12. Jan 2022

The real estate market in Serbia and Southeast Europe emerged as the winner of the past two years affected by the pandemic. Commercial (office, retail, logistics) leases have remained stable and apartment prices have risen by 20 to 30 percent, but will stagnate in the next five years. Despite the large number of employees working from home, there is a great demand for innovative and flexible office solutions. Climate change imposes new challenges for the real estate sector and a chance to stand out from the competition. According to the magazine, these are just some of the conclusions reached by the participants at the recently held "Balkans Property Forum 2021," an international conference on real estate in Southeast Europe organized for the third time in Belgrade by the Property Forum and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors of Serbia (RICS).


According to Danijela Ilić, head of the National Association of Valuers of Serbia, residential real estate values in Serbia have risen by 20 to 30 percent, depending on location and size, and whether this will be a trend in the coming years will depend on numerous factors.


"Since the vast majority of apartments (80%) are purchased in cash, the price will most likely be determined by inflation, increases in the cost of construction, construction materials and the lack of personnel on construction sites. Furthermore, Serbia is creating infrastructure in many locations, and where infrastructure is built, real estate prices quickly rise,” according to Ilić.


Uroš Grujić, director of investments at CBRE, does not expect a significant drop in real estate prices or growth. "They are now at a level that will continue for the next three to five years," says Grujić and points out that the commercial real estate – rents for business, retail space, or logistics centers have remained at the pre-pandemic level. According to him, inflation can have a significant worldwide influence.

The Forum paid special attention to the impact of climate change on the real estate market of Southeast Europe in 2022 and the challenges posed by the implementing of EU Green Agendas.

According to Diana Urge-Vorsatz, one of the authors of the recently published UN report on climate change, people in the real estate sector should see the obligations they need to fulfill to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 as a chance, because timely implementation of these changes can put them in a better market position.


"Climate change imposes new risks on the real estate sector, but the fight against them also offers great new opportunities. The Balkans will experience more frequent, warmer and longer heatwaves, stronger storms and more severe droughts in the coming decades. Therefore, the real estate market will probably appreciate heat-resistant and water-efficient buildings, as well as "cold" settlements, much more. "Real estate that is more resistant to storms, torrential floods and power outages, for example, independent buildings, will have a higher value," she pointed out.

Zero net energy buildings will soon become very attractive to buyers and tenants. The companies striving to achieve net-zero emissions will soon strongly favor properties where their energy and operational impact on emissions is close to zero. Therefore, inefficient buildings with high needs for air conditioning and thus carbon emissions are likely to lose value, said Diane Urge-Vorsatz, adding that the use of natural materials for construction and furniture will have a higher market value.

According to Danijela Ilić, Serbia's real estate market cannot match the Green Agenda's objectives in large part because the EU's markets are well-developed and investors have large portfolios of "smart" and "green" real estate.


Photo by: Balkan Property Forum

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