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Surge in foreign real estate buyers: Insights from Serbia’s property market

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The demand for real estate in Serbia, particularly in Belgrade and Novi Sad, is increasingly being driven by foreigners. Data from the Republic Geodetic Institute (RGZ) reveals a nearly doubled share of foreign buyers within just one year. In 2022, the proportion of non-resident buyers rose to 4.81%, up from 2.93% the previous year. Notably, the majority of recent foreign buyers originate from the Russian Federation.

While Serbian citizens still comprise the bulk of real estate purchasers, the influx of foreign buyers significantly influences market dynamics, particularly in sought-after areas like the Old Town, Vračar, Savski Venac, and New Belgrade.

“In recent years, Russians have transitioned from primarily being tenants to becoming buyers, with many Russian companies also investing in real estate,” explains Nela Pešić from the agency “Raičević Nekretnine.” “Additionally, we’re seeing interest from Ukrainians, while buyers from the EU, especially France and Germany, are also active. Americans, Canadians, and Australians are part of the mix, along with citizens from neighboring countries like North Macedonia. Moreover, many Serbian expatriates are investing in local real estate as a safe form of investment.”

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Foreign buyers’ preferences vary depending on their country of origin. Buyers from countries with higher living standards are drawn to luxury apartments in new developments in Belgrade, while those with tighter budgets opt for older apartments in peripheral areas.

According to Pešić, Russians and Ukrainians show interest in houses located within an hour’s drive from Belgrade, with preferences ranging from small apartments to spacious luxury units. Notably, citizens of North Macedonia tend to purchase houses for further construction. Furthermore, Hungarian buyers are increasingly eyeing construction sites in the Serbian market.

Luxury complexes in prime locations such as Gornji Dorćol, Belgrade Waterfront, K-District, Novi Dorćol, Terazije, Vračar, and Novi Beograd are particularly popular among foreign buyers. Modern condominiums, offering a blend of privacy and communal amenities like landscaped courtyards, spas, gyms, and shops, are especially attractive to international buyers.

In terms of legal requirements, foreigners looking to purchase real estate in Serbia must fulfill certain conditions, including contractual reciprocity between Serbia and the buyer’s country of origin. Additionally, if the buyer does not understand Serbian, a translator and two witnesses proficient in Serbian and the buyer’s language are required during the transaction process.

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