Looking for a European holiday apartment.
January 3, 2008 3:54 PM   Subscribe

Where is a good place in a European city for a non-European to buy a small but nice two bedroom apartment for holidays? Looking for a city environment. How much would I need to spend? Are there any regulatory hurdles? Where do I find them?

I was kind of leaning towards Paris but am fairly open. I am also open to Eastern Europe in safe areas and don't want to have to worry too much about the apartment when I am not there.
posted by DirtyCreature to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Prague is a lovely city and you can find something much cheaper than in Paris. The city is booming, however, and real estate is getting pricier. It's safe, clean, and delightful.
posted by HotPatatta at 4:37 PM on January 3, 2008

Paris is incredibly expensive. You could try somewhere like Tallinn, if you're interested in Eastern Europe. All these markets (Croatia, Estonia, Poland, Slovenia) are growing rapidly though. Slovenia is especially interesting, it has massive potential (mainly due to it's location) and has not rocketed through the roof price wise, as yet.
posted by fire&wings at 5:09 PM on January 3, 2008

This link might help you for Prague (I got to it from the Prague Post's website). I used to live there, and it really is a wonderful (and walkable!) place to live if you can afford it. Prices have definitely gone up but by N. American standards they're fairly reasonable.

However, read this first -- it could work for or against you, depending on what you find.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:00 PM on January 3, 2008

You are looking for what the French call a T3 apartment. If you stick the city name plus T3 in a Google search you will quickly be able to find a lot of apartments with two bedrooms. The word for real estate sales in French is "immobilier".

While not cheap, Montpéllier is really fun and vibrant. It's a university town. The very center of Montpéllier is the Place de la Comédie, which is full of interesting people and events all year long. If you want to be near but not in a city, there are lots of beach apartments in Languedoc and Roussillon that seem to be occupied for only a few months out of the year. These appear to be entirely empty in the winter, so you would not need to be too concerned about leaving yours. If you start thinking about a beach town you could hardly do better than Gruissan, IMO.
posted by jet_silver at 10:26 PM on January 3, 2008

I'd say that if you're leaning toward Paris, then go with Paris. You'll spend a lot no matter where you buy something, so you might as well get an apartment in the place you want to be. Otherwise it would really depend on what you consider to be a 'good environment' and how much money you're willing to spend.

I've been in Prague for the last 7years and I'd say the best time to buy property here has long passed. You would be very lucky to find something you'd be happy living in for under 150,000 USD (that might get you a panelak apartment), and prices over 300,000 USD are very common. If you did decide to buy property here you would need to set up a company, called an 'SRO'. As a non-european you are not allowed to own property here, but a company you own is. There are off-the-shelf SROs that you buy for this.

If money is a concern you might want to try further east- Tallinn, as fire&wings mentioned, is supposed be a wonderful, although I've never been there.
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 6:05 AM on January 4, 2008

Krakow is very nice -- I would love to have an apartment there, so long as it is in the Old City. Kazimierz (sp) is a very nice area as well, though it can be a bit loud at night. I can't say enough about the people in Krakow. All of my experiences were very good, and I even happened across the most honest cab driver in the world.

At the moment I don't think it's completely straightforward for a non-citizen to own property, but I seem to recall that those restrictions are being lifted this year. You could find out easily enough, though.
posted by alaaarm at 6:42 AM on January 4, 2008

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