EU nationals to purchase land freely by 2009

As of May 1, 2009, foreign nationals will be able to freely purchase real estate in Poland without permits. Concerns have been raised that foreigners will “buy up” the most attractive areas of Poland.One of the general principles of the EU is the free movement of capital. In accordance with the Treaty of Accession all EU citizens have the same rights as the nationals of a given member state to purchase property within that state. Poland has a five year leeway period from its accession into the EU to impose property purchase restrictions for foreigners. By May 2009 such restrictions will be lifted. Foreign nationals will be able to purchase real estate including recreational land as their “second home.” Restrictions for the purchase of forests and agricultural land will be lifted in 2015. Predictions of increased German property investment are already being made, with the rise in real estate prices as proof in western Poland. According to comparable real estate prices, a meter squared of a building plot in Nysa’s lake region has risen from 35 zloty to 90 zloty in the last year alone. This however cannot be attributed to the increased level of foreign land buyers. Land prices have risen across all of Poland in the last year as a result of the current housing boom. Debno, a small town on the western border of Poland some 60 kilometers from Berlin, is surrounded by lakes and forests. The area has great swimming, hunting and other recreational possibilities. Debno Council’s Registrar Arek Mazepa told The Krakow Post, “There is some German investment in the area and we gladly welcome it.” If private recreational land was to be further sold into the hands of foreign investment, “it would only boost the local economy and develop the region further,” he added. “There are German private owners in the area who are planning on building hotels near the lakes or have already established recreational private facilities such as ranches. We at the Council see it as a positive sign, rather than a controversy.” Currently a non-Polish national must receive a permit from the Ministry of Interior and Administration to purchase more than one piece of real estate in Poland. The process is time-consuming and difficult, restricting foreign investors. Loopholes in the legislation mean that upon registering a limited company in Poland, an investor may make multiple purchases through the company. With the amendments coming into effect on the May 1, 2009 and Poland’s entry into the Schengen Agreement, the existing obstacles will be eradicated. Free movement into the country will be possible as passport border control in western Poland will be eliminated.

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