Ljubljana related

08 Apr 2020, 12:41 PM

STA, 8 April 2020 - Businesses which had to close their doors due to the coronavirus lockdown have been left without revenue. To add to their woes, many need to pay rent and running costs. Some landlords have decided to help them by deferring rent, others are still deciding what to do.

Small businesses selling non-essential goods and providing various services, as well as bars and restaurants were forced to close shop in mid-March, and many of them warn that they might not be able to re-open at all.

Many of them find it difficult to pay wages for March, let alone rent and utility costs.

Owners of shopping centres and malls have come up with different solutions for the problems of their tenants, and all of them stress that this is the first time they have encountered such a situation.

The retailer Tuš said it had not decided yet whether to lower rent, while Spar said that the "situation requires a great deal of adjustment and understanding, but we believe that we will find optimal solutions in the spirit of good cooperation."

Supernova, the Austrian-owned shopping mall operator, said it was in constant contact with tenants, making individual arrangements. "We want to balance out the consequences, as one side must not bear all the consequences, be it the tenant or the landlord."

SES Slovenija, which operates the shopping malls Citypark, Citycenter, Europark and Aleja, with the last one yet to be opened, has admitted that the crisis has taken them by surprise, and that many issues remain open.

The company has allowed its tenants to defer rent and operating cost for April. "By doing so we want to help entrepreneurs maintain their liquidity, even before the state adopts measures to support commerce and before this aid takes effect."

It added that additional support measures for salvaging Slovenian retail, services and hospitality companies were not excluded, but this would depend on the financial support from the state and the duration of the restrictive measures.

As for Aleja, which was supposed to open on 19 March, SES Slovenija said that individual solutions were being sought with tenants. "All partners will be able to defer payment of rent from the date of the planned opening to the date of actual opening."

The company would like to see the state come up with a plan for re-opening shops and individual branches of industry, as this would help all stakeholders organise and optimise costs.

The Slovenian Chamber of Commerce (TZS) will, according to its president Mariča Lah, publish this week an assessment of the situation in commerce, which will serve as basis for a proposal to re-open shops selling technical goods.

Rent could be tackled by the additional anti-corona legislative package, which is being drafted by the government.

The TZS has proposed a model for distributing the burden, under which the state would cover around 70% of rent, and the payment of the remaining amount would be agreed between the owner and tenant.

Under this model, landlords would not be able to terminate contracts due to the non-payment of rent, which would be applied retroactively as of the day when the epidemic was declared, 12 March.

SES Slovenija added that retail, as one of the largest employers in the country, had been severely affected and that comprehensive measures would be needed. It proposes that the state subsidises write-offs of goods which could not be sold.

The company also proposes that the state provide grants to businesses for the costs incurred during the closure and for a certain period after the closure (rent, insurance premiums, leasing instalments and utility bills).

07 Apr 2020, 10:23 AM

STA, 7 April 2020 - The real estate market has slowed down as measures to restrict the spread of the coronavirus epidemic have been introduced, with deals concluded only retroactively and property inspected only on-line. Real estate agencies have seen a significant drop in turnover, which they hope will be compensated after the epidemic ends.

Agencies say that clients have not abandoned their intentions to buy or lease real estate, and that the true impact of the crisis would depend on the duration of the epidemic and the purchasing power after it.

Boštjan Udovič, the head of the Real Estate Association at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), has told the STA that real estate agencies are currently only providing services which could be provided without physical contact with clients.

Some real estate agencies have completely suspended their work, and "turnover has dropped significantly", he said. It will be possible to compensate for this after the epidemic ends, but this will depend on the general economic situation and purchasing power.

The real estate agency Stoja Trade is concluding contracts retroactively for deals agreed on before the measures were introduced. "Instead of inspections in person, we send interactive video clips of real estate to our clients," director Zoran Đukić has told the STA.

Zoran Veleski of Mreža Nepremičnin added that the number of calls from potential clients and demand in general had dropped in comparison with recent months, "which is understandable, as people are dealing with other priorities".

While the number of transactions is dropping, prices remain stable. "Everybody is waiting for quarantine to end, and prices will depend on the duration of quarantine," he assessed.

The short-term lease market is practically dead, as tourist visits have ground to a halt. "Many real estate units, which had been intended for temporary lease to tourists, are now empty. Some of them have already been placed on the market," Udovič said.

He believes that this, if the state fails to take quick measures, will not result in growth of the long-term lease market, as owners still almost exclusively decide to rent their real estate for less than 12 months for one reason or another.

Đukić expects a slight market correction when it comes to rental real estate because of the apartments which used to be leased via Airbnb. "There will be no major changes in the prices of rents, but the crunch will ease."

According to Udovič, the key will be the developments in the first months after the end of the epidemic, as turnover on the real estate market largely depends on the economic and financial state of the country and consumer confidence.

"If they reduce their consumption out of caution, the real estate market will suffer a huge blow," he said, adding that the state had taken measures aimed at preventing such consequences relatively quickly.

Stoja Trade has established that clients have only postponed the planned transactions, as a majority of clients are waiting for quarantine to end, and "if this does not take too long, major changes are not expected due to the specifics and small size of the market".

Đukić also expects that, considering the situation on stock markets and financial markets, people will continue to opt for safer investments, including real estate, which keeps its value in the long run.

Veleski agreed that real estate is one of the safest investments, but he also assessed that the situation on the market will depend on the duration of the lockdown measures and the drop in GDP.

"We can only hope that the government will support the economy with measures similar to those in other EU member states and that it would not leave the construction sector high and dry again," he added.

The experts have assessed that the measures from the EUR 3 billion legislative package to aid the economy and individuals will be useful, adding that it is understandable that it was not able to tackle all issues.

Udovič expects additional measures in the coming weeks, which would be focused on keeping the economic activity running. "From the aspect of real estate, care for an investment momentum after the end of the epidemic will be of particular importance."

He also expects that if the situation permits, the government will start easing up on the restrictions related to certain services, including real estate agencies.

Veleski noted that in addition to wages and social security contributions, companies have many other costs which they are not able to cover for months if their turnover is zero.

"The passed legislation is certainly beneficial also for our activity. I have concluded based on talks with agents and many others who are not part of our team, that they will be able to survive these few months," he added.

30 Mar 2020, 13:08 PM

STA, 30 March 2020 - Housing prices increased by 5.2% in 2019 in what was the fifth consecutive year of growth, show data released by the Statistics Office on Monday. The number of real estate transactions was up 4%, mostly on account of sold used flats, while the value of the deals amounted to EUR 1.3 billion, an increase of roughly 6% on 2018.

The continuation of growth came after the housing market started recovering in 2015 with 0.1% growth to then see prices rise by 6.9% in 2016, by 10% in 2017 and by 9.1% in 2018, said the office.

The total number of real estate deals made last year was 13,682, which is a 4% increase on 2019 but 8% less than in the record year 2017.

The office pointed out that the sale of new units had been very modest for two years now, while the sale of used units was going strong, with 3,458 transactions recorded in the last quarter of 2019 alone for a record total amount of EUR 340 million.

Used flats accounted for 2,141 transactions in the last quarter of 2019, which compares to only 107 new housing units sold for a total of EUR 18 million. The latter was still an increase on 70 units sold in the third quarter.

The prices of new flats have seen fluctuations in the past four years, but a clear growth was recorded. In the last quarter of 2019 they were 26.9% higher on average than in 2015.

The prices of used housing units fell in the last quarter of 2019 for the first time after 15 consecutive quarters of growth. They were down by 0.2%, but merely on account of a 3.6% decrease in the prices of used houses as used flats were 1.7% dearer. In Ljubljana, used flats were 0.4% more expensive.

Year-on-year, the biggest increase in prices was seen in the last quarter for new houses (10.9%), followed by used flats in regions other than the capital (7.1%), new flats in general (6.3%), used houses (3.8%) and used flats in Ljubljana (3.2%).

20 Mar 2020, 16:55 PM

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

18 Feb 2020, 12:40 PM

When it was built in 1933 Nebotičnik – the name means skyscraper in Slovene – was the tallest building in the Balkans, and remained the tallest in downtown Ljubljana until 2017.  That said, the appeal of Nebotičnik is based on more than its size, which at just 70m was never awe-inspiring.

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Right in the centre of town. Photo: Fine Ljubljana Apartments

It remains a central landmark and in the hearts of locals for other reasons. Both for the stunning views of the Castle and city it still offers, with the terrace being a must-visit site, and the clean lines and art deco flourishes which give it a solid elegance that anchors this part of town and makes it a such a valued address.

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Nebotičnik under construction, with more pictures herePhoto: Wikimedia CC-by-0.

The building was constructed from 1930-1933, with the lead architect on the project being Vladimir Šubic, who also designed the two neighbouring buildings. It was intended to have shops on the ground floor, then offices and apartments, with a cafe and terrace on the top, a plan that's still followed to this day.

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The view from one window. Photo: Fine Ljubljana Apartments.

Nebotičnik is located on Slovenska cesta, by Hotel Slon and a very short walk to the Triple Bridge and Old Town in one direction, the museums and galleries by Tivoli Park in the other. It’s thus the ideal location for a stay in the city, with everything of interest nearby, as well as well stores, restaurants, cafés and clubs.

But can you stay in Nebotičnik? Yes, you can. The example shown below is a two-bedroom apartment that can sleep five and has all the usual amenities. It’s owned by an architect and has an open layout that makes good use of the large windows, filling the space with light and views. It’s now available for booking from May till October, with the price starting at €99 a night.

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Photo: Fine Ljubljana Apartments.

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Photo: Fine Ljubljana Apartments.

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Photo: Fine Ljubljana Apartments.

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Photo: Fine Ljubljana Apartments.

You see more of this apartment at Fine Ljubljana Apartments, where you can also see many other properties for rental (in the capital and outside), with serviced apartments and corporate rentals available.

22 Jan 2020, 21:36 PM

This week’s property is one you can view from two angles – as a buyer or renter – since it’s on the market as both a rental property and one you can own outright,

Located in Bohinj, the third most popular place for a holiday home in Slovenia (with more details on that data here), the Villa Belica is a three-bedroom chalet that sleeps up to six, and can be rented at from €140 a night. There’s a spacious enclosed garden enclosed by a forest on one side of the chalet, while on the other side there’s a panoramic view of the Julian Alps, including Mount Triglav. Anyone who knows Slovenia knows the appeal of this part of the country, but if you haven’t visited then it’s right in the middle of all the most picturesque and active parts the country for those who enjoy mountain views, clear lakes, turquoise rivers, and the fresh air of the great outdoors, with a full range of seasonal sports, activities and adventures on offer. It really is the place to be if you like that kind of thing, and even if you wouldn’t want to live there full time it’s somewhere you have to visit if you want to know what makes this country special.

And if you fall in love with the area, and Villa Belica in particular, you can also buy it for €330,000, with both options being handed by Think Slovenia, who describe it as follows online.

Beautifully renovated three- bedroom Bohinj chalet in the village of Bohinj Polje, just a few minutes’ drive from Lake Bohin,j one of Slovenia's most stunning natural treasures and in close proximity to quality skiing at Vogel and a huge range of river, lake and mountain activities in summer. The chalet consists of an entry room, WC, double bedroom with en suite shower room, kitchen, large living / dining room with access onto the beautiful terrace on the ground floor.

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On the first floor are one double bedroom with lovely balcony, one twin bedroom and bathroom. In the basement is the second living room, plus laundry room and the boiler room. The terrace continues into a spacious enclosed garden on the edge of the forest with views over Triglav. On the edge of the plot is also a small shed, used as a storage.

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The tranquil village of Bohinj Polje lies just a few minutes’ drive or a short walk (2.5 km) via a scenic forest path to Lake Bohinj. In summer the lake offers the opportunity for kayaking, sailing and rowing, as well as fly-fishing, swimming or just relaxing on the lake shore. The mountains of Lake Bohinj are fantastic for walking and also offer scope for great mountain biking, canyoning, paragliding as well as skiing. The ski resort Vogel above Lake Bohinj is one of Slovenia’s best with good lift infrastructure and snow record. It is 5-10 minutes’ drive from the house to the Vogel cable car, which is also open in the summer giving easy access to high altitude walking and mountain biking.

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Five minutes’ drive away is Bohinjska Bistrica offering a modern water park with ample pool / spa facilities and other amenities including shops, bars, restaurants and bank. There are a wide range of other ski areas in Slovenia / Italy / Austria within day-trip distance from the property. Twenty minutes’ drive from the house is the world famous Lake Bled. An excellent holiday chalet in a sought after location and with great tourist rental potential and a solid rental history over recent years.

You can see more of this property at Think Slovenia, with it’s presentation as a rental or a sale.

22 Jan 2020, 09:55 AM

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%.

21 Jan 2020, 09:32 AM

STA, 20 January - Data from the Slovenian Bank Association show that the number of loans approved by banks in Slovenia in November and December, after the central bank's new crediting restrictions kicked in on 1 November, plummeted.

Data from ten banks show that the number of consumer loans dropped by around 60% over October and the number of housing loans by around 40%.

The number of consumer loans totalled 10,015 in October, but decreased to 3,804 in November and 3,624 in December, whereas the number of housing loans dropped from 1,424 in October to 923 in November and 812 in December.

The new rules took effect after Banka Slovenije announced them on 9 October in a bid to curb imprudent consumer lending practices.

The association noted that Banka Slovenije data also showed a steep drop in both types of loans after a major rise in October.

It added the surge was most probably a result of the central bank's announcement of the new rules, which prompted many to take out loans while still creditworthy.

The restrictions include a maximum 84-month maturity for consumer loans, down from 120 months recommended in 2018, and, most notably, curbs on housing loans.

Banks for the most part have to keep loan-to-value ratios (loan payments relative to the client's annual income) to below 50% for clients with monthly income of up to twice the gross minimum wage and below 67% for those making more than that.

Households with children are subject to additional restrictions since a certain monthly allowance needs to be left over for each child.

After the announcement of the new rules, the association estimated over 300,000 individuals would no longer be creditworthy.

Earlier this month the central bank said it was too early to fully assess the effect of the stricter rules.

14 Jan 2020, 17:59 PM

Ever wondered where all the second homes are in Slovenia, the vikendi and those defined by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (Statistični urad Republike Slovenije – SURS) as “dwellings reserved for seasonal and secondary use”? If so, wonder no more as we zoom in the data for 2018, the most recent year for which it’s available.

According to SURS, in 2018 there were a total of 19,896 such dwellings in Slovenia. Of these, 9,766 (49%) were in the west, and 10,130 (51%) in the east.

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But that scale, the two “cohesion regions”, hides a lot of detail, and if we look at the 12 statistical regions then something become clear: that Gorenjska (AKA Upper Carniola) seems to be the most desired location, with 3,376 holiday homes, or just under 17% of the total, as seen in the following map and table.

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Slovene English # %
Gorenjska Upper Carniola          3,376           5.22
Osrednjeslovenska Central Slovenia          2,489         12.51
Obalno-Kraška Coastal–Karst          2,333         11.73
Jugovzhodna Slovenija Southeast Slovenia          2,324         11.68
Podravska Drava          2,168         10.90
Savinjska Savinja          2,078         10.44
Goriška Gorizia          1,568           7.88
Posavska Lower Sava          1,037           5.21
Pomurksa Mura             988           4.97
Koroška Carinthia             650           3.27
Zasavska Central Sava             446           2.24
Primorsko-Notranjska Littoral–Inner Carniola             439           2.21

 

And the most popular place to buy a holiday home in Slovenia is...

Now zooming in to the highest level of detail that SURS offers – the 212 municipalities – we can see that there are seven areas where there are more than 500 holiday homes: Piran (1,038), Kranjska gora (961), Bohinj (843), Bovec (608), Brežice (526), Ljubljana (523), and Izola (512). You can visit an internactive version of the map below here and learn more, if wanted, while if you’re interested in more statistics about Slovenia then all our related stories are here.

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If you’re curious about some of the homes on the market, then check our real estate section, while all our stories on property are here.

21 Dec 2019, 10:52 AM

STA, 20 December 2019 - Home price growth accelerated in the third quarter of 2019, with average prices rising by 8.5% year-on-year and 3.1% over the previous quarter on the back of strong growth in prices of used flats, show Statistics Office figures released on Friday.

Prices of second-hand homes rose by 3.1% over the previous quarter and 5.3% on the year before, mostly due to a 6% increase in the prices of houses.

While the prices of used apartments, the biggest single category of real estate, grew at a slower rate, 1.6% at the quarterly level, in Ljubljana they rose by 2.3%.

"Compared to average 2015 prices, used apartments in Ljubljana are now a full 39.7% more expensive," the statisticians said.

New homes were on average 2% more expensive than in the second quarter, but the figure masks a 3.3% quarterly decline in prices of apartments, which was offset by a 12.7% surge in the prices of houses.

Transactions remained brisk as well, as homes worth EUR 320 million changed hands in the three months, just EUR 10 million less than in the second quarter.

There were very few sales of new homes: second-hand homes accounted for EUR 310 million of the total transactions.

More on this data can be found here

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