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LN: Czechs’ interest in buying country houses sharply rising

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Prague, July 13 (CTK) – Czechs have shown an increasing tendency to buy country houses and cottages in recent months and their interest in them continues to rise steeply, daily Lidove noviny (LN) wrote on Wednesday.

At present, only 12 percent of Czech households own a cottage, but the purchases have increased by 40 percent in the past year, the paper writes, citing local estate agencies.

Previously, the buyers were mainly interested in country houses or cottages that needed reconstruction before being inhabited. At present, most buyers do not hesitate to pay a higher price for comfort, LN writes.

Some people even buy a country house as a cheaper alternative to a regular house or flat to live in permanently, the paper writes.

People show interest in this type of real estate mainly in spring and summer.

The main reason behind their rising interest is the favourable development of the Czech economy. The unemployment rate is the lowest since 2008 and people feel optimistic regarding the future, LN writes.

In the past years, they were cautious and now they have spare money which they want to spend.

A crushing majority of the clients buy recreational housing exclusively for their own needs. Only in the most lucrative localities can the purchases be viewed as a business investment, Marie Mockova, from the Hypotecni banka bank, is quoted as saying.

The purchases of apartments in mountain resorts are a typical example of such an investment, she said.

The buyers traditionally most often seek recreation houses in the mountains, near forests and water reservoirs.

“People are attracted by everything that is related to recreation. They do not want to go to work but to relax in their country cottages,” says Tomas Hejda, from the RE/MAX estate agency.

About 35 percent of the buyers are those who seek a country house for permanent living situated in the surroundings of big towns, the daily writes.

Most clients pay a part of the price in cash and use a mortgage for the rest.

Recreation housing has a long tradition in the Czech Lands, dating back to the late 19th century when well-off inhabitants of towns started to build or buy luxurious weekend villas.

After World War Two, many of the houses abandoned by their inhabitants, mainly in the border areas, started to be used by people as summer houses.

The popularity of country houses and cottages culminated in the 1960s and the 1970s, LN writes.

The Czech Statistical Office (CSU) surveyed the number of recreation houses in 2011 last time. In the case of 170,000 uninhabited houses, their owners said they used them for recreation.

The highest number of recreational houses is in the Central Bohemia and South Moravia regions, the lowest in the westernmost Karlovy Vary Region, LN writes.

According to the website, which focuses on the sale and lease of recreational houses in EU countries, the ownership of a country house in addition to a permanent house or flat is usual in the Scandinavian countries, France and Spain, while in the USA, Canada and Britain, it is a symbol of luxury that only few percent of the population can afford, LN writes.

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