(TALLIN, ESTONIA) -- Estonia is no longer Europe's best kept secret, with increasing GDP growth, record numbers of tourists and a commitment to renewable energies and eco developments. The smallest of the Baltic countries is certainly making its presence felt.
According to Statistics Estonia, the government agency of the Ministry of Finance, Estonia's GDP has increased by an impressive 8 percent in Q1 2011 compared to the same quarter last year, seeing exports of goods rise by 53 percent with most of the value added growth attributed to manufacturing. Moreover, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) suggests that Estonia's economy may develop further with a 5.9 percent increase this year.
Alan Forsyth, director of property investment experts, Property Secrets, which markets investment opportunities in Estonia comments,
"Estonia certainly has placed itself on the global investment radar," said Alan Forsyth, director of property investment experts for Property Secrets, which markets investment opportunities in Estonia. "As well as the welcomed boost in GDP, the National Tourist Board recently announced that Estonia has seen a 41 percent increase in the number of UK visitors with a record number welcomed in Q1 2011.
"Additionally, more than 259,000 tourists stayed in hotels and other forms of accommodation between January and March this year, a 19 percent rise compared to the same time last year which could well be attributed to the fact that Tallinn, Estonia's capital city, has been voted European Capital of Culture 2011 as well as low cost airline EasyJet recently introducing flights to the Estonian capital from Liverpool making it easier to visit the Baltic country."
Certainly, the growth in visitor numbers is excellent news, not only for the country's economy but for potential property buyers as Estonia has seen an increase in population growth according to Statistics Estonia with the biggest attraction being the city of Tallinn, which was able to keep net migration positive for the second year in a row.
Of course, as the population of Estonia grows, a greater need for housing becomes more apparent. According to data from The Global Property Guide, property prices in Tallinn rose by 2.5 percent over the year-to-end Q1 2011 indicating that the housing market is sitting comfortably. This, along with the Estonian construction industry experiencing 34% year on year growth in the number of construction projects underway in Q1 2011 according to Statistics Estonia, paints a positive picture for potential property investors.
Most interestingly, research by KPMG has stated that Estonia is focusing heavily on eco developments, investing much of its European funding in projects with an environmental appeal. For instance, the production of electricity from renewable sources in Estonia in 2009 increased nearly threefold compared to the previous year according to Statistics Estonia and certainly, the government's approval of the Estonian Renewable Energy Action Plan last year spanning until 2020, by which the share of renewable energy is thought to grow to at least 25% of all domestic consumption, will have triggered further eco efforts of housing developers.
Property Secrets have been insightful enough to delve into Estonia's undoubtedly lucrative eco housing market and have a unique and truly sustainable development on offer.
Fully planned and carbon negative, Keble House, built in the residential complex Oxford Park and priced at only $174,427 with 20% covered by the developer, is the first of its type in Europe, offering a 2-bedroom natural wood terrace house with front and back garden and parking only 30 minutes drive from the border of the capital Tallinn.
The Oxford Park complex is the only new community development in Europe to plan its own independent renewable heat and electricity source (allowing it an A+ rating), based on clean biomass renewable energy, supplying all the properties through a smart grid, putting it well ahead of similar developments in the United Kingdom, according to Forsyth.
With a five-year rental guarantee at 5% of purchase price, Forsyth says this is the perfect opportunity to reap the rewards from Estonia's emerging market by investing in a beautiful and sustainable eco-friendly property.