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House prices rise most in city centres

WHEN Slovakia was preparing to enter the European Union just over a year ago, everybody braced themselves for a sharp rise in property prices, in anticipation that foreigners would move in and make large purchases.

This did not happen. In fact, prices fell by 5 to 10 percent in the weeks following accession. In the last year, according to the daily SME, the price of property has on the whole stagnated, with small rises and falls in various areas.

An exception to this trend is the centres of Slovakia's largest cities, Bratislava and Košice. Some apartments in the centre of Bratislava are now worth double what they were a year ago and, according to the daily, few people can now afford to live in the centre of Košice.

However, prices in other parts of Košice have fallen and are now stable. Since the announcement of PSA Peugeot Citroen's investment in Trnava, prices in the local area have risen by 30 to 40 percent. However, estate agents do not expect the arrival of other foreign investors.

Robert Balog, an estate agent, said that foreign investors are only planning to invest the minimum amount necessary to get a return on their investment in eight to 10 years before moving on to other countries further East. Thus, investors are more likely to cause increases in rental than in property prices.

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