Sunday, 17 January 2021

Property of the Week: Business Premises in UNESCO World Heritage Site

January 17, 2021 - Trade like a Roman Emperor with your very own business property in Diocletian's Palace, the very heart of Split. 

It all started when one man thought it would make for a nice location for a retirement home...

That man happened to also be a Roman Emperor, and the name of Emperor Diocletian has been immortalised in Dalmatia by the impressive retirement palace which bears his name, and which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. 

There are also few places in Croatia which have undergone such a transformation as the palace in the 18 years I have been living in Croatia. When I first came, Split was known as the 'Gateway to the Islands', and the warren of tiny streets and alleys were much less lively - and even a little intimidating in winter.

As tourists discovered the magic of Split, so too did the nature of Diocletian's Palace change once more in its 1700-year history. Boutique hotels, AirBnBs, restaurants and wine bars, arts and craft shops. On every corner, something new to experience, buzzing with life. Diocletian's Palace became a hit.

And property in Diocletian's Palace was in big demand - and short supply. 

One such offer has just come on the market, our property of the week, introduced by Trgostan, the oldest real estate agency in Split: 

Split, Center - attractive business premises 33 sqm in the Diocletian's palace

Attractive business premise of 33 sqm within the walls of the Diocletian's palace, in Dominisova street, whole ground floor of an old stone house, in excellent condition, ideal for different purposes, possible to rearrange it into an apartment - excellent business/rental potential.

Price 135,000 euro. For more information, and to book a viewing, click here.

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Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Property of the Week: Stone Terrace Sea View in Kut, Vis

October 20, 2020 - A romantic ferry ride to the island of Mamma Mia II for the latest property of the week, a stone sea view stunner in Kut, Vis Town.  

Back in the days when I had a real estate agency in 2004, it was the most popular thing being searched for - a cute stone house with outside space and a killer view of the sea on an Adriatic island. Living on Hvar as I did, where every view is a killer view, life was good. 

Finding that perfect combination is not so easy, however, and opportunities that do come up are rarely on the market long. Examples like this week's Property of the Week from our friends at Trgostan, who have just taken on an adorable stone house with terrace and garden, and that all-important killer view. 

In the words of Trgostan... 

Vis town, Kut - a renovated stone house with a garden, terrace and a fantastic sea view.

EXCLUSIVELY OFFERED BY TRGOSTAN:

A renovated  60 m2 stone house in a row, on three floors, in a beautiful location in Kut, overlooking the whole bay, with a fantastic sea view, consisted of a kitchen with living area and courtyard/garden of 18 sqm + access path way of 12 sqm on the ground floor, bedroom and bathroom on the 1st floor and a bedroom with a nice sized terrace on the top floor, rarely on the market, facing west - east.

For more information, photos, and to book a viewing, visit the original listing. 

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Sunday, 10 May 2020

Croatian House Prices Expected to Stabilise, Sales to Decrease

ZAGREB, May 10, 2020 - The Croatian National Bank's (HNB) house price index showed a 9% increase in 2019 compared to 2018, the highest growth rate since 2007, but analysts expect a significant decrease in sales, and a stabilisation of prices.

Last year's 9% increase was fuelled by higher prices of new (+8.3%) and existing buildings (+9.1%).

Regionally, the most pronounced price increase was registered in the City of Zagreb (+13.2%), while lower growth rates were registered on the Adriatic coast (+6.9%) and elsewhere (+3.8%).

Despite the significant increase in house prices in 2019, on the national level they were still lower on average compared to 2008, down by 2.4%.

Analysts from Raiffeisen Bank (RBA) expect a stabilisation of house prices and a decrease in sales.

As they noted, the first three months of 2020 brought a further increase in prices, but due to an expected severe economic contraction and a consequent increase in unemployment, a further increase in prices and demand for residential properties will be stopped by the present uncertainty and risk aversion.

"We expect a significant decrease in sales on the house market during the second and third quarters, considering the fact that, apart from the decreased demand, a portion of market participants will defer the buying and selling of real estate at current prices," RBA said.

RBA also noted that, with the acceleration of the growth rates in 2019, house prices in Croatia were growing more than twice as fast as the EU average (4.2%) on an annual level.

As for countries in Croatia's immediate surroundings, only Italy registered a further decline of house prices for the third consecutive year (-0.1%), while other countries are still observing increases.

The Czech Republic registered an increase of 9.2%, Hungary of 14.8%, Slovenia of 6.9%, and Slovakia of 9.1%.

As for the final quarter of 2019, the house price index registered an increase of 2.9% compared to the third quarter of 2019, and a 10% increase compared to the last quarter of 2018.

The yearly price increase in the last quarter of 2019 was driven by higher prices of new and existing buildings throughout Croatia, and an acceleration of the annual growth rates was registered in all categories.

Year on year, the most significant price increase was registered in the City of Zagreb (14.7%), while the Adriatic coast (6%) and other parts of Croatia (7.5%) registered somewhat more modest growth rates, RBA said in its analysis of the HNB data.

More real estate news can be found in the Business section.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Property of the Week: 2-Bed Apartment with Sea View in Jelsa, Hvar

May 3, 2020 - While many are struggling financially due to corona, others are buying real estate. The latest Property of the Week comes from Jelsa on Hvar. 

I was chatting to a friend in the real estate business in Montenegro a couple of weeks ago, and I was quite surprised by his response when I offered my commiserations on how his business must be faring.

"On the contrary," he replied, "business is doing surprisingly well."

There was apparently a marked rise in the number of short-term rentals being sought, as people looked for more inviting lockdown options, but also a number of buyers seeing opportunities to get a good deal in the current climate, with several sales concluded by phone. 

So what is on offer in Croatia at the moment? We touched base with Trogostan, the oldest real estate agent in Split, to see what was currently on their books. And we take a virtual ferry ride to the island of Hvar this week for this week's Property of the Week, from where - among other things - you can get a great view of the terrace that is the current TCN HQ.  

EXCLUSIVELY OFFERED BY TRGOSTAN:

A two-bedroom apartment of 55,52 sqm, located in the newer object 2nd row from the sea, in a great location - few steps from the beach and all amenities, on the 1st floor, consisted of two bedrooms, kitchen with dining/living area, bathroom and two balconies with a sea view, parking spot of 15 sqm next to the building, fully furnished and equipped.

Price - 135,000 euro.

For more information, and to book a viewing, visit the Trgostan website.

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Sunday, 26 April 2020

Earthquake and Pandemic Disrupt Office Rental Market in Zagreb

ZAGREB, April 26, 2020 - Uncertainties caused by the coronavirus crisis and the March 22 earthquake have affected the office rental market in Zagreb and the present situation is very bad, the president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce real estate agents' association, Dubravko Ranilović, told Hina earlier this week.

Ranilović said that numerous downtown buildings that had been rented out as offices, were now damaged and owners and lease holders were now looking for alternatives until the buildings, damaged in the quake, are repaired, which can take time. On the other hand, office building owners are not inclined to rent out their property for a period shorter than two years.

"Demand for office rentals, notably those top class (Class A), is high," Ranilović said.

Office buildings are generally classified into one of three categories: Class A, Class B, or Class C. Standards for Class A offices are the highest. These buildings represent the newest and highest quality buildings on the market. They are generally buildings with the best curb appeal, the best construction, and high-quality building infrastructure. Class A buildings are also well located.

Rents for Class A offices range between €13 and €16 per square metre while those at less attractive locations go for between €10 and €11 per square metre.

Ranilović also said he doubted rents would go down, at least not any time soon, but that the situation would depend on the duration of the pandemic and that in the long run, all options were possible.

Demand for warehouse rentals with an area of between 2,000 and 5,000 square metres is also high.

More business news can be found in the dedicated section.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

How to Buy Croatian Property in 1 Day, a British Buyer's Guide

April 18, 2020 - Foreign buyers and Croatian real estate have produced many horror stories over the years. Meet one Brit who can how you how to buy Croatian property in just 1 day. He should know how, for he has done precisely that. 

We are delighted to welcome Steve Gaunt to TCN, arguably the most famous Brit within a 7-kilometre radius of Vinkovci. Steve came to Croatia as a volunteer in the Homeland War back in 1991 and has been here ever since. A font of all knowledge and unusual projects, he even opened his own English pub in a field in the middle of nowhere. And even more incredibly, he actually managed to conclude a real estate deal and buy Croatian property in just one day. Find out how below.  

Steve is the 147th contributor to TCN. Welcome, Number 147! If you would like to write about the Croatia, Montenegro or Slovenia where you are, please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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After living in Croatia as a "Podstanar" or tenant from 1991 to 2003, I took out a government-backed mortgage to buy a flat under the scheme for Homeland War Invalids. I was only classed as 50% invalid, so I was a long way down the list and I had a growing family. Of course there was a lot of paperwork involved but this was over a long period and I had my capable wife to sort all that out. Seventeen years later, we still aren't yet listed as owners of the property. This concerns me as I have no idea what should happen if I died. My family would get no money and though it is easy enough to raise the 113 Euro to pay the monthly instalment, we still have another eighteen years to go before it is paid off. I needed some other options.

Now British people living in Croatia will probably be aware that Croatians consider all British people to be rich or to have some mysterious source of income flowing to them from the UK. Even though I take precautions, such as driving an ugly clapped out car and wearing free promotional clothing to try and persuade people that just because I am English, I am not wealthy, it doesn't work.

In 2013, a Croatian friend of mine, who incidentally, was one of the very first people I met in Croatia in 1991, had fallen on hard times and wanted to sell some land. He was still clinging to the erroneous belief that being English meant I had money. I didn't have any savings but I have always wanted some land, any kind of land, just to sit on it and say, "This is mine".

It was a simple field of 1587m2, but it was in a nice secluded area in an abandoned hamlet and was inside the building zone. The seller's price was 2400 Euro (it continually amazes me that Croatians still price major purchases in foreign currency, as if hyper inflation still existed, or might suddenly return after 30 years of stability). I agreed and asked him if he would take it in instalments, which he did. I soon paid him off and built a little wooden cottage on the land. After that I was approached by other local people wanting to sell and by English friends wanting to buy. For myself I bought the two adjoining plots of 2120m2, including an abandoned house. Three friends bought a plot each, all with a house on. Later on one friend sold his property to another, so in a very short period I had organised the sale or purchase of land six times and on the last occasion I had managed to do it in a single day.

So, here is how to buy property in a single day. But before you start:

Part One. The on line check.

The easy bit. After you have chosen the property you want, the first things you need to know are the details about the land. A visit to katastar.hr is an absolute must. You can find out the size of the plot, what it is being used for (farming, housing), who the owner is and if there is any debt tied to your perspective purchase.

The web pages of katastar.hr are also in English, so easy enough to follow.

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This is the welcome screen; you can change to English with the selector button to the right of the search box. At the bottom you can select what section you need, most likely "Find cadastral parcel".

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By clicking on that you get a map of Croatia. Zoom in to find the property you want. In this case, I have chosen a friend’s property in Andrijaševci near Vinkovci. When you have zoomed in you will see the borders of the properties and their numbers. In this case, we are looking at plot 121.

If it is a building you are looking for, it is a good idea to check that the size and position of the house match the outline drawn. As you can see in this screen shot, house number 41 on plot 125 does NOT match the position or size. This could be a problem as it may be due to alterations of the property and if that is the case then the necessary permits would need to be made available.

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So, back to plot 121. By clicking on that plot you will get a pop up with three information sections, as follows:

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TYPE OF USE which is usually described as housing (Kući) or agricultural use (Oranica). Please note that just because a piece of land is described as in agricultural use doesn't mean that it isn't building land, you will need to check that (more later).

REGISTERED PEOPLE which gives you the owner or owners. There may be more than one and ALL would have to take part in the sale!

BASIC INFORMATION which gives you the municipality, the parcel number, the size in square metres, the location (in this example Veliki Kamenik) and most importantly, a link to the Possessory Sheet on the Ministry Of Justice page (click “View” marked by red rectangle).

Also click Parcel Identification (marked by red arrow) which then shows you the LR file number, in this case 1029 (underlined). You will need that number later.

The possessory sheet:

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Only in Croatian I’m afraid. This doesn't give you much in the way of information, but if you click the link named "Pregledaj ZKU/BZP" (marked here by the red rectangle), you will get all the information, including the owner’s name and address and if there is any outstanding debt on the property.

In our example below there is a possible debt evidenced in Section C but this and others I have seen tend to be old debts that are paid off but the owners haven't bothered to go through the process of getting it formally closed. Always check with the owners! If there is no debt on the property, Section C will say "Teret nema".

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Now you have pretty much all the details you need to start the process of buying your property.

Part 2. Paperwork

Only one piece of necessary paperwork may take a few days to be completed but at least it is free. This is the check to see if the property you want is on building land or agricultural. You absolutely have to have this paper even if it is obvious. The best thing is to print out the details, as in the above picture, showing which main land office (in this case Vinkovci), local land office (Andrijaševci), plot number (121) and property description (in this case Oranica Veliki Kamenik). Please note that throughout all the relating paperwork, the property description should be always written as entered in this document.

Take this document to the local town planning office. It should have a plaque as per the example below.

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Give the document to the person who smiles the most and tell them you want a document showing that the plot is in a building zone*. Give them your contact details and collect the document when it is ready. It has taken me 2 to 5 days when I apply.

*If you are buying agricultural land, you don’t need this.

Now, while you are waiting and if you don’t already have one, go get yourself an OIB. An OIB is a personal identification number and you can apply for one for a number of reasons, such as buying a house or opening a bank account. You don’t need to be a resident and you don’t need to be a Croatian national. The safest reason to use for applying is to open a bank account; it is never questioned. You do this at the local tax office and someone will direct you to the relevant office that deals with OIBs. Take your passport of course. In fact, make a few copies of your passport, you may need them. It should take just a few minutes.

Now you have this document, you are ready to finish the deal. The next step is to go to a stationary shop that stocks all the government and legal papers (there are plenty) and buy a “UGOVOR O KUPOPRODAJI NEKRETNINA”. In fact, buy a couple because you’ll mess up. Below is a sample and we will fill it in using the example we have been using so far.

UGOVOR O KUPOPRODAJI NEKRETNINA (Agreement for buying/selling real estate)

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The seller will possibly have their copy when they bought the land and you may be able to fill in details from that, but the forms have changed a lot over the years. The seller will have to be with you to fill out their own details.

The following shows how to fill in the first page (sections I & II). For the rest over the page you write ODMAH in section V (that you are buying immediately) and unless otherwise agreed, in section VI write KUPAC in each line to show that the buyer is bearing the cost of the transfer and paying any taxes arising from said transfer (more later).

Then write place and date in section VIII and then buyer and seller sign it twice.

Now the front page:

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Part 3. Buy a house in one day

Now with the owner you must go to a Public Notary’s office (Javni Bilježnik) to get the agreement notarised. You will need two copies for yourself. Prices for this service are varied slightly but shouldn’t cost more than 150 kuna. The seller should be happy to organise this.

Now for the hard bit. The seller isn’t needed anymore and has probably scarpered.

Go to the correct ZEMLJIŠNOKNJIŽNI ODJEL, more commonly called GRUNTOVNICA (Land Registry). You can find your local one marked on the map you used to find the plot you were looking for. As it is a part of the Court system, it is usually attached to or inside a court building. Now you are dealing with a harsh bunch of bureaucrats who feel you are there for them, not them for you. They will ask you to fill in a request form for what you require (register your property). It’s a good idea to find this office before you start and obtain a form. It is important that you put in this form the name and address of where you want them to send communication. When they eventually allow you in to their hallowed domain, give them the documents (the request, the original agreement and the paper saying the property is on building land plus copy of passport or National ID card). They will keep them. This will then go through a proceeding and you will be notified at the address you gave. I was once rejected as I had a paper missing and they didn’t ask for it, meaning I had to go through the process again. The process takes about a month.

When dismissed, bow from the waist smiling and back out quickly.

Time to pay the tax. Now you have paid the seller the agreed price but often buyers put the value much lower than you have actually paid. This is because the tax is 5%. Whatever you decided to do regarding the value, the next trip is to the local tax office. They will take your agreement and give you a bill for 5% of the amount listed. You may never hear from them again if you are lucky, but the tax office will do their own valuation of the property and ask for another payment based on their value of the property if it is too low. When you go to the tax office they will ask for photos to assess the condition and therefore value of the property.

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Congratulations! You are done.

Now the variables. All the properties I bought were either built before 1968* or involved a small building and therefore I didn’t need to show any building permits. Properties described as “Kuću za odmor” or “Vikendica” are usually exempt to have the building permission or energy certificate. Buildings that are over a certain size or built after 1968 will need the requisite building permits and probably energy certificates to be shown at various stages. The seller should have all of these required documents. Of course, building plots with no building are the simplest to process.

*You can get proof that a building was built before 1968 (when an aerial survey was made) from the same place you got your proof that the property is in a building zone.

Great stuff, Steve, many thanks. I look forward to seeing you for a pint at the White Boar in due course.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

House Prices up 9% in 2019

ZAGREB, April 14, 2020 - House prices in Croatia in 2019 were on average nine percent higher than in 2018, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) shows.

Prices of new-builds rose by 8.3% on average, while prices of existing residential properties increased by 9.1%.

House prices went up by 13.2% in Zagreb, 6.9% on the Adriatic coast and 3.8% elsewhere in the country.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, prices of residential properties rose by 2.9% compared with the previous quarter and jumped by 10% compared with the last quarter of 2018.

Prices of new-builds fell by 0.5% compared with the third quarter of 2019 and increased by 6.9% compared with the third quarter of 2018, while prices of existing properties went up by 3.4% quarter on quarter and by 10.4% year on year.

In Q4 2019, compared with Q3, house prices rose by 2.9% in Zagreb, by 1.9% on the Adriatic coast and by 5.4% elsewhere in the country. Compared with Q4 2018, prices increased by 14.7% in Zagreb, by 6% on the Adriatic coast and by 7.5% elsewhere.

More real estate news can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Property of the Week: Renovated Stone House Near Vis Waterfront

January 22, 2020 - Continuing our look at the real estate opportunities on the Croatian coast through the Trgostan catalogue, this week a visit to idyllic Vis. 

A renovated stone house holiday home close to the water on a gorgeous Dalmatian island - it is the dream of many visitors who fall in love during the holiday and then gently enquire into the cost of buying a property here. I have seen many such people over the years, and the overwhelming interest when I was a real estate agent was in getting their hands on a piece of authentic stone property. 

While many decided to buy stone ruins, the chance to buy a well-renovated stone property has its advantages in terms of convenience. And this week's Property of the Week is one such example, from the island of Vis. In the words of Trgostan, the selling agents:

EXCLUSIVELY OFFERED BY TRGOSTAN:

A fully reconstructed traditional stone house, on four floors, of 136 sqm in total, very close to the main promenade and the sea, consisted of an open plan kitchen with a spacious dining area and bathroom on the ground floor, two bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (1st and 2nd floor) and a cozy lounge area in the attic that can be used as a bedroom, with a fantastic rental potential (it has a rental license), renovated with quality materials and up to highest standards, few steps from all amenities.

For more information, photos and to book a viewing, check out the original Trgostan listing

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Saturday, 4 January 2020

Real Estate Prices Rising, Family Houses Popular Again

ZAGREB, January 4, 2020 - The real estate market, at least judging by asking prices, is returning to the pre-crisis levels, with increases in both the volume of trading and number of transactions, Večernji List daily says in Saturday's issue.

The Zagreb Institute of Economics and the Construction Ministry have published the second edition of the real estate market review for 2018 which shows there were 104,000 real estate sales and that the value of the properties sold totalled 32 billion kuna, which is 8.4% of Croatia's GDP, the daily says.

The sale of farmland dominated with nearly 40,000 transactions but the value of the land sold dropped from 2017 to 1.6 billion kuna. About 13 billion kuna was generated in flat sales, followed by 6 billion kuna in construction land sales and 5.7 billion kuna in family house sales.

In 2018, the number of flats which changed owners increased by 1,500 to 24,000 and that of houses sold by 4,000 to over 11,000.

An analysis of sales contracts does not reflect a dramatic increase in property prices, which might be concluded from asking prices. In Zagreb, the median price of flats sold in 2018 went up 4.9% on the year to 9,459 kuna per square metre.

As for other parts of the country, the highest price jump was recorded in Split-Dalmatia County (+8%) with the median price of 11,669 kuna per square metre, followed by Istria County (+6.7%) with the median price of 8,722 kuna.

As for family houses, the highest median prices in 2018 were recorded in Dubrovnik, 12,000 kuna per square metre. The price of a square metre of a house in 29 coastal and island towns and municipalities ranged from 5,000 to 10,000 kuna whereas in 190 towns and municipalities in continental Croatia the price was below 1,000 kuna, Večernji List says.

More real estate news can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Difference Between Prices of Flats and Houses 21.5%

ZAGREB, December 17, 2019 - Flat purchase usually requires more financial effort than the purchase of a house of the same area, including the yard, and in November the difference in their advertised prices was an average 21.5%, show data published by the Crozilla.com real estate website on Tuesday. The increase in flat prices has resulted in an increase in demand for houses in many towns, which in turn has resulted in an increase in house prices, with the highest annual growth in the value of houses of 9.5% having been recorded in Split, and the highest increase in flat prices having been recorded in Umag, of 8.8%, Crozilla representatives said.

As regards the difference in flat and house prices, it is particularly high in the northern Adriatic resort of Opatija, where the asking price of a flat was €3,147 per square metre while the asking price of a house was €910 lower.

The value of houses in Opatija grew by only 0.9% on the year while flat prices grew by 6.8%.

Crozilla data show that flats in Zagreb, whose average asking price was €2,063 per square metre, grew by 8.3% while house prices grew by 6.2%. The difference in their prices in November was €724 or 35%.

A major difference of 43.3% in price was reported in Bjelovar, where flats were advertised at a price of €756 per square metre while houses were advertised at €327 cheaper.

The difference between flat and house prices in Osijek stood at 37.2%, with flats advertised at an average price of €967 per square metre, while houses were advertised at €429.

In the most expensive city, the southern Adriatic resort of Dubrovnik, the asking price of a flat was an average €3,650 per square metre while the asking price of a house was only €23 lower.

Along with Dubrovnik and Opatija, among the more expensive towns was Split, with the asking price of a flat being €2,915 per square metre and the asking price of a house being €2,646.

Flats were cheaper than houses only in Poreč, where the price difference was only €16, and the average asking price of a flat was €2,003.

More news about real estate in Croatia can be found in the Business section.

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