As many investors rush to jump onto the bandwagon of Albania being perhaps the latest hot property investment opportunity, developers are flooding the Albanian market with off plan properties. Enterprising developers bought up huge tracts of land and can still offer very cheap prices to those willing to invest off plan in a foreign country which is desperate to improve its infrastructure. EU money is pouring into the country as Albania eagerly awaits anticipated participation in EU membership by approximately 2014 – 2015.
Whereas the trend in other countries has lead to investment in old property to be refurbished, this is not recommended in Albania due to doubts about legal ownership of individual properties for sale. Investors instead look to the newly constructed apartment blocks along the coast line or in the capital city Tirana, or consider investing off plan, often the cheapest form of investing.
There is a myriad of off plan development opportunities for foreign investors, but it is of course necessary to choose a reputable developer with a track record. Deposits tend to be in the 30 percent range but should not exceed 40 percent unless the property is near completion. As the concrete jungle springs up along the previously unspoiled coastline, and city properties rise in dubious areas, it pays to pay attention to the finer details of the development, to maximize both rental income and capital growth.
Most of the developments are not giving any attention to outdoor space, but building as high as permissions allow on the allotted space. Location is key in any investment and the best coastal properties will be those on the sea front, or with a sea view which will remain uninterrupted by future development.
Security is likely to be a major concern in Albania both to foreign renters and the slowly increasing middle class Albanian renters. As their wealth grows they will most likely wish to rent in suburban areas rather than the inner city sprawl of overpopulated apartments, and away from the center of Tirana which can still be subject to night time violence. Whilst the government is trying to clean up the image of Albania as a center of organized crime and to control crime in general, the job is in no way complete. Gated complexes with security may well be the best long term investments within the capital.
There are some amazing bargains to be had off plan, but the emphasis on researching the developers past performance cannot be underestimated. You will want to ensure that time frames of completion are adhered to, that the property will be finished completely to a good standard, and that cutting corners in building regulations is not the habit of the developer you choose. This will be difficult to determine as corruption still remains rife in the country, so it is essential that a good English speaking lawyer is retained to oversee any investment.
Buying off plan can offer better investment potential than buying a new build apartment due to the lower costs involved in investing early. Investors can only gamble that their investment will pay off if Albania manages to successfully promote itself as a good tourist destination and attracts new business to the capital.