Great Dane

What do a Sydney pub, a Tasmanian estate agent and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark have in common?

Answer-the estate agent met the prince in the pub. They married in a blaze of publicity and pushed Denmark and its charming capital, Copenhagen, into the spotlight.

In spite of their northerly locations, the Scandinavian countries are consistently hailed as having the best quality of life in Europe, an accolade which has turned their property markets into hotspots. 

A recent Knight Frank report described property in the countries as 'on the rise', explaining, "We are now seeing an increasing push towards remote and new unexplored locations for second homes."

The stunning landscapes, icy beauty and culture of these countries have been attracting imaginative holidaymakers for years, and it was inevitable that property investors would soon catch on.

Relatively stable economies and secure political backdrops in the countries that make up Scandinavia- Norway , Sweden , Denmark, Iceland, Finland and the Faroe Islands, only make them more appealing to foreigners, especially at a time when everything seems so uncertain.

During the first quarter of 2006, property in Denmark saw a remarkable price growth rate of between 15 and 24 per cent. Growth has slowed to a more sustainable level since then, but Danish property will still yield reasonable returns.

According to the Knight Frank global residential house price index, prices in the country increased on average 4.7 per cent between the first quarter of 2006 and the first quarter of 2007.

Unsurprisingly, the most sought after property is in Copenhagen, where the most popular areas are the harbour and the docks, where you can see the famous Little Mermaid statue.

Denmark's west coast is also becoming increasingly popular with second home owners, and summer houses are very popular with Danes, who often escape to the beach or the country most weekends.

Danish Architects ADEPT and Dutch Architects MVRDV won a recent design competition with their idea of a flexible ‘Sky Village,' to be located at Roskildevej, just east of Copenhagen.

The Rødovre Skyscraper will be the second MVRDV project to be built in Copenhagen.

The building, which is visually reminiscent of pixels on a computer screen, is based on a flexible grid. Each 60-meters square-large ‘pixel' will be arranged around the centre of the building, and can be modified.

The 116 metre tall tower will contain apartments, a hotel, offices and retail space, set within a public park and plaza.

Danes are very into sustainable living and this latest development will reflect the country's high environmental standards, using 40 per cent recycled concrete and other energy-producing devices.

Of all the Scandinavian countries, Sweden is currently being tipped as the best investment prospect.

The country has proved popular with commercial investments in recent years and individual buyers are now beginning to follow in their footsteps.  

Abul Chowdhury, Business Manager at Scandinavian Property , said, "The Swedish property market is outperforming all the other Scandinavian countries."

I spent many a holiday in Copenhagen when I was growing up, and have more family over there than I have here. I'm embarrassed to say, with half my family being Danish, I can't speak a word of the impossible language, aside from the essential phrase ‘Kan jeg få et glas vin?' (Can I have a glass of wine?). If you want to set yourself a challenge and learn some Danish, log onto www.speakdanish.dk .

Picture by Erling A

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