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Since the worldwide financial crisis started in 2008, real estate markets in Europe have gone on a roller-coaster ride. Predicting property markets has become quite difficult, with the old certainties becoming frayed and ragged. The French government has introduced punitive taxes on holiday home owners, while German cities are suddenly experiencing high price rises. Amid the chaos, there are numerous opportunities for smart buyers looking for bargain vacation homes or houses with a trade conservatory roof. Below are some of the best places to make a real estate deal in Europe. 

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Castles in Italy

As part of the efforts to reduce the national debt, the Italian prime minister is fast tracking the sale of state properties. Hilltop castles, Venetian palazzos and historic army barracks are about to be auctioned. Some of the plumb locations already up for offer include an abandoned mining village located in the Mediterranean island of Elba and a Napoleonic fortress in Liguria.

London

There is no denying the fact that London is still among the best of all havens. So far, fears of major rubble have proved not to be true. Even conservative estimates are of the opinion that prices in the city will over the next few years continue to appreciate. Some of the obvious factors for this include planning laws mean it is difficult and expensive to add to London's housing stock. In addition, the infrastructure, jobs and culture keep the prices high. In Britain, house prices have fallen by about 8 percent over the last five years. Despite London remaining expensive, real bargains can also be found in northern cities such as Manchester, as prices there are about half those in the capital.

Costas in Spain

The bursting of property mega-bubble in Spain has left the nation with more than a million newly constructed residences sitting unsold and empty on top of over 160,000 repossessed homes. Banks seem to be desperate to sell them. According to estimates from the Fitch ratings agency, prices are likely to continue falling until 2014 when they hit a 40 percent mark reached in 2009. Reductions of that magnitude already apply in ghost towns constructed during the boom but are now empty. The government is assisting in attracting buyers by offering tax breaks to new homebuyers.

Bargains in the Baltic States

It seems few places were affected by the 2008 crisis more than the Baltic States. Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia each suffered a double-digit shrinkage of the economy towards the end of the last decade. Property markets that had been inflated in the mid-2000s dramatically exploded, reducing prices to about 30 percent. In 2011, Estonia experienced the fastest growth in real estate prices in Europe. Quality houses found in the seaside resort of Jurmala and the historic centre of Riga, the capital of Latvia are also appreciating.

Portugal

Portugal did not experience the decline that brought down Ireland, Spain and Greece. The crisis in this country results form a decade-long stagnation. Home prices have steadily declined over the past seven years, in the process attracting foreign buyers with a knack for bargains.