- Channel 4 says Romania is Number 1!
It used to be one of those best kept secrets, but now it's out in the open, official and only a few clicks away. We have long considered Romania to be a place where prosperity had to wait until the 21st Century to become evident. Well now Channel 4 has endorsed this view and in its show 'The 20 Best Places to Make Money' - made by the 'Your Place in the Sun' team - Romania was voted top.
- Why buy a house in Romania ?
There are many reasons for buying a house in Romania and foremost among them are climate, value for money, lifestyle and investment potential. Homes for a peaceful and fulfilling retirement are becoming increasingly popular as are, of course, holiday properties for stimulating and memorable stays. The latter have potential for renting as well as for personal and family use.
From 1989 the real estate market has developed quickly. Most Romanians had lived up to that point in homes that were registered as state property. They were then given the right to buy them. Others re-gained family-inherited properties taken by force by the former communist regime. Statistics for the last two years show that prices for both land and homes have doubled in some areas and specialists assume the market will follow the same course in the next five to ten years. This is due to the growing number of foreign tourists and because of Romania’s entry into the EU in January 2007.
Romania, like many Latin countries, has lively and warm people. They are recognised to have an outlook that is hospitable and a tendency to befriend the stranger. Young Romanians are particularly open-minded, with attitudes that are both pragmatic and optimistic. Family values are highly regarded and women are considered in a progressive, respectful way.
- Value for money
You will get a bargain whether you buy a complete new house, one that's new but ready for your interior designs, an existing property ready for updating to western standards, or a piece of land with planning permission for your dream home.
The climate has both temperate and continental features. It is characteristic of Central Europe with hot summers and cold winters as well as very distinct seasons. There are abundant falls of snow, especially in the mountains. The warmest areas are in the south. In Summer there are frequent showers and thunderstorms in the mountains. Among the particularly attractive aspects are the sunny days of Autumn which last from early September until late October. Spring starts in mid-March in most of the regions, although it arrives in April in the mountains and in the northern parts of the country. Dobrogea is the warmest and driest region.
- The People
Romanians are famous for their hospitality and friendliness, regardless of the nationality of their visitors. Many residents speak English and French, and a few are able to converse in German, Italian and Spanish.
- History, Business, Economy & Political Stability
Romania has a long cultural history and has been, at times, the centre of advanced civilised movements. Its prosperity was for centuries, however, dominated by the demands and limitations of a rural economy. The Soviet occupation after the Second World War led to the establishment of a people's republic and the abolition of the monarchy in 1947. The Communist leadership of Nicolae Ceausecu dominated the country from 1965 - 89. Then in 1996 political parties from the centre, such as the ruling Social Democratic Party and its supporting Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, came to power.
They have had to address the rampant corruption of the recent past, invigorate a lagging economy and lay the foundations of democratic reforms.
Since joining the European Union on 1st January 2007, Romania has held 35 seats, positioning the
country in the upper middle tier of MEP membership, with greater voting power than Sweden and
Denmark combined. It has worked hard to meet and uphold the standards required for membership, which are
set out in The Copenhagen Criteria.
Even if they are not high as the Alps, the Carpathians are just as equally impressive mountains. The pure air and the amazing landscapes attract thousands of tourists to Romania every year for hiking and skiing. The most visited place in the Romanian mountains are the Sinaia, Predeal and Poiana Brasov resorts of the Prahova Valley of the Brasov County. In Moldavia the best known resort is Durau Numerous with marked trails that lead to the Fantanele, Dochia and Izvoru Muntelui chalets, the Bicaz reservoir and the bizarre shapes of the eroded crags of Ceahlau. Particularly compelling are the mysterious geological formations called megaliths. These inspired the ancient Dacians who looked at their ranges and felt able to claim their own 'Mount Olympus'.
- Black Sea Coast
The shores along Romania's Black Sea coast stretch for some 244 km in the southeast of the country. Here are modern resorts such as Constanta (Romania's second largest city and the largest port on the Black Sea); Mamaia (5 km north of Constanta and the oldest resort of the Romanian Black Sea coast); Costinesti (which is considered to be the resort of the young, with its film, music, theatre and cultural festivals); Eforie Nord (14 km south of Constanta and well-known as a health spa); Neptun and Olimp (the most elegant of the coastal resorts); and close to the border with Bulgaria is Mangalia and the ancient Greek city Calatis (founded in the 6th century B.C.) The beaches of soft, fine sand are ideal for sunbathing and suitable for children. The sea water has a relatively low salt concentration and the gentle wave action is excellent for the health-providing 'thalasso-therapy’.
Transylvania is a land of amazing diversity. Here is both old and new architecture where, for example, the cities of Sibiu and Sighisoara serve as living proof of the Middle Ages. There is a distinctive mixture of nationalities, with Romanian, Hungarian, German, Gypsy and Jewish traditions as well as languages. Here are some of the most attractive cities, Timisoara, Cluj and Brasov that combine traditional aspects with modern European standards. They are set in a land of mountains and forests, folklore and tradition, hospitality and mystery. Transylvania, although associated with the popular tales of Dracula, remains Europe's best-kept secret.
- Romania's rich cultural heritage
Romania includes a rich tapestry of preserved artistic expression and vibrant cultures: Bucovina has the richest of cultures with elaborately painted churches and monasteries with exterior Biblical frescos. Transylvania's mountains have picturesque villages where the region's medieval Saxon heritage remains evident. In Maramures, ancient customs are a way of life where some residents dress in bright, hand-woven traditional fabrics. Many buildings, from exquisite churches to plain dwellings are made of wood, often carved with hundreds of symbolic motifs. Bucharest, with its detectable Parisian flavour, offers fascinating museums of art and Romanian culture. Here is a country of pristine villages and picturesque landscapes, vibrant towns and modern cities.
- Outdoor Activities and Places to Visit
Appropriate activities apply to every area of Romania. Water-skiing, wind-surfing, hydro-biking, diving and swimming on the Black Sea coast; skiing, snowboarding, sleigh-riding, hiking and climbing in the mountains; walking and horse-riding in the hills; ice-skating and boating on the lakes. Sports centres and amusement parks are situated close to populated areas; restaurants, bars and night clubs in the cities and resorts. Your checklist of places to visit should include Bucharest for sight-seeing in a leading capital city; the Danube Delta, the largest area of its sort in Europe, for wildlife; Peles Castle which was started in 1873 during the reign of Prince Karol I and which displays the new Germanic Renaissance style; Bran Castle, famous for its beauty and legendary Count Dracula connections; Moldova's monasteries, which date from the 15th Century; St Ana Lake, the only volcanic lake in the country; and the Prahova Valley, for its renowned winter resorts.
- Leisure Facilities
During the latter half of the 20th Century, the Communist system promoted athletic, gymnastic and sporting activities, but much was focused on the high standards of its elite performers. Now the tendency is to appeal to the interests of ordinary people who want to enjoy, rather than excel at, leisure pursuits. Facilities, comparable to those of western countries, are to be found in the hotels and clubs with their swimming pools, saunas, sunbeds, fitness circuits, tennis centres and bowling rinks.
Every hospital in the cities in Romania has the equipment to carry out emergency treatment. We would recommend the Romanian private clinics with their European standards to satisfy your expectations. Your medical insurance will be recognised by both private clinics and city hospitals.
The Romanian language is of Latin origin, developed through the centuries with influences from Slavic and Turkish, but with an alphabet, vocabulary and grammar that derives from Rome, as its name implies.
Romania has a variety of landscape and a consistency of climate, often with over 12 hours of sunshine per day. Shining beaches, extensive fields, productive vineyards, many hills, the Carpathian mountains up to 8000' in height, and the levels of the Danube Delta, the home of hundreds of species of fish and birds.
- Safety and crime levels
Romania is a safe country compared to many other East European and even to some Western nations. Late night journeys, whether on foot in the cities or by car in the country, are not dangerous. Police patrols are both evident and reassuring. Obviously care has to be taken when changing money in crowded places such as airports, bus and railway stations, shopping and entertainment centres.
- Romania versus markets in Spain, Italy and France
Ten years ago only 250,000 Britons owned properties abroad. In 2003, that figure hit 1.38 million and, according to Saga magazine, it should be 3.12 million in five years time. Then the number of relatively wealthy people over 50 years of age will be demographically out-of-proportion to younger age-groups. Spain may be the preferred option for 52% of the British who are buying abroad, but a well-located three-bedroom villa does cost £150k. France is the most mature market for UK buyers, but prices reflect this long-term commitment. Italy has potential immigration problems from its nearby Balkan neighbours. £45k would buy a substantial mountain property in Romania and the price of a smaller villa on the Black Sea coast would be comparable. Here is a country on the edge of Europe offering premium positions in the housing market at discount prices.