The European Commission confirmed on Friday that following the EU's eastwards expansion there will be a seven-year restriction on the purchase of property in the new member states. The transition period should give the new members time to restructure their farm sector and prepare for competition from richer Westerners, who - according to some observers at least - will take full advantage of low property prices and buy up cheap land, houses and flats. The price of farm and forestry land in the candidate states is said to be 10 to 40 times cheaper than in the EU. The commission suggested that the situation should be reviewed after three years.
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