STA, 3 January 2019 - The construction sector in Slovenia expanded for the second year in succession in 2018 and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) expects the growth to continue in 2019 although at a slightly slower pace.
The value of construction work rose by 18% year-on-year in 2017, while it grew by 21.5% in the first ten months of 2018, data from the Statistics Office show.
"The growth was expected because the scope of construction at the end of 2017 was low despite the high growth of the sector," the head of the Chamber of Construction and Construction Material Industries at the GZS, Jože Renar, told the STA.
The value of work on civil engineering in the first ten months of 2018 rose by 21.7% from the same period a year ago. Work is under way both on road and railway infrastructure.
"Intensive road maintenance work is under way to make up for the backlog of recent years when the state reduced road maintenance to far below minimum ... Extensive renovation work is also under way on railways," Renar said.
The construction company Pomgrad, which built the Magna Steyr paint shop near Maribor and is currently working on three major infrastructural projects with partners, recorded good results in 2018. Its consolidated revenue for the year is expected to reach some EUR 160m.
The company is focussing on exports, having built a hotel in the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia and a housing complex in Sweden in the past year.
"We made a big step primarily in internationalisation and have several important deals under way abroad. We also finished several major construction projects in the domestic market, among them the new Magna factory in Hoče, which we successfully built in an extremely short period of time," CEO Iztok Polanič told the STA.
Construction of buildings expanded by 20.8% in the first ten months of 2018. "Construction of buildings is on the rise, both for private and business buildings, where unlike in the civil engineering projects private investors prevail," Renar said.
The GZS expects growth to continue in 2019 but it is not expected to be double digit as in the last couple of years. "We're counting on growth in civil engineering section and in buildings to be comparable," said Renar.
Although Slovenia's economy has been expanding rapidly and all construction companies in the country are very busy, the construction sector faces many challenges and problems, Polanič said.
"A key challenge is definitely the lack of engineering staff, a problem virtually all construction companies in Slovenia are struggling with.
"Another challenge is the unpredictability of projects and investments, which makes long-term planning in construction extremely difficult," the Pomgrad CEO said.
According to Polanič, the company will this year focus on infrastructural and industrial projects, it also counts on several new calls for applications in roads and railway infrastructure.
"We are starting the new year quite busy and will start working on a few new projects ... It's important for our company to win projects that occupy the entire Pomgrad system," he said.
According to Renar, the GZS expects the state to adhere to the international rules on tenders in the future and avoid "risky non-transparent contracts."
The state should prevent unfair competition by companies that are not bound to respect the collective bargaining agreement of the constructions sector, he said.
Related: All our stories tagged "property" can be found here
STA, 21 December 2018 - Prices of residential properties in Slovenia kept rising in the third quarter of the year but transactions were few and prices of newly built homes fell, data from the Statistics Office show.
Prices of all residential properties in the third quarter increased by 1.9% on the quarter before and by 15.1% year-on-year.
Prices of newly built homes fell by 15.8% over the previous quarter and only 63 newly built residential properties were sold in the third quarter.
Prices of new flats dropped by as much as 19% quarter-on-quarter and prices of new family houses decreased by 1.5%.
However, year-on-year, prices of newly built flats were up 10.1% and prices of newly built family houses were 9.4% higher.
With 1,951 existing residential properties sold in the third quarter, prices of existing homes increased by 4.1% over the previous quarter.
Prices of existing flats in Ljubljana decreased by 1.8% in the third quarter, but were still 8.9% higher year-on-year.
Prices of existing flats in the rest of the country went up by 1.9% quarter-on-quarter, rising by 10.6% year-on-year.
Prices of existing family houses rose by 11.4% from the quarter before and by as much as 26.3% year-on-year.
A report by the Surveying and Mapping Authority, also issued today, showed that the number and value of real estate transactions in the first half of the year fell from record figures in 2017 but were still high.
The prices were still below the record levels of 2008, but inched very close after strong growth in the past year.
Around 17,500 real estate transactions were recorded between January and June, up from 17,400 in the second half of 2017 but down from 19,300 in the first half of 2017.
The combined value of real estate transactions in the first half of the year was EUR 1.16bn, up from EUR 1.19bn in the second half of 2017 but down from the record EUR 1.21bn in H1 2017.
Two-thirds of the transactions involved residential properties, flats (38%) and houses (26.5%). Commercial and industrial real estate represented 15% and building plots 10%.
Transactions in farmland and forests accounted for 3% of all transactions, while other types of real estate represented 7%.
Average price of a second-hand flats in the first half of this year was 6% up from the previous six months and 11% higher from the first half of 2017.
Compared to 2015 when prices bottomed out, apartment prices were up by 22%, while average prices were still 4% bellow all time highs of 2008. Prices of houses were 10% below the peak.
High demand has been driving up prices of residential properties in Ljubljana and on the coast with the average price of existing flats in Ljubljana rising above 2008 levels to EUR 2,770 per square metre.
High prices in the capital city, which accounts for one out of four apartments sold in the country, also drove up average prices of second-hand apartments in Slovenia, which rose to EUR 1,750 per square metre.
Trading in commercial properties has begun to stagnate and prices have been stagnating for the past three years.
Most transactions involved office space, with existing office space transactions accounting for two-thirds of all transactions in commercial properties.
Trading in building land has stabilised but prices are up. Most of the plots were bought for family houses. More than 20% of the plots were sold in Ljubljana and its surroundings.
More data on this topic can be seen at SURS
STA, 27 November 2018 - MPs failed to pass in a re-vote on Tuesday a reform bill on real estate agencies which was to improve the legal certainty of consumers as well as realtors. The upper chamber vetoed the motion in March, claiming that it excessively regulated the field.
While today's vote ended 42:10 in favour of the bill, absolute majority of 46 out of 90 MPs would have been needed in the re-vote.
Only four of the five coalition parties supported the bill, while the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) did not present its view.
The Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), SocDems, Pensioners Party (DeSUS) and the Modern Centre Party (SMC) said that the bill would protect consumers and provide for the legal safety of all stakeholders on the real estate market.
But the opposition parties New Slovenia (NSi) and the National Party (SNS) agreed with the objections to the bill voiced by real estate agencies, who argued that the bill would restrain agencies too much.
In contrast, the opposition Left opposed it for allegedly not bringing enough regulation.
All our real estate in Slovenia stories are here
The opposition Democrats (SDS) did not present its arguments.
The National Council, the upper chamber of parliament, vetoed the bill in March at the initiative of a group of councillors led by Mitja Gorenšček, the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS).
The bill was initiated by the GZS's real estate agencies section but after it was amended at parliamentary committee level, the group turned against it, saying that it envisaged excessive regulation by capping the provision in real estate deals with individuals at 4% (which is in line with the existing law), by limiting provisions in rental deals to one-month's rent and by setting the maximum costs in case of no deal at EUR 150.
STA, 5 November 2018 - A study presented in the capital on Monday shows that apartments in Ljubljana are becoming increasingly out of reach for an average household due to several factors. The average age of apartments is increasing, as there are too few new housing projects, while the rental market is unregulated, the authors of the study warned.
Carried out by the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences and the Institute of Spatial and Housing Policies, the survey is based on statistical data, an on-line survey and interviews with experts in real estate.
It shows that the average age of apartments is increasing and becoming inadequate considering the structure of the population, as the number of single or two-member households is going up due to the population ageing.
Despite this fact, the prices of apartments in Ljubljana continue to grow and apartments are becoming increasingly hard to afford.
According to the study, the prices are growing at a faster pace than wages, with the average prices increasing by 26% in the 2011-2017 period, and wages increasing only by 5%.
Špela Perner of the institute noted that in 2014, 84 average monthly wages were needed to buy a 50-square metre apartment in Ljubljana, with his number increasing to 101 in 2017.
Only 16% of the apartments in the capital were built after 1991 and an average resident of Ljubljana has less usable living space than the average Slovenian.
More than half of the 900 surveyed people would like to live in a different apartment, mostly because they believe their apartments are too small, they want to be independent from other household members, because they are too expensive or inadequate.
The study also shows that apartment construction significantly lags behind the growth of population. Between 2008 and 2017, the number of residents in Ljubljana was up by 15,500, while the number of apartments was up by 3,300.
The authors have estimated that the apartment shortage in Ljubljana in 2025 will stand at 16,000, noting that the local authorities have not been investing enough funds in housing, even though they invested more than other municipalities do.
The number of non-profit apartments is also too low considering the number of people eligible, with the local authorities being forced to subsidise the leasing of such apartments at a 40% rate.
The authors have thus recommended to the Ljubljana Municipality to demand from the state to take certain measures, including additional taxation of empty apartments and stricter supervision of the rental market.
The municipality should earmark more funds for the construction of public non-profit apartments, support the development of housing cooperatives and prevent apartments becoming an investment, including by limiting short-term rentals to tourists.
Harsh winters, the need for repairs, and poor infrastructure turned out to be nasty surprises for those who bought from afar.
STA, 25 September 2018 - Real estate prices continued to rise in the second quarter of the year, but data released by the Statistics Office on Tuesday also show that the lowest number of new housing units on record have been sold in this period.
STA, 18 September - Several land transactions made by the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) are under police investigation and subject to an audit, including the sale of land for a plant of the Japanese Sumitomo Rubber Industries, news portal Siol.net reported on Tuesday. BAMC later said it was not a suspect and was cooperating with the investigators.
STA, 13 August 2018 - The Slovenian real estate market keeps booming after another record-breaking year in terms of transactions and prices in 2017. As a result, the construction of new apartments is in full swing around the country. The central bank sees no signs of risks to financial stability as yet.
STA, 2 August 2018 - Last year was a record year for the Slovenian real estate market, with some 36,000 deals being made, according to a report by the Surveying and Mapping Authority. Sales reached EUR 2.3bn in total, matching the record amount from 2007.