Bedroom – 6 square meters, room with kitchenette – 16, apartment 49 square meters, more than half of which is a corridor. The so-called house – 66 square meters on three floors, a playground in one of the parking spaces and a garden the size of a small balcony. The housing market has become miniaturized. The term “path developer” is becoming fashionable.
This term was coined by the city activist Jan Śpiewak, known for publicizing the problems of re-privatisation in Warsaw. Śpiewak was partly right in the matter of re-privatisation, he put the so-called social interest above the overriding property right. In terms of development, it is similar. This time, the Warsaw local government official is forgetting about the superior rights of the free market and freedom of choice.
Almost everything disappears from the market, often again at the stage of a hole in the ground. In the third quarter of 2020, purchases of new apartments were 12 times higher than in the second quarter of this year. According to estimates by HRE Investments, in the seven largest cities, the housing market received PLN 4.2 billion.
Today, flats are growing at the fastest rate since the late Gierek. And as for Gierek, you have to wait in line for an apartment.
Example. A large developer is building a housing estate in Ursus on the site of a former tractor factory. Everything that was built has long been sold. In buildings where acceptance will begin in summer 2021, there are no longer studios or two-room apartments. You can buy them in subsequent stages; here, the developer has prepared a visualization and will soon apply for a building permit. The deadline, the end of 2022, is becoming realistic.
Ursus, although well connected to the center of Warsaw, is a peripheral district and lacks a good commercial and service offer. For the capital, prices are moderate, from PLN 8,000 per square meter. Apartments will be bought here by customers with a small wallet and low creditworthiness. That’s why apartments here are small and cramped. Looking at these surfaces, one is reminded of Ursynów in Gierek or Tarchomin in the 1990s.
There is 28.2 sq m of housing per person in Poland. This is the fourth worst result among the 28 surveyed countries in Europe. But the thing about average is that it distorts reality. According to it, the couple is expected to have a 56-square-meter apartment. It probably has one, and in Ursus, families with children take 56 meters, couples are satisfied with 42 meters. The average is increased by other locations and higher standards with prices from PLN 20,000 per square meter. There are few of them, but such apartments also sell well. Different recipient.
Housing estates of sectional houses near Warsaw are also considered parade developers. It’s true, they resemble barracks, they are built on de-agricultural land, devoid of greenery and trees. Surrounded by country houses and farmsteads, an unpaved road leading to the forest. Three kilometers to the grocery store and seven kilometers to the railway station.
But for 500 thousand you can buy and finish a section with a garage of about 85 meters. Additionally, the garden is small, but there is room to put a deck chair and there is room for a barbecue. For a 2+2 family with a large dog, but with a small budget, this is a good solution. For this money, they will nest in the center of Warsaw or Wilanów in 40 meters.
Developers build what is in demand and it is difficult to find another strategy. Yes, they have a wild desire to squeeze the maximum number of so-called PUMs, i.e. the usable area of apartments, out of the building. Hence the housing oddities that someone will buy at a reduced price one day anyway. But is this pathology?
If there is anything to accuse developers of, it is disinformation and manipulation in the offers presented. Plans of apartments are shown with the areas of individual rooms, but without the dimensions of the walls. The apartments are furnished and seem spacious.
But if someone makes an effort and calculates the dimensions, the sofa has a seat depth similar to that of a toilet bowl, and the bed has a length comfortable for a dwarf.
Houses, semi-detached houses, segments, the visualization shows the same tricks and an impressive area including a vestibule, a boiler room and even a garage in the building. After deducting these parts, what remains is a small two-story apartment. This so-called the house is in a great location. 7 minutes walk to the store. True, but at the pace of Robert Korzeniowski. 12 minutes to the train. True, only through a plowed field.
Therefore, I recommend extreme caution and the principle of limited trust to buyers on the primary market. Buying real estate is a big event, but you can’t get too excited. You have to calculate everything yourself, check it and negotiate the price. If you don’t do it, blame yourself and post pictures online with the note: yes, I bought it myself.