January 10, 2008

Made it to Croatia. And I take back everything I've said about Phoenix - nobody did home construction worse than the Communists


Man, you want to see housing at its worst? Check out the communist flats in Slovenia and Croatia. I complained about the awful stucco sh*tboxes in places like Phoenix, but damn, you should see the crap the commies built.

What is kinda funny (in a sad way) is that they're painting these concrete housing disasters nice vibrant colors and putting them on the open market - just in time for British investors to buy off the internet sight-unseen, for prices that have no relationship to the pitiful rents that could be earned.

Anyway, I'll sniff around a bit more here in Eastern Europe for what's really going on with housing speculation and report back later.

And so you don't get the wrong impression, Ljubljana and Split once you get to the old towns are amazing, vibrant cities worth visiting. Just gotta get through the communist disasters to get to the good stuff.

Oh, blazing fast internet at my flat in old town Split for the next few weeks so good to go!

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Show us some pictures from the old part of town....it doesn't have to be all crap housing all the time on HP

keith said...

added a picture of old town to the post and also check out

http://www.galenfrysinger.com/croatia_split_old_town.htm

nicest thing so far is no tourists - if you want to do europe, I HIGHLY recommend coming Oct - Mar. Do NOT come April - Sept.

Andrew from Russia said...

This is a moderate quality block by Soviet standards. Were it in Moscow, 2-bedroom flats there could easily go for $200k. The decrepit 5-storied panel "kruschobas" (Kruschov-age slums from 1950s) and their varieties were even uglier - and more expensive at one point when it became certain they were all headed for demolition (= new flats for current tenants).

Merciless Ming said...

I visited East Berlin in '85 when the Commies still ran the show. It had, of course, been blown to smithereens by allied bombs and Russian shells in WWII so almost everything had been rebuilt since. I saw street after street of the same type of cheapo, monotonous, "modern" crap buildings.
I realized, to my horror, that it reminded me of the same type of architectural garbage that infests most U.S. cities. Almost everything that's worthwhile and pleasing to the eye in most American cities was built prior to 1940.
Just as our dollar and economy are degenerating, so is our culture... if it can even be a called a
"culture" at all.
Welcome the the new Dark Ages!

FredE said...

One thing you can say for the communists is that they didn't build houses that they couldn't afford.

Anonymous said...

Well, Arizona is a right to work state (meaning few union training programs) so anybody who has $150 to load up on tools at Home Depot can call themselves a carpenter, plumber, concrete worker, electrician or whatever.

Anonymous said...

And the women?

Anonymous said...

You should see Bucharest gorgeous old pre-communist opera houses and antique buildings in the French styles sandwhiched between ugly communist block apartment complexes. Such a shame how the Soviets ruined a once gorgeous Romanian city.

Anonymous said...

be careful where you go over there keith. ask the locals about the hot spots where the good old us of a, dropped tons of depleted uranium munitions and so as we have done in iraq now , we did there to some extent. some parts of the balkans are completely and totally inhabitable for 4.5 billion years.....thanks usa, thanks......

Princess Mononoke said...

How are things over?
How are you doing?
What's the weather like?

curious mind wants to know ;)

td said...

Yet another example of RE bubble
This typical Soviet time condo comes from Tallinn, capital of Estonia, North-Eastern Europe. It has 1 bedroom, 1 living room, kitchen with area of 86 sqfeet (incl furniture) and bathroom, i.e. altogether 484 sqfeet (45m2) and the owner wants to unload it with USD 100 000, ie USD 200 per sqfoot. It is worth to mention that average annual net salary in Tallinn is now ca 10 000 USD (e.g. teacher, nurse)
http://tinyurl.com/37cnz4
By the way, did you notice, how can one reach the bath?

Anonymous said...

It's the same junk in the small villiages of China. It may be ugly but it's all built to the same standard of ugliness!
Keith,
Enjoy yourself and pick up the good intel, the corps pay much better for it than the govs do, :).

Alex3191 said...

Hey Keith ... come to my place ! you should really visit the capital of bubble - realestate-speculators - capital- of the whole Eastern Europe / the most expensive crap of all over the entire area - I'm talking about Bucharest / Romania . A commie 50 years old, 10 stories high , ugly block of flats selling with 2000 euro/mp (roughly 300 $ /sqft).
CRAP !

Mark in San Diego said...

Check out the public housing on the outskirts of Prague. . .take any tram to the end of the line and you will see 15 story shit-boxes that the Czech Govt. is also trying to sell off. . .such a nice city, at least they put them 5 miles out of town!

td said...

http://tinyurl.com/yome42
This one is a Soviet-time house in more-than-average housing area in Tallinn, Estonia. There is no sewer and municipal water system, ie no WC and shower. It has 3 rooms (altogether with bedrooms), kitchen, garage, sauna, wood ovens as heating system (we have temperature spells down to -13F ie -25C in winter), 0.22 acre (900m2) lot.
Asking price: USD 268 000
(let me remind you the net annual average salary in the town: USD 10 000)
And this one is new and contemporary house with 3 bedrooms and sauna, 0.2 acre lot almost in the same area. Asking price: USD 574 000
Keith, what do you think about affordability?
http://tinyurl.com/2hz3sv

Anonymous said...

If I were in Croatia, this is where I'd like to visit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubrovnik

Very pretty place from what I hear.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Arizona is a right to work state (meaning few union training programs) so anybody who has $150 to load up on tools at Home Depot can call themselves a carpenter, plumber, concrete worker, electrician or whatever.

January 10, 2008 10:23 PM<<<


what's great about it that a lot of the tools sold at home despot are made in china junk....isn't that special?

Anonymous said...

Based on the experiances I have had in Slovenia and the CIS the women more than compensate for the bad contruction IMHO.

eTrader said...

Hey, don't forget Japan!

http://homepage3.nifty.com/tokibow/tbchp/arvol02.htm

Anonymous said...

Communism never looked so good

whitetower said...

I was in Dubrovnik last summer -- mostly in the Old Fort area. Very pretty, good food, and very nice people.

Anonymous said...

be careful where you go over there keith

Fortunately, the American's didn't get too involved in the fighting in either Slovenia, Croatia or Bosnia-Herzegovina. And at the time the British weren't into using too much depleted Uranium.

The biggest risk is still the landmines - though most of them can be found on the thin lines which separated the forces.

Some maps:

http://tinyurl.com/yp3csu
http://tinyurl.com/ysa5ad

Generally... if you're somewhere in the wilderness and see red flags with skull and crossbones or the word MINE written on them - you should turn around and walk the way you came. In all my travelling there - I have only seen them once.

Otherwise, the worst places would probably be in the Kosovo area. Alot of DU was dumped there during the American blitzkrieg.

And, unfortunately, in Belgrade, one of the NATO warplanes hit the tanks holding vinyl chloride monomer (base chemical for making PVC - ie plastic). This stuff is a heck of alot more carcinogenic than DU and the cloud went over part of the city. Alot of birth defects resulted in animals - it's still not known what the long term effects will be for the human population - not good though.

Sac'to watcher said...

Yeah, Split is a great town. I saw it last summer and really liked Diocletian's Palace. He was the last emperor that made any progress in fixing the Roman economy (at a high price in freedom and market prices), which may be why he actually RETIRED from that job without dying in the process. If you see his palace, you'll understand why he retired.

Anonymous said...

all i know about that area nowadays is the rare to me for 30 years but one week on sale in phx is the swordfish i saw coming out of the sea there...get cheese sauce......

Frank@Scottsdale-Sucks.com said...

That photo looks exactly like a recent-built Scottsdale condo.

Anonymous said...

American in Poland. The commies ruined everything and left behind the ugliest Stalinesque buildings the world has ever seen. All over Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, these communist block apartments are what pass for affordable housing. What a joke. Prices are up here in Poland, but have already softened. Communism- what a waste of three generations.

Anonymous said...

Get out to the Croatian countryside - amazing. Commies couldn't screw that up. Well, not too much.

Anonymous said...

HUH??

But Keefie, communism is wonderful. Under communism everyone had health insurance. And free education. And everyone had a good paying job. And there was no racism and no poverty either.

How dare you besmerch such a wonderful system?

Anonymous said...

Keep voting for Hitlery and Barrack and soon enough we'll have those buildings going up in Dallas and Denver.

Frank@Scottsdale-Sucks.com said...

Well, Arizona is a right to work state (meaning few union training programs) so anybody who has $150 to load up on tools at Home Depot can call themselves a carpenter, plumber, concrete worker, electrician or whatever.

Well, not really, you still have to get a contractor's license, but based on how difficult it is to get an insurance or real estate license in Arizona (you basically just have to show up and they give you one), a contractor's license probably isn't saying much.

I remember when a realtor I know moved from Phoenix to Texas and was amazed that in Texas you actually have to know something to pass the test (not that realtors there have brains, if they did they wouldn't be realtors).

Anonymous said...

but the cheap local hookers are out at the apartment blocks and the best local restaurants, unless you are eating at McDonalds each night.

depresso said...

The biggest bubble in Central-Eastern Europe is in Bratislava, Slovakia. A studio size condo in the worst part of the city (a gypsy ghetto) goes for around US$100k. 1 bdrm apt in a slightly cleaner communist concrete block jungle goes for US$130k. And a same sized apartment in the same area, but new construction goes easily for US$170k to US$200k!!! That's some bubble!