Election in Poland and other thoughts

Oct 25, 2007 in Kamil

Last weekend parliamentary elections took place in Poland. Normally we would have attended but Ania had her wisdom teeth pulled on Friday so we ended up staying home for the weekend. As for the results, I think that both choices were bad each for its own reasons but we will see the consequences in a couple of months. Here’s some useless info for the non-Polish speakers out there: the departing prime minister’s last name can loosely be translated as “Duck” (the quack quack kind) and the incoming prime minister’s first name is Donald. I think a “coop” d’etat has taken place. (yea, I know, it’s a pretty bad joke but c’mon I just made it up…).

As to the changes that have already taken place, when we were in Poland in June 2007 the magnitude of improvement since 2002 has been amazing. A significant percentage of people we talked to were finally optimistic (complaining is probably a Polish national sport that’s why this is noteworthy).

The last 3 years have been amazing for the Polish stock and real estate market. Almost every mutual fund comprised solely of small to medium Polish companies recorded gains of 180% to 300% in a period of the last 3 years. Due to Poland joining the EU in 2005 the real estate market has skyrocketed. I do not have exact figures but I can give you an example.

In 2002 we were looking at buying a condominium in, at the time still under construction, a “luxury” condo building Lucka City in Warsaw. The place is located downtown Warsaw and has all modern amenities including a swimming pool and a gym (if I remember correctly from the pre-construction sale brochures). I say “luxury” because I do have to say that the outside of the building looked much better in a model scale than it does in real life (it is really UGLY). In 2002 the asking price per m2 was $1,008 or at the 2002 prices around 3,800pln. Today, condominiums on the 5th floor (the lower the cheaper) in the same building are selling for 14000pln+/m2 or around $5300 USD. That is 500% increase in 5 years in USD (thank you GWB… NOT!!!). Of course not all real estate markets in Poland have appreciated at the same amazing rate and most notably the eastern part of the country has been gaining at a slower pace but this example gives you a general idea.