Property Buyers Guide to Croatia

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The Croatian Property Market

Historically, the laws governing the ability of foreign nationals to purchase or otherwise own real estate in Croatia were restrictive. Of course, a great deal of this reflects the reality that through much of its history, Croatia was under the governance of other countries. For a significant part of its history, Croatia has been occupied or otherwise controlled by foreign governments.

In any event, beginning in about 1990, there has been a slow liberalization of the laws pertaining to the purchase and ownership of real estate in Croatia.

Investment Property in Croatia

With the slow liberalization of land ownership laws in Croatia -- which will be discussed further and in more detail later -- some foreign investors have begun to put money into Croatian real estate. However, there has not been a great rush by foreign nationals towards the investment in real property in Croatia.

There remains some uncertainty on the part of investors in regard to the stability of Croatia. Of course, Croatia is located in a region of the world that has been rife with conflict since the disintegration of Yugoslavia.

In any event, and as has been mentioned, some foreign investors have taken to buying some commercial, multi-family residential and holiday real estate holdings over the course of the past ten years.

Residential Real Estate in Croatia - Single Family Properties

The investment by foreign nationals in single family homes in Croatia has been rather limited thus far, since the liberalization of the land ownership laws that commenced in the early 1990s.

Presently, the movement towards foreign nationals in the arena of residential property has been slow and deliberate. For the most part, those foreign nationals that are investing in residential real estate in Croatia are those individuals who have migrated the country (or an in country for at least a portion of the year) for business purposes.

Even though investment in real estate by foreign nationals has been a bit slow on the mark thus far, foreign nationals have taken greater initiatives in investing in other types of business enterprises within that country. Again, for that reason, there are some foreign nationals who have taken steps to own residential, single family dwellings in Croatia.

It is important to note that the Croatian residential real estate market is a buyer's market at this point in time. By this it is meant that a person interested in buying residential property in Croatia can do so in many instances without breaking the bank in the process.

Most industry experts believe that in time a person investing in Croatian residential property today will be buying a property that most certainly will appreciate over time. In other words, many real estate experts who have considered the Croatian market have concluded that buying and investing in residential property in Croatia today will be a solid and profitable investment into the future. It is expected that many more foreign nationals will take up investing in different types of real estate in Croatia in the not too distant future, including single family residences

Apartments in Croatia

Once again, most apartments that are being purchased by foreign nationals in Croatia are being bought by those men and women that are in country for at least part of the year for business purposes. Apartments are turning out to be a practical means by which a foreign national who is finding his or her self in Croatia during part of the year can establish a convenient and comfortable home in that country at a reasonable cost.

For the most part, apartments that are being purchased by foreign nationals are located in the major Croatian locations -- the major commercial centers in that country. As a rule, apartments in Croatia that are being marketed and sold in the major commercial centres in Croatia are in fact being sold for surprisingly reasonable prices.

Since 2000, there has been some movement by foreign investors to purchase apartment buildings. These investors are then turning around and are leasing the units in these buildings to other foreign nationals who find themselves in the country for a more extended period of time for business purposes.

In addition, a number of developers in the major cities in Croatia have constructed apartment buildings and complexes with all of the modern amenities associated with contemporary living. These newly constructed units have gained the attention of foreign nationals who are both investing the developments themselves and who are leasing units in these newly constructed buildings and complexes.

Beyond the construction of new apartment buildings and complexes in the major commercial centres in Croatia, there has also been a sharp increase in the number of such construction projects that are being undertaken in Mediterranean resort communities in Croatia. As will be discussed shortly, Croatia is placing great emphasis on attracting a larger tourist trade now and into the future.

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Holiday Property in Croatia

In recent times, the Croatian government is taking definite steps to attract more tourists and holiday visitors to that country. Indeed, Croatia is attempting to position itself as being the best Mediterranean port of call. The country is capitalizing on the interesting history and lovely climate of the country in its appeals to potential tourists.

To this end, there has been an increase in the number of developments that are undergoing construction in resort communities. This includes not only fashionable hotels but residences that are being marketed to men and women looking to own a holiday home in Croatia.

There have been some early investors who are purchasing these properties with the idea of leasing them out to other holiday travelers in the future. Presently, many of these home owners have found it difficult to keep their holiday home properties intended for lease full during the year. However, these investors are finding that they are having more days of occupancy as time progresses and as more and more international travellers are visiting Croatia.

Specific steps to buying real estate property in Croatia

As has been mentioned, the laws governing the foreign ownership of real estate in Croatia was restrictive. Indeed, through much of the country's history, foreign nationals could not purchase or own real estate in many instances.

Beginning in the 1990s, Croatia began the process of liberalizing its laws governing the ownership of real estate in that country. In that regard, Croatia enacted what is known as a statute of reciprocity when it comes to foreign ownership of real estate in that country.

In this regard, the basic provisions of the laws governing real estate ownership by foreign nationals states that if the country of origin of the foreign citizen allows a Croatian citizen the ability to own real estate, Croatia in turn will allow that foreign national the ability to purchase and own real estate in Croatia.

In Croatia, reciprocity is presumed to exist unless a demonstration is made otherwise. Therefore, generally speaking, the presumption exists that a foreign national can legally and lawfully purchase real estate in Croatia in this day and age.

Understanding that the real estate laws have been liberalized as far as foreign nationals are concerned, there still are many unique hurdles that must be surmounted before a foreign national actually can complete the purchase of real estate in Croatia at this point in time.

With that said, prior to actually executing an agreement involving the purchase of real estate in Croatia, a foreign national must obtain permission from the Croatian Ministry of Foreign affairs. The Ministry must verify the ultimate ownership interests when real estate is being purchased by a foreign national.

On occasion, the review process by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be rather lengthy. The reason for potential delays is found in the fact that in its review process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs involves the Croatian Ministry of Justice and local governmental offices where the real estate in which a foreign national is interested in purchasing is located.

As far as the real estate sales process is concerned, the first step in the process is the execution of a sales contract between the parties. (This agreement is taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with a written petition seeking approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.)

Once all of the bureaucratic activity comes to a conclusion, the final contract between the parties can be entered into and a deed will be prepared for the purchaser. It is important to note that the deed cannot be filed in the Land Books of Croatia by a foreign national without the necessary papers approving the purchase as prepared and issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Deposits are commonly required when the initial agreement for purchase of real estate is executed. The deposit generally is in the amount of 10% of the overall cost of the real estate. When approval issues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when the final contract is executed, the buyer will be responsible for paying the remaining balance due and owing on the purchase price of the subject real estate.

Property Abroad always recommends using a Solicitor or Lawyer

Croatia Mortgages Options

When considering the options for a Croatian mortgage on your overseas property there are a couple of choices to consider:

Do you consider raising finance on your existing property in the UK to cover the whole cost of your purchase abroad? A good idea if the interest rate in the country in question is a lot higher than it is here in the UK as you will pay a lot less in monthly repayments.

Do you secure a mortgage against the property from a local bank in the country of purchase? This can be a wise option especially if the interest rate is lower than our current UK interest rate. Most overseas mortgage / bank lenders will require upto 30% deposit on mortgages. However, you will need to give some thought to how you will service your mortgage payments each month especially if you are not living or earning in that country as you may well lose out on exchanging money each time to cover monthly expenses. Check out our Foreign Currency page to see how you can save money in this example

Some Builders and developers may well offer their own mortgage facilities on their properties for sale. This can be beneficial to both parties depending on the logistics of the mortgage or loan facility. Always check and compare with the two options above before making your final descision.

For more details on Mortgages in Croatia visit our Mortgage page in Croatia section.

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