Real estate prices in Serbia: Is now the right time to bucfnovembar
Throughout 2023, real estate prices in Belgrade witnessed an increase ranging from 15 to 20 percent in certain city segments, with a remarkable surge of up to 30 percent in the most attractive locations. The latter half of the year marked a stabilization in the real estate market, accompanied by a decline in turnover. By year-end, apartment prices in Belgrade had plateaued, remaining at roughly the same level as the preceding year, but still at a relatively high level.
Despite this, the interest in purchasing real estate in Serbia persists. The announcement of several investments and two national projects has fueled increased popularity in the Belgrade municipality of Surčin, where real estate prices continue to be relatively favorable. Additionally, an attractive aspect of investing in Serbian real estate is the opportunity to apply for a resident permit by real estate purchase. This can be an appealing option for foreign investors or individuals seeking residency in Serbia.
Is this the right moment to consider acquiring an apartment or office space in this particular Belgrade municipality, especially with the added benefit of potentially securing a resident permit by real estate?
What is the average price per square metre in Belgrade?
According to data from the specialized real estate advertising website “4zida”, the currently advertised average price of apartments in Belgrade hovers around 2,500 euros per square metre, remaining unchanged when compared to the same period in 2022. A similar trend is observed in Novi Sad, with an average price of 2,324 €/m². In Niš, however, prices have experienced an uptick, necessitating an allocation of approximately 70 euros more compared to the last quarter of 2022.
When it comes to the prices of apartments sold in December 2023 , they, as customary, tended to be slightly lower than the advertised rates. According to data retrieved from the website cenestanova.com, specifically the Real Estate Price Register, the average price per square metre of an apartment in Belgrade stood at 2,306 euros. This represents a marginal decrease of 0.09% compared to the previous month and a more substantial 4.55% decrease in comparison to December 2022.
The average price of ‘first sale’ apartments reached 2,486 €/m², which is 0.04% from the prior month but a noteworthy decline of 9.3% when compared to December 2022. In the case of ‘resale’ apartments, the average price of 2,168 €/m² experienced a notable 7.49% surge compared to December 2022, yet registered a marginal decrease of 0.18% when compared to November 2023.
Fluctuations in the average price per square metre (€/m²) in Belgrade.
Decline in apartment prices in certain areas of Belgrade
According to the data from the “4zida” website, some municipalities and neighbourhoods in Serbia recorded a slight drop in advertised prices, which is also the case with some Belgrade municipalities.
In Mirijevo, the presently advertised price reflects a decrease of about 50 euros compared to the same period in 2022, settling at 1,883 euros. A comparable situation is observed in the municipality of Stari Grad, where the average price, concluding 2022 at approximately 3,600 €/m², has now dipped to € 3,554, marking a reduction of about € 45.
As much as 50% decrease in turnover and apartment sales
In December, a total of 1,071 apartment sales contracts were recorded, indicating an 11.85% decline compared to November of the same year and a substantial 41.41% drop in contrast to December 2022. Both the volume of sold ‘resale’ apartments and ‘first sale’ apartments experienced a decline, with 638 and 433 contracts, respectively. Particularly noteworthy is the pronounced drop of 51.94% recorded in the case of ‘first sale’ apartments when compared to December 2022.
Number of sales contracts for real estate in Belgrade.
Additionally, there was a noteworthy decline in the total turnover volume, which amounted to 143.14 billion euros in December. This represents a stark 47% reduction compared to the same month in the preceding year and a 10.4% decrease in comparison to the previous month. The most significant downturn in turnover volume was observed in ‘first sale’ apartments, experiencing a substantial 60.1% decrease compared to December 2022.
Volume of real estate sales in Belgrade.
Is now the right time to buy an apartment in the Belgrade municipality of Surčin?
The municipality of Surčin, situated on the outskirts of Belgrade, is strategically positioned to become the focal point of the upcoming “Expo 2027” project. This visionary initiative envisions the development of the National Stadium, the new Belgrade Fair, expansive residential complexes, and diverse commercial facilities in Surčin. Owing to this ambitious plan and its excellent transportation links, Surčin is increasingly gaining popularity both as a residential hub and a favourable location for numerous foreign companies.
Presently, the average advertised price per square metre for apartments in Surčin, as indicated on the “4zida” website, stands at 1,722 euros. This figure is notably lower than the prevailing rates in surrounding municipalities. To provide context, in New Belgrade, the price per square metre is 2,750 euros, in Bežanijska kosa it is 2,560 euros, and in Zemun, it reaches 2,240 euros. Industry experts anticipate that the prices of both apartments and land in Surčin have the potential for significant growth in the foreseeable future.
Trend of average real estate prices in the municipality of Surčin. Source: https://forbes.n1info.rs/biznis/da-li-je-sad-pravi-trenutak-za-kupovinu-nekretnine-u-surcinu/
Buying an apartment as a type of investment
The surge in real estate prices in Serbia has been predominantly fueled by the influx of a substantial number of Russian, Ukrainian, and other foreign citizens. Notably, financial investors have emerged as the most prevalent buyers in the real estate market, choosing apartments as a form of long-term savings. This trend among investors has the potential to influence future rental prices.
The appeal of real estate investment extends beyond residential properties to include office spaces. In 2023 alone, the construction of 160,000 square metres of office space took place, with projections indicating an additional 200,000 square metres to be built between 2024 and 2025. This expansion is not limited to Belgrade, as cities like Novi Sad, Kragujevac, and Niš are also making significant contributions. Novi Sad, in particular, is gaining prominence, attracting attention from IT companies, research and development (R&D) centers, as well as businesses in the creative industry.
Continued fluctuations in real estate prices
Currently, accurately forecasting the trajectory of real estate prices remains uncertain. Tamara Kostadinović, the Director of Market Research at CBS International, a part of the Cushman & Wakefield Group, shared with Euractiv Serbia, “A decline in prices is not anticipated within meticulously planned large-scale projects. These projects, undertaken in phases by reputable investors with project financing from banks, offer additional amenities to buyers and are expected to maintain a stable pricing level. Potential price adjustments may occur within smaller housing projects situated in less attractive locations or in the domain of ‘resale’ apartments in areas with a surplus of available units.”
In the Belgrade housing market, the remarkable price growth is attributed to robust demand. Between 2020 and 2022, approximately 25,000 apartments were constructed, while nearly 60,000 housing units were successfully sold. Real estate appraiser Milić Đoković, emphasized for Euronews Serbia: “There are no large construction sites, no mass construction; these are sites with 20, 30, or 40 apartments. Unfortunately, a decline in apartment prices is unlikely to occur.”
Prospects for real estate market recovery are on the horizon for the second half of the year. A potential reduction in interest rates by central banks, driven by past experiences highlighting the efficacy of swift and decisive changes over gradual adjustments, could contribute to this recovery.
However, Nebojša Nešovanović, Head of the Valuation Department for Southeast Europe at CBRE, issues a cautionary note. He warns that a faster and more dynamic entrance into the next cycle of expansionary monetary policy may lead to a sudden upswing in real estate prices in the medium term.