The average price of existing flats in Poland’s 7 big cities (Warsaw, Gdańsk, Gdynia, Kraków, Łódź, Poznań, and Wrocław) rose slightly by 0.3% (1.3% inflation-adjusted) during the year to Q1 2016, according to the Polish central bank, Narodowy Bank Polski (NBP). During the latest quarter, house prices were up by 0.1% (0.8% inflation-adjusted).
- In Warsaw, the country’s capital, the average price of existing houses increased slightly by 0.6% (1.6% inflation-adjusted) y-o-y in Q1 2016.
- Bydgoszcz recorded the biggest increase in house prices of 5.2% (6.2% inflation-adjusted) during the year to Q1 2016, followed by Gdańsk, with a 3.5% y-o-y increase.
- Other Polish cities with minimal house price increases included Lublin, with a y-o-y growth of 2% in Q1 2016, Poznań (1.5%), Białystok (1.5%), Szczecin (1.4%), Gdynia (1.3%), Opole (1.1%), Wrocław (0.6%), Łódź (0.4%), and Olsztyn (0.1%).
- Kraków saw the biggest house price decline of 2.9% (-1.9% inflation-adjusted) during the year to Q1 2016, followed by Zielona Góra (-0.9%), Rzeszów (-0.8%), Kielce (-0.7%), and Katowice (-0.2%).
Warsaw has the most expensive housing in the country, with an average selling price of PLN8,658 (EUR1,975) per square metre (sq. m.) in Q1 2016, according to the NBP. It was followed by Kraków, with an average price of PLN6,827 (EUR1,558) per sq. m., Gdynia with PLN6,407 (EUR1,462) per sq. m. and Gdańsk with PLN6,193 (EUR1,413) per sq. m.
In contrast, Zielona Góra has the cheapest housing in Poland, with an average price of just PLN3,447 (EUR786) per sq. m. in Q1 2016.
In the first quarter of 2016, the economy expanded by 3% from a year earlier, down from 4.3% growth the previous year. Economic growth is projected to remain strong at 3.6% this year, and at 3.7% in 2017, according to the IMF.
Analysis of Poland Residential Property Market »
The Warsaw distict of Mokotow, located just below Srodmiescie, houses many foreign embassies and companies. It ranks second in terms of property prices, after Srodmiescie. Prices for apartments here range from €1,800 to €2,050 per sq. m,.
In Mokotow 120 sq. m. apartments have rental yields averaging 6.45%. For a 120 sq. m. apartment you will pay €244,000 and earn maybe €1,300 per month.
Apartments in Srodmiescie, which includes the historic neighborhoods of the Old Town (Stare Miasto) and the New Town (Nowe Miasto), are now similarly priced.
Yet they are really not expensive, compared to the prime districts of other European cities. Srodmiescie apartment prices are at about from €2,150 per square metre (sq.m.), with gross rental yields ranging from 5.5% to 5.8%.
In the other popular Warsaw areas Ursynów, Wilanów, and Żoliborz, apartments cost around €1,750. Property owners earn good rental returns here of around 6.4%.
In Krakow, average apartment prices range from €1,750 to €2,600 per sq. m. Apartment gross yields here range from 4.7% to 6.7%.
The big downside is that round trip transaction costs are high in Poland. See our Poland transaction costs analysis and our Transaction costs in Poland compared to other countries.
Capital Gains: Capital gains incurred on properties sold within five years of acquisition are taxed at a flat rate of 19%. Capital gains incurred on properties sold after a 5-year holding period are exempted from capital gains tax.
Inheritance: Gifts and inheritances of Polish property are taxed at progressive
Residents: Residents of Poland pay taxes on their worldwide income at progressive rates, up to 32%.
Tenant Security: However, the general situation over rental laws is worryingly unstable. Strict re-regulation of the rental sector was recently legislated by Parliament. Fortunately, it was declared unconstitutional shortly after coming into law. Populist pro-tenant feeling is strong.
Poland, which does not use the euro, is the only European country that avoided recession during the global financial and economic meltdown. The Polish economy expanded by 3.9% in 2008, 2.6% in 2009, 3.7% in 2010 and 5% in 2011, according to the IMF.
However growth slowed in 2012 and 2013, with GDP growth rates of just 1.6% and 1.3% respectively, due to the recession in the Eurozone, which accounts for over 50% of Polish exports.
The Polish economy bounced back in 2014 with 3.3% growth, fueled mainly by strong domestic demand.
In May 2015, Law and Justice Party (PiS) candidate Andrzej Duda won the presidential elections, displacing Bronisław Komorowski. Duda, a conservative, won 51.55% of the vote, as opposed to Komorowski’s 48.45%. The new president, who assumed office in August 2015, vowed to reverse the increase in the retirement age, and increase tax breaks for the poor.
In the first quarter of 2016, the economy expanded by 3% from a year earlier, down from 4.3% growth the previous year. During the latest quarter the economy actually contracted by 0.1%, but is expected to recover in the second half of 2016 with strong private consumption supported by a new child benefit scheme.
Recently, Fitch Ratings affirmed Poland’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings at A- and A, respectively, with outlook stable.
Poland’s budget deficit dropped to an 8-year low of 2.6% of GDP in 2015, from 3.3% in 2014, 4% in 2013, 4.9% in 2012, and 7.5% in 2011, according to the European Commission. However, the deficit is projected to increase to 2.8% of GDP this year and to over 3% of GDP in 2017 to fulfill election promises, according to the IMF.
Government debt was around 51.3% of GDP in 2015, down from 56% in 2013. Public debt is expected to increase to 53.2% of GDP in 2018, according to Fitch Ratings.
Unemployment was 9.1% in May 2016, down from 10.7% the previous year, the lowest unemployment since October 2008.
Core inflation fell to -0.8% during the year to June 2016, according to the central bank.