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“Investment” in Krakow

foto by smith 

In London, we read numerous advertisements in glossy magazines encouraging Brits to purchase investment properties in new hot spots: former iron curtain states.

Here on the streets of Krakow, charming real estate’s advertised at nominally “cheap prices.” Western Europeans buy up entire apartment buildings.

We’re accustomed to finding plaster dust on our shirts, walking under the ubiquitous scaffolding. We see young men chipping away at the old city, constructing a new city.

Our studio apartment costs $900 USD/month. If it weren’t rehabbed and if it weren’t for the English-speaking tourist market, it’d cost probably 300 to 600 zl, or about $100 to $200 USD per month. (Of course, utilities and hi-speed Internet are included in our rent, which makes it a pretty good deal.)

Next time we’re here, we plan on getting a normal place. We have to learn how to do this once the money’s gone. Steve anticipates getting $1200/month in Social Security in 1.5 years. This is supposed to be enough to live comfortably in Krakow.

(We don’t yet know if we’ll stay here or come back to the U.S. I guess it depends on Steve’s health, our whimsy, and whether or not society and airplanes still operate in a couple years.)

We met an American expat who moved to Poland and married a Polish woman. He’s been here seven years.

His parents-in-law earn 1000 zl/month between the two of them (around $333 USD.) He says it is difficult for them to get by, though. And when Poland became part of the EU, their savings became almost worthless.

Another expat said that it’s difficult for students to live here now. Parents can barely afford the rents, so some students end up sharing 3 to a room for 500 zl/month.

We met a young British expat who consults with people in the U.K. (and the Middle East!) who want investment property in Krakow. He has no qualms about it; he’s getting paid. But he’s young.

By paying high rent, we contribute to making Krakow an unaffordable place for Polish people. (I’m sorry, Krakow people. We’ll try to do better next time.) I like to think we help the local economy, but we probably just contribute to the pockets of the upper class. 

Lady K


One Response to ““Investment” in Krakow”

  1. Sounds like the Historical Neighborhood of Tremont in Krakow. Gentrification is universal.

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