The Open Europe: where to buy commercial property and run a business

June 20, 2014

The Open Europe: where to buy commercial property and run a business

Business immigration and obtaining a residence permit in Europe through the legal entity registration are popular because they allow not just to buy a dead weight property, but to create the conditions for a steady income and earnings. In this article, we’ll try to determine where in Europe is easier to open and run a business.

Northern and Western Europe are often mentionedas one of the best, offering opportunities for business. But ratings are many and they are all based on various factors. Compiling lists of countries in terms of business complexity is practiced by almost all significant and respecting institutions in the financial and economic world: the World Bank, the authoritative Forbes and The Economist magazines, the Bloomberg Company and even smaller players. The World Bank is a classic, but the Forbes, The Economist and the Bloomberg rank in accordance with own criteria, and these studies results are also of some interest.

The Open Europe: where to buy commercial property and run a business | Photo 1 | ee24

Denmark is the best in Europe

Let’s start from The World Bank, which annually publishes "Ease of doing business index". Each country is estimated by ten global criteria. These include conditions, speed and cost of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, electrical connection and registration of commercial real estate. Also, into account are taken the level of credit availability, the degree of investor protection, the size of the tax burden, conditions of export-import operations, special characteristics of jurisprudence for contractual disputes and national legislation on bankruptcy.

Where in Europe is better to buy a commercial real estate, according to The World Bank? Let's start with the fact that among the top three are not the European countries, but the representatives of the Asia-Pacific region - Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand. From Europe managed to come up in the top ten Denmark (5th place), Norway (9th) and the UK (10th), in the second ten are Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Ireland and Lithuania.

The Open Europe: where to buy commercial property and run a business | Photo 2 | ee24
Copenhagen, Denmark

Starting a business in Europe is easier in Macedonia (7th), faster and cheaper electricity connection is in Iceland (1st place, procedures take only 22 days), dealing with the taxes takes less time for business in Ireland (6th). When buying commercial real estate in Estonia (7th) and in other Nordic countries you may save on the marine cargo delivery conditions. Entrepreneurs from Luxembourg (1st) spend less time and money on litigation resolution of commercial conflicts. But according to the standards of all human life, this process still is an eternity as it takes about 11 months. Apart from Luxembourg in the top ten countries with a minimum of judicial red tape are included Iceland, Norway, Germany, Austria, France, Finland and unexpectedly, Russia.

There are states in Europe that clearly failed in business run. They still are somewhere at the end of the world list, but theycannotboast with excellent results. This are Serbia (93rdplace in the overall ranking of countries), Malta (103rd) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (131st). Opening the business in Bosnia may seem a real hell as building permits will require six months waiting; energizing will be made in 4 months and in case of emergency the court procedures for entrepreneurs will last 595 days. Post-Soviet countries are not far ahead: for comparison, Russia is in 92nd place and Ukraine in 112th in the list of The World Bank.

The Open Europe: where to buy commercial property and run a business | Photo 3 | ee24
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ireland is the best in the world

Forbes makes its rating of "Best countries for Business", relying on similar, but other criteria, basing on freedom: personal, monetary, currency and trading. The bureaucracy and corruption, innovation, technology and the tax burden are also taken into account.

The magazine recommends to purchase commercial real estate in Ireland and boldly go on the business warpath in this country. Ireland occupies the 1st place, followed by New Zealand, Hong Kong and the Nordic countries: Denmark, Sweden, and Finland and then by Singapore, Canada, Norway and the Netherlands as well.

The Open Europe: where to buy commercial property and run a business | Photo 4 | ee24
Galway, Ireland

Ireland managed to take first place, mainly due to the high level of personal freedom and despite the hard times In Denmark all is well with corruption or rather with its absence, Finland is recognized as a leader in innovation and protection of property rights, and Switzerland (16th) holds leading positions on free trade.
According to the experts from Forbes, the overall situation is not goodin such European countries as Romania (51st), Turkey (57th), Albania (81st), Bosnia and Herzegovina (82nd) ​​and Serbia (86th). Even sadder situation is in Russia and Ukraine, that round out the first hundred and are in 91st and 99th places.

The Open Europe: where to buy commercial property and run a business | Photo 5 | ee24
Belgrade, Serbia

It’s Northern Europe again!

The experts from the analytical unit of the British magazine The Economist made the same conclusions as The World Bank and the Forbes. Their "Business Environment Rankings”, in 2014 was headed by South-East Asia and Northern Europe.

The Economist has one difference: assessing the current situation and the dynamics of change, they make the ease of doing business ranking for the next five years, i.e. 2014-2018. Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong are still among leaders as they used to. Also in the top ten are Canada, Australia, Sweden, USA, New Zealand and Finland. Denmark, Norway and Germany crept close to the winners. The Economist doesn’t recommend to buy commercial property in Croatia (52nd place) and surprisingly in Greece (62nd), and Serbia (65th).

The Open Europe: where to buy commercial property and run a business | Photo 6 | ee24
Lucerne, Switzerland

Many European countries are somewhere between the 15th and 30th places and according to The Economist, that says more about their political stability, than about economic achievements in overcoming of stagnation in the financial sector. But improving the last, the authorities risk with the first part: reducing the national debt and saving costshave already lead to social tension, so the political stability in Europe may start to decline. High tax burdenremains in the western part of the continent, while east is spoiling for a fight: cheap labor, natural resources and proximity to developed markets will attract foreign investors.

Separate opinion: Western Europe is at the helm

According to Bloomberg, Asian economic giants are among the best countries for doing business, while Northern Europe has "failed" a little. Germany is in the 5th place, United Kingdom in the 7th, the Netherlands in the 8th, Spain is the 9th, and Sweden is the 10th. Old Europe is obviously dominating.

The Open Europe: where to buy commercial property and run a business | Photo 7 | ee24
Frankfurt, Germany

It turns out that Spain has the highest level of economic freedom in the world. This country is waiting for investment and creation of new working places. Ksenia Balashova, Head of Sales in Spainway, says that "if you want to invest in big business in Spain and provide work forlocal residents,the acknowledge of the Spanish authorities will have no limit: you will be provided with all sorts of legal and tax benefits". Among the interest objectsfor investments, Ksenia notes bars, restaurants and hotels - all that is in demand among tourists.

The Open Europe: where to buy commercial property and run a business | Photo 8 | ee24
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Summarizing, we can talk about explicit European leadership of Scandinavian and Northern European countries. Buying commercial real estate in Finland, Sweden and Norway is certainly a profitable investment. Denmark, Germany, Holland, England and Ireland, located to the south-west of them, look less attractive, but also stable. Investments in offices and shops in Turkey, Romania and Greece are not recommended by all the 4 rankings, reviewed above.

  The World Bank Forbes The Economist Bloomberg
1. Singapour Ireland Singapour Hong Kong
2. Hong Kong New Zealand Switzerland Canada
3. New Zealand Hong Kong Hong Kong The USA
4. The USA Denmark Canada Singapour
5. Denmark Sweden Australia Australia
6. Malaysia Finland Sweden Germany
7. S. Korea Singapour The USA The UK
8. Georgia Canada New Zealand Netherlands
9. Norway  Norway Finland  Spain
10.  The UK Netherlands Denmark Sweden

Text: Alexander Fetyukov,