Where to buy property in Europe

Many of us dream of buying a property abroad - a little bolthole to which we can escape to warmer climes and get away from it all - but just as the UK market has taken a battering in recent years, so too have many European markets.

Buying property abroad
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However, it's not all doom and gloom if you are looking to invest in property abroad. Here are some of the countries where there is still money to be made.

Poland may suffer cold winters but its varied and beautiful landscape includes a Baltic coastline, national parks and cities steeped in history. As an EU member, Poland has received more than €70 million in funding and yet house prices there remain competitive. According to A Place in the Sun, industry experts have tipped the country as ripe for growth in the next few years.

Though Italy has suffered economically, cheap flights and a resurgence within the tourist industry means the property market has fared better than those of Spain and Portugal. Italian law also makes it relatively easy for foreigners to invest in property and with the tourist industry picking up, an Italian investment could provide an affordable holiday home with realistic rental potential.

Romania, and Bucharest in particular, has been something of a property hotspot in recent years. The country's economy is one of the fastest-growing in Europe and foreign investment has increased steadily. Accession to the EU in 2007 means Romania has received funding for development, thereby creating jobs and potential for letting property. This is a property market that is growing rapidly and there are opportunities to get a good return on your investment.

With both an Adriatic and Ionian coastline and the recent addition of low-cost flights direct from the UK, unspoilt Albania could become the next big thing on the European property market. Tourism is bound to increase, particularly in view of the fact that Lonely Planet named it amongst their Top Ten Countries to Visit for 2011 and, though the element of risk may be higher than in other countries, the rewards could also be greater.

Listed as Holiday Lettings' number one predicted holiday hotspot of 2011, Turkey has weathered the financial storm well. The economy remains reasonably stable and low inflation means interest rates have also stayed down. As well as the capital Istanbul, resorts such as Bodrum, Fethiye and Alanya are attracting interest from foreign investors so if your holiday home criteria include sun, sea and sand, Turkey could prove a real goldmine.

As always with buying property, it pays to do your research. Once you have decided upon a location, find an English-speaking local real estate expert (if possible) who can advise on rental prices and potential. Property law differs from country to country, so make sure you know what you're getting in to. Research online, ask in forums, speak to several estate agents and consider paying a professional for independent advice.
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