As elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Romania has many well-preserved rural villages that herald from previous centuries.
“We had been trying to raise awareness of the plight of the Saxon villages and make Viscri Unesco-protected since 1991,” she says. “We finally succeeded in 1999.” Fernolend is Romanian director of the Mihai Eminescu Trust (MET), a charitable foundation that is active in 26 Saxon villages and five Saxon towns, garnering numerous awards for its work. For Britons, it is perhaps the involvement of the Prince of Wales as patron of the MET that has brought these villages to wider attention.
Charles has gone as far as claiming some Romanian heritage :)
Art historian Lucy Abel Smith, who leads group tours to Romania, first visited the Saxon villages under communism and fell for the charm of the village of Richis. “In 2000 I bought a wreck for $5,000,” she says, “then spent an additional $30,000 to restore it.”
In the same village today, a house consisting of around 10 rooms on some 2,000 sq m of land that includes a plum orchard and vineyards, is priced at €45,000 (negotiable). In Viscri, due to its World Heritage status, a smaller house that sold for €2,500 in 1996 would now fetch around €60,000, unrestored. Should you wish to live in thriving Malâncrav, where an unusually large 12 per cent of the 1,000-strong population is still Saxon, a large farmhouse is available for an optimistic €80,000.
The problems begin with finding such properties. The market is anything but transparent, especially in the villages, where the concept of professional estate agents is, in the words of one lawyer, “non-existent”. Properties are sold by word of mouth, particulars are vague.
I’m quite sure they’re also sold online.
One final consideration is the vagaries of Romanian law. Currently, the law states that foreigners may purchase a freehold property but not the land on which it stands. “The solution is either to create a contract putting the land in the name of a Romanian – such as your housekeeper,” says Burghelea, “or become a ‘legal entity’ by registering a company in Romania.” Even here, however, matters are not that clear-cut. “Our law is open to interpretation,” he explains. “So we have a strange situation whereby the association of notaries in Sibiu county, for example, is now allowing foreigners to own their land; but in other counties, such as Mures, it is not”.
(via Romania property: A stake in Transylvania - FT.com)
That’s silly. What stops someone from buying property in Mures and do the papers in Sibiu?