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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » October 8, 2008
Conference: Polish Residential Market 2008
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October 8, 2008   
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The conference Polish Residential Market 2008: Perspectives, Development, Housing held by The Warsaw Voice magazine and Polish real estate services company Emmerson at the Hilton Hotel in Warsaw Sept. 17, attracted almost 250 participants-a turnout that surpassed all expectations.

Szymon Jungiewicz, director of the research and analysis department at Emmerson, opened the conference with a lecture on the Polish construction market that outlined forecasts for the market's growth. According to Emmerson, the Polish construction market will grow by around 14 percent this year, followed by 8 percent next year and 15 percent in 2010.

Prospects for the housing sector are equally optimistic, according to Waldemar Oleksiak, a senior executive at Emmerson. "What we see now is a slowdown in the upward trend, but we need to take a more long-term look at the market," Oleksiak said, adding that many projects are planned for next year and 2010. As his lecture continued, conference participants learned about the situation in individual regions of Poland, including new-apartment market trends in Katowice and Poznań.

Developers and real estate consultants showed interest in a presentation delivered by Piotr Jakubowski from market and opinion research company SMG/KRC. The presentation, entitled What Apartments Do Polish People Need?, analyzed the preferences, requirements and financial capabilities of affluent consumers in Poland with an average disposable monthly income of over zl.7,000 per household. This group numbers anywhere from 500,000 to 600,000 nationwide, according to SMG/KRC, or around 3 percent of the country's adult population. Most of these people are in their 30s and 40s, married with children. They live in big cities in their own apartments (sized 60-70 square meters) or single-family houses in the suburbs.

Developers at the conference were interested to learn that one-third of the affluent were considering moving house within one year or buying a new apartment. Most these people buy new rather than resale apartments and usually take out bank loans for this purpose. Only 16-20 percent of the affluent Poles are planning to buy real estate using funds of their own, Jakubowski said. Interestingly, he added, while these people usually pay a great deal of attention to brand-name products among consumer goods, they are not guided by brands when buying real estate. According to SMG/KRC surveys, Polish real estate buyers are seldom able to identify good and trustworthy developers and reliable realtors, Jakubowski said.

Małgorzata Korólczyk, deputy director of the marketing and advertising department at Emmerson, discussed the reasons for this low brand recognition among developers in Poland. The main reason is that advertisements for real estate are all alike, Korólczyk said. She suggested that every ad should meet three basic conditions: contain one main message, feature a catchy slogan, and, most importantly, convey an unconventional idea. Ideally, an ad should be printed in several consecutive issues of a periodical, she said. According to Korólczyk, the marketing budget should account for 2-3 percent of every investment project.

At the end of the conference, Justyna Dziak, a department head at credit consulting company Upper Finance, talked about the financing of investment projects in the Polish housing market. Dziak, whose department prepares financial analyses for the construction sector, told conference participants that banks lending money to developers increasingly expect them to have their projects at least 20 percent pre-sold before going ahead with construction work. Banks also require downpayments of at least 20 percent, and sometimes even 30-40 percent, of the project's value, Dziak said. In a growing number of cases, banks are refusing to provide loans to investors planning to buy land, she added.

Magdalena Fabijańczuk
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