Lower buying power in eastern Europe

“If you don’t have rich parents, it’s almost hopeless.”

Real estate prices have risen as much as 100 percent in the eight former communist states that joined the EU in 2004, driven by buyers from Western Europe.

While EU membership has spurred economic growth by attracting investment from Western companies, wages in the region still are a fraction of those in Western Europe. In Latvia, the average gross monthly wage is $410, compared with more than $4,000 in Germany.

Many local residents, with less than a quarter the buying power of their neighbors, have been locked out of the market, adding to frustration with EU membership and eroding support for budget cuts needed to adopt the euro.

East Europeans are angry about rules that prevent them from working in most of the 15 older EU nations, while their own governments are reducing spending on pensions, health care and other social programs…

more details at IHT