Real estate in Slovakia Czech & Poland vs. The Balkans in the EU.

Certainly the UK's buy-to-let model doesn't seem to work well in Bratislava. There are many reasons for this.
  1. Real estate agents are villainous and TOTALLY unregulated
  2. Professional standards are a rarity
  3. There are a lot of apartments that are being refitted with government susbidies making all buildings not only livable but comfortable.
The real estate agents do not offer full service letting for people that do not speak slovak, and those that have tried to do buy to let in Bratislava have been badly burned.

The legal framework is also not supportive rather helpful to unnreasonable tenants, and the rental market is flooded by flats in freshly done up buildings where the reconstruction is subsidised by government money for slovak families.

Claerly when the dust settles Bratislava will resume its expansion and appreciation of commercial property especially in the centre. Offices, shops are going to be the winners in the medium to long term. Buy to let looks like a loser for the foreseeable future.

General real estate sentiment
The head of a real estate investment fund on pricing in Central europe and in Eastern Europe:

"You have to split Central Europe into two areas. The healthy bit is the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, where the economies are on a good basis. There's strong domestic demand, they're not overextended as economies and there is no excess of development in general except in residential. Those markets were reasonably priced and there was limited political risk in them.

How about the CEE countries you didn't mention?

Investors are now significantly reassessing risk, and particularly in Russia and the emerging markets like Romania Russia and Ukraine and Bulgaria, people are realizing that the risks in these markets are much bigger. And it's quite difficult to quantify these risks because they're political rather than economic risks. With Russia it's the problems with what they did in Georgia, and also the problems of TNK BP making people very wary about the way the Russian government behaves. Clearly Ukraine has enormous political instability, while Romania and Bulgaria have enormous corruption problems.

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