Albania is a slowly emerging country in the South West of Europe, bordering Northern Greece. It is a country unknown to many foreigners as it was subject to a strict communist regime. Now a democracy it is better known for organized crime and corruption than anything else. Whilst these things are still huge problems, the country itself does comprise beautiful coastlines and mountainous regions which are now being promoted for tourists.
As it is such a cheap destination for tourists the country is likely to see a steady rise in foreign visitors and property investors eager to find the next place for high capital growth are warily studying the property market, which is already gearing itself up to attract foreign investors. It is considered a good bet for mid to long term investment growth, but there are many factors to take into consideration before making any decisions as to the wisdom of making an actual investment in Albania.
Albania has been maintaining economic growth despite the world wide recession, but still remains one of the least developed countries in Europe with high levels of poverty and an inadequate infrastructure. The roads can only be described as laughable along with treacherous, but as the country waits to see if its application to join the EU, and thus get its hands in the EU coffers, is accepted, improvements are being made. The real key to if Albania does pay off as an astute place for property investment is if it is accepted into the EU, which is expected to happen around 2015/2016.
Foreigners have the right to invest in Albanian property but need to take the best legal advice available as land rights are not clear cut and buying an existing property could lead to complications. Meanwhile a host of off plan developments are springing up along the coast lines, hoping to entice foreign investors. In the capital of Tirana property developers and agents are trying to promote both off plan and existing properties as good buys for rental opportunities.
As yet the country has not emerged as a place for foreigners to wish to relocate to and live permanently. It may hope to attract foreigners as permanent residents in the way that countries such as Spain have done, but this is unlikely to happen in the near future. However if Albania does become part of the EU, giving other Europeans the rights to live there permanently, it may well become an attractive proposition for those who aim to retire abroad, due to the low prices compared to other nations.
Presently though it is likely that the poor infrastructure and the level of corruption will act as a deterrent to those seeking a life in the sun. The health care offered is practically non existent, the bureaucracy is an inefficient mess, and many may well be off put by the association of Albania as a transit centre for illegal activities such as arms smuggling, and trafficking in both human lives and drugs.
Things are predicted to improve though and it is no longer the case that Albanians need to sit guarding their vegetable patches with a shotgun overnight. Currently crime against foreigners is rare but foreign developments may well become targets. It needs to be recognized that Albanians have been responsible for a high percentage of the crime in neighboring Greece, and crimes such as theft and robbery are still commonplace in Albania, often with guns involved.
It could well be that taking the wait and see attitude will cause investors to lose out on the chance to get in early. If they act too hastily they may well end up with a badly constructed new development on their hands, yet if they wait too long the prices may have increased rapidly. Those prepared to take a gamble would be well advised to research extremely well before investing, but if Albania is admitted to the EU could well end up with an excellent return on their investment.