Greek authorities on Monday banned the sale of apartments in the capital’s new downtown district amid a surge in interest from foreign buyers.
A Greek law passed last week gives the country’s capital the right to sell apartments that are less than 20 years old, though it is unclear whether the new ban applies to those units built before 2010.
The law also limits the number of people who can live in an apartment, as well as the length of time people can stay in them.
The ban is the latest step by Greece’s government to curb the demand for its downtown, which has long attracted buyers from around the world.
The new rule bans apartments from more than 20,000 square meters (9,300 square feet), including apartments of between 25,000 and 35,000, as long as they are not more than 10 years old.
A ban on more than 25,400 square meters, or 40,000 sq. feet, applies only to buildings taller than 20 meters.
“We are making it clear that no apartments will be allowed in the new district,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told parliament in a speech.
“I am afraid that in the current market conditions, the rules are not sufficient.”
The measure, which was passed by a majority in parliament, was first reported by the Associated Press news agency.
It is not clear how many of the new apartments are likely to be sold in the district, which covers the western part of Athens.
While it is a relatively small number of buildings in the neighborhood, many are listed on the secondary market and are likely on the market in the near future, according to real estate brokers and developers.
The market is also showing signs of overheating, with prices rising from around 30,000 euros ($33,000) per square meter to more than 60,000.
The market has been especially active in recent weeks as the government has tried to limit the flow of money into the country.
Greek authorities have warned that if foreign buyers do not make a commitment to buy the apartments, the government will shut down the entire downtown district.