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Euro 2012 kicks off Polish boom time

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UK architects have hailed a mini-boom in Poland as it gears up to co-host this summer’s European Football Championships

Data from the country’s Central Statistical Office showed there were 15,200 dwelling starts in the first three months of this year.

This represented a 15.2 per cent rise in residential construction from the same period a year earlier.

Meanwhile housing completions were up almost a third year-on-year to 36,272 in the first quarter of 2012.

A source at one UK architectural practice said a buzz was starting in Poland ahead of Euro 2012, which the country will host alongside Ukraine in June.

‘Poland does not have the facilities you would expect for the international tourism that comes with a major sporting event,’ the source told AJ.

‘We have declined to bid for projects in the past that have come back to market a year later because they could not get off the ground. But that is starting to change; the Euros are forcing their hand a little bit.’

He added: ‘Schemes are starting to warm up. Things are moving in the right direction.’

UK-based Broadway Malyan has just moved to larger offices in Poland and hopes to hire more architects later this year.

Director Robert Kaminski said the forthcoming football tournament had provided a boost.

‘Euro 2012 was the catalyst for a lot of infrastructure projects, and now hotel operators are saying they need to build hotels so there is a ripple effect,’ he said.

‘The retail market is developing, and moving on to the second tier cities. We are working on two schemes in the north of Poland.’

Kaminski added that British architects could bring valuable commercial nous to a country not as skilled in understanding the financial implications of design projects.

Real estate consultancy REAS said almost 10,000 homes were launched for sale in Poland’s six biggest cities in Q1 of this year.

REAS said that while the residential market was ‘hardly predictable’, new mortgage lending regulations had not dampened the availability of home loans as much as feared.

The consultancy forecast a 5 per cent drop in mortgage lending in 2012, which it said would be ‘rather good in light of many other pessimistic forecasts’.

Almost 30,000 homes were sold in Poland in the 12 months to April 2012, a 2.5 per cent rise on the previous year.

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