Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Banožić: I'll Pay Fine But Won't Return Apartment

ZAGREB, 25 May 2022 2022 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić told a press conference on Wednesday he respected the decision of the Conflict of Interest Commission, which fined him HRK 7,000 for granting himself an official apartment, but he does not want to return the apartment to the state property management company.

During a ceremony for the handover of the Black Hawk helicopters, donated by the United States, the Croatian defence minister recalled the period when he was the state assets minister. In September 2019, Banožić signed a decision granting himself an official 92-square-metre apartment in Gundulićeva Street in Zagreb. However, the minister reiterated that he did so in accordance with legal provisions.

"I will not move out of the apartment because the Commission proved what I had said during the proceedings. However, I respect the decision and I will pay the fine," he said.

He added that as a state official he was entitled to a three-room apartment of at least 60 square metres, but he did not choose it himself, the administration of the state property management company did.

I signed the decision just because Article 49 of the State Assets Management Act explicitly states that the state assets minister makes the decisions on apartments, Banožić said.

The defence minister criticised President Zoran Milanović for the overhaul of Croatian MiG fighter jets in Ukraine during his term as prime minister. He thinks there were many irregularities in that business deal and that the aircraft had false technical documentation.

We have solid evidence that the numbers on them were overwritten, that the documents were falsified and that is why a claim for damages should be filed, in accordance with the signed contracts, he said.

However, Banožić stressed "it's insane to talk about asking Ukraine to pay damages now given the situation the country is in", adding that the blame was not on the Ukrainian state but the company that did the overhaul of the aircraft.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Fuzine Property Becoming Hit in Croatia as Asking Prices Increase

December the 29th, 2021 - Fuzine property might not be the first on your list when it comes to purchasing real estate or land in Croatia, with the glitz and glam of the Dalmatian coast being most people's first port of call. Could things be altering?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a mere two kilometres from gorgeous Lake Bajer in Fuzine, four building plots are currently up for sale. The current owner bought them all twenty years ago, each of them covers over a thousand square metres, one just one euro 50 purchased a square metre in this location back then.

"Now there's a road and a water connection and an electricity connection and the price is now 75 euros per square metre, but I'd now give a Christmas discount until the New Year - 65, 60...'' the current landowner Renata Juricic told RTL.

Before the global coronavirus pandemic struck, the largest amount she received was 37 euros per square metre for this piece of Fuzine property, and she's also selling a complex covering a massive 22 thousand square metres. Ever-rising price increases are now the trend.

"Prices have jumped and I'm happy because of that as it proves that this sort of land is as valuable as land located down by the sea, I don't know why there's always been such a difference," said the mayor of Fuzine, David Breglovac.

The owner of Rijeka's largest real estate agency, Branko Papes, also noted that before the coronavirus pandemic in Gorski Kotar, they sold a dozen properties a year, now they're averaging about 50.

"Everything is being sought, from small plots of land for the construction of cottages, apartments, to ready-made houses, and we can say that we're selling real estate worth 15, 20 thousand euros and over 50 thousand euros," said Papes.

These cheaper ones mostly need some serious renovation doing and a lot of them are in pretty bad shape. This sort of story happened with this fairytale house built next to the Risnjak National Park. The owners are from Krk, and they hope to return their investment in a maximum of ten years.

"We bought a cottage from the 1980's and we renovated it and turned it into a five-star house," says the owner of a holiday home in Crni Lug, Tatjana Isakovic.

Fuzine property prices increasing could mean that this often overlooked but truly gorgeous part of the country could become even more of a hit and spread not only tourism but wealth further into the country as opposed to it remaining firmly by the sea and in Zagreb.

For more on Croatian properties, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Real Estate in Croatia - Sales Down, Prices on the Rise

June 5, 2021 – The Croatian real estate market is very interesting and full of good investment opportunities. Many potential buyers were expecting prices to go down significantly during 2021, but is this really happening? A look at real estate in Croatia. 

Croatian economy has been going through turmoil in the last year. While the pandemic is wreaking havoc on the travel and tourism industry, devastating earthquakes in Zagreb and Central Croatia caused even more problems and shifts in the local economy. Incredibly, the traditionally volatile real estate market in the country doesn’t seem to be going through a serious disruption, at least when it comes to prices.

Zagreb, the country’s largest city, is experiencing a turbulent period. The real estate market of the city has been rattled both literally and figuratively by a series of earthquakes. The damage from the earthquakes exposed a poor state of many buildings within the city’s centre. At the same time, much of the Croatian coast has had a rise in property prices due to the region becoming a global travel hotspot in the last 5-10 years. Many of the most attractive areas like Dubrovnik or Split centres seem overpriced to anyone looking to buy. With all this in mind, it would seem logical the crisis Croatia is facing at the moment would force the prices to drop. Still, according to an article by, the prices generally seem to be stable or are even rising.

Regional Differences

The real estate situation in Zagreb is dynamic. The aftermath of the earthquakes left many searching exclusively for new buildings outside of the city centre. Consequently, there is a rise in prices for such properties. At the same time, there is a drop in prices for some centrally located apartments, but the buyers are rare, especially in buildings that are awaiting renovation. On the coast, Dubrovnik, the country’s most expensive real estate market, is seeing a drop in sales. Reduced demand doesn’t seem to be having a direct impact on the average price. It seems most property owners believe in a quick recuperation of this popular travel hotspot. This is also true for the rest of the popular Dalmatian areas. In Istria, the market seems stable and attracts plenty of foreign buyers, especially from Slovenia, Italy, and Austria. Around half of the properties sold in Istria are bought by foreigners.

For more, follow our dedicated business section.


Saturday, 5 June 2021

Foreigners Bought Almost One in Two Properties in Istria in 2020

ZAGREB, 5 June 2021 - In 2020, the year of the pandemic and two devastating earthquakes, almost 32,000 properties were sold in Croatia, only 3,000 less than in 2019, and the fall mainly occurred along the coast, while almost one in two properties in Istria was bought by foreigners, Večernji List daily said on Saturday.

The highest number of flats, about 12,000, was sold in the City of Zagreb and Zagreb County, followed by a little over 10,000 properties sold in the coastal counties and a little over 9,000 in the rest of the country.

The rest of the country recorded the smallest drop in sales, about 2%, while the drop along the Adriatic was almost by one-fifth due to fewer foreign buyers. The drop in Zagreb and its environs was 4.5%.

In terms of the coast, last year foreigners bought four in ten properties sold in Istria County, three in ten in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, one in four in Zadar County, one in five in the Dubrovnik and Šibenik areas, and 16% in Split-Dalmatia County.

As for continental Croatia, foreigners bought 2% of the properties sold in Međimurje and Varaždin counties.

Most of the foreign buyers were from Germany, Austria and Slovenia.

In 2020, the housing market showed resilience to the current crisis, so stronger risks to financial stability linked to that market could occur in the period ahead, according to the central bank.

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Justice Ministry Confirms: Brits Can Purchase Croatian Property

May the 11th, 2021 - With Brexit finally over after what seemed like an endless period of news headlines about the 2016 referendum which caused a deep rift for the British public with the question of all questions - mopping up and tying up loose ends has begun. The Justice Ministry has just confirmed that Brits may purchase Croatian property.

As UK in Croatia, the British Embassy in Croatia's platform announced on Twitter, British nationals are free to purchase Croatian property despite no longer being citizens of the EU. 

As the Ministry of Justice writes, if you're a citizen or a legal entity from any of the EU member states, you acquire the right of ownership of property in the Republic of Croatia under the preconditions valid for the acquisition of ownership for Croatian citizens and legal entities based in the Republic of Croatia. In this case, you do not need the consent of the Minister of Justice and Administration in order to acquire Croatian property rights.

If you're a citizen of the Swiss Confederation, you acquire the right of ownership of real estate in the Republic of Croatia under the preconditions that apply to the acquisition of property rights for citizens of the Republic of Croatia and legal entities based in the Republic of Croatia, except in the case of property in what are listed as exempt locations, and again, the consent of the Minister of Justice is not required to purchase Croatian property. When submitting a proposal for registration of ownership to the competent land registry court, you should enclose with other documentation a confirmation of your application for temporary residence.

Foreign nationals from outside the EU and the Swiss Confederation

Giving consent for the acquisition of property rights of foreign persons in the Republic of Croatia is decided in administrative proceedings at the request of a foreign person intending to puchase Croatian property or otherwise acquire ownership of a property, if you're a citizen of a country with which there is reciprocity with Croatia in this regard.

The procedure is conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Property and the Law on General Administrative Procedure. The request (which must be written) must be submitted directly to the competent office or sent by mail to the following address:

Ministry of Justice and Administration of the Republic of Croatia
Directorate for Civil, Commercial and Administrative Law
Ulica grada Vukovara 49, 10000 Zagreb

The written request must be accompanied by:

- The legal basis for the acquisition of ownership (a purchase contract, a gift contract, a maintenance contract, etc.) in the original or a certified copy,

- Proof of ownership of the seller of the property in question, ie an excerpt from the land register,

- A certificate of the administrative body responsible for urban planning and physical planning, according to the place where the property is located, on the legal status of the property (example: whether or not the property is located within the construction area provided by the urban plan), 

- Proof of citizenship of the acquirer (a certified copy of their passport, etc.) or proof of the status of a legal entity (such as an excerpt from the court register), if the acquirer is a foreign legal entity,

- In the case of the applicant being represented by a proxy, it is then necessary to submit proof of the handing over og power of attorney in an original or a certified copy,

- If the applicant hasn't appointed a proxy to represent them, and is located abroad, then they're obliged to appoint a proxy to receive letters of residence in the Republic of Croatia,
proof of a paid administrative fee in the amount of 35.00 kuna in accordance with Tar. no. 88 item 1 of the Regulation on the Tariff of Administrative Fees.

An administrative fee also needs to be paid for the decision on the application for approval to acquire property ownership rights in the Republic of Croatia in the amount of 70.00 kuna, and for any possible supplement to the application (in case certain documents are missing, etc) in the amount of 15.00 kuna.

A quick remark:

The party shall be invited to submit, within a reasonable period of time implied, other documents, if they are deemed necessary in the proceedings.

Administrative fees in the amount of up to 100.00 kuna can end up needing to be paid, and regardless of the amount, fees can be paid through the e-fee system and to the prescribed account, or through a universal payment order to the account of the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia, the details of which are as follows:

IBAN HR1210010051863000160
Enter the number 64 (model) in the first box of the universal order
Enter (in the second field) the universal order number 5002

In the case of the payment being made by a Croatian citizen, their OIB must be entered next to the number 5002, and in the case when the foreseen amount is paid by a foreigner, then the number 721 and their OIB must be entered after the number 5002.

Proof of payment of the administrative fee must be attached by the person submitting the request, or by their proxy, together with all other necessary documentation.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Coronavirus Answering Real Estate and Overtourism Issues - Brutally

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 16th of April, 2020, there is no doubt that the current coronavirus pandemic will hurt tourism globally and severely, including Croatian tourism, and that there will be a lot of losses this year, and maybe next year, too.

At the same time, however, it is already evident that this pandemic could lead to a transformation of the market, which will be beneficial for many in the medium term, from tourists to the resident population in overcrowded destinations up and down the country. Maybe we'll even get a chance to really experience what sustainable growth actually means in reality, a term that has otherwise sounded like a pie in the sky idea to many.

As the first analyses of the rental market have already shown, in the circumstances of Croatia's significantly diminished demand for short-term rentals, the future of renting apartments and other properties, an activity which has experienced a surreal boom in recent years and caused chaos in numerous places across Europe, has been called into serious question.

The notion of overtourism was a drum that was being banged constantly until just a few months ago in Croatia's highly specific case, and it came about primarily as a result of the private rental boom.

In Croatia, what for decades has been known as ''family accommodation'', under the blessing (or indeed ignorance) of the state and local government units has turned into a grimly disloyal business where everything seems to be permitted, from the devastation of the local environment, to permit and tax issues, right down to the direct and indirect mistreatment of the local population.

There can be no doubt that the residents of some Croatian cities and towns will finally be able get some sleep this summer.

Is this finally an opportunity for hotels?

Apartments in cities that are no longer profitable for renting out to foreign tourists have already begun to turn to long-term rentals, which should become cheaper with increasing supply, thus solving the problem for many who don't own their properties. This process is happening, gradually, across the whole of Europe, where many cities have been stifled by the breakthrough of Airbnb and similar platforms, which are now looking for salvation in long-term rentals.

This segment of the Airbnb market could be well-influenced with its tools that streamline and speed up the process and reduce red tape and potential problems. Consequently, the process can also go in the direction of seeing property prices diminish, which has also been a pendulum swinging rapidly due to this kind of "tourism".

With the unburdening of many cities, the hotel industry will benefit from stopping the boom of private rentals, which, whether they like it or not, has become direct and very serious competition. In addition, hotel owners have another opportunity to switch things up and enjoy potentially more favourable terms of contracting with global brands in the post-coronavirus crisis period.

Specifically, although the travel industry has changed rather dramatically over the last ten years, hotel brands persistently adhere to strict regulations and high franchise and management fees. At a time when most hotels in the world have closed their doors, leading hotel brands such as the Marriott or Wyndham allowed delays in investments for their interior, they also reduced their fees and marketing costs, and on top of that - they delayed inspections.

If the right parties manage to meet half way during the coronavirus crisis, hotel owners could end up with looser conditions, with brands making it easier to expand their portfolio to destinations like Croatia, but also the rest of the Mediterranean, which is a ''stronghold'' still mostly dominated by local brands or independent hotels.

In the ongoing coronavirus crisis, guests could also benefit, especially local ones, who make up the main target group of tourism marketing this year, and maybe in 2021, too. Summer 2020 will depend on domestic guests from all European countries, even if the borders are opened. This is an opportunity for Croatia to adapt and implement, for example, the Cro Cards project, and perhaps some new ideas and projects that will encourage Croatian residents to explore the country more.

The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) and the Ministry of Tourism could use these "lockdown" days to consider, and very carefully so, what they have available in their arsenal in this regard. Just what local entrepreneurs, innovators and local tourism professionals have to offer? It will be a challenging job knowing that Croatian tourists typically make up about 10 percent of tourist traffic, and it's very difficult to convince Croats who simply go to the houses of relatives and friends to spend a kuna or two at a Croatian hotel or guest house, even when they can quite easily afford it.

What does Croatia want in five years?

A lot of energy needs to be invested immediately in devising the right strategy for 2021. It's already clear that due to the collapse awaiting the airline industry, Croatia won't be able to count on distant markets, and therefore in advertising - the country should focus on the European continent, with a particular emphasis on those who plan to arrive in Croatia by car.

Croatia is fortunate that the Germans, Austrians, and the neighbouring Slovenians have long been the base of tourist traffic in this sense, but it should be remembered that their respective governments are, more now than ever, working to keep their tourists within their own countries, too. Consideration should also be given to what travel opportunities the Italians, who have been hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic, will ultimately have.

Safety, availability, excellent hygiene, and a dose of good organisation will be the key benefits of various destinations for as long as the memory of the coronavirus pandemic lasts, and Croatia should take advantage of it.

Now is another opportunity to sit down and imagine what kind of tourism Croatia actually wants to have in five years, and on top of that - just what we want and can develop besides tourism. Placing all of your eggs in one basket is never a good idea, and Croatia's incredible reliance on tourism and very little else at all has now proven to have been a catastrophic choice.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for more on coronavirus in Croatia.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Demographic Measures Employed as Croatian Houses Sell for One Kuna

The selling of Croatian houses for a mere one kuna is one of the many demographic measures taken by municipal authorities in an attempt to retain and attract young families to their area.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 10th of March, 2020, in Podravina, a real hit was the possibility for people to to buy real estate and construction land for the much more than acceptable price tag of a mere one kuna, HRT reports.

Inquiries have been coming from all Croatian regions, as well as from neighbouring countries. The Croatian demographic picture is bleak, and with more and more of the working population leaving for lives elsewhere in the EU, the move might just be enough to keep hold of a few who remain as yet undecided.

After visiting about twenty properties in the municipality of Legrad, the picturesque village at the mouth of the Mura along the Drava river, the Ros family decided that the house in Antolovac would be their new home. They bought it today for just one kuna.

''We chose this house, the house is in really good condition. We also visited the surrounding villages, but this is the best place for us,'' said Osman Ros.

An acquaintance found out about this possibility. The condition is that those purchasing the property must be under forty years of age and that they will remain in Legrad for the next fifteen years. For the Strmecki family with seven children and an eighth on the way, the opportunity to purchase Croatian houses for such a low price is not to be missed.

''Our goal is as it is because we have both girls and the boys, and it's important for them to have their own rooms,'' says Valentina Strmecki.

In the attic of one of the houses, Viktor Holcman will get his room. It was bought by his mother thanks to a municipal grant of almost 30,000 kuna.

''The municipality has already provided assistance. A request was made, the request was granted within two months. The money was there soon enough and everything was in full swing,'' says Paula Holcman.

In addition to Croatian houses owned by the municipality of Legrad, construction land can be purchased for one kuna. The municipality subsidises the purchase of houses in its area for natural persons with up to a maximum of 35,000 kuna, or provides 25,000 kuna for the renovation of existing ones. They are subsidising the kindergarten, a primary school has been built, and nursery is being built. But that's not all.

''We have the lowest unemployment rate in the county, given the proximity of the larger areas of Koprivnica, Ludbreg, Prelog. We have virtually no unemployed people,'' says Legrad Mayor Ivan Sabolic.

As stated, the possibility to purchase Croatian houses for such little money has attracted numerous enquiries from all over Croatia and even from neighbouring Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Croatian Property Prices Rise Once Again, Certain Buildings Are Market Hits

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 4th of January, 2020, it would seem that the Croatian property prices and thus the country's real estate market is finally returning to pre-crisis levels, at least when it comes to asking prices, and the volume and the number of transactions are also accelerating, according to a report from Vecernji list.

The Institute of Economics in Zagreb, together with the competent ministry of construction, published the second edition of the Croatian Real Estate Market Review for 2018, which shows that in 2018, there were 104,000 real estate purchases in Croatia and the value of real estate sold stood at a massive 32 billion kuna, or 8.4 percent of Croatia's GDP, according to the aforementioned newspaper.

Agricultural land was dominated by almost 40,000 transactions, but the value of the land actually sold has fallen from the previous year to around 1.6 billion kuna in total. Most of the money was spent in the housing fund - about 13 billion kuna, construction land accounted for about six billion kuna, and family homes accounted for about 5.7 billion kuna. In the year under review, about four thousand more homes were sold - just over 11 thousand houses changed owners.

The analysis of the sales contracts does not confirm that there has been a particularly dramatic increase in Croatian property prices, but that impression can definitely be obtained according to the required real estate prices.

For example, in Zagreb, the median price of apartments sold in 2018 was 4.9 percent higher than in 2017, amounting to 9459 kuna per square metre. The median price means that half of the just over 8,000 apartments sold went below that price and the other half was more expensive.

When it comes to other parts of Croatia, Split-Dalmatia County had the largest price spike in flats - about eight percent with a median price of per square metre costing 11,669 kuna, and in Istria - 6.7 percent - but a median price of 8722 kuna per square metre. In 2018, when compared to 2017, prices fell in eleven counties, most notably in Koprivnica-Krizevci, by 17 percent (4981 kuna), Lika-Senj (5469 kuna) and Požega-Slavonia by 11 percent, where you'd pay 3636 kuna per square metre in an apartment.

Lower prices for apartments sold have also been recorded in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, otherwise the Croatian record holder when it comes to cost, and in 2018, in Croatia's southernmost county, 520 apartments were sold, which marked a decreased of about 5 percent to 12,158 kuna per square metre.

With regard to family homes, significantly higher prices were achieved in cities and municipalities in the Adriatic region of Croatia, and the highest median house prices are of course in Dubrovnik.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more on Croatian property prices.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Zagreb Landlords Evicting Tenants for EU Officials in 2020

A big cash cow will be coming to Zagreb early next year, just after Christmas, when thousands of European diplomats and officials who need accommodation will arrive in the city for Croatia's six-month EU Council presidency.

Up to 30,000 EU Officials Expected

According to Deutsche Welle, official sources are saying that about 25,000 people will descend on Zagreb in early 2020, while other estimates say that the figure will be closer to 30,000. Many won't be staying in Croatia for the entire six months nor will they all be arriving at the same time. In any case, this is creating real chaos in the tenant world. Simply put, Zagreb landlords can earn more by expelling their current tenants and renting their apartments to EU officials.

Zagreb does not have many hotels. In fact, Jutarnji List notes that there are only 24 four or five-star hotels in the city, which is by no means enough capacity to accommodate the large number of high-level diplomats and EU officials arriving soon.

Zagreb Landlords Are Evicting Tenants

Stanka, a student from Zadar, experienced the nightmare of moving because of the upcoming EU Council presidency, according to Zagrebinfo on December 2, 2019. She had just moved to Zagreb to pursue her college degree.

“My landlady bought my apartment and acquired me with the inventory. During our negotiations, she indicated that she would be upgrading the furniture and raising the rent. She also disclosed that we would not be signing a lease because she had plans to rent the apartment to diplomats in early 2020 for a much higher price. However, then she decided to completely renovate the apartment prior to their arrival, so I had to move out in September,'' the student reported, and claims she had less than a week to move everything out of an apartment where she had lived for only three months.

With the boom in Zagreb tourism over the last few years, a sizeable chunk of apartments which used to be rented monthly, are now being rented out to tourists by the day. This has greatly increased the average apartment rental rates.

“Of the approximately three and a half thousand who are officially registered, there are perhaps ten thousand available beds. And I believe that a large portion of this housing pool is ready to respond to the demands of the Eurobureaucrats," said Zoran Dragun, administrator of the Zagreb Private Landlords Association to Jutarnji list.

He claims that Zagreb has now become a year-round tourist destination, but also believes that rents in Zagreb have not increased as much as publicly reported. The current focus for private landlords is Advent (December); then they'll begin preparing for the big EU opportunity.

No Tenant Rights

Nedjeljko Marković, president of the Pragma social association, has a different opinion.

"The unpredictability of market movements is our biggest problem, because nobody in Croatia oversees these changes. We simply do not have any public housing policies,” he emphasized while referencing the unfortunate circumstances that many Zagreb tenants will soon face.

He claims that his sources from the association, which deal with tenant issues, have already received reports that scores of Zagreb tenants are facing eviction, and will soon be without a roof over their heads due to the arrival of EU bureaucrats and diplomats.

For more information on the housing situation in Croatia, check our our Lifestyle page here.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Središće in Zagreb Becomes Hit, US Embassy Staff Keen on Apartments

As Novac/Korlana Sutlic writes on the 26th of February, 2019, Središće, a popular neighbourhood in Novi Zagreb often referred to as Bundek, in reference to the well-frequented Zagreb lake and park, has recently gained the status of the most desirable neighbourhood in Novi Zagreb. By reaching this level of popularity, when looking at the demand for flats, it is now ranked alongside Vrbani III, Trešnjevka and Trnje.

The very first jump in demand for quality apartments in Središće came after Bundek park was done up and after RIT Croatia (Rochester Institute of Technology Croatia) was opened in the area, and then the demand grew a bit more after the completion of the American International School in Zagreb (AISZ) just several months ago.

The popularity of the neighbourhood has also contributed to the birth of the recent construction of some new residential buildings, which are part of the Središće area. The biggest demand is for smaller quality three-bedroom and smaller four-room apartments, ranging between 60 and 90 square metres in size, the price of which is not greater than 200,000 euros. The market prices are high, some even reaching up to 3,000 euros for a well-equipped apartment.

The Središće area of Novi Zagreb boasts a great many amenities and ease of access to them. Along with the American Educational Institution and Bundek park, it is located near the Avenue Mall, the neighbourhood is also home to the Museum of Contemporary Art near the Hippodrome, and even has a hypermarket. One of Croatia's best private kindergartens is located at Bundek Centre, and it's also worth mentioning that Središće's close proximity to the very heart of Zagreb is something else that earns the area brownie points.

''All this contributes to its value,'' says Boro Vujović, the director of the Operta property agency.

Even the very name Središće speaks volumes to Croatian speakers, for non-Croatian speakers, the name indicates that it is centrally positioned in Novi Zagreb, while only Mladosti bridge (Most mladosti) and the river separate it from the wider city centre, according to Sergio Serdarušić, the director of Eurovila agency.

''The growth of demand for Bundek began a few years ago when the Zagrebačka banka built Bundek Centre. The recent arrival of the aforementioned American school has of course further influenced the popularity of the neighbourhood itself. Središće is fortunate in that it is positioned next to Bundek lake, which is one of the major reasons for its popularity. Just like on the other side lie Western neighborhoods such as Vrbani III made a big leap forward [in terms of popularity], something similar is happening here. Novi Zagreb itself is beautifully planned out building-wise, but there's no room for new buildings, while over here afew new construction sites have been opened in this area, which is also a plus for the market,'' added Serdarušić.

In addition, the area of Središće is exceptionally well connected with roads and by public transport to Zagreb's city centre, Franjo Tudjman Airport and the A1 motorway. Quite recently, the construction of a public elementary school began, which will also be a plus for the area.

''Each new piece of content additionally enhances an area. There's already a lot of interesting content [in Središće], including those things which are needed for everyday life, such as shops, banks, services, restaurants, cafes...'' noted Serdarušić.

The price of new builds over the past few years has increased from 1.600 to 2.400 euros per square metre. The price depends on the microlocation, the quality of the building, the location of the apartment within the building itself, its degree of decoration, the floor and of course its overall layout. However, as they say from the previously mentioned Eurovilla agency, some of the smaller apartments can also come with rather impressive price tags up to 3,000 euros per square metre.

However, as Središće doesn't actually have enough luxury and large apartments for diplomats who would like to live near the American school, many remained in Šalata, where this institution was previously located. The demand is bigger than the offer, and Središće is currently the most expensive quarter in Novi Zagreb when it comes to prices per square metre, but they're now at their very peak.

"We had a case a few years ago in Bundek Centre, after the apartments were sold at 1.600 euros per square metre, just a couple of months later, one apartment in that same building was sold for almost double the price per square metre because the buyer was urgently seeking property close to the American high school.

But these are the exceptions, although that building is now managing to keep hold of a high price. In Bundek's new buildings, square metres were being sold for around 2,300 euros. Now apartments in some older buildings in the area have jumped in price, and sellers are looking for 2,000 euros per square metre for the best ones, some of them even offer well-equipped apartments in newer buildings for 3,000 euros per square metre,'' said Boro Vujović, adding that he believed that this trend would eventually level itself out come summertime when people start moving into the large new Meander building, which is now sold out. He believes that this will lower the deficit.

Those particularly interested in this part of Novi Zagreb on the other side of the Sava river, he adds, are US Embassy staff, and now there are American education institutions conveniently located there, too.

The apartments in Središće are also being claimed by employees of companies located in Novi Zagreb. In the long run, there is a chance, however slight, that the fall of its popularity could occur if the quarter becomes too built up, because there are currently several unbuilt areas, in which many construction companies are interested.

''Središće already has a traffic problem upon entering the area when coming from the city centre via the bridge. That needs to be better resolved. I don't think the additional construction will have a negative impact on its popularity, but it's better to have air in the neighbourhood. The recently constructed buildings have a wide access road and, in general terms, in this area, Novi Zagreb is very well designed and should not be over-built,'' concluded Eurovilla's Serdarušić.

Make sure to stay up to date with more on Croatian property by following our dedicated lifestyle page. If it's just Zagreb you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow.


Click here for the original article by Korana Sutlic for Novac/Jutarnji

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