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Reader feedback: Housing problems

Re: EC to Slovakia: Cut deficit faster, Volume 11, Number 5, February 7 - February 13, 2005

I have a few problems with the idea of Bratislava becoming a tax haven for Austrians. I can't see where the the tax exiles would really want to live.

There are some attractive spots in Devínska Nová Ves or even in the rustic outer parts of Petržalka but that space is very limited.

There are some attractive downtown riverside developments but would people really commute from the centre of one city to another?

One thing is certain: the Austrian tax authorities will be very careful to check that tax exiles really spend their allotted 188 days per year in Bratislava.

I suspect, unfortunately, that Bratislava is more likely to end up as the place where low-cost work is farmed out from Vienna.

So a lot of call centres and clerical paper shuffling are likely to be transferred. These would be lower cost jobs and would keep housing costs from going totally ballistic.

Still, most investment in Slovakia is going to Bratislava. The managers for Peugeot-Citroen and even KIA [based near Žilina] are most likely to live down there.

House and flat prices will go up, but I wouldn't hold my breath for a really big influx of foreigners.

If a lot of investors come and create a bubble it could make life hard for local people, especially those who work in essential but low-paid services like teaching and healthcare. Look at the problems London has in this regard.

Roger,
Žilina, Slovakia

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