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Real Estate Investment in Serbia

 

Did you like your visit to Serbia so much that you decided to move here or you just think that buying real estate in Serbia is a good investment? In this blog, we will give you guidelines on the easiest way to acquire real estate for foreigners in Serbia.

One of the best and easiest ways to obtain a residence permit in Serbia is real estate investment.

 

The residential market in Serbia is growing at a rapid rate, especially in the capital of Serbia – Belgrade, and the second largest city in Serbia – Novi Sad, the center of Serbian IT industry.

In comparison to the other European cities, real estate prices in Serbia are considerably lower.

For example, the prices of real estate in Belgrade range from 1,500 to 2,500 euros per square meter, depending on the location and quality of the real estate.

The prices in Novi Sad are somewhat lower, ranging from 1,300 to 2,000 euros per square meter.

In the rest of the country, the prices are even lower – 900 euros per square meter.

 

One of the advantages of investing in real estate in Serbia is the fact that there is no minimum amount required, so you can buy property at a lower price and still apply for residency.

However, there are certain conditions that foreigners have to meet to purchase real estate in Serbia.  The reciprocity principle is the general rule that governs property and property rights acquisition in Serbia according to the Foundations of Property Law Relations of 1996.

The rights of legal and natural persons operating in the Republic of Serbia and the rights of inactive individuals are different:

 

  1. FOREIGN INDIVIDUALS

Foreign natural persons can acquire real estate in Serbia through the transfer of ownership, which can be inter vivos and mortis causa. Inter vivos represents the transfer of ownership that takes place during the lifetime of the transferer and the acquirer (e.g. gift contract, sales contract), and mortis causa refers to the transfer of ownership that begins to take effect only after the death of a person (e.g. testament or inheritance).

 

Whichever of these transfers is in question – for the transfer to actually take place – one condition must be met: the reciprocity principle between Serbia and the country of the foreign individual must exist.

 

Contractual reciprocity exists if Serbia has signed a bilateral agreement with the state of birth of a foreign natural person, which regulates the matter of acquiring real estate for foreigners. The list of countries with which Serbia has reciprocity, i.e. the list of countries with which such bilateral agreements have been signed, can be found in the table below:

 

Table 1 – Countries in respect of which reciprocity has been confirmed (inter vivos transfer)

 

Argentina Cyprus Lebanon Russian Federation
Armenia Czech Republic Liechtenstein Senegal
Australia Denmark Lithuania Singapore
Austria Dominican Republic Luxembourg Slovakia
Azerbaijan Egypt Malta Slovenia
Bahrain El Salvador Mexico South African Republic
Belarus Finland Moldova Spain
Belgium France Montenegro Switzerland
Belize Georgia Morocco Syria
Bosnia and Herzegovina Germany Netherlands Turkey
Brazil Greece New Zealand Ukraine
British Virgin Islands Hungary Norway United Arab Emirates
Bulgaria Iran Panama United Kingdom
Canada Ireland Peru United States
China Israel Poland Uzbekistan
Colombia Italy Portugal Yemen
Sweden Japan Qatar
Croatia Jordan Kazakhstan
Cuba Latvia Romania

 

If the country of your origin is not listed in the table above, the possibility to buy real estate in Serbia still exists – provided that there is de facto reciprocity.

De facto reciprocity implies that the law of the state in question allows Serbian citizens to acquire real estate in that country under the same conditions as Serbia allows their citizens. It is interesting that it is not enough for such provisions to be only prescribed by law, but it must also be shown that they are respected in practice.

When it comes to foreign individuals and their acquisition of real estate in Serbia, there is another specificity that should be specially taken into account.

In particular, foreign natural persons, who perform professional activity in Serbia, can acquire any form of real estate in our country but only if that real estate is necessary to perform that activity.

On the other hand, foreign natural persons, who do not perform professional activities in Serbia, have the opportunity to buy an apartment or a house in Serbia without restrictions but do not have the right to buy any land (except the land that belongs to that apartment or house).

 

  1. FOREIGN LEGAL ENTITIES

Acquisition of real estate in Serbia is not only possible for foreign individuals, but also for foreign legal entities.

Just like foreign natural persons, foreign legal entities, in order to acquire ownership over real estate in our country, have to first and foremost meet the condition for reciprocity. Therefore, as already explained, the foreign legal entities that acquire property by inter vivos transfer, should determine in each individual case whether Serbia has concluded a bilateral agreement with their country of origin. If the answer is negative, the foreign legal entity should initiate the mentioned procedure to explain the existence of reciprocity before the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia. For the foreign legal entities that acquire ownership by mortis causa transfer, there is a presumption of the existence of de facto reciprocity.

The conditions for acquiring real estate in Serbia for foreign legal entities are still stricter than those for foreign individuals due to the following circumstances: foreign legal entities do not have the opportunity to acquire Serbian real estate if they do not have a company in Serbia. The opinion of the Ministry of Justice is of crucial importance in this case as well, considering that the Ministry must confirm that the activity of a certain legal entity is considered to be the activity performed in Serbia.

If you are a foreign individual or a foreign legal entity interested in starting the procedure for purchasing real estate in Serbia – do not hesitate! Read our blog and contact us so we can guide you through the rest of the procedure.

Our company is specialized in providing assistance to foreigners who want to invest in Serbian real estate and obtain residency on this basis.

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