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Estate agency targets Poland

That is why property store The Step, based in Milton Keynes, is to become the first UK estate agency.

Representatives despatched to eastern Europe by The Step founder Greg Heywood are negotiating the purchase of 200 homes in Krakow – where the first store is due to open next month – and Warsaw.

Poland is the first stage of a mission to gain a foothold in the booming eastern European property market. The Step plans to open stores in seven other countries.

The company’s decision to invest in Poland first follows extensive research and fact-finding missions to the region to speak to developers, lawyers and government bodies.
“It is a hugely growing market,” said Mr Heywood (pictured). ” Earnings and the standard of living are increasing dramatically while interest rates are just three per cent and it’s possible to obtain mortgages of 90-100pc.”

Mr Heywood believes he will attract buyers to Poland from many international markets, with up to 23 different countries believed to be potential investors including Ireland, Germany and Russia. “We are buying stock to put on our shelves there. We will offer the same unique solution as we do in Milton Keynes. The Polish are very excited about our proposal.

“We have investigated the system in depth and we will make sure contracts are in English, with English laws. It’s also important for investors to know there are three price lists for housing – one for the Polish, one for international and one for English, with the English prices being the highest.”

The Step plans to open its second store in June in the Polish capital Warsaw. Other branches are to be in the cities of Lodz, Wroclaw, Gdansk and Katowice.

Mr Heywood added: “After Poland we are looking at moving into seven other countries; we will develop our structure in Poland and our taskforce will move on.”