Who Can Buy Property in Slovenia

The Republic of Slovenia has its own specifics of acquiring real estate objects by foreign citizens. A real estate property can be registered by the following categories of individuals:

– Citizens of any EU country. They have the same rights and are subject to the same laws when buying and registering real estate objects as Slovenian citizens.

– Citizens of the majority of member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). These countries include Switzerland, Norway, Israel, the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, and others.

– Citizens of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as well as candidates for EU membership, such as Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. They can purchase real estate in Slovenia subject to obtaining a decision on establishing the reciprocity between Slovenia and the respective foreign country.

For third-country nationals, the purchase of real estate in Slovenia is an available subject to certain conditions. For example, when opening a private business and registering real estate for a legal entity, marrying a citizen of Slovenia, or receiving property by inheritance. In the latter case, it will be necessary to obtain a decision on establishing the reciprocity between Slovenia and the respective foreign country.

Prices for Real Estate Objects in Slovenia

The value of real estate in Slovenia has been growing steadily over the past few years. Besides, this dynamics has not changed during any of the latest global crises. At the same time, the average price per square metre in Slovenia is two times lower compared to neighbouring Italy and three times lower if compared to Austria.

In 2021, the average price for a two-room apartment in Ljubljana is €180,000. A one-room apartment costs about €140,000. The price for an apartment in a new building is 35-40% higher. The average price of a house in the centre of Ljubljana with an area of about 150 m² is €600,000. A house of the same area in the vicinity of Ljubljana costs about €300,000. The cost of housing in the cities located along the Adriatic Sea coast averages about €250,000 per 70 m².

Houses outside Ljubljana can cost half the price. However, this is often not the case in relation to popular tourist areas such as Bled, for example. Prices here will be close to those in Ljubljana. Slovenian cities that are significantly less expensive include Maribor, Celje, and Novo Mesto. The price for a house in Maribor is around €155,000. In the vicinity, you can find apartments costing €100,000. Celje is the most profitable of the major Slovenian cities for buying real estate objects. The cost of a house in Celje is about €110,000. In the vicinity, the price drops down to about €80,000.

The average price per square metre in the centre of Ljubljana is €2,910, in the vicinity – €2,250. For example, in Kranj – € 2,180. Apartments on the Adriatic coast cost around €2,380 per square metre. In Koper – €2,260. In Maribor – €1,390. In Celje – €1,400. In Novo Mesto – €1,690.

Current Trends of the Slovenian Real Estate Market

According to brokers, the number of foreign house buyers in Slovenia is relatively small but has grown steadily in recent years.

Like everywhere else, the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the housing industry in the past year due to movement restrictions. However, in 2021, a tangible increase in residential construction, comparable only to 2008, has been recorded. Economists and brokers predict that this growth will help the housing market not only recover after a long crisis, but also cover part of the demand for residential real estate. The post-pandemic period thus becomes an additional favourable period for investing in the real estate market in Slovenia. Prices have not increased globally yet, as the market is relatively cautious about large purchases. However, the cost of housing will inevitably begin to rise as soon as new properties become available to foreign investors. Slovenia is going to continue being an increasingly popular country to invest in for the foreseeable future.

Slovenia has many favourable stable advantages that set the tone even in the real estate market. This is a low crime rate, a stable economy, a convenient geographic location, good knowledge of the English language by the local population, and a varied climate. All of these factors ensure a high quality of life for potential buyers, especially those with families. At the same time, relatively low prices, in comparison with other countries, both the EU and, of course, the USA or Great Britain, distinguish the country among long-term investment targets. Citizens of other EU countries often see Slovenia as a promising location for future retirement. Representatives of other countries are looking for an alternative to the security threat that has arisen in their countries. Especially from this perspective, Slovenia becomes interesting to citizens of OECD countries (see above), who have the opportunity to register real estate objects independently. Many investors are counting on the profitability of Slovenian real estate from a business point of view and have been waiting for the current growth in construction for quite a long time.

As a result, the Slovenian market is seeing a rise in successful entrepreneurs from outside of the European Union, such as Russia and Ukraine. They are looking to start a business and relocate their families to an affordable European country with a high quality of life. There is a small cluster of Chinese buyers as well. Since 2020, the Slovenian real estate market has started attracting Americans, Israelis, British citizens and others.

The most popular regions for foreign investors in Slovenia are, of course, the capital Ljubljana and its surroundings. The second place in this conditional ranking belongs to numerous tourist attractions such as the areas of Bled and Bohinj lakes, the Soča Valley, the Adriatic coast, and the Goriška Brda wine region. Slovenia’s extensive educational opportunities for foreign students of all ages create additional investment potential in places where faculties and educational centres are concentrated. An increasing number of foreign buyers are registered in more off the beaten track areas in Slovenia. Each region of Slovenia is attractive to foreign buyers in its own way.

Procedure of Real Estate Purchase

Before purchasing property in Slovenia, the buyer must obtain a tax number and an individual EMSO number (comparable to a social security number) from the local authority where the property is located.

Even if the buyer has independently selected the property to buy, professional support from a certified real estate agent would be desirable. There are many regulatory requirements in Slovenia that must be met. Realtors must be properly qualified, licensed and registered. They conduct all negotiations with sellers and represents buyers in all official bodies. When the seller and the buyer agree on the terms of the deal, the agent prepares the text and translation of the preliminary contract. A 10% deposit shall be paid upon signing the contract. A title search is then conducted, which only takes up to two weeks. During this time, the seller must pay its share of sales taxes. It is crucial to translate all the documents to avoid any confusion between all parties.

To complete the transaction, the agent must prepare a final sales contract, which is signed at the presence of a notary. The buyer pays the remaining amount of the transaction value, and the notary confirms that the payment is completed in full. After that, the contract shall be registered in the land registry. At the same time, the buyer receives confirmation from local authorities that there are no claims on communal rights to the property. After completing all the above procedures, the buyer and the seller receive a final document that confirms the fact of the sale and transfer of property rights to the new owner. It takes between 5 to 9 weeks to complete the procedures necessary to register a property in Slovenia.

Heidi Koelle for 2TM

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