Slovakia’s property market has been shaping up nicely over the past few years since the country’s accession to the EU. Its location at the heart of Central Europe, its upwardly mobile population and its acceptance of foreign investment has created a dynamic property market, while the country’s natural beauty, low living costs, low taxes and excellent transport infrastructure has made the country an attractive destination for investors and migrant workers.
Capital City: Bratislava
Time Zone: GMT +1
Country dialing code: +421
Currency: Slovak Koruna (SKK)
Due to Slovakia’s mountainous makeup, the climate varies greatly from the snow-capped peaks to the relative lowlands. Officially Slovakia is classed as having a continental climate – that of hot summers and cold winters – yet it is often more temperate than that, with warm summers and cool, humid winters. In July and August, the average temperature is 20c (similar to Portugal), while in the coldest months of December and January, the average temperature in some places can be as low as -6c, which is as cold as Poland. Rainfall is mild throughout the year.
In terms of Eastern European property investment destinations, Slovakia is rather unique. Firstly, although many people might consider the former Czechoslovakian state to be your typical Eastern European country, Slovakia is in fact more akin to neighbouring Austria – its mountainous landscape, clement weather and developed infrastructure gives it a head start over many other emerging markets in Eastern Europe.
Its capital, Bratislava, is both beautiful in that typical old-wordly way so prevalent in this part of the Europe, yet also achingly modern, attracting numerous large corporations, weekend trippers, lifestyle buyers and independent property investors and developers. Capital appreciation in the city has been as high as 30% per annum over the past two years (it is now approximately 15% – still strong), while rental returns are among the strongest in Europe (approximately 8% per year) thanks to the Bratislava’s growing middle class and shortage of suitably plush housing.
There are a number of new build developments currently under construction in the city, with off-plan purchases representing both an excellent lifestyle bargain and a potentially profitable capital gains venture. With the country set to adopt the euro as its currency in 2009, it is advisable to invest in this market now before the inevitable price rises occur.
With its flat tax rate of just 19% for everybody (which is one of the best rates in the world), EU membership, a growing economy, low property prices, excellent transport infrastructure, beautiful scenery (including some of the most affordable skiing in Europe) and the adoption of the euro just around the corner, there may never be a better time to invest in the Slovakian property market than right now.
Most major UK airports have daily flights to Bratislava and Kosice, with the country increasingly well-serviced by the major low-fare carriers. Ryanair has some especially cheap deals to Bratislava from many of the UK’s and Ireland’s main airports, while the new Skyeurope Airlines flies daily from Kosice and Bratislava to a number of UK and European destinations. Prices remain low throughout the year, but are slightly higher between May and September.