Filip Žoldák (HERRYS): Resi prices & demand sagging in Bratislava

Robert McLean

#cee, #proptech, #development a #architecture

Bratislava apartment sales have stagnated since Q2 this year, says Filip Žoldák, director of the real estate agency Herrys. Sagging prices mirror the slowdown in demand from consumers worried by the rapid rise in prices in everything from food to energy. The number of flats sold in Q3 was 40% down from a year before, according to Herrys, which reports that the average square meter now costs €3,868. That’s 13% more than in Q3 2021, but only 1.7% more than in Q2 2022.

There’s little sign of panic, however. “Nobody is forced to sell,” Žoldák told ThePrime, pointing out that on average, projects are 70% sold out. “None of the projects in Bratislava are decreasing prices, except for one that was offering an 8% discount until the end of November. If you want to buy, you have to do it at the normal price list price.”

With mortgage interest rates rising, it’s no surprise that LTV ratios are falling. Whereas until recently buyers were able to pick up flats by putting down just 20% deposits, 50% down payments are now standard. Žoldák says buyers are selling off real estate they currently own to finance the new one. “They’re upgrading,” he says. “Both in the primary and in the secondary market.”

Of the 342 flats sold in Q3, 166 were sold in Bratislava II. The next two closest were Bratislava IV and V, with 62 and 68 respectively. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most popular place to live. “I think you could sell apartments anywhere, but you can’t get permits everywhere,” says Žoldák. “Developers look first at whether they can get permits. They’ll buy project land anywhere there’s potential to get permits and to begin building as soon as possible.”

The most popular flat sizes continue to be 2- and 3-bedroom units, while 4-room flats are more popular than those with just one. Žoldák says the pace of sales on the secondary market has slowed down dramatically, with prices actually falling. “Prices peaked in August,” he says. More dramatically, the supply of flats on the secondary market has doubled since March. And it’s not because sellers have flooded the market – it just takes longer to sell them.

“There aren’t more apartments being added to new supply, just a lower number being sold. Six months ago, it took us 30 days to sell a flat. Now it takes 60 days.”

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