Watch out for Romania and Bulgaria property hotspots
'Last month, 46% of all the overseas property enquiries we received related to Spain and France,' said Mark Bodega, marketing director at currency specialists HIFX. 'But we've also begun to see a significant rise in the number of clients buying property in both Bulgaria and Romania as British investors look to cash in on the European Commission's September decision.'
Bulgaria is one of Europe's fastest growing economies, and has reasonably priced properties in mountain, seaside and city locations, while Romania is eager to cast off its label of being one of the poorest nations in Europe.
The property market in Romania has been growing at an estimated 25% a year for three years, fuelled by speculators who are banking on the country amending its property laws. When it becomes a free market it will receive more than €11billion in EU funding.
Damien Thiery of Romanian Property Ltd said: 'In terms of residential property, there are two main areas of interest amongst foreign investors. First, there is off-plan purchasing in the Romanian capital Bucharest. A studio flat, for example can cost as little as £25,000 off-plan, and if prices rise by 30% as predicted after accession to the EU, British investors could be looking at a tidy profit for a relatively small investment.'
He points out that investors are also being drawn to Brasov and Poiana Brasov, Romania's largest ski resort. An airport is scheduled to open in Brasov in 2008 and a new motorway joining it with Bucharest is also planned, both of which are good signs for the future.
However Bodega warned: 'Make sure you do your research. Does the developer have references and a good track record? Check any facts and figures you are given, be curious and don't be afraid to ask too many questions. Always engage a reputable lawyer who is familiar with the local property laws and who'll be able to give you impartial advice. The less you leave to chance, the less chance things will go wrong