Sylvain Barrette: What do you like the most about your job?
Joanna Prazanowska: My goal is to find the dwelling or the office that my clients are looking for, sometimes after looking for a long time. In some cases, it is the decision of a lifetime, and it is a bit as if I help my clients achieve a dream.
As an expatriate just arriving in Luxembourg, should I buy or rent?
It depends on your personal situation. I do not think it makes sense to buy, should you stay here for only 2-3 years. As a youngster, it would make sense to buy, should you intend to have a career and have a family in Luxembourg.
However, buying a property with a mortgage is nowadays more challenging as the banks are investigating the profile of the borrower in more detail than before the war. The capacity to borrow has dropped by one-third, making it difficult to get a mortgage. In the current market, even renting a very nice flat or house will cost you almost half of the mortgage payment.
What should you expect to pay for a rental or when buying a property, per square metre, in Luxembourg City?
You should expect a rental to cost around €40 [per square metre], whereas the prices to purchase a flat is €13,000. Buying a house is rather difficult in the city and one should expect to pay, on average, between €1.3m and €2.5m in the immediate suburbs of the capital.
What price developments have you noticed in the last six months?
The rental cost has rapidly increased, as many potential buyers cannot afford to buy in the current market. Buyers are telling us that they prefer renting until the situation improves. However, there are a lot of rental demands with limited offers. As per local real estate websites, the rental cost has increased by 10%-15% whereas the offered priced for flats has declined by 7%-10%. The impact is even greater when looking over the last year.
In my opinion, the most attractive properties are found in the off-market--not offered through the various websites--accounting for one-third of the transactions in which a strong relation with an agent is important. Indeed, real estate agents will favour their clients, in priority, should a seller be looking to offload his or her property.
What are the districts that one should avoid, or that you prefer?
I would avoid the Gare area at all prices. It is well known and there is little appetite to take over the sale of a property. This is the only district with a bad reputation in Luxembourg.
What is the district which has seen the greatest turnaround over the last several years?
Kirchberg. It used to be an area with mainly fields, garages and cars. Nothing much of interest to live and work. However, things have changed significantly since it has become the business centre of Luxembourg and upon the arrival of the tram. I heard that there are projects aiming at trebling the number of workers in the area.