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pottolom

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About pottolom

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  1. Do you, like me, think these economies are more exposed than our own?
  2. I'd read that property prices in Ukraine are now sky-high. When you consider local salaries, prices in some of these cities make London seem reasonable. Property in Vilnius is now more expensive than in some of the British cities that many of the Lithuanians are now living in because they can't find well-paid employment back at home! It's preposterous, really. I mean, I love the place, but it's Lithuania, not Germany, and yet prices are higher than they are in Berlin!
  3. I agree. I just hope too many ordinary Lithuanians aren't screwed by this (as I said before, they're a lovely lot). To be honest, though, they're generally pretty clever and of the Lithuanians I know, none of them have bought since prices became ridiculous. I think it's mainly foreign greed that's caused the bubble over there, and if a bunch of foreigners, who've priced locals out of the market, get their fingers burnt badly in a crash I certainly shan't be losing any sleep.
  4. Just some notes I've typed up upon returning from a holiday to Vilnius in Lithuania. I lived there a few years back and worked as an English teacher. In 2002/2003, you could buy a new off-plan 40m2 1 bed apartment in a centre a couple of kilometres from the centre for the equivalent of about £18,000. Looking around while I was over there, the same apartments (admittedly now furnished and decorated) sell for around £70,000. It is possible to buy flats in one of the crumbier suburbs, much further out of the centre off-plan for about £50,000 now. Closer to the city centre and it becomes a lot more expensive. The centre itself is now astronomical and more expensive than many western European cities with much stronger economies. I've spoken to numerous people over there, including some pretty high-profile figures, who assure me that much of the house price growth has been speculative and that the bubble will burst. Much of the investment in property has come from speculators from abroad - mainly Ireland and the UK. There's a lot of talk of an economic miracle in Lithuania but, believe me, on the ground things look far from miraculous. It's still a very poor country in European terms. The minimum wage is the equivalent of £160 per month, the average wage about £400. Many of my Lithuanian friends in good jobs in their mid to late twenties are earning around this average wage, but still more are earning closer to the minimum. There is a reason so many of them have gone to the UK and Ireland to work in crappy conditions on poverty-line salaries (Lithuanians are second only to Poles in terms of the number of them who've immigrated into the UK and Ireland. The population of Lithuania is less than 1/10th that of Poland)! If a furnished apartment sets a person back say £60,000, and they're only earning about £5,000 per year, what chance do they have of buying one? In these terms, prices in Lithuania are even more ridiculous than London! Given that even the most expensive apartments in the suburbs tend to be rented at about £200 per month, returns can't be good. It's a real shame, because the people are lovely and hard-working, and yet they're being priced out of property by foreign greed. The smart money is not going to the Baltics anymore, that's for certain, and anyone with any sense who's invested over there is surely pulling out. I posted about Lithuania on these forums a while back and this week I received an email from a British guy trying to sell me an off-plan apartment he's recently put a deposit down on and wants to pull out of buying! I wonder why?! I suspect that with the problems facing western European economies this year, many foreign investors are going to pull out of countries like Lithuania and prices will tank. They're already dropping in Latvia, people tell me they're stagnating in Lithuania. The only way is down - a correction at best, a real estate crash at worst. What do others think? For more on the subject, see here: http://overseasproperty.virginmedia.com/Ne...October/12h.asp http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/19541/ http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/18537/ http://overseasproperty.virginmedia.com/Ne...ebruary/8fa.asp http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2007/12/06/3144981.htm http://www.independent.ie/business/foreign...sh-1200467.html http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Europe/Latvia http://www.worldofproperty.co.uk/news-364.htm http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Europe/Lithuania http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtm...19/ccview19.xml http://www.homemove.co.uk/news/20-09-2007/...owing-down.html http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/16561/ http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/real-es...-fall-in-Latvia
  5. Thanks for the comments. I am very dubious about this (just as I am about any decision that involves committing to spending loads of money)..... However, I am still considering it for this reason: I have no plans to buy a place for the next three years - I'd prefer to save up some more money, see how the market does, see how my job goes, etc. In the meantime, I have to rent. If I saw a studio apartment going for 700 quid a month rent + council tax in Kensington, I'd jump at it - it may sound expensive, but it's well below the going rate. Even in rough bits of Zone 2, you're talking 700-800 quid a month, PLUS council tax. If I took this place on, I'd imagine staying there for at least three years, possibly longer depending on how things pan out. If the market does take a downturn and properties in Kensington lose 20% of their value, I'd have pretty much paid off this 20% in this time anyway. OK, I'd have no equity if I decided to sell, but I'd still be no worse off financially than if I carried on renting as I am at the moment, and I'd have spent three years living in a much better area.......... On the other hand, if prices were to rise or remain stable, I'd have built up a wee bit of equity, and therefore be better off than if I'd rented. I have taken all of your comments on board, and I do see this as a gamble - I think buying property always is. I'm just trying to weigh up how much better/worse off I'll be if I do this versus renting, as really shared ownership is the only alternative available to me at the moment, and I'm sure that will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.
  6. I've possibly got an opportunity to get a shared ownership property in a nice part of South Kensington, close to Hyde Park. It's within walking distance from work, is a nice flat, etc. It's also in a place that I couldn't even dream to afford to buy outright in, and I'd never be able to rent a whole apartment myself in Kensington - they're 1000 quid a week or more. It's for a 10% share of the equity of a £245,000 studio flat. The monthly mortgage is £170, rent £325. Including service charge and council tax it totals £722. That's very affordable to me and is what I pay at the moment to rent a room in a 2 bed flat if I also include my travel costs on the tube each day (which I'd no longer need to pay). I know a lot of people on here think shared ownership's crap, but I can't afford to buy 100% of a place in London unless I buy in a really crappy area. I don't want to do that at the moment because I suspect these are the areas that are most likely to suffer a downturn. Plus I don't want to live in a dangerous, miserable bit of London (I'm living in one at the moment and it's not nice). What do people think? I'm 27 and earn £27k per annum as an architect. Basically, it all looks good to me. I could see myself living there for a good few years. However, I'm still not 100% convinced by shared ownership and I am concerned that if there is a market downturn, I'll lose the 25k I'd be taking out as a mortgage. On the other hand, perhaps Kensington's the sort of area that's less likely to suffer? Any advice gratefully received....
  7. Hmmm..... climate change or not, we're still going to have to deal with peak oil at some point, aren't we?
  8. Hi Dogbox, I'm interested in delving further into the possibility of investing in German property via an investment fund. I've had a look at the funds you mentioned, and it all sounds very interesting. I'm completely new to all this, though, and aside from looking at, say, the Treveria website, I don't know what else to do. Is there somewhere I can compare this fund to others? Where can I actually purchase shares in the fund? Any other useful resources you can recommend for me to read up on all this?
  9. Hi, I'm currently looking into the possibility of investing in Berlin. This would be my first foray into investing in property. I currently live, work and rent in London and there's no way I could afford to purchase property here, which has led me into looking abroad..... I lived and worked in Vilnius, Lithuania for two years and have seen prices go through the roof over there. I think I may have missed the boat in Vilnius now, to be honest. I did a bit of research and it looks as though Berlin might now be the place to invest...... I'm only looking at purchasing one fairly cheap flat - maybe a studio or one bed. I've been discussing this with a property investment company based in Berlin, and there certainly seem to be properties available within my budget (50 - 70,000 Euros). However, I was told that German banks don't generally offer mortgages on properties of less than 100,000 Euros in value, and even then they expect a 30% deposit. I was also told that it is nigh on impossible to get a mortgage from a UK bank/building society for investment abroad. I was wondering if anyone could confirm that this is true, and if not, could you recommend any banks/building socities that I should get in touch with? Thanks. By the way, in return I'd be happy to give any advice anyone requires on Lithuania. I know Vilnius very well and I can speak the language to a reasonable level.
  10. Hi, I'm currently looking into the possibility of investing in Berlin. This would be my first foray into investing in property. I currently live, work and rent in London and there's no way I could afford to purchase property here, which has led me into looking abroad..... I lived and worked in Vilnius, Lithuania for two years and have seen prices go through the roof over there. I think I may have missed the boat in Vilnius now, to be honest. I did a bit of research and it looks as though Berlin might now be the place to invest...... I'm only looking at purchasing one fairly cheap flat - maybe a studio or one bed. I've been discussing this with a property investment company based in Berlin, and there certainly seem to be properties available within my budget (50 - 70,000 Euros). However, I was told that German banks don't generally offer mortgages on properties of less than 100,000 Euros in value, and even then they expect a 30% deposit. I was also told that it is nigh on impossible to get a mortgage from a UK bank/building society for investment abroad. I was wondering if anyone could confirm that this is true, and if not, could you recommend any banks/building socities that I should get in touch with? Thanks. By the way, in return I'd be happy to give any advice anyone requires on Lithuania. I know Vilnius very well and I can speak the language to a reasonable level.
  11. I could help you out I'd be glad to - if you're going over there at the end of the month, I could even suggest some interesting places for you to visit. Let me know......

    Cheers,

    Tim

  12. Hi Greenoak, Although originally from the UK, I actually spent two years living and working in Vilnius until recently. I'm in London now, but I met a girl over there who's now living with me over here and we go back over there a lot I'm actually thinking of looking into buying a flat of some description in Vilnius myself..... if you could email me any of the links/info you've found, I'd be hugely grateful: timsaxon <at> hotmail <dot> com In return, I'd be happy to help you out in any way I can. Obviously, I know the place very well - I speak the language, I know the various regions of Vilnius and which bits are dodgy, etc. I'd add that I also understand the mentality of the people to a certain extent, too. If I could help you out I'd be glad to - if you're going over there at the end of the month, I could even suggest some interesting places for you to visit. Let me know...... Cheers, Tim
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