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News: Opportunities abound in Bratislava

Wed, 07 Nov 07

Demand for homes still considerably exceeds the supply in Bratislava, according to Slovakia Investment Property...

The result of this is the steady growth of apartment prices, and there doesn't seem to be an end to this trend in sight. To capitalize on the strength of the local home buyers' demand, Slovak as well as increasingly foreign (Austrian, Israeli, Czech, Dutch) developers are preparing new residential projects to cater to all segments of the Slovak market.

But which projects - and properties - are most likely to appeal to the average Bratislava home buyer? If there is such a thing as the most popular type of property, how does it look like?

Well, to start off, it would be an apartment. Most housing in Bratislava (and to some extent also other Slovak cities) is represented by apartment buildings, apart from properties on the outskirts of the city and in surrounding satellite towns where family houses are most common.

City locations most popular

Naturally, certain city locations are more sought-after than others. If budget was no issue, the ranks of desirability (from the most to the least desirable) might be as follows:

  • Stare Mesto (BA I district/Old Town)
  • Koliba (BA III)
  • Nivy and Ruzinov (BA II)
  • Nove Mesto, Kramare (both BA III)
  • Prievoz (BA II)
  • Karlova Ves and Dlhe Diely (BA IV)
  • Raca (BA III)
  • Petrzalka (BA V)
  • Dubravka (BA IV)
  • Vrakuna (BA II)
  • Vajnory (BA III)
  • Dolne Hony (BA II).

When it comes to family houses just outside Bratislava, popular villages and satellite towns are Zahorska Bystrica, Stupava, Svaty Jur, Pezinok, Cierna Voda, etc. In these locations properties are mainly houses and demand for apartments is extremely low.

Prices, not surprisingly, also play a significant role for many home buyers, and often cause them to compromise on location and/or size.

That is why generally, the most in demand apartment by the average buyer has one bedroom and around 50- 65 m2. Also popular (depending on type of buyer) are two bedroom flats (especially around 80 m2 rather than larger) and three bedroom family flats, and for young single buyers studios (40-45 m2).

Layouts increasingly important

Apartments over 120 m2 are less in demand - apart from exclusive locations and prestigious high-end buildings or developments. Generally, the less sought-after and cheaper location, the harder to sell are large properties, while in the best neighbourhoods even flats of 200 m2 can usually find buyers easily.

Layouts are increasingly important; Slovaks have been used to the typically poor layouts of the communist built blocks of flats, and are appreciative of modern, practical designs of (most) new developments. A very popular feature for local buyers is a balcony or terrace. In new buildings underground parking is a must with most buyers in Bratislava.

A very large proportion of new home buyers in the Slovak capital are young people and couples in their mid to late twenties, often using mortgages supported by their well paying jobs. Those who have recently moved to Bratislava from other regions often opt for cheaper, communist built flats, starting from smallest sizes. Large properties tend to be bought by older buyers, in their 30s and 40s, often with family. These are also the buyers who tend to buy cash in many cases, using their savings.

Increasingly there are also foreign investors purchasing in Bratislava to take advantage of the healthy and fast moving market. While most Slovaks are buying a home to live in, investors only have returns in mind, hence the criteria are based on ease of letting and resale and of course price/value.

So what about the prices?

In the five districts of Bratislava, prices are broadly along the following lines:

BA I: 70,000 - 150,000 SKK/m2 BA II: 45,000 - 90,000 SKK/m2 BA III: 45,000 - 100,000 SKK/m2 BA IV: 35,000 - 60,000 SKK/m2 BA V: 35,000 - 60,000 SKK/m2

(for SKK conversion rates please see www.xe.com/ucc)

The top ranges represent mainly flats in new developments (in such cases prices include 19% VAT), while at the bottom end, its communist built housing estates (apart from BA I district where properties are mainly classic pre-war constructions).

With a fast growing economy, high purchasing power and Slovak buyers' thirst for better quality homes, it's unlikely that  prices will stay at the current level for long.

The healthy market conditions, ease of resale and steady capital appreciation are the main reasons investors regard Bratislava and Slovakia as one of the best property opportunities of today.

For more information, please visit: http://www.slovakiainvestmentproperty.com

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