A Buyers Guide To Albania

Real Estate in AlbaniaAlbania is hotly tipped to be the next big thing in overseas real estate investment.

Albania: Ancient Apollonia

Since the end of the Balkan war and independence in the early 90’s the Balkans have started to open up to tourism. Thus far, it has mostly been back packers and intrepid travellers who have made their way through this fabulous country.

Albania has had a bad reputation internationally and has been plagued by social and political problems. Currently the country is undergoing a massive internal change, huge amounts of investment have been poured into the infrastructure, the government is working with overseas advisors to implement change and there is a definite desire to be on a par with their neighbours such as Greece, Croatia and Italy.

The FT and The Lonely Planet Guide have listed this country as the top European destination for 2011 and there are many reasons why they are spot on in their estimations. Greece and Italy have been loved by tourists for decades and there is every chance that Albania will achieve the same accolades once it has had a chance to shine and show the rest of the world what a fabulous destination it is.

So what is it about Albania that has made Lonely Planet put this nation at the top of the list? Could it be the enormous potential for tourism that is about to erupt? This nation encapsulates an ancient history, beautiful landscape, a rich anthropology, traditions and culture. The Albanians are famous for their warmth and hospitality and the country has a vibrant, young society which should be a recipe for success.

Top ten considerations to buying overseas property and why Albania is the property hotspot for 2011:

1. Accessibility – Can you get to your new Albanian property without it costing you a fortune or taking you days? If you can’t than neither can your potential clients who might want to rent it… Albania has affordable low cost airlines flying from London airports weekly including the popular Belle Air. During the summer months when you are more likely to want to travel then the options for getting there increase. Plus two new airports are planned to open in Kukes and Saranda.

2. Location – Once you have landed it is important that the transfer to your new holiday home is simple and hassle free. Not all of Albania is easy to travel around although there is a great deal of investment being poured into infrastructure currently. Lalzit Bay Spa and Resort is just a 30 minute drive from Tirana International Airport making it a terrific choice. Albania as a whole is also fabulously located in Europe to be a stepping stone to other European and Baltic countries to continue your exploration!

3. Affordability – Non Euro is still a great bet. Obviously you will have set yourself a budget for this purchase but everyone likes to make a profit and buying in a non-euro zone does increase the opportunity for profiting greatly. Albania has some of the lowest property prices in Europe, even in the capital Tirana city “cheaper” apartments can be bought for €500 to €800 per square metre according to the Global Property Guide.

4. Country Infrastructure – Buying a property in the depths of nowhere might seem a great idea for a holiday escape but if you are hoping to let the property out then will others feel the same way? It makes sense to ensure your investment is in an area where there is a good road and rail network to open up the availability to as many people as possible to rent your property. Albania has had massive overseas investment which has resulted in a huge overhaul in transportation. For instance 100’s of km of new roads, new ports, overhaul of the rail network and expansion of the International airport of Tirana.

5. Environment – Having an overseas property near a beach is wonderful but that is not the be all and end all. By the time you have visited your property a few times you will want to explore further afield. Albania currently has two UNESCO World Heritage sites and there are a further three on the list waiting for approval. Albania is blessed with some of the most beautiful countryside and mountains in Europe and it would take a person a lifetime to explore all that it has to offer. How exciting to know that every time you visit your holiday home you can conquer climbing another mountain; go white water rafting, horse back riding or visiting a cultural site.

6. Reputable Sales Agent – Quite possibly the most terrifying bit of the entire procedure is getting this bit right. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you:

• Do thoroughly check all the project details
• Do compare closely with other projects
• Do have the contract checked by a solicitor
• Don’t pay anything until a contract is in place
• Do visit the site for a look around
• Do insist on building progress updates regularly
• Do inspect the property for snags before making final payment

7. On-going Property Costs – A consideration that is often neglected on purchasing a property. It is no fun buying an affordable property and then discovering afterwards you cannot really afford the water or electricity. Labour costs in Albania are currently one of the lowest in Europe which is a great benefit when having work done. Albania has significant renewable energy resource potential from hydro, wind and solar energy.

8. What Else Is There To Do? – Often people buy properties and within a few years they have grown bored of the same view and beach. It is a good idea to chose somewhere with diversity. Albania offers 362km of mainly untouched coastline on the Ionian and Adriatic Seas. But is also offers skiing, trekking, caving, horse riding and much, much more. Tourism in Albania is still in its infancy but there is a great deal of almost untouched cultural sites which will develop as tourism develops within the country.

9. Economy and Tourism – Albania is well on the way to EU accession and has a target accession date of 2014, this will have a tremendous positive effect on property prices. The government is also pouring a lot of investment into the tourism sector which will further boost the economy in years to come. Government figures have estimated that the country will have received 3 million visitors in 2010 and The World Travel and Tourism Council expects this to grow by 5% every year until 2019.

10. Rental Opportunity – There are many countries in Europe that are currently flooded by oversupply of rental property – making it almost impossible to earn any rental income from an overseas investment. Emerging markets like the Central Baltic’s have the reverse and in fact suffer from a lack of accommodation that can offer luxury. Lalzit Bay Spa and Resort offers a completely unique opportunity that cannot currently be found anywhere in the emerging Baltic states.

Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa
Without a doubt one of the most exciting innovative developments underway in Albania is Lalzit Bay Spa Resort. Fully managed by an internationally renowned resort operator, Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa will provide 5 star amenities, service and unqualified luxury, making it one of the most desirable resort destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean.

According to Ravin Maharajah, Sales Director of Lalzit Bay & Spa Resort: “It is incredibly important to Albania that new developments being offered to foreign investors have the right international feel. It would be very easy to build mediocre developments but this is not going to attract long term investors and at Lalzit Bay Resort we feel that would be a very short term gain for the country” he goes onto say: “We are very proud of the development of Albania thus far and we are working very hard with tourism agencies to keep the positive momentum going.”

For more information contact Lalzit Bay on 0845 125 8600 or visit www.lalzitbay.com.

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