After our in depth look at dubious building developments in Eastern Europe, Forbes magazine has jumped on the band wagon and gone a little up market. In that vein, we decided to present some of the most expensive properties in Eastern Europe. Some are currently for sale, some are just in need of an idea to turn them into money makers and some are just plain expensive.

Sotheby’s International are offering this gem on the “Cote D’Azur of Baltics,” Latvia. Price undisclosed.

Romania News Watch have published a briefing article by the Oxford Business Group suggesting that speculation in the country’s property market, especially from abroad, may be reaching dangerous levels. In particular, the interest of foreign property investment funds may not be a sign of commitment to Romanian real estate and that the first signs of weakening in prices could send them running for cover.

Since the beginning of the decade there has been an enormous rise in the prices of apartments. In central Bucharest, the country’s most important real estate market, prices have risen from 7,000 euros seven years ago to 100,000 to 150,000 euros this year. According to Global Property Guide, Bucharest apartment prices average 2,350 euros a square metre and the rental yield is a respectable 7.83%, which places it in a similar bracket to Tallinn, Prague and Brussels.

Overseas Property Mall Buyers Guide Series to RomaniaWhere to Look

Bucharest is, by some way, the most favoured target for overseas investment but Romania has great tourist potential so resorts and mountain locations may be worth investigating. Brasov in the inside of the elbow of the Carpathian Mountain range is another popular location owing to its wealth of historic buildings dating from the time of its long occupation by Romania’s German-speaking minority. Poiana Brasov is considered the country’s best ski resort. Prices in the main provincial cities such as Cluj will be in the region of 8-900 Euros a square metre but in central Bucharest this can rise as high as 3,000 Euros a square metre.

Snags, Points to Remember, Legal and Otherwise

There are a number of problems relating to investing in property in Romania but the picture is not completely bleak. For instance there is a longstanding prohibition against foreign ownership of land (but not buildings) but it is possible for wholly foreign-owned companies to have title to land. Also this particular constraint will not be popular with fellow-members of the European Union who are likely to insist that Romania creates a level playing field for investors.

Romania, the home of Dracula, has been revealed as the best place to make money from overseas property. It topped a list of the 20 best places to make money from overseas property whose upper reaches were dominated by former Eastern bloc countries.

Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Baltic Tigers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all featured in the top ten of the list compiled for A Place in the Sun: 20 Best Places to Make Money. The Channel 4 show presented by property expert Amanda Lamb commissioned statistics from a leading accountancy firm to predict how quickly countries’ economies are expected to grow. The ranking takes into account where house prices are over or under-valued at the moment and factors in how much money can be made by renting out a property.

Romania came out top of the list for profit from overseas property because while houses can currently be bought for as little as £5,000, prices are expected to increase by 30 per cent in 2006 as the country prepares for EU accession next year. Over the next ten years, property prices in Romania are predicted to increase by 414 per cent.

Second on the list is Poland where returns over the next ten years are expected to be 393 per cent, while returns on the Baltic States, in fourth place, are expected to be 356 per cent. Portugal, in third place, is the highest placed western European country with predicted returns of 360 per cent, and completing the top five is Sweden with returns of 352 per cent. Old favourites such as France, in 17th place, and Spain, in 19th place, were languishing well down the list, but are still likely to be popular with Brits because they offer a more certain environment in which to invest. “People are always asking me where the best place to buy property abroad is,” said Amanda Lamb.

“The answer depends on whether you’re looking for a holiday home, a pure property investment or a combination of the two. But one thing’s for sure making money from property has never been so important to so many of us. ‘This year’s 20 Best is really interesting because it focuses purely on where you could make the most money from buying property abroad.’ A Place in the Sun’s 20 best places to make money from buying overseas property

1. Romania
2. Poland
3. Portugal
4. Baltic Tigers (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)
5. Sweden
6. Belgium
7. Slovakia
8. Slovenia
9. Finland
10. Hungary
11. Luxembourg
12. Germany
13. Czech Republic
14. Ireland
15. Austria
16. Netherlands
17. France
18. Italy
19. Spain
20. Cyprus