Many people buying a property in Poland are doing so as an investment (the graph in image above is not representative of actual figures). We agree that it is a smart investment - based on the history of other countries joining the EU and we believe that prices will rise. A Channel 4 TV programme presented on the 12th of October 2006 by Amanda Lamb rated Poland as the second best country in Europe to invest in, in terms of predicted returns. Romania came top.
Her information wasn't entirely accurate though. Amanda also gave the impression that Poland is not beautiful. They filmed when the weather was cold but without snowy landscapes. The country is simply stunning with skiing regions and mountains, lake districts, extensive forests and national parks. Come and see beautiful poland for yourself.
Polish property prices have been the best performing in Europe during the year up to 2009. Property prices in 2006 and 2007 rose 33% and 28% respectively. However, the credit crunch and difficulty in obtaining mortgages that hit Europe, also affected Poland with the result that house prices slumped. Over the same period, the pound has significantly declined in value.
There remains a good deal of interest in investing in Poland. The Polish economy grew by 18% in the years 2008-2012. Poland remains very pro Europe. The current thoughts are that Poland will meet the criteria for assuming the Euro as their currency by 2015. That is assuming that the European Unions manages to sort out its economic problems. Time will tell.
Consideration 1. Are you Buying a property purely as an investment ? Do you know the best areas for future growth?
Indeed, the price of property in the Old Town in Krakow has already doubled in recent years, this small area experiencing the highest demand, apart from Warsaw and Zakopane in the south east of Poland. But it is easy to get carried away with the promise of a favourable return. Yes, capital appreciation is likely simply because Poles working overseas are sending money home to buy and build houses. There is a view that Krakow has been a property 'hot spot', but prices of apartments have somewaht levelled out in 2008 and there are better places in Poland for growth such Lodz, Katowice, Wroclaw..
It's also worth bearing in mind that unless you are very wealthy you will need to let that property so that it pays for itself. There are several management companies already operating that will let and look after your property for you, or you can try to manage it yourself. You will also require good insurance coverage.
Consideration 2. Security and ways to ensure a relatively hassle free experience. Is the city safer than the countryside?
One of the possible downsides of investing in Poland for us was whether the house would be emptied for us when we were absent. In a country with extensive unemployment wealthy westerners appear to be easy picking. One of my cousins has purchased a house on the outskirts of Warsaw. As a precaution they plan to install hi-tech burglar alarms and CCTV so that they can check their house from their home computer in the UK. I would find it galling to be able to watch the burglars carry out my plasma screen TV without being able to do much about it except calling the police. However, these things happen; I know of someone who purchased an attractive flat near the castle in Krakow, furnished it with care, only to have it burgled.
Consideration 3. Temperatures during the winter in some parts of Poland fall to about -35 degrees, will you be able to deal with this?
Polish houses are built for cold winters, pipes are protected, gas boilers are enormous industrially sized objects. The main roads are kept clear during the winter. However, we came across properties where pipes were frozen so that toilets could not be used, or where there was an outdoor well, water was not being piped into the house. If your property is to be rented out as a holiday let, how will you ensure that the path and driveway are kept clear for visitors?
Despite historically low winter temperatures, the winter months of 2007 and 2008 have been uncharacteristically mild.
Consideration 4. If the house is to be rented as a holiday let or longer term let, there will inevitably be problems with things breaking down or failing. Would a new property reduce the likelihood of these problems?
It is so much more difficult to deal with problems from a distance. Any wise person would find themselves a list of trades people to call on in case of such eventualities. Do you have someone who can stay in the house and wait to let tradesmen in and oversee the work if necessary?
Should you purchase a new or refurbished property in the hope that there will be fewer things breaking down or wearing out?
Consideration 5. Know your market if you plan to let
If one of your aims is to invest a property for rental for business people you would need to buy in cities and equip it accordingly with telephone, Internet access and perhaps fax. For tourists for holidays and short breaks you will have a higher success rate if it is in a popular tourist area, close to a train station or airport and offers the facilities that tourists want.
Prices in the ski resort of Zakopane are already very high. There are new apartments being built and a fair amount of building plots available. The year of 2007 was a bit of a washout with limited snow not only in Poland but across Europe. I guess we have to wait and see the impact of global warming.
What type of rental are you aiming for and is there a market for it?
Consideration 6. Moral issues. Are Brits going to overheat the property market in Poland?
I have received a request to remove this web site because it may contribute to fueling price rises and taking property out of the reach of young Poles in their own country. I think this is inevitable whether my experiences are online or not. If anything, some of my experiences may deter British people from buying. Most Brits tend to buy in countries that they have some sort of link with, such as popular holiday destinations such as France, Spain and Italy. Brits, unless they have Polish connections are not generally interested in investing in Poland; there are far better and more attractive opportunities with guaranteed sunshine elsewhere. Most of the people I personally know who have purchased property recently are either close family with a Polish background or Polish people living in the UK. One of my sisters has sold up entirely in Britain and retired to Poland for a quiet life. People of Polish descent are going to bring a lot of money into the country which will hopefully create more jobs, raise everyone's standard of living and allow young Poles to remain in their own land, although I would encourage any young Poles earning and saving money overseas to buy in Poland before the introduction of the Euro. Prices of houses and goods have risen in other European countries following a change to the Euro.
Consideration 7. Taxes and duties. Is this a possible way of reducing inheritance tax in the UK?
Apparently there are no death duties to pay on property in Poland in the event of your death which leaves it open to all sorts of possibilites. Your estate is divided equally between your offspring. We don't yet know if a more specific and selective will can be written. Property can also be gifted to children during the course of your lifetime.
Problems we've encountered - everyone will experience some sort of problems in the purchase and running of their property. These are ours as they happen. Do feel free to share yours or list them using the forum to help others avoid them.