Real Estate

The real estate market of Riga offers interesting investment opportunities. The residential sector is driven by investors who are interested in buying good-quality newly-built apartments. The property market in Latvia has been liberalized since the accession of the country to the European Union. The EU citizens are not subject to any restriction when purchasing estate properties in Riga.

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Buying

In Latvia, the average per capita living area is 23 square meters, half the European average. Experts are predicting growth of 25% of apartments in the city center. The best advice is to find a broker you like and believe in. The broker will serve more to help you avoid surprises than he’ll negotiate for you: in this region the asking price is very similar to the selling price.

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Renting

In Riga, coveted old town apartments are renting for 10-12 Euros per square meter per month. If you’re willing to step outside of old town but still be in the city center, prices are closer to 6-8 Euros per square meter per month.

For those in need of long-term rentals there are many options, the most obvious of which is to look in the newspaper. Dealing directly with an apartment’s owner may save you money, but beware you run the risk of surprises. Make sure you find out if the owner plans to enter the apartment when you’re not there, whether he’ll/she’ll allow you to employ a cleaning service, whether you’ll have to pay rent in cash, whether you’ll be required to pay a broker you never used, just to name a few.

If you have the money, employ a rental agency to vet the apartments for you. They’ll remove the element of surprise, there won’t be hidden costs, and the owner won’t show up one day to interview you about what cleaning products you’re using on his floor. Brokers will typically charge one-half to one month’s rent as a commission, regardless the length of the lease signed.

Brokers

This is a partial listing of brokers City Paper readers have used and been pleased with in the past.

Domuss: Doma laukums 6, tel. 722-8086

Ober Haus: Lâèplçða 13, tel. 728-4544

Scintilla: Elizabetes 77, tel. 722-2661

Sirta: Raina 3-16, tel. 721-3622