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Price conscious property investors can find bargains at German auctions

Many are in the former East Germany but they are not near industrial blocks and cities that were built during the Communist era.

People who don't know Germany don't realise that large parts of the East side of the country have lakes, forests and areas of outstanding natural beauty, explained Andrew Binstock of SKB Auctions.

With the average house price well over £200,000 in the UK, £350,000 in London, substantial properties can be bought at auction in East Germany for less than £20,000, according to Binstock.

He gives the example of a 20 bedroom guesthouse with numerous function rooms and two bowling alleys for £14,000. Located in an attractive cobbled square in a small town near the Czech border, it has the potential to be a good business.

'There are a huge range of properties all over Germany being auctioned for small sums of money,' he said. Some have no reserve price which is an additional bonus for buyers. 'One semi detached building with three flats going up for auction has no reserve price. If only one person bids £10 that's what it could go for,' he added.

Other bargains include a detached mill building with two apartments and storage rooms in Saxony, surrounded by lakes in an area of outstanding natural beauty with a guide price £15,000.

'Many of these properties are located in the east, an area which most of us normally associate with the cold war, industrial factories and the Berlin wall. In fact many of these properties are located in areas of outstanding natural beauty. For £200,000 most would struggle to find a one bedroom apartment in London. In East Germany you could practically buy a village,' he concluded.