Buying Property in Poland
The Definitive Guide to
Buying Polish Property

The Regions

This is a preview to the chapter The Regions from the book Buying Property in Poland by Tim Hill.
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It appears then that the east is the place to be when it comes to investments and this is certainly where a great deal of private, state and EU funds are heading. But this needs to be balanced with the fact that western counties are benefiting more now, and will do to an even greater extent in the future, because of their proximity to Germany and the rest of Western Europe. The following pages will examine these regions one by one outlining the backgrounds of each county and what types of property can be found there, from land promising capital gain to holiday homes to warehousing space.

Using the Guide


The aim of this chapter is to provide an insight into each of the 16 counties that make up Poland. They are by no means comprehensive as each region could easily warrant a book in itself but are presented to help buyers identify the general area of the country that would be right for them.

Each section contains a map of the area identifying the road infrastructure (both current and planned) as well as airports that exist and those that are expected to be built over the next decade. The maps also show recommended towns and regions where specific types of property can be found or where capital gain is expected to be high.

Buyers should note that the preceeding text after each map is essential reading as the symbols are simple pointers in themselves. Where long lets are shown at a particular location, for example, this may mean that they will be in high demand at some point in the future and not necessarily now. A town with exceptional rental yields may exist but have poor coverage by agents or there will be language barriers to overcome.

In general long lets refer to any tenancy over six months as well as student lets when specified in the text. Summer holiday lets can cover apartments, houses and recreational houses. Office and commercial space includes retail units. Hotels and conference centres may mean both or either and is clarified in the What to Buy sections. Land can mean both agricultural as well as that zoned for industrial, residential or commercial use.

For clarity, all of Poland is expected to see rising real estate prices but the euro sign is used where these increases are expected to be exceptional. Readers should bear in mind that with any investment there is risk and nothing is ever guaranteed. If speculating, the assistance of an experienced consultancy company to more accurately identify exact plots or buildings is recommended.

Each section also includes a general background to the county and its major towns and cities to help give a flavour of the region in terms of its geography, stage of development and, where appropriate, historical context.

At the end space is given to English language sources of further information which, if the reader is intending to invest in that particular area, are recommended.

While following links and reading further information readers may also come across the terms ‘First, Second and Third Tier’ cities. This is a reference to capital gain. First Tier cities are generally those that most agree have already been discovered by foreign buyers and these would be Warsaw, Kraków and Wrocław. Second Tier cities are those currently being discovered and include Gdańsk, Katowice, Łódż and Poznań. Third Tier cities are those yet to be discovered and include Lublin, Rszezów and Toruń among others.

Finally note that price data is displayed where available but reliable figures beyond the last two years do not really exist for reasons covered in Part Two: Why Poland. The average price of apartments and houses is included but as these can swing wildly depending on the size or standard of property on the market at any one point in time most Poles prefer the more stable price per square metre measure and so this is also stated.

Dolnośląskie (Lower Silesian Voivodeship)


Introduction


Dolnośląskie (pronounced Dol-nosh-slon-ski-a) is one of Poland’s economic success stories. Much can be attributed to the local government who took the initiative and made the area extremely business friendly. This was helped by a national government decision to locate three of the country's Special Economic Zones in the county. So popular have the reforms been that in 2005 the president of Wrocław was voted back in again with an 89% majority.

The region's fortunes have been further assisted by the simple fact that it borders Germany and the building of the A4 motorway has and will offer fast links east and west. Today it is a powerhouse of industry and commerce with foreign investment from Volkswagen, Toyota, Electrolux, Whirlpool, General Electric, Colgate-Palmolive, Bridgestone Tyres and a whole host of other globally recognised brands.

But Dolnośląskie is not just one large production zone, it is doubly blessed with beautiful hills and the Karkonosze mountains to the south which draw in an estimated four million tourists every year, especially to the ski resorts of Szklarska Poręba and Karpacz. Not far off is Kudowa Zdrój, one of many famous spa towns close to the Czech border. In between are numerous castles, hills and a picturesque landscape popular for hiking, horse riding, cycling and canoeing.

All in all this county is one of the most advanced and developed in Poland and there is altogether a more Western European attitude and approach to life. This is greatly helped by the ease of travel with direct trains to many international destinations and an airport with routes to and from Frankfurt Main, Munich, London, Copenhagen, Vienna and Berlin to name but a few.

Much has been done but a great deal more is to come. The A4 motorway which goes east to Katowice is to be extended west a further 90 kilometres to the German border and a totally new expressway is planned from the North of the country to the southern Czech border, passing through the middle of the county.

Major Cities and Towns


In the centre of it all is Wrocław, a city of some 600,000 people undergoing massive modernisation and expansion. Inside there is one of the most stunning medieval towns with large open squares served by trendy cafes and restaurants.

The residents have become some of the richest inhabitants of Poland and property prices have risen at a dramatic rate. Wroclaw has its own international airport included in the schedules of many no frills airlines and lies just north of the A4 motorway.

Jelenia Góra, a few kilometres north of the Czech border, has become one of the most popular tourist resorts in the country in both winter and summer due to the stunning countryside which surrounds it.

Wałbrzych also brings in large numbers of visitors because of its outstanding architecture (the city avoided any major damage during the Second World War) and its star attraction, the third largest castle in Poland. Wałbrzych is a Special Economic Zone and its potential has already been used by the likes of Toyota and Whirlpool. Other towns with zones are Kamienna Góra and Legnica, which attracted the Volkswagen group to set up a factory there.

What to Buy and Where


It is probably clear that such a well-developed county is not the best place to look for exceptional capital gain. However as Poland integrates further into Europe its proximity to the German border means that the wealth of those living there and interest from the easily accessible west will undoubtedly cause prices to rise further. For steady capital gain in return for lower risk this is a stable option.

This said, the purchase of logistics or warehousing space along the routes of the new motorway and express route is a viable and attractive proposition for those wanting to speculate. A promising choice here would be Legnica as it will sit on the cross roads of the current A4 motorway and the planned north-south express route.

Because Wrocław is so far advanced long lets, short lets and student lets are all safe options with a fair yield. For the latter it is well worth looking at some of the 1970s stock as this is cheap to buy but rents well to those in academia. The city is also short of modern office and commercial space, demand for which is expected to increase as the economic success of the area moves from strength to strength.

Summer and winter holiday lets as well as hotels, recreational houses and retirement and lifestyle homes are all to be found anywhere within 50 kilometres of the Czech border, especially close to the numerous spa towns. Better infrastructures and local amenities exist in towns such as Jelenia Góra, Wałbrzych and Świdnica with ski resorts already established in Szklarska Poręba and Karpacz.

If you are considering a purchase for any tourist related business or to find yourself a quiet home in picturesque surroundings it is recommended that you hire a car and take a week or so getting to know this southern region of the county.

Agricultural land is extremely fertile, ideal for organic crops and, with milder temperatures than other parts of the country, it can be worked longer every year. Its other attraction is that it is almost impossible for a foreign person to buy any as it is heavily protected under the permit system. This is set to be phased out by 2016 so if Polish citizenship can be obtained this may make for a highly profitable buy, especially when so close to the German border

Kujawsko-Pomorskie (Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship)

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What else is in the chapter 'The Regions'?

Introduction

Kujawsko-Pomorskie (pronounced koo-yav-sko pom-or-ski-e) is one of contrasts. On the one hand it is home to the city of Toruń which has the largest medieval old town in Poland and ...

Major Cities and Towns

Kujawsko-Pomorskie has two capitals, Toruń and Bydgoszcz with government offices split between the two. This means for certain tasks it is often necessary to travel to both cities but they ...

What to Buy and Where

Tucholski and Świecki are both municipalities in the north of the country with extensive forests and lakes and an absolute haven of tranquillity. So far undiscovered by foreigners there are ...

Łódzkie (Łódź Voivodeship)

Introduction

The Łódż (pronounced woodsh) Voivodship is located in the centre of the country and was one of the areas to be heavily affected by the pre-war industrial revolution. Much of ...

Major Cities and Towns

Łódż is the heavyweight and the capital of the county. It can best be described as what Birmingham was and is compared to London in the United Kingdom. For years ...

What to Buy and Where

Both Łódż and Piotrków Trybunalski are obvious targets for capital gain. In the former the price of residential real estate is nearly one half that of Warsaw, only 100 kilometres ...

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