Ljubljana related

08 Mar 2021, 14:21 PM

STA, 8 March 2021 - A new hospitality bill that has recently been sent into public consultation brings stricter rules for renting out flats and houses to tourists on platform such as Airbnb. Service providers will have to get registered, have an identification number, and obtain certain permits, while facing high fines for breaking the new rules.

The Economy Ministry has drafted the hospitality industry bill following a growing trend in short-term renting of private property to tourists in recent years.

Over 9,700 pieces of flats or houses in Slovenia were advertised on Airbnb in 2019, generating EUR 66.5 million in revenue, it said.

The figure compares to the combined 2019 revenue generated by Slovenian tourism companies Istrabenz Hoteli and Terme Krka with their 17 top-class hotels, the ministry added.

There has been a lot of rule-breaking in short-term rental business, while property owners do not have to get a permit from other owners in multi-apartment buildings.

The new trend has also a negative impact on the competitiveness of other, traditional accommodation, while also affecting housing policy in major Slovenian tourist towns.

The draft bill allows short-term renting of own or leased homes or holiday homes with up to 15 beds up to 30 days to a physical person as landlord, a sole proprietor as an individual, to an association or a legal person.

The provider of the service must obtain a permit from the municipality in which the property is located, while for two- or multi-apartment buildings, the municipality can limit the period in which such rental is possible.

The service provider who rents out own or leased property to tourists in a multi-apartment building up to 90 days a year and has up to five beds will be obliged to obtain consent from 75% of the apartment building owners.

Providers of the service will also have to get registered in the country's business register, the main public database of all businesses.

They will have to get a special identification number for marketing purposes. The number will not be public, known only to the service provider and oversight bodies.

An individual or a legal entity will face a fine of EUR 4,000-10,000 for failing to obtain a municipal permit or a permit from other property owners.

A fine of EUR 40,000-100,000 is meanwhile envisaged for a legal entity running a public booking platform for not enabling rental service providers to display their identification number.

The draft bill, sent into a public consultation period at the end of last week, also relaxes the strict definitions of individual types of hospitality establishments.

The change was promoted by the emergence of new types of accommodation such as glamping or other innovative types of outdoor accommodation and by the fact that the line between establishments offering food and drink, such as a cafe, confectionery, snack bar, is often blurred while still heavily regulated by law. This at times has a negative impact on the development of innovative products.

If the new bill is adopted, hospitality establishments will be able to set their working time on their own, while municipalities will still have an option of limiting it, yet only in the period between 10pm and 6am.

11 Jan 2021, 17:27 PM

STA, 11 January 2020 - The government expects that up to 10,000 new public rental apartments could be available within five to ten years under recently adopted housing act changes. "The key objective of housing policy is to secure more public rental flats," Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak told the press on Monday.

The amendments to the housing act, adopted by the government last week and submitted to parliament, allow the national housing fund and municipal housing funds to borrow more.

Vizjak expects the new rules would mean an extra EUR 200 million in fresh borrowing, with an additional EUR 100 million coming from the EU's recovery and resilience fund.

According to him, this will be quite a handful for the housing funds, and anyway "we don't want to exaggerate, we want sustainable growth".

While the extra borrowing will lead to new housing developments, a second major provision of the new act would establish a public service acting as an intermediary and manager of rental homes.

Vizjak said this public service would manage rental flats on behalf of owners who are currently reluctant to rent out their properties due to risks.

In this scheme, tenants would pay non-profit rent, while some of the gap to commercial rent would be covered by the state.

"We estimate 20% of flats are unoccupied in Slovenia. In Ljubljana alone it is estimated there are 25,000," Vizjak said.

The government expects about 100 apartments would enter this scheme in 2022, rising to 500 the year after and up to 2,000 per year beyond 2025.

Arguably the key measure of the bill is the gradual increase in non-profit rent over three years from EUR 2.63 to EUR 3.50 [ed. per m2?] in a system of points assigned to a property.

Non-profit rent has remained unchanged since 2007 and no longer allowed housing funds to earn a return on their assets that they would then reinvest into new housing.

To offset any negative impact on those with the lowest incomes, state subsidies will increase.

"This means the measure does not undermine the socio-economic status of the weakest while allowing housing funds ... to continue building non-profit flats."

Vizjak said these were the most urgent changes to housing legislation, while the government will embark on a comprehensive overhaul of housing legislation within a year.

21 Nov 2020, 12:00 PM

STA, 20 November 2020 - The suspension of the real estate services in the spring lockdown has had no impact on property prices since the housing market was swiftly revived after the restrictions were lifted. The prices even went up a bit. The commercial property market has been slower to pick up though, a report by the Surveying and Mapping Authority (GURS) says.

The semi-annual report notes that Slovenia's property market was deeply impacted by the epidemic in the first half of 2020.

Property trade was virtually brought to a halt for two months in spring. There were significantly fewer transactions, however it transpired that the developments have not affected property price trends.

Following May, when most anti-corona restrictions were lifted, the situation soon went back to the pre-epidemic levels.

The prices mostly rose to a certain extent in the first six months of 2020 despite a decline in transactions.

GURS recorded some 13,300 property transactions totalling some EUR 900 million in this period, a more than 25% drop in the number of transactions and down by a third regarding their total value compared to the second half of 2019.

Taking into account the same period last year, that is the first half of 2019, a drop in the number of sales/purchases is also more than a quarter, whereas a decrease recorded in the total value is bigger, by 37%.

The downward trends are not as strong as expected given the epidemic and record figures in 2019, GURS said.

The number of flat transactions totalled some 6,300 in the first half of 2020, down by 28% on the second half of 2019 and 26% on the first half of 2019. The total value of the deals made in the first half of 2020 was EUR 614 million.

The average price of a second-hand flat exceeded the threshold of EUR 1,900 per m2 for the first time at the national level in the first half of 2020, up by 3% on the second half of 2019 and a 6% increase compared to the same period in 2019.

Ljubljana remains a hotbed of record-high flat prices, with the average price of a second-hand flat topping EUR 2,900 per m2 for the first time, a 3% rise compared to the second half of 2019 and up by 5% on the first half of 2019.

The prices went up the most in Kranj in the north where the average price of a resale flat rose by 7% on the second half of 2019 and 6% on the first half of 2019.

The only area where the prices went down a bit on average is the seaside, a trend which is a result of fewer holiday flats transactions, according to GURS.

The average price of a house with land attached stood at EUR 130,000 in the first half of 2020, down by 2% on the second half of 2019 and up by 4% on the first half of 2019.

The most expensive houses on the market are still seen in Ljubljana, where the average price was more than EUR 300,000, followed by the coast, Koper excluded.

The commercial property market has been hit worst by the epidemic, GURS said. Price growth continued to stagnate in this sector, with over 700 transactions recorded in the first half of 2020, down by 42% on the second half of 2019 and down by 36% on the first half of 2019. Their total value was estimated at EUR 93 million.

The impact of the second epidemic wave will depend on the duration of lockdown restrictions and further epidemiological developments as well as on stimulus measures, GURS said, adding that even if the market went through a major crisis, the prices would not plummet anytime soon.

12 Nov 2020, 12:55 PM

STA, 12 November 2020 - The newspaper Delo examines the reasons for what it describes as "immunity of the safe property market" in the headline of Thursday's front-page commentary as prices of residential properties keep increasing in Slovenia and Europe against the expectations and despite the crisis.

Despite the 7.9% contraction in the country's GDP in the first half of the year and the economic crisis, demand for residential properties remains strong, while demand for hotel, hospitality and office properties is decreasing, the paper notes.

"Most on the demand side are those who spent the spring lockdown in small homes (...), while there are also individuals and businesses with a lot of capital who are looking for safe investment opportunities. An additional stimulus is negative interest rates that may drop further in the future."

The paper goes on to say that despite the demand being increased by some empty properties due to the crisis in the tourism sector, the shortage of real estate in Slovenia for the past 20 years has been such those empty properties do not make much difference.

"What is more, owners of empty properties are now even willing to wait for the country and international space to reopen before they return to rental business.

"Ownership is a major priority for Slovenians as it is, while now it appears to be supplemented with investments in real estate. These will certainly be driven by a chronic shortage thereof.

"It may be an indirect consequence of negative interest rates, or the trends may also be linked to the Europeans being culturally not in favour of venture investment and relying on conservative ways of personal and business finance management."

04 Oct 2020, 15:01 PM

STA, 4 October 2020 - Nepremicnine.net, the leading real estate website in Slovenia, has been taken over by Real Web, a company owning several leading internet real estate platforms in Europe. According to news portal Siol, Real Web has acquired a 60% stake, while the rest will be preserved by Nepremicnine.net's founders.

Nepremicnine.net, established in 1999, has developed into the leading internet real estate platform in Slovenia and is also one of the busiest websites in the country with about 800,000 visits each month.

The takeover, whose details have not been disclosed, strengthens the presence of the international group Indomio, associated with Real Web, in Europe. The group includes the biggest internet real estate platform in Italy Immobiliare.it as well as the leading Greek platform Spitogatos.gr.

Nepremicnine.net co-founder and executive director Primož Jazbec told Siol that cooperation with Indomio presents a strategic opportunity, providing the platform with crucial technological know-how to grow business operations.

"It also secures long-term growth as a result of the strongest possible positioning in other EU member states," he added.

Immobiliare.it co-founder Silvio Pagliani said that they had known Jazbez and Aleš Ravnikar, also a co-founder, for several years and were exited to start cooperating.

"This cooperation allows us to continue building the leading real estate platform in multiple European countries," Pagliani said.

Spitogatos.gr co-founder and executive director Dimitris Melachroinos said the joint brand will be even more recognisable due to shared technology.

23 Sep 2020, 13:17 PM

STA, 23 September 2020 - The prices of residential properties in Slovenia in the second quarter of 2020 were up 1.9% compared to the first quarter, and 5.2% higher than in the same period last year, the Statistics Office said. But transactions were significantly lower, with the total value of all real estate sold being the lowest since the first quarter of 2015.

The prices of new apartments and houses were up by 7.1% compared to the previous quarter.

After dropping by 0.3% in the first quarter, the prices of new apartments jumped by 7.5% in the second. New houses were also 2.6% costlier than in the first quarter.

The prices of used homes rose by 1.4% in quarterly comparison. This means 1.6% higher prices for used apartments, and 1% for houses.

Family properties were on average 5.2% costlier in the second quarter of this year than in the second quarter of 2019. Up the most were the prices of new family houses (by 23.6%) and used apartments outside Ljubljana (by 7.8%). Meanwhile, a notable drop was recorded in the prices of used apartments in Maribor (by 1.2%).

The total value of all residential real estate sold in the second quarter reached EUR 229 million, which is some EUR 60 million less than in the first quarter.

This is also the lowest total value of all residential real estate sold since the first quarter of 2015, when sales stood at EUR 207.

The Statistics Office partly attributes the drop in transactions to the Covid-19 epidemic, which virtually stopped all activity on the Slovenian real estate market.

A total of 2,161 units of used residential real estate were sold in the second quarter, in the total value of EUR 220 million, which is almost half of the figure recorded in the same period last year.

Only 55 pieces of new residential real estate worth EUR 10 million in total were sold in the second quarter, while in the first 76 were sold worth EUR 14 million.

More data on house prices in Slovenia

20 Aug 2020, 11:03 AM

STA, 20 August 2020 - As soon as the strict coronavirus measures were relaxed at the end of April the property market picked up, yet there are still fewer transactions than before the epidemic. Demand still exceeds supply, keeping average prices high, partly because of the many deals in Ljubljana, where prices are well above the national average.

"At the moment there are fewer transactions on the property market," the director and owner of real estate agency Stan Nepremičnine, Stanka Solar, told the STA.

She said this trend could be seen over the past month, so she partly attributes it to the summer season and a lack of adequate supply of used flats at good locations.

Solar said demand was strong in particular for higher-end new housing, but she believes new flats or houses are "slightly mispriced given the buyers' expectations".

"The majority of people expect a price correction for property which needs energy renovation and for more expensive new housing."

Similarly, Boris Veleski from Mreža Nepremičnin said the number of transactions was much lower after the epidemic, even though a month after it the market started to rebound.

Remax Ljubljana said that "at this moment we don't see any major changes in transactions, as demand still exceeds supply".

Urška Hočevar from this estate agent said the market is dominated by strong, motivated buyers who have a clear vision and know how they will finance the purchase.

Preliminary data by Slovenia's Surveying and Mapping Authority (GURS) for the first six months shows some 5,400 deals with flats and houses were carried out, down 35% from the same period in 2019.

However, these transactions amounted to EUR 532 million, which is 70% of all property transactions, an absolute record for a six-month period, GURS has recently said.

According to Solar, there is much demand for one- and two-room flats, but also for three-room flats, especially second-hand properties which do not require major investments.

Flats with a lift and a parking area are also in high demand.

She said there is an increasing number of buyers who have some savings and deem a piece of property the safest investment.

Mreža Nepremičnin said there is a lot of demand for smaller flats, up to 65 square metres, but also for larger ones, over 100 square metres.

Remax said cheaper flats near the city centre are in high demand.

"However, already during the epidemic we detected some more demand for houses, holiday homes and land, as many found it hard to be in a flat during lockdown," said Hočevar.

GURS data also shows the prices of used flats rose by 7% in the January-June period compared to the same period in 2019, with an average price per square metre exceeding EUR 1,900 for the first time.

Solar corroborated this, saying "the prices of used properties have increased. Demand still exceeds supply and there is currently a lack of housing at desired locations into which a new owner could move in a few months".

She said the prices of rental homes had meanwhile dropped by some 15-20% compared to before the coronacrisis.

Mreža Nepremičnin and Remax have not noticed any price drops either. Hočevar said a downward correction was possible in the long-term.

Fewer tourists from abroad have meanwhile given a headache to many owners who took out loans to buy flats for short-term rental. These loans need to be repaid regardless of the current lack of demand by tourists.

"Some of these flats have been put up for sale, but not that many, other owners have opted for medium-term rental if they could, because many hope or believe that things will soon be the same as before the epidemic," said Veleski.

Solar said many of those who had been renting through Airbnb and Booking decided to rent to students or other individuals for the long or medium term.

Hočevar said that even those owners who insisted on short-term renting this summer in Ljubljana or other tourist areas will eventually be forced to rent for the long-term or even sell.

The estate agents largely agree that the pandemic has made it hard to predict the trends in the coming months.

Solar does not expect any major price changes until the end of the year, except for housing in need of energy renovation and for relatively pricey new housing.

Veleski believes much will depend on developments outside Slovenia's borders. He thinks the existing trend will last at least until spring 2021.

All our stories on property in Slovenia

07 Aug 2020, 17:13 PM

STA, 7 August 2020 - Preliminary data by the Surveying and Mapping Authority indicate about a 40% drop in both the number of deals and turnover in real estate in the first half of 2020. Prices of used flats meanwhile continued to grow, by 3% compared to the second half of 2019, taking the average square metre price in the country above EUR 1,900 for the first time.

The latest stats on Slovenia and coronavirus are here

The data, released on Friday, show 10,800 transactions were registered in the first six months in a total value of EUR 770 million. This is a 40% drop for both figures compared on the second half of 2019 and a 40% and 45% decline respectively year-on-year.

The Surveying and Mapping Authority said that in the face of an almost complete market freeze during the lockdown, it decided to publish the preliminary data even though a fair part of deals for the first six months had not yet been registered and processed for proper market analysis. Final data will be released in October.

The body estimates that the actual year-on-year decline in the number of deals and in turnover will be between 35% and 40%. It pointed out that 2019 had seen record figures, mostly due to an unusually high number of deals involving commercial real estate.

As for the continuing rise in the prices of used flats - by 3% on the second half of 2019 and by 7% year-on-year - the Surveying and Mapping Authority noted a similar phenomenon had been seen in 2008.

"In such circumstances it is only the better and fairly expensive flats that continue to get sold and their prices are not decreasing yet due to market inertia," the experts wrote, while pointing out that the market picked up again in May as the epidemic was declared over.

Housing property accounted for almost 70% of total turnover in the first half of the year, up significantly on previous years and even above the 66% recorded in 2015. Between January and 15 July, 5,450 transactions were recorded, a 37% decrease on the second half of 2019 and 36% year-on-year. Turnover for new flats was down by more than 70%.

The number of recorded transactions with land suitable for construction on the other hand fell by only a third compared to the first and second half of 2019, while the number of deals involving farm and forest land decreased by about half.

All our news on real estate in Slovenia

05 Aug 2020, 13:56 PM

STA, 5 August 2020 - Led by Ljubljana, where the average price of a used flat rose by 40% to EUR 2,800 per square metre between 2014 and 2019, Slovenia has seen one of the fastest housing price growth rates in Europe in recent years. The Ljubljana Public Housing Fund (Javni stanovanjski sklad Mestne občine Ljubljana) is hoping to ease the pressure with some 240 new subsidised rental units in the coming two years.

The fund announced that 174 flats being built at Brdo on the western edges of the capital are in the final stage of construction, while work has also started on 156 units emerging as part of the Rakova Jelša II project in the south of the city. The target year for completion is 2022.

Moreover, next year is planned to see the start of construction for Jesihov štradon, a housing estate south-east of the city centre that will have 44 units, and the Litijska Pesarska project in the eastern part of Ljubljana, which will feature 95 non-profit rental flats.

Additional relief is meant to come with the help of 88 flats in the eastern borough of Zelena jama. The fund said it is in the final stages of the talks for the project and hopes to start with construction this year already.

While data by the Surveying and Mapping Authority suggested that housing prices growth in Ljubljana came to a halt already before the coronacrisis, data by the Statistics Office showed the prices of used flats were still up in the first half of the year by 4.7% year-on-year and by 1% compared to the last quarter of 2019.

According to OECD data, housing prices in Slovenia rose by 24% between 2015 and 2019, which compares to a eurozone average of 14%.

Meanwhile, efforts addressing the lack of supply in the capital amid favourable loans have also come from private investors, a large portion of whose projects has however also been targetting the well-heeled.

Recent examples include the emerging Schellenburg project at the site of Kolizej, an Austro-Hungarian-era army housing complex that was pulled down in 2011, and the Šumi project opposite the Drama theatre.

Major residential tower projects are also in the making, in particular in the northwestern borough Šiška. Slovak developer Corwin announced just today that construction work has begun on its EUR 45 million Kvartet project that involves four 15-storey towers with a total of 221 flats.

A similar project, estimated at EUR 40 million and featuring two 21-storey buildings with around 220 apartments in total, was announced for Šiška last year by Spektra Invest, which is connected to businessman Izet Rastoder and Zetagradnja, the biggest investor and builder in Montentegro.

07 Jul 2020, 10:39 AM

STA, 7 July 2020 - The Ljubljana city council has confirmed changes to the municipal spatial plan for a former industrial area in the borough of Vič, where a residential complex is planned to be built. Several councillors have raised the issue of the investors including Mihael Karner, a Slovenian who is wanted by the US.

The council confirmed the project in a 21:15 vote on Monday to transform the site of the former Tovil factory in the south-western borough into a complex featuring 140 apartments, including up to 60 assisted living apartments.

The approximate location of the project

www.state.gov Mihael Karner.JPG


The main investor in the Urban Oasis project is entrepreneur Mihael Karner, who is being sought by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with an international warrant for alleged distribution and import of anabolic steroids and money laundering.

Gregor Slabe of the Democrats said he was convinced that the US services were monitoring today's session and that they would certainly make a record of which councillors had endorsed Karner's project.

"The US is requesting extradition of Karner, his wife and brother. Since you failed to support our proposal to withdraw this disputable item from the agenda, you will be the ones held responsible for international diplomatic consequences," he added.

Igor Horvat (SDS) noted that, according to the media, the investors were companies which had not had any revenue recently, and no employees. He added that the plan's approval might jeopardise Slovenia's international reputation.

There is concern that Ljubljana will only get another construction pit, said Ksenija Sever, also of the SDS. "The investors will get loans, sell apartments, and then vanish, so that taxpayers can pay for another banking hole."

Asta Vrečko of the Left added that the investors were problematic and that the "municipality is doing favours to very disputable companies".

Vice Mayor Aleš Čerin, who chaired the session due to the absence of Mayor Zoran Janković, who is in quarantine after having a contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus, said that the spatial plan was not about an individual investor, but spatial planning.

"Nowhere is written that the gentlemen you spoke about will be the actual investors", he said, adding that they were Slovenian citizens who had no criminal record in Slovenia.

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