For millionaire investors, the obvious place to buy for profit is in one of Europe’s great cities. But the bright lights of London, Paris and Berlin may be blinding buyers to smaller pockets of investment that have big potential. One of these is Poland. After years of building it up, the Poles now boast the largest economy in central and eastern Europe, and it’s on course to join the G20 list of the largest economies in the world by 2022. A number of exciting new public sector infrastructure projects such as the new port at Gdansk, have boosted prospects in recent years, funded in part by the €82.3bn EU Cohesion Fund.
So far, the commercial sector has reaped most of the rewards, as large European investment funds like Tristan Group, IVG and Blackrock have invested in retail, offices and warehouses in its major cities. Swiss bank Axa has even set up shop in the newly-built Warsaw Trade Tower and Rondo 1, an office skyscraper designed by Larry Oltmanns, the architect behind 10 Exchange Square in Broadgate.
New homes, on the other hand, have proved harder to get off the ground, due to a lack of quality supply. Only 28 per cent of the entire housing stock of Poland was built after 1989 and only one per cent of these fall into the luxury bracket.
To entice foreign investment, the government has cut red tape for overseas buyers, bringing its regulation in line with the rest of the EU, and is offering a “hands-off” agreement on some luxury schemes, so landlords can leave Polish management teams to deal with the day-to-day running of their property. One development to embrace these changes is the tallest residential tower in the country. At 192m, Zlota 44 is 10m taller than The Gherkin and it’s enlisted Savills to sell its homes to foreign investors.
“Warsaw is a fast-growing and exciting city and Poland is currently the sixth largest economy in Europe, making an apartment within Zlota 44 a sound investment, both in terms of affordability and potential returns,” predicts Savills director Charles Weston Baker. “Currently, we’re seeing an average rental yield of 8.5 per cent for high quality apartments in Warsaw.” This compares favourably with top yields of 5.5 per cent in London, four per cent in Paris and Berlin, and seven per cent in Budapest.
BBI, the Polish developer behind Zlota 44, is hoping to shift many of its 287 units abroad, with one bedroom apartments available from £242,000. However, private negotiations are underway for full-floor residences measuring up to 10,000sqft, with expected offers around the £7m mark.
Yet BBI still expects 70 per cent of the apartments to go to domestic buyers, notably wealthy expats, the first of whom are scheduled to move in at the end of the year. The lure of home certainly proved to be a strong pull for the skyscraper’s architect, Polish-American Daniel Libeskind, the creative mind behind Berlin’s Jewish Museum and the One World Trade Center Masterplan in New York.
“As I was reflecting on the city,” he says, “which has been resurrected after ages of destruction and oppression, I wanted to capture both the Warsaw of the past and the future in one specific shape, as well as give a sense of the freedom and affirmation of everyday life today. More than anything, I was inspired by the identity and the potential of this amazing city.”
For more information, contact Savills International on 020 7016 3740 or visit zlota44.com