More and more foreigners are deciding to buy real estate in Serbia. Banks are even granting home loans to non-residents, but with slightly higher interest rates than to Serbian citizens.
Belgrade has also become attractive for foreigners, who mostly buy in cash, although banks now offer special loans for non-residents.
“As for the documentation, it is more or less the same for our foreign clients as for Serbian citizens applying here, in Serbia; we assess the risk according to income and according to employment contracts. As for loan collateral, it is real estate that clients buy with a mandatory downpayment,” says Velibor Savić, director of API Bank.
The pandemic-induced does not seem to have had a great impact on construction: real estate turnover increased by 2% last year and the volume of construction by about 8%. Prices per square metre of housing are rising and three out of four flats sold are bought for cash.
“This is regulated by law and only citizens of countries that have reciprocity with the Republic of Serbia can own real estate in Serbia, for example citizens of Macedonia, Iran, India cannot…Right now, between 10 and 15% of our buyers are non-residents,” says Bojan Bulatović, sales director at the Belgrade Waterfront development.
“Mostly Russians and Chinese buy real estate abroad. Russians, for example, can now also borrow in Serbia on similar terms to those they receive in their own country; we also offer luxury flats tailored to their needs,” Bulatović adds.
All this raises the question of whether it is realistic, considering the current regulations, to expect Serbian cities to have the cultural diversity typical of metropolises like New York or London.
“We don’t have a rule that allows for residence if the money spent in the country exceeds a certain amount. 70% per cent of emerging and developed countries in the world have such regulations. A lot of foreigners decide to buy and invest in real estate in those countries because they are interested in having residence there, for their children to go to school there or to get medical treatment. This is especially true for people from third-world countries,” explains Nenad Djordjevic, chairman of the board of the Cluster agency.
The Greeks have a programme called ‘the golden visa’ that guarantees permanent residence to those who invest more than 250,000 euros in real estate. The Americans grant permanent residence to buyers of real estate worth more than one million dollars.
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