House, Orchard and Vineyard Cheaper Than an Old Car

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Cottages and homes in the eastern Croatian region of Baranja can be found at bargain prices. What is a burden for the owner can be a good opportunity for potential buyers

Banovo Brdo, an area in Baranja with excellent positions for quality vineyards, is one of the most attractive continental destinations in Croatia. But the current economic situation has depreciated the value of local real estate to pitiful amounts. The area is within a half hour drive from the town of Osijek, with a network of wine roads and wineries, very interesting for tourists. The gastronomy offer, cycling routes, proximity of Kopački Rit nature park and an increasing catering activity is slowly turning this rural area into what tourism marketing calls a destination, Deutsche Welle reported on December 27, 2016.

The way of life is quite different than thirty years ago, transition and emigration have left consequences on the real estate market. A house or cottage in Slavonia or Baranja has become a luxury to many – mostly due to a lack of time, not so much money. Those who inherited property want to get rid of it quick. The announced real estate tax is creating additional fear.

This has created a misbalance on the market between the price and actual value, so as an example, a house is on sale in the vicinity of Osijek which only needs a paint job, for seven to eight thousand euro. Cottages with orchards, vineyards and several thousand square metres of land in solitude are offered at similar prices. Older houses which need more investment, but with larger parcels of land are on sale for an incredible four to five thousand euro.

Ivana Barišić from Osijek is selling a family home built on her ancestors’ land for 7.500 euro. “It is a house of 80 square metres and a wine cellar, with over 5.000 square metres of land with an orchard with apples, plums, pears, but also a vineyard. There is a well on the property and although it is located in a very peaceful, quiet, solitude place, in winter time the snow plough passes on the access road,” says Ivana, aware the only flaw of the house is what was once its greatest advantage – location. The Barišić family also has a house in Kneževi Vinogradi, so in fear of the announced real estate tax they are looking to get rid of excess property. The live and work in Osijek and although the house is 20 minutes away, they lack the time to maintain the estate in their fast daily routine.

They are not parting with family property easily and are aware of other ways for property to become profitable, but… “If we had any cash o invest into a business which could at least cover the maintenance costs, we could start a rural tourism, but due to work the greatest problem is the lack of time,” said Ivana Barišić.

Krunoslav Šabić has been in real estate sales for years and says the market situation is conditioned by many factors.

“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.”

Besides the depopulation of Slavonia and Baranja, by either low natality or emigration to other countries or areas of Croatia, plenty of living space has been freed in rural areas. Houses built in the seventies and eighties are not being kept up or enjoyed, as those who have money – mostly don’t have time.

Šabić says real estate is mostly bought by the upper middle class, a category slowly disappearing.

Low prices of attractive real estate have the potential for profit as money is cheap, with interest never lower. Considering prices can hardly be lower, some see real estate as a good investment whose price will only rise with the development of tourism, a fast growing branch of the economy on the continent as well, not only on the coast.

Krunoslav Šabić considers the situation is improving. The GDP growth and slow departure from crisis has brought certain optimism. There is recovery in newly built property, which will surely have effect on other market segments. Unused resources with great potential mark the real estate market. Will today’s owners regret selling their ancestral property, time will tell.



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