Some houses in Slavonia are cheaper than used cars.
Slavonia is economically among the least developed parts of Croatia, and many residents are leaving the area. Schools have fewer and fewer students, and prices of real estate have been plummeting for years. In the last eight years, they have fallen by as much as 50 percent, reports Index.hr on February 21, 2017.
Some of the houses are being sold for just 7,000 euros. One such house can be bought near Belišće. There are several year old cars which are more expensive than that. A 94 square metre house in Našice is available for sale for 15,000 euros, and a two-storey 106 square metre house in Beli Manastir is offered with the same asking price. For only 8,000 euros you can buy a 235 square metre house in the southwestern part of Osijek, in the Ivanovac neighbourhood, and prices of houses across Slavonia and Baranja are similar.
However, emigration is not the only reason why properties are being offered for such rock bottom prices. According to a real estate agent from Osijek, houses in villages are being sold at prices such as these because hardly anyone today wants to live in the countryside. Older people are dying, while younger people do not see their future in the region.
“There are many properties being offered for sale. Everybody is fleeing to towns, and this is a reason why these houses are being sold for next to nothing. Of course, many people are moving out of the country, but they are not the main reason for this situation. People who are selling their homes in order to move usually tell their neighbours and do not go to real estate agencies”, said the real estate agent from Osijek.
Mirko Sabljar, the owner of a real estate agency in Đakovo, agrees. “As far as Đakovo and surrounding area is concerned, we really do have a lot of properties offered for sale. The main culprit is the economic situation in Slavonia, especially in the Đakovo area. Also, banks have tightened their lending standards. The problem is that there are no more favourable loans, the population is aging, and young people very rarely decide to buy. All of this causes an expanded offer of properties whose prices are disgracefully low. On the other hand, five to six years ago there was an overconstruction of apartments in this area. In good times, we needed about 20 apartments a year, but they built 500 apartments in four years. These construction companies have gone bankrupt, and the apartments are vacant”, said Sabljar.
He pointed out that real estate prices had fallen by 50 to 60 percent in the last 8 to 10 years. “Prices have fallen in the rest of Croatia as well, except in Istria, Split and Dubrovnik. But, in Slavonia they have dropped the most”, explained Sabljar. He added that the prices are affected by the fact that, for example, in a building with 60 apartments, only two are occupied. This automatically lowers the price of other apartments.
Sabljar added that the consequences of emigration could be felt, but to a lesser degree, because people who emigrate are not yet selling their properties. “Not many people sell their homes when they relocate. That is mostly done by those who move to Canada or somewhere farther away. People who emigrate to European countries do not to sell their properties. As a rule, one or two family members move abroad. They do not know whether they will return to Croatia, so they are not selling their properties yet”, said Sabljar.
Instead, properties are being sold by people who emigrated in the 1960s. “Unfortunately, these people are now slowly dying and their properties are being sold by their children who have not returned to Croatia. We also have cases of big houses being sold, where children have moved out and now it is too expensive for their parents to maintain them. There are more and more people who are leaving this region, moving to other towns in Croatia or going abroad. In Đakovo, no one is hiring, there are no jobs”, concluded Sabljar.
Antonija Mikičić, a real estate agent from Našice, confirmed that real estate prices had dropped dramatically in the last eight years. The reasons are high unemployment rate and the fact that young people are moving out. “No one wants to live and work in the countryside. Young people relocate because they do not want to be farmers. On the other hand, there are no jobs, while unemployment is high. This is the reason why people are moving out. And behind them remain properties which are now sold at low prices”, said Mikičić.