Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Investment Opportunities

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Investment Opportunities

Article excerpt

As foreign investors eye the fledgling capitalist markets in the former Soviet bloc, real estate--including residential, commercial, and hotel properties--appears to be one of the most attractive options. And, despite problems with financing and laws that vary from country to country, widespread demand for quality apartments, office buildings, and hotel rooms are expected to draw foreign investors over the next several years.

One of the better bets for foreign investment is Slovakia, says Michael Beyard, senior research director of research and international services at the Urban Land Institute, Washington, D.C. He is one of a group of U.S. experts who conducted three missions to Slovakia over the past two years for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), an agency of the State Department set up to foster economic improvements in developing countries. Along with three of its larger neighbors--Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic--Slovakia appears to be a leading contender for future admission into the European Union.

In his report, Beyard says that Slovakia may be the most viable option for foreign investors because of its generally healthy economy and the fact that, because of its size, it's generally been overlooked by foreign investors. In the past few years--since economic liberalization began in 1989--Slovakia's economy already has largely been privatized, Beyard says, so most of the painful transition from a socialist to a market economy already has been felt.

Poland with one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, also is drawing attention from investors, says Michael Hodges, managing director of Jones Lang Wooten's Warsaw office. Despite high inflation and political uncertainties caused by a fragmented parliament, many Western investors are taking an interest in the country's commercial and real estate markets. …

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