Albania is a fascinating country with a rich history and unique culture. It is also one of Europe’s most interesting and little-known investment destinations with its property market in particular offering some excellent deals.
Albania is located in south-eastern Europe, across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. Property prices in Albania are among some of the cheapest in Europe and the country’s rising popularity as both a business and tourism destination are causing investors to examine its offering in more detail.
Tourism in Albania shot up by 24.9% in the year to Q2 2014, according to ISTAT figures, with visitors drawn by the country’s stunning beaches, interesting cities and excellent cuisine. British Airways’ increase of flights between London Gatwick and the Albanian capital Tirana from three to five times per week for its 2014 summer schedule has no doubt helped the figures for the rest of the year to blossom as well.
Albania is responding with an enhanced awareness of its appeal, as Peter Walshe, Marketing Director for the country’s first high-end resort, Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa, explains.
“Albania is learning to court its visitors appropriately. It has a wonderful mixture of sights, culture and cuisine to offer tourists and now the country is looking to celebrate and promote that offering.”
Albania’s popularity as a location in which to do business is also on the rise. So much so, in fact, that Albania raised an impressive 40 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking 2015. The country has also attracted international investment thanks to its oil industry, with the past decade generating keen interest from overseas, including from Canadian firm Bankers Petroleum, which was one of the key players to recognize Albania’s potential as home to the biggest European onshore oil field.
Foreign direct investment is a strong focus of the country’s future, as well as its past, with Prime Minister Edi Rama recently commenting.
“This is a quite peculiar moment for our country, a moment when we start turning things around, when we fully employ our economic potential, when we really free up our markets to investors.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has shown that FDI Net Inflows reached an impressive figure of $1,369,659,000 in 2011, their highest ever value, up from a mere $325,138,300 in 2006, increasing by $1,044,520,700 in just 5 years.
While those who are unfamiliar with Albania may be mistrustful of the country at first, wondering which estate agents and lawyers are the most reputable, working to invest through leading brands (such as Lalzit Bay) offers an excellent means of testing the water by investing in a known and trusted section of the property market.
Its unique blend of tourism, natural resources and business is working well for Albania’s economy, with GDP growth of 2.9% predicted for 2015 and of 3.5% for 2016, according to the European Commission’s ‘European Economic Forecast Autumn 2014.’ Standard & Poors is also optimistic about Albania’s future, having upgraded its outlook for the country from stable to positive.
Naturally, investor interest in Albania is gearing up accordingly, with the property market looking to many like the perfect way in. Prices are incredibly competitive, with one bedroom luxury apartments available for as little as €35,000. With such bargains on the market and strong financial projections behind it, the future is looking strong in deed for Albania as one of Europe’s most exciting investment destinations.