Ljubljana related

25 Oct 2019, 10:49 AM

STA, 24 October 2019 - After three years of steep growth, real estate prices started to show signs of stagnation in the first half of 2019. Prices of flats are very close to the record figures seen in 2008, while prices of houses are lagging behind significantly, show data from the Mapping and Surveying Authority.

The average price for a second-hand flat in Slovenia in the first half of 2019 was EUR 1,810 per square metre, which was 1.7% more than in the second half of 2018.

Prices of flats have been growing fast since 2015, when a downward trend finally reverted after the 2008 economic and financial crisis.

Alone in the first half of 2018 the average price for a second-hand apartment increased by nearly 7%, the Mapping and Surveying Authority noted on Thursday.

But the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019 saw the growth in prices slowing down to 2%, above all due to stagnation of prices in Ljubljana.

The average price for a second-hand apartment in Ljubljana was at EUR 2,780 per square metre between January and June, which was about 0.5% more than in the second half of 2018. The authority says that prices have stagnated in Ljubljana since the beginning of 2018.

Property prices still rising faster on the coast

A different trend was recorded on the coast, where prices of used flats are growing increasingly fast.

Average price for a second-hand flat on the coast, excluding the town of Koper, was at EUR 2,640, over 7% more than in the second half of 2018. This was also the highest growth rate recorded on the coast since 2015.

Data for Koper show that average price of second-hand apartments was at EUR 2,440, 4% more than in the second half of 2018. Prices of second-hand flats around Ljubljana were at EUR 2,180 (up 5%) and in Kranj they were at EUR 2.060 (up 7%).

Prices of houses have also been growing since 2015, albeit slower than prices of flats. Just like in flats, the biggest increase in prices was recorded in the first half of 2018 and growth of prices started slowing down at the beginning of 2019.

In the first half of the year, the average house sold in Slovenia was 169 square metres big, located on an average plot of 910 square metres, with an average price of EUR 127,000.

This compares to an average price of EUR 128,000 for an average house of 162 square metres located on an average plot of 980 square metres sold in the first half of 2018 and to an average of EUR 120,000 for an average house of 163 square metre on a 890 square metre plot sold in the second half of 2018.

In the first half of the year, prices of houses were highest in Ljubljana, costing EUR 286,000 on average, on the coast (excluding Koper) the average price for a house was EUR 264,000, while houses around Ljubljana cost EUR 193,000 on average.

Construction plots cost EUR 56 on average per square metre, which was about 10% less than in the second half of 2018 and some 3% less than in the first half of 2018.

The number of transactions in the first half of the year reached 17,100, which was 2% more than in the second half of 2018. Deals totalled to EUR 1.33 billion, up 11% over the second half of 2018.

Housing property accounted for 54% of all transactions. Transactions with flats amounted to EUR 432 million or 32% of total transactions, while sales of houses amounted to a total of EUR 290 million or 22% of the total transaction value.

21 Oct 2019, 09:04 AM

STA, 19 October 2019 - Notary fees in Slovenia went up slightly on Saturday after more than a decade. Some of the notary fees have not been adjusted to inflation since 2002 and have also gone down several times, according to the Notary Chamber.

The adjustments took effect on Saturday and were set in cooperation with the Notary Chamber after intensive talks, the Justice Ministry has told the STA.

Notary Chamber head Sonja Kralj told the STA that the changes do not concern only the notary fees but also allow revaluation of services and introduce new definitions of individual notary services stemming from the class action act and family law.

In Slovenia, people most often turn to notaries for drafting of contracts and verification of signatures, according to Kralj.

Signature verification fees depend on the value of the contract. For example, the fee for verification of signatures on a contract worth up to EUR 4,590 will increase by a euro to EUR 6.

The drafting of a contract worth between EUR 114,750 and EUR 367,200 has so far cost EUR 275 and will from now on cost EUR 314.

Below is an overview of adjustments of some of the other notary fees in EUR.

Service				          old fee     new fee
------------------------------------------------------------------
Verification of document copies (per page)    1.5          2


Written legal opinion (per page)              23           26


Access to the the property register,
cadastre or the company register              23           26


Signature verification based on contract value

value of contract subject                   old fee      new fee
------------------------------------------------------------------
up to EUR 4,590                                5            6
EUR 4,590-20,655                              14           16
EUR 20,655-68,850                             23           26
EUR 68,850-150,000                            46           52

Source: Notary Fee

In contracts exceeding EUR 150,000, fees increase by EUR 11 (EUR 10 before) for every EUR 50,000 in contract value. However, in total, the fee cannot increase by more than EUR 114 (EUR 100 before).

24 Sep 2019, 12:31 PM

STA, 23 September 2019 - Sales of new housing properties have dropped to the lowest level on record in the second quarter of 2019, according to data released by the Statistics Office. Meanwhile, more than 1,360 second-hand houses were sold this second quarter, the most since the second quarter of 2017. In total, sales reached highest value since 2017.

New flats are on the other side of the spectrum, as only 42 were sold, the least since new real estate sales have been recorded. But faring even worse were new houses, with only 18 of them being sold in the second quarter.

The prices of new housing properties dropped by 3.1% over the first quarter. Prices of new houses went down by 9.3%, while apartments grew by 0.3% after growing by 9% in the first quarter.

On the yearly level, prices of new real estate increased by 3.6%: flats went up by 9.3%, while houses were 6.3% cheaper.

Prices of second hand real estate went up by 1.5% over the previous quarter; houses by 2.5% and apartments by 1%. Compared to the same period last year, prices of second-hand properties were up 2.1%; apartments increased by 2.3% and houses by 1.7%.

In total, EUR 330 million deals were closed, the most since the second quarter of 2017, when the figure reached EUR 354 million.

Prices have gone up by 1.3% in the second quarter compared to the first and have grown by 2.2% compared to the same period last year.

02 Sep 2019, 18:04 PM

We’ll be honest, our eyes landed on this property because we know where it is, in a building that we’ve long wondered what the apartments were like inside. Are they all as clean and bright as this one? I don’t know, but as the following pictures show, there are some very nice homes in centre of Ljubljana.

The pin marks the street, not the exact location of the apartment

This one appears to be in a courtyard on Vegova, the one that starts in Kongresni trg with the beautiful university building, goes on to the music school, continues with the National Library, and ends in French Revolution Square, with the heart of the Ljubljana Festival, Križanke. It’s a very nice area.

The apartment is available for rent, with the price being €1,050 a month based on a contract of at least 6 months, utilities not included. It’s being handled by Think Slovenia, with offices not far away, who described the property as follows:

Spacious renovated apartment in a fantastic quiet, central Old Town location on Vegova street next to the National Library and a few steps from Križanke and Congress square. The apartment lies on the first floor of a charming, historic, old town building with internal courtyard and parking area.

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The apartment comprises an entry room, spacious bathroom, separate toilet, bright open plan kitchen with living area with windows and two large bedrooms. The bathroom and toilet have underfloor heating, the rest of the apartment has radiators. There is a small storage room in the basement belonging to the apartment.

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The location on Vegova street on one hand offers easy access to numerous excellent restaurants, bars and all the attractions of the Old Town, whilst on the other it offers very easy access to the Ljubljana south ring road. The apartment is rented out furnished and has been recently renovated to a high standard.

You can see more of this, and other properties for sale or rent all over the country, at Think Slovenia

30 Aug 2019, 13:00 PM

STA, 29 August 2019 - While the volume of construction work in Slovenia in the first half of the year was up by 14% year-on-year, certain statistical indicators suggest the trend may reverse. Major builders expect the volume of business to be similar to last year's, but are cautious as they would like to see more stability in state investments.

The volume of construction work has increased, but the statistics on building permits suggests that the trend could reverse in the near future, as the number of permits has been dropping steadily over the past three years.

In the first half of 2019, the number of approved permits was down by 10% year-on-year, with the number of permits for residential buildings increasing, and the number of permits for non-residential buildings significantly dropping.

The latest business sentiment data for the sector show a deterioration both on the monthly and annual levels, but the indicator is still above the long-term average. Construction companies have decreased their prospects of hiring, while expectations related to orders are somewhat more optimistic.

Major builders such as Kolektor Koling, Kolektor CPG, CGP and Pomgrad have confirmed for the STA that they are cautious regarding future operations. They expect this year to be similar to last, and are ready for a potential cooling of the market.

They would like to see more stability on the market, including by the state embarking on major projects, especially in road infrastructure.

Kolektor Koling and Kolektor CPG say that there is demand for construction work and that this will be the case at least until the end of the year. They complain about the growth of costs and prices of input material and a shortage of qualified staff.

The members of the construction arm of the Kolektor conglomerate are currently building a new technological centre of the national grid operator ELES, upgrading the Rimske Toplice-Laško railway and reconstructing the railway infrastructure in the Croatian port of Rijeka.

For 2020, they expect the current rate of growth to be maintained, but are cautious about many risk factors, so they will constantly monitor the situation and be ready for a quick response to possible changes.

Kolektor Koling and Kolektor CPG admit that the construction sector in the country is highly dependent on public projects, such as the new Koper-Divača railway line, the Third Development Axis expressway and the second tube of the Karavanke tunnel.

"If the state stays true to its commitments and provides for a continuity of demand, then we can expect a stable and healthy growth also after 2020," they assessed.

The company CGP currently operates at full capacity, with its ongoing projects including a multi-storey car park in Koper, a high-end residential and hotel complex in Ljubljana and a Lidl logistics centre in Arja Vas, among others.

"We intend to end this year on a par with the previous year," said the company whose projects in the coming year include an Ikea shopping mall in Ljubljana and construction of apartments for the public Housing Fund.

"In the coming years we see a lack of projects mostly in the field of reconstruction and construction of public roads," CGP has told the STA, pointing a finger to the government.

Pomgrad is also operating at full capacity this year, with its ongoing projects including the upgrade of the Pesnica-Šentilj and Poljčane-Slovenska Bistrica rail sections and elderly homes near Ptuj and in Croatia's Osijek.

Together with GH Holding and VGP Drava Ptuj of Slovenia and the Croatian utility company Bikarac, they have signed a EUR 26.5 million deal to design and build a waste management centre for the city of Šibenik and its surroundings.

According to Pomgrad management board member Boris Sapač, the company expects to sign some more major contracts soon. But he complained about "public procurement procedures being too slow, which makes it hard to make plans".

The company has noticed a standstill in investment in state roads, which is something it does not welcome. "The volume of investment or tenders should be stable. This would also be good for road infrastructure, which is in a poor condition."

Sapač said that builders needed stable conditions instead of steep annual growth rates and deep falls. "This is why we are cautious optimists in our company. Excessive growths are not sustainable in our sector."

21 Aug 2019, 09:33 AM

Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, SURS, has released figures showing that construction firms performed €2,571 million of construction work in 2018, an increase of 29% on in 2017.

Of this, €1,351 million of construction work was done on buildings (up 35% on 2017) and €1,220 million on civil engineering projects (up 23%).

Most of this construction work was performed on non-residential buildings (€906 million, or 38% more than in 2017).

You can find more about this data at SURS, while all our stories on property in Slovenia are here, while all our statistics are here

13 Aug 2019, 09:32 AM

STA, 12 August 2019 - More than 60 real estate agencies asked the Constitutional Court on Monday to review a recently adopted bill that limits commission fees for leasing real estate and other costs which real estate agencies can charge their clients.

According to Boštjan Udovič from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), the 66 agencies involved want the top court to review and stay provisions limiting service commissions.

They argue the bill encroaches on the right to engage in free enterprise and the right to property, meaning it also violates the European Convention on Human Rights as well as EU law.

"The legislator failed to demonstrate any public benefit that would justify such an intervention in the rights of the plaintiffs. The goals allegedly pursued are general and have to do with housing policy and not with property brokerage," Udovič told the STA.

The legislative changes, originally passed on 11 July and again a week later following a National Council veto, entered in to force on 10 August and protect tenants against paying commissions for services provided by a real estate agency which was hired by the landlord.

They also introduced cap on commissions that can be charged by apartment rental agencies; the capped amount corresponds to one monthly rent, but should not go lower than 150 euro.

21 Jul 2019, 12:39 PM

Where did you live before Slovenia, and what brought you here?

Before Slovenia, my husband and I were living in London. Despite both of us working in the city, we always had a hand in property development. In 2004, when many countries joined the EU, we started looking at our options to invest aboard. We stumbled across Slovenia on a map and were mesmerized by its locations. We knew straight away this would be a great place to have a vacation home as its proximity to all the other countries and small size made getting away relatively easy. This was going to be our base camp for many adventures. Little did we know at the time that we would call this place home for the next 12 years.

A television interview with Jade van Baaren

How did you start looking for work here, and what was that experience like?

I think I came here with an idea of what I would do, but this quickly changed. I think that you have to be willing to be flexible and find what the country lacks and what you can offer. I have noticed with a few people that I know that they also came here with big ideas of what would work, but soon found out that they had to do a bit if soul searching and work hard to make a go of it here.

What’s your business, and how long have you been running it?

I am a renovation project manager and also run JVB Designworks. A company that consists of architects and design consultants. We run projects from start to finish for our clients, offering full renovations and design with a turnkey finish.

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What was your experience of starting a business here?

Like any new business it was a lot of hard work with a strong learning curve. I had to get the right people in the right place for it all to run smoothly. Now, after many years, we are reaching this point. However, in the construction and design business you will always encounter challenges, but that’s what I love about the job.

What kind of problems can you help people solve?

After many years in the business I have a lot of knowledge, not just of construction and design issues, but also in finding out who the client is and what they are really looking to get out of the project. Most of my projects are for the rental market, so I also have to know what the market is wanting, expecting and needs. Many of our projects are in idyllic but remote spots in Slovenia. These can be the most breathtaking places to relax and enjoy nature in all its grandeur, but can also be the most challenging spots for construction, electrical works, plumbing and water.

So most of my projects come with challenges, but for me it’s like an unsolved puzzle. There is always a solution, the trick is to approach problems from many different angles.

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How are you qualified to solve these problems?

It takes a big team to solve all these problems, and I can say that I have throughout the years found the best people in their fields to help us solve various issues. I’ve been working in Slovenia on renovations for 12 years now, starting with our own place when we first moved here. I have architects, engineers and construction specialist, all part of the JVB Designworks team who play a role in the problem-solving process. However, I think my own many years working and living in so many different countries have given me the ability to see things from many different angles, and I would say that problem solving is one of my biggest strengths.

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How has the business changed over the years, and what are your plans for the future?

Well it’s grown, that would be the biggest change so far. More clients investing in Slovenia are now interested in restoring older properties, which is my specialty.

With regard to the future, I have lots of ideas in the pipeline that are not ready to be shown yet, but I’m always just looking to run things more efficiently, keeping up with the latest eco-technology so these places can run better and be more affordable. And always getting to know the rental market better.

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Where can people find out more about your work?

My Facebook page has all my latest and greatest projects. I like to often show off these magical places I get to work in and the fun side of renovations. We love before and after pictures, as the transformations is huge. It’s hard to keep this up on my website, so Facebook is the best place to view all current projects.

What was your experience of culture shock in Slovenia?

It was very hard at first to live here. I found that the people where naturally suspicious of our intentions. Slovenian’s are very family oriented, and as an outsider it is very hard to break into social circles. Coming from a vibrant city like London, where we had a big social scene with lots going on, and then moving here where we had little interaction with anyone – I think that was the biggest shock for me, and something I didn’t think about when moving here. I have moved many times in my life, more than most, and never came across such a closed culture.

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What are some things from Slovenia that you think your home country could benefit from?

I think Slovenians approach to conservation and environmental issues is something that a lot of countries could befit from. It is true that Slovenia is a small place, and this can be a benefit when implementing environmental measures. They love the outdoors and have great respect for nature.

And what are some thing from your home country that you think Slovenia could benefit from?

I would like to see the Slovenians have a bit more of an open mind and be more trusting, as I think this is just a better way to live.

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Have you learned Slovene?

This is a touchy subject. I have been trying to learn Slovenia for years. I have taken courses, but to be honest starting and running my business and having a family have taken priority. If it came easy that would be another story, but It does not, and I would have to spend a lot of time to perfect it. I can get by but it’s very basic.

What things frustrate you about life in Slovenia?

I kind of love to call it SLOWvenia. In contrast to places like NYC and London, were life runs at a very fast pace and its expected to have immediate results, things just move at a different pace here, a slower pace. That used to frustrate me, but after 12 years I have adapted to this way of life, almost.

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What things delight you?

The quality of life for my children. I know they are in the best place in the world for growing up, growing up, learning values and most of all they are in a safe environment

Do you think you’ll stay in Slovenia for the rest of your life?

Well I would never say that about any place due to my history. But so far I’ve lived longer in Slovenia than anywhere else.

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Would you advise a friend to move to Slovenia?

Not if you’re young, when you should go out and be pushed around by the big players, get experience, be challenged, work hard. Then come here and raise a family. Be a big fish in a small pond.

What do you wish someone had told you before you moved here?

Nothing, or else I don’t think I would have come if I’d known how difficult it was going to be. Many times, we almost packed it in. I would say the first six years I was very close to jumping on a plane and getting out of here. But now I am doing what I love, and my family is happy and healthy.

As well as the links throughout this story, you can see more of Jade and her team’s work at JVB Designwork’s website.

16 Jul 2019, 16:00 PM

STA, 15 July 2019 - A bill to limit commission fees for leasing real estate and other costs which real estate agencies can charge their clients was vetoed by the National Council on Monday.

The veto comes as real estate agencies have vehemently protested the bill and have threatened to petition the Constitutional Court.

Under the changes to the act on real estate agency tabled by the Left, landlords would fully pay the commission fee charged by a real estate agency for a service commissioned by them.

This means tenants would no longer shoulder part of the fee, tackling one of the biggest complaints by individuals - the fact that tenants pay a fee for a service they have not commissioned.

A cap would also be imposed on the commission fee that can be charged by apartment rental agencies to landlords. The capped amount would correspond to one monthly rent but would not be lower than 150 euros.

The restrictions apply only to rental to individuals, business-to-business transactions are exempted.

Councillor Mitja Gorenšček, who led the veto initiative, argued today that the proponents of regulation should be targeting other fields on the market and not an area that the average persons encounters once or never in their life.

The Left's Luka Mesec begged to differ, arguing Slovenia had not developed a long-term flat renting market, with most tenants signing 12-month contracts and then being forced to pay for a service they did not commission every few years.

While the Left argued one of the goals of the bill was to enable people affordable housing, Gorenšček said the real problem was insufficient supply and that this was where the state should intervene with measures. He however also echoed the claims of businesses that the bill was an encroachment on the free market.

Environmental and Spatial Planning Ministry State Secretary Marko Maver however also came out in the defence of the bill, saying it followed housing policy guideline. He said it would increase accessibility and also encourage long-term contracts.

Meanwhile, the bill also introduces EU rules in acquiring qualifications for a real estate agent; Slovenia had already received a warning about a delay from the European Commission.

The Left is confident the bill receive the absolute majority needed in the National Assembly to override the veto.

All our stories on property in Slovenia are here

12 Jul 2019, 16:19 PM

STA, 12 July 2019 - A bill to limit commission fees for leasing real estate and other costs which real estate agencies can charge their clients was endorsed by the National Assembly on Friday amidst protests by real estate agencies, which have threatened to petition the Constitutional Court.

Under the changes to the act on real estate agency tabled by the Left, landlords would fully pay the commission fee charged by a real estate agency for a service commissioned by them.

This means tenants would no longer shoulder part of the fee, tackling one of the biggest complaints by individuals - the fact that tenants pay a fee for a service they have not commissioned.

A cap would also be imposed on the commission fee that can be charged by apartment rental agencies to landlords. The capped amount would correspond to one monthly rent but would not be lower than 150 euros.

The restrictions apply only to rental to individuals, business-to-business transactions are exempted.

The Left believes tenants in apartments leased at market prices should benefit the most since they will no longer have to pay commission fees for the services they have not commissioned and since landlords would be encouraged to rent out their apartments for longer periods.

The bill also introduces EU rules in acquiring qualifications for a real estate agent; Slovenia had already received a warning about a delay from the European Commission.

While the motion received wholehearted support from the government and the Consumer Protection Association, businesses have been up in arms over what they say is encroachment on the free market.

Representatives of real estate agents, who even took out whole-page ads in newspapers to protest the bill, said it was inadmissible for anyone to limit the price of a service available on the free market.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) has said there is enough competition on the market and citizens are not obliged to use this service.

Fewer than 50% of real estate transactions are made through real estate agents, which GZS sees as proof that tenants are not forced to shoulder the commission fee for the service.

The GZS's section of real estate agents has said it will report Slovenia to the European Commission and probably ask the Constitutional Court to review the bill.

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