Real estate agents report that the economic uncertainty is making Czechs cautious in their housing decisions. They say potential buyers are extremely cautious in taking out mortgages and many people now prefer to rent out property until the economic situation improves. In the course of 2011 interest in renting property, particularly flats, has risen by over 17 percent. Many companies have announced lay-offs at the start of 2012 and the number of Czechs who are unable to pay their debts is on the rise.
The commercial real estate advisor CB Richard Ellis has revealed that rented commercial or retail space in the Czech capital is the 32nd highest in the world but still seven times cheaper, for example, than in Manhattan. Boutique stores at prime locations in the city pay an average of two thousand and forty euros per square metre per year (the equivalent of around 50,000 crowns or 2,600 US dollars). By comparison, the figure in New York is 13,744 euros. The most expensive streets to rent on in the Czech capital include Na Příkopě, Pařížská and the lower half of Wenceslas Square, CB Richard Ellis real estate expert Tomáš Beránek said. On the list of world rankings, New York, which finished top, is followed by Sydney and Hong Kong. London ranked fourth.
According to some reports that have appeared on British internet sites recently, the Czech Republic is currently the best place for UK investors to buy property in the whole of the eastern Europe region. The reports have been quoting the investment advisers and agents Property Secrets, specifically their chief analyst Simon Tweddle, who himself lives in Prague. I asked him: why is the Czech Republic such a good place to invest in property?
Recent press reports revealed that home prices have risen considerably here in the Czech Republic in the last year, with increases of over 10 percent in some sections of the market. Why are flat prices going up so much - and how does the future look? I discussed those issues and more with Arnost Hejduk of real estate marketing company Rooney and Bennett.
"Chalupareni" which loosely translates as "a country-cottage lifestyle" is a Czech term coined in the second half of the 20th century when Czechs could not travel and when all their time and money was invested in their country cottages. As a result Czechs now top the European statistics in the number of country-homes owned per head. "Chalupareni" is still going strong but as Czechs get richer many are looking around for a different kind of holiday home.