The cost of living in Europe has dropped recently, with countries descending into monetary problems due to debt crises, with Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy chief amongst the countries stealing the headlines for these reasons. Although Italy is not expected to see much of a drop in its prices unless things become severely desperate, if you know the right places to look you can find large drops in the property market, and in some cases for the other countries mark downs can be found that have not been this low for the last 10 years or more. If you’ve been looking to invest in a seaside condo in Spain or a gorgeous little cottage in Ireland, now is the time to get yourself to an auction (if you have the money) and buy while the price is low.
Greece has seen a massive drop in the prices of its housing recently due to its hugely publicised problems with the debt crisis, so if you are looking to invest in a Greek island house that will eventually appreciate in price, now really is the time. Be prepared to look around – especially as you may want to buy somewhere you can leave to your children – as there will be plenty of options out there with many people looking to sell as soon as possible. We recommend you start digging around on the islands for holiday homes or condos for rent as people won’t be going on holiday at this time of year.
Spanish banks have found themselves in much the same position as the US, with a huge amount of foreclosed real estate on their hands which they need to get rid of sooner rather than later. In some cases house prices have dropped as far as 50%, which with financing of 95% available, makes for a highly tempting proposition. Even in this cheap climate though it is best to look smartly at the quality and location of homes and condos. There is a lot of junk to search through before you find something that will be a good investment.
Or on the other hand you could simply look to settle down in one of the places that has been cheap all along, these being Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania or Bulgaria. In all of these countries you will be able to find prices that are almost too low to be believed. Ensure that you go outside of the tourist zones in Prague and Budapest and you will find good deals. In Bulgaria you can find condos on sale for as little as 53,000 euros.
Don’t just read one article and then think that will be enough. You really need to read around and get the best possible opinions from as many sources as you can. It is the best way to narrow down your search and avoid any pitfalls you may encounter on the way.
No one else, no matter how long they have known you and how close you are can tell you where you would be best off living, that is for you to discover. The best way to do this is by travelling to the countries you are thinking about moving to and making sure you experience a little of what there is to expect, even if it is just over a weekend. Somewhere could be a perfect place to go for a holiday but once you have been there for over a month you could get tired and realise it was not the place you had dreamt about.
There is a very high likelihood that you are looking to move somewhere where an expat has already gone. Do a little research into who has already made the move (speak to friends, search on the internet, look at expat forums) and make an effort to contact other expats and gain all the information about the move you will need and ask them if there was anything that happened to them that they did not expect. Search notice boards, read articles and have a look into the local expat hangout once you arrive. Research is key.