RIO-Kantrida: Huge Rijeka Construction Project Lures Foreign Buyers

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
Kvarner, Croatia
Kvarner, Croatia

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes on the 13th of November, 2020, the RIO-Kantrida project is in full swing in Rijeka, and it is among the largest in housing construction in that city since Croatia’s independence.

The crisis caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic failed to slow down this project worth around 50 million euros, the investor is the company Rio Projekti, while the contractor is one of the largest Croatian construction companies – Kamgrad. Poslovni’s interlocutors say that the interest of buyers is great and that, among those who are interested in apartments within the RIO-Kantrida complex, a large number of those from abroad, especially, they add, from the Croatian diaspora, mostly from Germany and Austria, but also from more distant markets like those of the US and China.

The RIO-Kantrida complex consists of three buildings (A-13, B-8 and C-10 floors), with two underground floors for parking for tenants, while for the needs of the shopping centre on the ground floor, parking spaces outside the complex have been provided. A partner in the project is the traffic brokerage agency Dogma nekretnine, which has also worked as a consultant in collaboration with architects and urban planners who have been working on the RIO-Kantrida project for several years now. Noting that according to current guidelines, the agency has an annual turnover of almost 20 million kuna, the director of Dogma nekretnine Branko Papes says that so far, the interest of buyers from abroad has been predominantly focused on tourist destinations, such as Opatija, Crikvenica, Krka, etc.

“While the price of residential real estate in Opatija in attractive locations ranges from 500 to 600 thousand euros, in Rijeka it’s possible to get it two to three times cheaper. In addition, this complex has a view of Kvarner, is close to the sea and beaches, and unlike, for example, Opatija, Rijeka is an urban area that operates all 12 months of the year, with two schools and several kindergartens,” explained Papes.

He claims that there is great interest from other parts of Croatia, primarily from Zagreb, but that there are also clients from Varazdin, Osijek and the rest of the country.

”These apartments are more affordable than more recent construction in that location. At a time when nobody was even considering buying, back during lockdown, we sold a number of apartments through an online channel, therefore without direct contact. On a daily basis, we receive two to three inquiries from clients from outside Croatia. It’s interesting to note that, although the Croatian diaspora in Sweden isn’t very large, we also sold several apartments there,” added Papes, revealing that the RIO-Kantrida project is co-financed by two well known banks – Erste and PBZ.

“In general, we expected a drop in sales and a drop in property prices, but since March we’ve seen a price increase of five to 10 percent. During these uncertain times, clients seem to have recognised that investing in real estate is a safe investment. And about 25 percent of buyers here are buyers just for the sake of investing, to rent and potentially make an annual return of four to five percent, which is impossible interest from a bank today,” noted Papes.

He noted that the fact that Rijeka, in terms of the real estate market, has the specificity that as much as 30 percent of its turnover isn’t strictly related to the Croatian economy and that goes in their favour.

“On top of that, unlike the rest of the country, real estate prices have never gone wild in Rijeka, so this fact is also a kind of trump card of this micro market today. When it comes to customer interest, the proximity of European centres, the climate, and a completely open environment is crucial, which is why the latest data shows that more and more people are gravitating towards Rijeka, as are the number of inquiries from Zagreb and Varazdin who would settle there permanently,” Papes concluded.

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