Thursday, May 22, 2008

Foreign buyers may grab our dream to be homeowner

By Gjergj Erebara in Tirana

Albania is not more a country in continuous civil unrest, and that is good news. Since February 2004, opposition had not attempted to overrun the government by using aggressive mob to attack state offices.

But this kind of news is also not so good for the dreams of Albanians who had decided to live in this country. According to news from London, a wave of foreign investors is investing in Albania’s house sector, rising prices and pushing natives out of the market. There is a huge speculation that Albania will be the next real estate hotspot in Mediterranean, after Montenegro and Bulgaria. “Only French and British are buying apartments now”, a real estate agent told me today. A conference organized by a lobby of Construction and Development companies, explained last week why Albania will become an attractive country for foreign investments.

“This was our last chance to buy a home here”, commented my friend Ela last week. Prices in Albanian housing market run now out of possibilities of middleclass and with British investors eager for adventure, no one can expect low prices for the future.

Housing market in Albania is controlled by an oligopoly of companies which have access to building permits. That lobby had maintained supply tightened in a very profitable market, by corrupting state officials.

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