Croatia used to be a European hotspot for tourists and overseas property investors alike before the troubles in Yugoslavia killed the tourist trade for a long period.
Coastal resorts in Croatia with their beautiful beach locations have since seen strong recovery, but in the eastern countryside areas there can still be ridiculous property bargains to be had for overseas investors looking for a long term investment.
For example, Banovo Brdo is an area in Baranja within a half hour drive from the town of Osijek. The area has a network of wine roads and wineries, with excellent cycling routes and close proximity to the Kopački Rit nature park. Increased catering activity is turning the rural area into a tourist destination.
However, houses and cottages close to Osijek that simply need a lick of paint and can come with orchards, vineyards and thousands of metres of land can be purchased for as little as five thousand euros.
For the cost of a second hand car, one such house measuring 80 square metres with its own wine cellar is currently for sale at only £7,500 euros. Amazingly the house also comes with over 5,000 metres of land including a vineyard to help stock the cellar and also orchards with apples, plums and pears.
The property has its own well, and although it is in a quiet and peaceful location the access road is kept clear even in winter.
The main problem for the owners of these properties is time. Most owners of these country properties live and work in town, and although the property in question is only 20 minutes from town, the long hours worked mean that they just don’t have the time to maintain such properties or the land that comes with them.
Real estate agent Krunoslav Šabić explained: ‘Property is bought mostly by young couples who are about to start a family, but the modern way of life leaves little free time, so apartments in town or close to the workplace are in demand. Work hours are such they leave little time for maintaining a yard, a house in general. Only public services end their work hours at 15h, others go home much later and the rhythm of life is such that not many have the time to mow the lawn and take care of the property.’
A new property tax on second properties due to be introduced in 2017 has motivated many owners of these country properties to sell up at low prices, as they do not have time to cultivate the properties and land.
The new tax however is planned to be only on extra properties neither lived in OR rented out for private enterprise, meaning that property investors purchasing in order to rent the properties out should be exempt.
Even if liable to the tax it is unlikely to unduly bother property investors considering the low purchase prices that can be achieved on these rural properties
The property market in Croatian coastal resorts is rapidly recovering and there is also great interest in new build property. It should therefore only be a matter of time before this again spreads out to the rural communities in eastern Croatia.
Now could be the time for property investors to stop whining about property prices and start wining in their own vineyard surrounded by Croatian countryside. Current property owners may soon think twice about selling so cheaply.