Banks in Serbia have tightened conditions

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If you do not have at least 15,000 euros in cash, today you can hardly buy an apartment.
Due to the current crisis, layoffs, salary cuts and uncertainty about the further movement of the economy, many banks have already raised the minimum share for housing loans from the previous 20 to 30 percent.
For an average apartment of 50,000 euros, compared to just a few months ago, buyers now need to “cash out” 5,000 euros more. Compared to previous years, the difference is even bigger. Instead of 5,000 euros, which was supposed to provide participation for such an apartment 10 years ago, today it is necessary to have three times more in your pocket.
– About ten years ago, the participation was 10% and the families managed to collect several thousand euros each. Some also provided participation with the help of cash loans, and today the participation of 30 percent is much harder to secure – says Marko Lakic, who bought an apartment in 2009 with a participation of 10 percent.
In the “golden age” of housing loans, about ten years ago, real estate could be bought on credit even if you collect only 10 percent of the value as a share. This was the case until May 2011, when the National Bank of Serbia made a decision on measures to preserve and strengthen the stability of the financial system, which, among other things, prescribed an increase in the share for housing loans indexed in euros to 20 percent.
– The criteria for approving loans are in direct proportion to the risk that exists on the market, which is currently certainly higher than before the outbreak of the pandemic. That is why the logical reaction of bankers sounds, who have to send every moment of increased risk – says Dusan Uzelac, economist and founder of the “Kamatica” portal.
Banks have a certain advantage here because each loan is approved individually, and despite a number of prescribed criteria, the bank in most cases has the discretion to refuse the client even without special explanation.
– Citizens who work in currently “critical activities”, such as tourism or catering, are sensitive categories for banks and they will certainly be more careful when processing these loans. Also, if the client works in any activity that is threatened with a new business interruption in the event of a new virus outbreak by the end of the year, it will be much harder for him to get a loan – Dusan Uzelac emphasizes.
What could be comforting for future buyers of apartments is that those who know the situation on the market believe that other conditions for obtaining housing loans, such as interest or repayment period, will not change significantly, ie worsen.
On the contrary, due to lower demand and fear of citizens from borrowing, it could happen that interest rates are even more favorable, since the competition will force banks to fight for clients with various benefits, Alo reports.

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