STA, 4 October 2020 - Nepremicnine.net, the leading real estate website in Slovenia, has been taken over by Real Web, a company owning several leading internet real estate platforms in Europe. According to news portal Siol, Real Web has acquired a 60% stake, while the rest will be preserved by Nepremicnine.net's founders.
Nepremicnine.net, established in 1999, has developed into the leading internet real estate platform in Slovenia and is also one of the busiest websites in the country with about 800,000 visits each month.
The takeover, whose details have not been disclosed, strengthens the presence of the international group Indomio, associated with Real Web, in Europe. The group includes the biggest internet real estate platform in Italy Immobiliare.it as well as the leading Greek platform Spitogatos.gr.
Nepremicnine.net co-founder and executive director Primož Jazbec told Siol that cooperation with Indomio presents a strategic opportunity, providing the platform with crucial technological know-how to grow business operations.
"It also secures long-term growth as a result of the strongest possible positioning in other EU member states," he added.
Immobiliare.it co-founder Silvio Pagliani said that they had known Jazbez and Aleš Ravnikar, also a co-founder, for several years and were exited to start cooperating.
"This cooperation allows us to continue building the leading real estate platform in multiple European countries," Pagliani said.
Spitogatos.gr co-founder and executive director Dimitris Melachroinos said the joint brand will be even more recognisable due to shared technology.
STA, 23 September 2020 - The prices of residential properties in Slovenia in the second quarter of 2020 were up 1.9% compared to the first quarter, and 5.2% higher than in the same period last year, the Statistics Office said. But transactions were significantly lower, with the total value of all real estate sold being the lowest since the first quarter of 2015.
The prices of new apartments and houses were up by 7.1% compared to the previous quarter.
After dropping by 0.3% in the first quarter, the prices of new apartments jumped by 7.5% in the second. New houses were also 2.6% costlier than in the first quarter.
The prices of used homes rose by 1.4% in quarterly comparison. This means 1.6% higher prices for used apartments, and 1% for houses.
Family properties were on average 5.2% costlier in the second quarter of this year than in the second quarter of 2019. Up the most were the prices of new family houses (by 23.6%) and used apartments outside Ljubljana (by 7.8%). Meanwhile, a notable drop was recorded in the prices of used apartments in Maribor (by 1.2%).
The total value of all residential real estate sold in the second quarter reached EUR 229 million, which is some EUR 60 million less than in the first quarter.
This is also the lowest total value of all residential real estate sold since the first quarter of 2015, when sales stood at EUR 207.
The Statistics Office partly attributes the drop in transactions to the Covid-19 epidemic, which virtually stopped all activity on the Slovenian real estate market.
A total of 2,161 units of used residential real estate were sold in the second quarter, in the total value of EUR 220 million, which is almost half of the figure recorded in the same period last year.
Only 55 pieces of new residential real estate worth EUR 10 million in total were sold in the second quarter, while in the first 76 were sold worth EUR 14 million.
More data on house prices in Slovenia
STA, 20 August 2020 - As soon as the strict coronavirus measures were relaxed at the end of April the property market picked up, yet there are still fewer transactions than before the epidemic. Demand still exceeds supply, keeping average prices high, partly because of the many deals in Ljubljana, where prices are well above the national average.
"At the moment there are fewer transactions on the property market," the director and owner of real estate agency Stan Nepremičnine, Stanka Solar, told the STA.
She said this trend could be seen over the past month, so she partly attributes it to the summer season and a lack of adequate supply of used flats at good locations.
Solar said demand was strong in particular for higher-end new housing, but she believes new flats or houses are "slightly mispriced given the buyers' expectations".
"The majority of people expect a price correction for property which needs energy renovation and for more expensive new housing."
Similarly, Boris Veleski from Mreža Nepremičnin said the number of transactions was much lower after the epidemic, even though a month after it the market started to rebound.
Remax Ljubljana said that "at this moment we don't see any major changes in transactions, as demand still exceeds supply".
Urška Hočevar from this estate agent said the market is dominated by strong, motivated buyers who have a clear vision and know how they will finance the purchase.
Preliminary data by Slovenia's Surveying and Mapping Authority (GURS) for the first six months shows some 5,400 deals with flats and houses were carried out, down 35% from the same period in 2019.
However, these transactions amounted to EUR 532 million, which is 70% of all property transactions, an absolute record for a six-month period, GURS has recently said.
According to Solar, there is much demand for one- and two-room flats, but also for three-room flats, especially second-hand properties which do not require major investments.
Flats with a lift and a parking area are also in high demand.
She said there is an increasing number of buyers who have some savings and deem a piece of property the safest investment.
Mreža Nepremičnin said there is a lot of demand for smaller flats, up to 65 square metres, but also for larger ones, over 100 square metres.
Remax said cheaper flats near the city centre are in high demand.
"However, already during the epidemic we detected some more demand for houses, holiday homes and land, as many found it hard to be in a flat during lockdown," said Hočevar.
GURS data also shows the prices of used flats rose by 7% in the January-June period compared to the same period in 2019, with an average price per square metre exceeding EUR 1,900 for the first time.
Solar corroborated this, saying "the prices of used properties have increased. Demand still exceeds supply and there is currently a lack of housing at desired locations into which a new owner could move in a few months".
She said the prices of rental homes had meanwhile dropped by some 15-20% compared to before the coronacrisis.
Mreža Nepremičnin and Remax have not noticed any price drops either. Hočevar said a downward correction was possible in the long-term.
Fewer tourists from abroad have meanwhile given a headache to many owners who took out loans to buy flats for short-term rental. These loans need to be repaid regardless of the current lack of demand by tourists.
"Some of these flats have been put up for sale, but not that many, other owners have opted for medium-term rental if they could, because many hope or believe that things will soon be the same as before the epidemic," said Veleski.
Solar said many of those who had been renting through Airbnb and Booking decided to rent to students or other individuals for the long or medium term.
Hočevar said that even those owners who insisted on short-term renting this summer in Ljubljana or other tourist areas will eventually be forced to rent for the long-term or even sell.
The estate agents largely agree that the pandemic has made it hard to predict the trends in the coming months.
Solar does not expect any major price changes until the end of the year, except for housing in need of energy renovation and for relatively pricey new housing.
Veleski believes much will depend on developments outside Slovenia's borders. He thinks the existing trend will last at least until spring 2021.
All our stories on property in Slovenia
STA, 7 August 2020 - Preliminary data by the Surveying and Mapping Authority indicate about a 40% drop in both the number of deals and turnover in real estate in the first half of 2020. Prices of used flats meanwhile continued to grow, by 3% compared to the second half of 2019, taking the average square metre price in the country above EUR 1,900 for the first time.
The data, released on Friday, show 10,800 transactions were registered in the first six months in a total value of EUR 770 million. This is a 40% drop for both figures compared on the second half of 2019 and a 40% and 45% decline respectively year-on-year.
The Surveying and Mapping Authority said that in the face of an almost complete market freeze during the lockdown, it decided to publish the preliminary data even though a fair part of deals for the first six months had not yet been registered and processed for proper market analysis. Final data will be released in October.
The body estimates that the actual year-on-year decline in the number of deals and in turnover will be between 35% and 40%. It pointed out that 2019 had seen record figures, mostly due to an unusually high number of deals involving commercial real estate.
As for the continuing rise in the prices of used flats - by 3% on the second half of 2019 and by 7% year-on-year - the Surveying and Mapping Authority noted a similar phenomenon had been seen in 2008.
"In such circumstances it is only the better and fairly expensive flats that continue to get sold and their prices are not decreasing yet due to market inertia," the experts wrote, while pointing out that the market picked up again in May as the epidemic was declared over.
Housing property accounted for almost 70% of total turnover in the first half of the year, up significantly on previous years and even above the 66% recorded in 2015. Between January and 15 July, 5,450 transactions were recorded, a 37% decrease on the second half of 2019 and 36% year-on-year. Turnover for new flats was down by more than 70%.
The number of recorded transactions with land suitable for construction on the other hand fell by only a third compared to the first and second half of 2019, while the number of deals involving farm and forest land decreased by about half.
All our news on real estate in Slovenia
STA, 5 August 2020 - Led by Ljubljana, where the average price of a used flat rose by 40% to EUR 2,800 per square metre between 2014 and 2019, Slovenia has seen one of the fastest housing price growth rates in Europe in recent years. The Ljubljana Public Housing Fund (Javni stanovanjski sklad Mestne občine Ljubljana) is hoping to ease the pressure with some 240 new subsidised rental units in the coming two years.
The fund announced that 174 flats being built at Brdo on the western edges of the capital are in the final stage of construction, while work has also started on 156 units emerging as part of the Rakova Jelša II project in the south of the city. The target year for completion is 2022.
Moreover, next year is planned to see the start of construction for Jesihov štradon, a housing estate south-east of the city centre that will have 44 units, and the Litijska Pesarska project in the eastern part of Ljubljana, which will feature 95 non-profit rental flats.
Additional relief is meant to come with the help of 88 flats in the eastern borough of Zelena jama. The fund said it is in the final stages of the talks for the project and hopes to start with construction this year already.
While data by the Surveying and Mapping Authority suggested that housing prices growth in Ljubljana came to a halt already before the coronacrisis, data by the Statistics Office showed the prices of used flats were still up in the first half of the year by 4.7% year-on-year and by 1% compared to the last quarter of 2019.
According to OECD data, housing prices in Slovenia rose by 24% between 2015 and 2019, which compares to a eurozone average of 14%.
Meanwhile, efforts addressing the lack of supply in the capital amid favourable loans have also come from private investors, a large portion of whose projects has however also been targetting the well-heeled.
Recent examples include the emerging Schellenburg project at the site of Kolizej, an Austro-Hungarian-era army housing complex that was pulled down in 2011, and the Šumi project opposite the Drama theatre.
Major residential tower projects are also in the making, in particular in the northwestern borough Šiška. Slovak developer Corwin announced just today that construction work has begun on its EUR 45 million Kvartet project that involves four 15-storey towers with a total of 221 flats.
A similar project, estimated at EUR 40 million and featuring two 21-storey buildings with around 220 apartments in total, was announced for Šiška last year by Spektra Invest, which is connected to businessman Izet Rastoder and Zetagradnja, the biggest investor and builder in Montentegro.
STA, 7 July 2020 - The Ljubljana city council has confirmed changes to the municipal spatial plan for a former industrial area in the borough of Vič, where a residential complex is planned to be built. Several councillors have raised the issue of the investors including Mihael Karner, a Slovenian who is wanted by the US.
The council confirmed the project in a 21:15 vote on Monday to transform the site of the former Tovil factory in the south-western borough into a complex featuring 140 apartments, including up to 60 assisted living apartments.
The approximate location of the project
The main investor in the Urban Oasis project is entrepreneur Mihael Karner, who is being sought by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with an international warrant for alleged distribution and import of anabolic steroids and money laundering.
Gregor Slabe of the Democrats said he was convinced that the US services were monitoring today's session and that they would certainly make a record of which councillors had endorsed Karner's project.
"The US is requesting extradition of Karner, his wife and brother. Since you failed to support our proposal to withdraw this disputable item from the agenda, you will be the ones held responsible for international diplomatic consequences," he added.
Igor Horvat (SDS) noted that, according to the media, the investors were companies which had not had any revenue recently, and no employees. He added that the plan's approval might jeopardise Slovenia's international reputation.
There is concern that Ljubljana will only get another construction pit, said Ksenija Sever, also of the SDS. "The investors will get loans, sell apartments, and then vanish, so that taxpayers can pay for another banking hole."
Asta Vrečko of the Left added that the investors were problematic and that the "municipality is doing favours to very disputable companies".
Vice Mayor Aleš Čerin, who chaired the session due to the absence of Mayor Zoran Janković, who is in quarantine after having a contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus, said that the spatial plan was not about an individual investor, but spatial planning.
"Nowhere is written that the gentlemen you spoke about will be the actual investors", he said, adding that they were Slovenian citizens who had no criminal record in Slovenia.
The 2019 Real Estate Market Report, published by the Surveying and Mapping Authority of the Republic of Slovenia, shows that property prices continued to grow last year.
In 2019 the prices of apartments across the country broke the previous record set in 2008. In Ljubljana, however, the record was already broken in 2018.
The national average for a square metre of an apartment was €1,850 in 2019, 2% higher than the national average in 2008.
Since 2015, housing prices have risen steadily. The highest price growth was recorded in 2018, when the prices of second-hand flats were, on average, 9% higher than in the previous year, despite the decrease in the number of sales. In 2019 housing price growth continued at a slightly lower rate.
Apartment price averages in euros per square meter:
The average price of a residential house with land belonging to it in Slovenia was EUR 128,000 in 2019, 3% higher than in the previous year and 19% higher than in 2015. Since 2015 the average area of homes sold has increased significantly, while their average age and the area of land they come with have not changed significantly. Taking into account the characteristics of the houses sold, it has been estimated that house prices at the national level have grown by 15 to 20% in real terms since 2015, while compared to 2018 they have remained virtually unchanged.
Average price for a house in EUR:
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STA, 20 March 2020 - With tourism grinding to a halt as the country fights the coronavirus outbreak, Slovenia could learn some lessons regarding housing policy, including that the market should not be trusted just about everything, Dnevnik says in Friday's commentary.
The commentary notes that people who lease their apartments via Airbnb have quickly realised that they will have no turnover whatsoever as tourist visits to Ljubljana steeply dropped with the arrival of coronavirus.
They have started advertising one- to two-month leases, and then also for longer periods, but of course, in the time of quarantine and self-isolation, this did not help either.
Real estate agencies are closed, people are locked in at home and no one is looking for an apartment if this is not really necessary. Completely unrealistic expectations of owners are another problem.
No one knows when the situation will normalise, and when it does, much time will need to pass before tourists fill up Ljubljana again, Dnevnik adds in Airbnb Apartments Are Now Good for Locals.
As for many people renting apartments to tourists is the principal activity, and not only a side business, these individuals, as well as many others in the tourism and hospitality industry, are in a difficult situation.
It seems that a majority of people feel no empathy towards real estate owners who earned money via Airbnb, and there are even calls that they should show their social responsibility by renting out their empty apartments to medical staff for free.
"The people's reaction is understandable, but it would be wrong to succumb to anger at this moment. Reason tells us that if we learned something from this crisis, it is that not all bets should be placed on the market."
For this reason, the state needs to regulate apartment renting via Airbnb, create conditions for an orderly rental market, and build public rental apartments as a priority. This would be a precious measure during the recovery period.
All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia are here
STA, 21 January 2020 - Bank NLB has asked the Constitutional Court to review tighter restrictions on lending imposed by the central bank in November. After filing the request on Tuesday, the bank expressed belief that its request would be a matter of priority for the court because of the "radical effect" the measures had on the quality of Slovenians' lives.
The bank believes that the measures were introduced too hastily and were too radical, and that they have to be abolished. Any anomalies detected in "individual market players" should instead be addressed with targeted and not systemic measures.
NLB says Banka Slovenije imposed the measures virtually overnight and triggered "an excessive drop in volume of loans and accessibility of loans by Slovenians within the strictly regulated and controlled system of commercial and savings banks, whereas there are no restrictions imposed on more expensive and more risky third loan providers".
The bank argues that the measures have already produced a radical effect with virtually total stop in growth in loan volume. What is more, the number of loans given out in the recent months has dropped dramatically.
The restrictions were introduced to protect the taxpayer, says the bank, adding, however, that Slovenian population is already among the least indebted in relevant global comparisons, while banks are highly liquid, which means that they are capable of absorbing any potential major shocks.
Moreover, Slovenia has the fresh experience of an extremely tough crisis, but in the 2009-2015 period there was no excessive increase in default among the population, the bank said.
Saying the measures were introduced overnight, the bank says the "legal unpredictability" makes it extremely hard to make business plans and evaluate companies.
The move by NLB comes a day after the Bank Association released data showing that the number of consumer loans had dropped by 60% compared to October and housing loans by 40%.