Excluding the period of the state of emergency, when movement was restricted due to curfew, real estate prices in Serbia, despite the negative effects on the economy, created due to the corona virus epidemic, experienced a slight increase. The profession claims that the reason is that the citizens realized that investing in real estate is a very efficient way to use the money, but among the experts there are also those who believe that the influence of big money from the gray zone in the housing sector is to blame for the price increase.
At the beginning of April last year, the epidemic of the corona virus already affected the situation on the real estate market in Serbia at that time, so apartment prices fell by about 20 percent. At that time, people avoided anyone coming to their apartments to see them, and the buyers themselves were scared and did not go sightseeing, whether it was already built apartments or new buildings. Also, the fact that curfew significantly limited the possibility of movement and that was a very important reason for the fall in real estate prices. What was very interesting was that even at that moment, the interest in taking housing loans did not decrease, so the citizens continued to apply to the banks to obtain them. There was a belief among buyers that the housing loans offered at that time were a far more favorable solution than waiting for the end of the epidemic, because they would then become significantly more expensive.
After the state of emergency ended in May, real estate prices began to rise and such a trend has been maintained to this day.
- The general impression is that the real estate market of Belgrade, Novi Sad and larger cities achieved a slight increase in prices compared to the moment before the appearance of the corona virus. The same can be seen in popular tourist locations, mountains and spas - says for Demostat Pavle Zivotic, owner of the real estate agency "Conexia".
According to him, the citizens realized that real estate can save property better than money "in a pallet" or in a bank, and the good thing is that people from the diaspora have decided to invest money in our market.
- In all moments of crisis, financial and other, space is being sought for earnings, so that is the case here as well - says Zivotic. When it comes to rental prices, they have fallen, which is a consequence of work from home and other measures, which mostly affects the business premises sector.
When asked what the current relationship is, due to the impact of the pandemic, between the requested real estate prices on the market in relation to the realized ones, Zivotic points out that it is still not possible to say with certainty.
- There are sellers who are forced to offer lower prices, but that cannot be generalized for the entire market, so it is not realistic to say that a significant price shift is expected. Demand for real estate has not fallen, but two things should be kept in mind. A lot of people, due to the extra time, due to working from home, use it to look at apartments, so there is an increased interest, but the realization is at the same or similar level as before. Which only means that people look at the offered real estate much more, but not that in the same relationship there is a greater realization - says Zivotic.
Our interlocutor believes that it is still not realistic to predict what can be expected on the real estate market when the corona virus epidemic ends.
- The fact that the demand is still high does not indicate that prices will fall. Factors that will influence that are the question of when the pandemic will end, as well as the movements in the stock exchanges and markets after that. There are several scenarios. The first is price stabilization and a smaller and more moderate increase in prices in line with general developments in the economy. The second is the further arrival of the diaspora and foreign investors who will see good opportunities in our market, which is still good in relation to some other countries, and thus the growth of prices. The third is the fall in prices due to the reduction of purchasing power. The last scenario is the least sustainable because this is not a classic crisis situation, so we can expect the improvement of business, economy and economy, which is announced - explains Zivotic.
Economist Sasa Djogovic points out that the increase in real estate prices in Serbia during the corona virus pandemic is a product of large investments in the construction sector of money acquired illegally.
- By pumping money acquired on the gray market or due to dealing with crime, primarily in housing, and thanks to the business environment that allows something like that, it enables real estate prices to rise. In that way, there is a completely illogical situation in Serbia in which, although the crisis is over, one sector prospers instead of achieving poorer results due to its negative effects. That is why Serbia is specific in relation to other countries when it comes to the real estate market during the corona virus pandemic - Djogoovic points out.
According to him, as long as the authorities tolerate such a state of affairs, it cannot be expected that prices will fall on the real estate market, even when the epidemic of the corona virus subsides.