THE burgeoning Polish property market has received a further boost from the announcement that the country is to co-host the 2012 European football championships in conjunction with Ukraine.
The benefits will not just be seen in the demand for accommodation during the championships but also in the infrastructural investment that will be required to service the influx of visitors.
Simon Palmer, director of Empire, the property investment advisors, says "we could see a 'Wembley Effect' in Warsaw where a massive new stadium could provide additional leisure facilities that could boost the area around the stadium such as is happening in London around the new Wembley stadium.
"Millions of euro will be spent promoting the countries and raising awareness of these locations in the wider world. Millions will be spent in the local economy by visitors to the championships.
"The many Polish emigrants in Ireland, the UK and rest of Europe will be encouraged to return to help build the infrastructure and to attend the championships or just be near home during the tournament. Obviously these emigrants will be returning home with euro earned abroad in their pockets. The good feeling generally in the country will benefit spending in the economy and the confidence of Poland as a nation."Some of the stadia are already being built or renovated including a new 70,000 seater in Warsaw which is due to be completed in 2009 and a 55,000 seater in Donetsk which is due for completion in 2008.
The former Olympic stadium in Kiev is also due to be used. Other cities include Poznan, Gdansk, and Wroclaw in Poland where prices can range from ?1,500 per sqm in Gdansk to ?2,300 per sqm in Warsaw.
Simon's colleague Michael Bolger points out that residential prices and rents can vary considerably in Poland due mainly to the differences in standards between new build and older accommodation.
In Ukraine matches are planned for Kiev, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk and Lviv.
Referring to the implications for Ukraine, Mr Palmer says: "When one considers the constitutional problems facing the country, the football championship is a boost to this split country and in particular the political leader Victor Yushchenko who wants the country to be closer to Europe.
"I've not been to Kiev, but it is meant to be a beautiful city and this could really put it on the map. I think cities like Lviv in particular will also benefit greatly by the promotion of the tournament because of its unique history. Lviv used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and like its former sister cities Krakow, Vienna and Budapest, it has European gothic architecture and wide boulevards. It was part of Poland up to the end of the Second World War." (www.empire.ie)