Luxent targets Croatian market for its Czech clientele

Robert McLean

#cee, #proptech, #development a #architecture

Croatia joined the Eurozone on January 1, and the timing could hardly be better for the real estate agency Luxent – Exclusive Properties. In December, the Prague-based company announced it would be representing buyers as well as sellers in  Croatia. Veronika Pecková, who’s travelled to Croatia regularly since she was a child, will be leading Luxent’s activities there. “I decided to focus on it more because it has big potential,” she says. “It’s interesting especially for Czechs, because of our background and history.”

In 2020, the knee-jerk reaction for many Czechs with plenty of cash but nowhere to go during lockdown was to buy mountain apartments or cottages in isolated locations. The popularity of remote work has spread quickly since then. Meanwhile, lifestyle concepts continue to develop quickly. Those who didn’t invest in property in that first wave of acquisitions realized they can look beyond Czech borders. “People feel they have more freedom in terms of travelling and spending time somewhere else,” says Pecková. The Balkan region have become a popular choice.

“Real estate sales have doubled in Croatia since the pandemic,” says Pecková. “Prices have risen by another 10 to 20 percent over the past year in classic seaside locations – even more in the most attractive locations. People want to own property that assures them privacy while at the same time they want to invest safely. The current demand is enormous.”

Many aren’t looking so much for a weekend get-away as much as a second home — one with better weather, and a view of the sea. “They’re not looking at it simply as an investment, but they’re also not just throwing their money away,” says Pecková. Croatia fits the bill because it’s an excellent investment. Prices will be going up according to Luxent because of the shift to the euro as the change will attract new, richer investors.

And it’s not just individual investors who end up paying Prague-like prices for places near the sea. Increasingly, European investors (including Czech groups) are finding the prices for land an attractive alternative to the excesses on offer in Prague. Luxent will cater to both sets of investors and is currently offering six villas on a development project near Split on an exclusive basis.

Czechs know Croatia relatively well, compared to many other countries. But Pecková says past experiences can blind investors to the progress made there in recent years. “Czechs typically think of Croatia as a place where everything is cheap and anything can happen,” she says. “But it’s not like that anymore. The gastronomy has grown up extremely quickly, so there are lots of restaurants with Michelin stars. More and more people want to spend time there and discover how the country is growing up in terms of quality. Our biggest task is to introduce Croatia to Czechs who don’t think of it as a quality country.”

The high cost of financing isn’t an issue for most potential buyers at the moment, says Pecková. Most buyers are using cash savings to buy. This isn’t likely to change anytime soon, thanks to complicated procedures required to procuring a mortgage (like guaranteeing the loan with a Czech property).

The biggest concern Czechs tend to have is how to find caretakers for the property or management companies. Pecková says a sizeable industry has grown up to cater to such owners, meaning investors should have no concerns about owning in Croatia.

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