1980s to early 1990s in many countries within the greater European region with state-controlled economies was followed by a major reform in the administration and management of land and real estate. Much experience is accumulated within FIG, UN and the World Bank especially in the fields of security of tenure, provision of property titles and establishment of modern property registration systems. Although there has been an early recognition that a stable and transparent framework is essential, various strategies have been followed that led to uncertain real estate markets in terms of liability and risk.

Much experience has also accumulated during the last decade of the financial crisis affecting several countries, including even those with developed property markets. It has shown that the crisis in many of the affected countries was the result of inadequate regulation of real estate and financial markets. Real estate values became inflated and consumers failed to evaluate the risks they were assuming when buying inflated property, while at the same time complex financial instruments were developed that many investors failed to properly understand. Mortgage lending was inadequately supervised and credit risk was inadequately modelled.

Experience in functioning real estate markets, gained from economies in transition, as well as from countries affected by the economic crisis may be useful in other regions as well. The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) has established a Task Force on Property Markets to assess this experience, share the lessons learned, perform research related to property markets and raise awareness among surveyors about current challenges and the need for surveyors’ response to them.

As we envisage a world free of poverty, fear and inequality, where life is safe and growth is resilient and sustainable, we are looking forward to seeing you in Athens on the 19th of September 2016.

Chryssy Potsiou
FIG President

Wael Zakout, Global Lead, Land Policy and Geospatial | Global Practice: Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience

Click on image for a resume

Over the last three decades, many countries around the World implemented programs to improve security of tenure, enhanced land governance and improve service delivery to the end users. These programs often include development of the legal and regulatory framework, the issuance of land titles, preparation of cadastre maps, computerization of land records and overall institutional reform. In some countries, land transactions are now being complete in less than one day and overall satisfactory rate of customers went as high as 90%.

While this is important, the full benefit from these programs can’t be metalized unless governments put in place efficient policies to promote the development of land and property markers; to allow the high and best use, discourage speculations, and maximize government revenues from property taxes. To achieve this, governments need to put in place a comprehensive system of policies that deal with: i) property rights including issuance of secure land and property titles for all eligible properties in the country; ii) land use planning that adequately responds to urbanization pressure; iv) efficient management of state properties that includes full inventory and transparent policies in state property management; and iv) property taxation system that not only maximizes government revenues, but, discourage speculations and under-utilization of land. In addition of course to two fundamental factors: secure transactions supported by transparent and fair judiciary, and financial sector that is well regulated and responds to the needs of citizens. All of these policies have to come together to ensure the efficiency of land and property markets, and also to enable governments to put in place the right policies to avoid real estate market crash.

I look forward to the discussion during the Conference. In particular I would like to hear the various experience of policies that promotes the development of efficient property markets. Without security of tenure and efficient property markets, I doubt the World will be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Wael Zakout
Global Lead, Land Policy and Geospatial
Global Practice: Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience

George Stasinos, President TCG

The Τechnical Chamber of Greece has the pleasure to welcome the organization of the International Conference on «Sustainable Real Estate Markets-Policy Framework and Necessary Reforms» in Greece. We are welcoming each scientist and everyone who is interested in the event's website.

Scientific knowledge and lessons of experience can and should be a guide, for all those involved in the real estate market, the management of land and all natural resources and in particular for those involved in the decision making process

The choice to host this international conference here in Greece under the present circumstances symbolizes to the global scientific community our strong interest to investigate the potential of the economic crisis and the fiscal adjustment programs and structural reforms for extracting valuable conclusions about their impact on the real estate market and to structure the way ahead accordingly. The TCG, due to its role as the main government technical consultant and through its activities and also the Greek Engineers through their work, have much to contribute to this dialogue. Besides, Greece has launched an ambitious reform program on the Management of Land and natural resources, during the years of the economic crisis.

The relevant reforms that have been implemented in Greece include among others: change on our urban planning system, measures to accelerate the compilation of the national cadastre and the forest maps, political decision to activate /retrieve the dead capital by the formalization of informal buildings and the privatization of underused state land and property, change of the property taxation system, liberalization and institutionalization of the profession of appraisers, promotion of the energy upgrading of old buildings, resolution of disputes in land and real estate issues with the institutionalization of the profession of mediators and the creation of a land bank, digitalization of all important institutional directions and e-Government, enactment of incentives for the strategic investors, consolidation of the financial system to ensure sustainable financing, etc.

The experience on the above reforms, affecting sometimes positively and sometimes negatively the functioning of the real estate market, gained by the TCG and the Greek professionals involved in Real Estate Market, is useful both for the:

We are looking forward to welcome all participants to the High-Level FIG/World Bank International Conference «Sustainable Real Estate Markets-Policy Framework and Necessary Reforms». Even more, we are looking forward to discuss and convey scientific dialogue into Society and the Decision Making Centers.

We do hope that every participant will find the scientific debate of high level and quite interesting to be encouraged to carry the content and conclusions to their own circle.

TCG is committed to disseminate the conclusions to Greek scientific community and the Greek society

George Stasinos
President TCG

Polychronis Akritidis, General secretary of the management board of TCG

Dear Colleagues, Dear Friends
Welcome to Greece!

TCG has been founded 80 years ago (since 1935).
It is a public legal entity, with elected administration. Its headquarters are in Athens and has regional branches in 17 geographical regions.
The Technical Chamber of Greece prior to the financial crisis has been a large and robust organization with obligatory membership representing not only surveyors but also all other university graduated engineers in the country, as well as architecture.

Let me give you, a brief overview of TCG’s history within FIG:

We feel very proud of that and feel very responsible to support her.
Dear colleagues,
We live in, on the era of globalization. Open markets, no boundaries, almost everything is under reform.
During the last six years of the crisis, TCG had to reduce its budget by 60 percent. The revenue from our members has been dramatically reduced.
The unemployed engineers, now, count more than 35% of their population.
More than 36.000 of our members cannot afford to pay their social security fees for the year 2015.
That means, we do need professional decision makers.
We do need to spread the international knowledge and experience to our local environment, we do need to raise awareness about all relevant international studies.

We demand “politics for the community”, and for the benefit of our people.
We do value your contribution to this event and we thank you all for your participation and we are optimistic that these coming period will be fruitful one and that our transparent and close collaboration will bring positive results for the advancing of our economy and our profession, fi all over the world but also within our greater region.
Our motto for this High-Level Conference is: "For a world free of poverty, fear and inequality, where life is safe and growth is resilient and sustainable" and we are more than certain for our success.

Polychronis Akritidis
General secretary of the management board of TCG

Pekka Halme, Chair of Task Force

The Task Force on Real Estate Market Study was established at the General Assembly of the FIG WW2015 in Sofia. The Task Force is expected to carry out a study on the real property markets concerning mainly countries within the ECE Region and in an economic transition process in its different phases. There are a few options as how the work should be structured. One of the possible perspectives to adopt is on how the system functions in the countries in the target region and try to find out if there is a gap between theory and reality and identify the major challenges in the countries under study.

The final report of the Task Force should describe the current situation of the real property market in the region, its challenges, and main lines of development and furthermore give a non-region-specific view on the problems and challenges, and provide tools to deal with them for the governments and professionals on a more global scale. The report will be pre-sented at the FIG Congress in Istanbul in 2018.

The Task Force will arrange two focused seminars with invited speakers. The first one will be held in Greece on September 19-20, 2016.

This seminar offers you a chance to get the pulse on the current situation and preliminary findings of the Task Force. It also offers a great opportunity to bring in new ideas and discuss the questions around the real estate market topic in a wider perspective. We are convinced that we, the Task Force, will gain valuable insight from these discussions and they will undoubtedly help us along the way towards the final findings. So, join us and help us cast a solid foundation for the work.

Pekka Halme
Chair of Task Force