“Ghita, te astept diseara la… Timisoara!”

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“Ghita, te astept diseara la portita…” (“Ghita, I wait you in the evening at the small door…”)… The childish song of my favorite Cleopatra Stratan was non stop in my mind. This old refrain of 2006, with the sweet 4 years old (then) girl singing is one of the songs I still adore (find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3utG9E-LOm4&feature=fvst).  Maybe because I love children, or because it includes a sweet innocence which is absolutely missing from our daily life. Who knows?
But still I was thinking of it and “singing” it in my mind. I was at the bus, being driven to the airplane which would take me back to Bucharest from Timisoara. Having woken up at 04.00 for the second consecutive morning, I was surprised to find myself full of happiness and positive energy. The reason? TIMISOARA…A city which easily differentiates…
Timisoara is the capital of Banat, the third most important economic center of Romania, after Bucharest and Cluj. Its citizens consider themselves more “Eastern Europeans” than “Western Romanians” and this is something you can understand very easily. Due to its location on the map and its very strong connection with ex German and Austrian – Hungarian empire, it has become an important local hub, with quite open minded people and a lot of wealth produced. German culture and influence are very strong, but not only…
Timisoara could be also the part of Italy in the Balkans. With over 30.000 Italians living there (mainly business people), billions of euro invested by them and flights to 9 Italian cities in daily basis, it has become a bridge connecting Romania (and the Balkans in general) with Italy. This is why a very big part of the population knows Italian, except Romanian and English (sometimes German too).
Finally, the way people think is totally different. It is more logical for a citizen of Timisoara to take his (quite expensive) car and drive 5 hours to Vienna, so as to combine relaxation with shopping, than to buy from the local stores. People come and go with great speed, this is why everyone has a “friend” who can provide him something he / she needs from another country of the area. Plenty of major European cities are at 1 – 5 hours driving.A city with great potential…
I started traveling in Timisoara in 2006. I liked it since the first moment and I can still enjoy a walk in the center, between the parks, the fantastic renovated patrimonial buildings and the impressive churches. But the place is suitable for business as well.
There is a lot of money in the area, visible money. Yeah, I know that we live in a period of economic crisis, but still you can easily make the difference between a poor and a rich city. The cars, the investments, the way people dress, the presence of big important companies. In 2007 I was in Timisoara with a good friend, Akis. He noticed something that I will never forget: Factories with a big sign writing something like: “We hire. For more information, please call …”. I had never seen something like this in my life, neither did he (and trust me, I have traveled a lot, but he has traveled much much more…). I know that these periods are history today, but in my opinion when Romania will rise again, one of the first cities which are expected to rebound faster is Timisoara.

Frozen Real Estate market – good opportunities for investors
I will not comment a lot upon the residential market there, it has stopped like everywhere around the country. I was presented new apartments in very good locations with ridiculous prices, but still unsold. In the same time, the owners of old apartments continue asking a very high price for their property, as it happens in many other big cities out of Bucharest too. The story is like “I will never find a client to sell at this high level of price, but who knows? Speranta moare ultima” (“Hope dies last”).
In the same time, if we talk about my field of expertise, income properties, commercial spaces, supermarkets, office buildings, lands suitable for retail – commercial, agricultural lands etc, I would say that the city hides a lot of opportunities. Not always visible at first sight, as most agents I have been talking to claimed that there are very few and only very expensive properties around, but if you search deeper, you may discover very good assets. I don’t tell you that in all the cases you will be able to conclude the deal (it always “takes two to tango”) but at least you will discuss for good properties, with good potential and easy to sell in the future too, as the city is the crossroads of many different categories of investors and businessmen. Of course you should definitely need to be patient and identify the offers very good, but there are not many cities in Romania which offer to you the possibility to do A Class deals, with serious people and good assets.

So, think about it. Timisoara is waiting you…

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