Figs and olives gathered straight from trees. Breathtaking views of the azure depth of picturesque sea bay. Friendly neighbors and two-hundred sunny days per year. These are not the slogans for a travel agency brochure. This is day-to-day reality for people who decided to buy a real estate in Croatia or Montenegro, instead of living at the Polish coast. We decided to check how profitable this is and what can be done in order to save money on such a large purchase.
The popularity of the Adriatic Sea’s eastern coast among Polish investors has been growing for many years. There are a few reasons behind this. It's nothing new that Croatia is one of the most popular holiday destinations among Poles. In the 2015 KPMG report entitled “Poles Holiday Trips,” this country is at a strong first place. Montenegro is becoming increasingly popular as well. The country is definitely less known and tourists seem to find it exotic and intimate. It's greatest attraction is a unique combination of mountain and seaside nature. Real estate market experts from both countries are certain that this increasing interest in holidays in the Balkans will be followed by a demand for private properties – houses, as well as apartments. - Thanks to a few huge investments such as Porto Montenegro [a luxury marina with a complex by the Bay of Kotor – author's footnote], the country has started to be seen as a luxury destination. Each year Montenegro has been attracting increasingly more tourists from Poland who are usually followed by real estate buyers – explains Ivana Vukicevic of Montenegro Prospects agency, which is specialized in the sale of houses and apartments on the Montenegro coast.
Familiarly and safe
Increasing prestige of the Balkan locations is not the only factor that attracts Poles. One of the most famous Poles who has decided to buy a real estate in Croatia is a popular journalist and culinary critic, Robert Makłowicz. In his opinion, one of the advantages are cultural values. - The Croatian coast is a fragment of the Mediterranean Sea that remains within the range of the familiar Slavic culture. This is the closest place to Poland in which you can find olives, figs, an azure sea and two-hundred sunny days during the year. Moreover, people here speak a language that is easy to learn. This is undeniably a significant matter – he explains his fascination with that region.
This cultural intimacy, coupled with a certain form of familiarity, significantly impacts the sense of security among Poles. The situation in the previously most popular destinations, such as Turkey and Egypt, is currently increasingly dangerous (the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises not visiting there). This is causing Croatia and Montenegro to become the most popular destinations among Polish tourists. - A new trend has appeared: citizens of Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary have begun to observe real estate offers. In my opinion, which is shared by many of my colleagues in my industry, the amount of sales to citizens of these countries is increasing – said Ante Nevistić of Adriatica Real Estate Agency, which is based in a small town of Omiš, 20 km south from Split. - I expect the prices to start growing because of this – he notices.
Live in the surrounding of historical walls
A little stone house at a small area a few kilometers from the sea is available for 25 thousand euro (less than 110 thousand PLN, according to currency exchange rates from 30.08.2016, as given by Cinkciarz.pl). The average price of a similar building that is closer to the coast is usually within the range of 50k-60k euro. However, it's crucial to be aware that the majority of stone houses within this price range require a partial or a general renovation. According to market experts, the majority of Balkan real estate puchases from Poland represent the middle-class. They mostly buy single apartments or traditional stone houses worth up to 150 thousand euro. When considering such a purchase, you need to keep in mind that owning a private beach is only possible in Montenegro. - Unlike the French Riviera, it is not possible to own a private beach in Croatia. The coast is everybody's property here – explains Makłowicz, who owns a house at the Pelješac peninsula.
Another idea for real estate in traditional buildings is buying an apartment in a tenement house in the town center. - Apartments in Kotor's old town area, which has been considered as one of the most interesting places to visit in 2016 by Lonely Planet, are sold for approximately 2-2.3 thousand euro per square meter. These prices are quite representative of the entire real estate market across the Montenegro coastline – explained Ivana Vukicevic of Montenegro Prospects.
A fully equipped 55 square meter apartment on the first floor of a tenement house in Kotor can be purchased for 115 thousand euro. Moreover, if we are to believe the information regarding the development of the tourism market in Montenegro, there is a large potential to rent out these apartments. Incomes from rental units can return significant investment costs quickly.
However, living in a tenement house is not for everybody. It's worth keeping in mind that old stone houses usually don't have their own gardens, garages or any similar facilities. - It's very often that you can see what your neighbors are having for dinner through your window. Therefore, you need to be a social person. This is a totally different, Mediterranean lifestyle – explained Ante Nevistić. – Out of my experience, people of Slavic descent decide to buy such apartments much more often than Germans, for example. Slavs make friends with Croats quickly – he adds.
If you choose to live in the old part of city, you will need to take note of additional difficulty – access to the beach will not be as comfortable as it would be in the case of newly built apartment buildings or single-family homes. The latter has many facilities that you wouldn't be able to find in old buildings - garages, swimming pools, spacious terraces, and an intimate atmosphere.
What about new real estate?
How much can a modern single-family house in the Croatian or Montenegro Riviera cost? Unless you don't require real estate near the shoreline (which can sometimes cost much more than 300 thousand euro), you may find offers that are similar to those in Poland. For example, a single-family, 97 square meter house, located in a popular summer resort near Koszalin, 400 meters from the sea, is available for 599 thousand PLN (offer from the otodom.pl website). In comparison, a single-family house in Montenegro, with air-conditioning, a larger living-space (120 square meters) and a view of the picturesque Bay of Kotor, is available for 150 thousand euro (approximately 652 thousand PLN, according to currency exchange rates from 30.08.2016, as given by Cinkciarz.pl). Speaking of prices, it's worth keeping in mind potential savings from currency exchange. - If you buy 150 thousand euro at Cinkciarz.pl today, you will save more than 33 thousand PLN in comparison to the exchange rates offered by banks. I think that saving this amount of money is crucial for every investor who is buying real estate. The extra money can be spent on additional equipment or the rearrangement of your new house – said Piotr Kiciński, Cinkciarz.pl vice-chairman of the Board.