An up-to-date overview of the Serbian real estate market and expert advice

Close-up shot of a colorful bouquet of freshly picked flowers on a sunny day.

Актуальный обзор рынка недвижимости Сербии и советы экспертов

From Belgrade to resort towns: how has the Serbian real estate market been developing in recent years? Maria and Roman Belyaev, the founders of the real estate agency “Don Balkan”, reveal the main aspects of the Serbian market: from prices and taxes to the possibilities of obtaining a residence permit. Experts analyzed the current trends and shared practical tips for potential buyers.

In the Balkans, almost every resident has a property that is rented out.

The general state of the Serbian real estate market

— Serbian real estate market news can be evaluated in different ways: if you have already bought a property, then they are positive – the price is rising; if you are still buying, then everything has become more expensive compared even to last year; well, if you are still waiting for everything to become cheaper, then I’m afraid that time your expectations will last a very long time.

Real estate in Serbia, as in most countries of the world, is an investment tool. The only difference is that in the Balkans, almost every resident has a property that is rented out, bringing passive income or saving the owner’s funds. What does this mean? This means that the local market is absolutely self-sufficient and provides high demand for itself.

Also, it should not be discounted that the Balkans is a developing region that has embarked on the European path of development. Therefore, many large corporations, enterprises and private investors invest their capital, which gives an impetus to the real estate market.

Актуальный обзор рынка недвижимости Сербии и советы экспертов

Objects that are in demand

— The real estate market is confidently moving towards new residential buildings with developed infrastructure and a modern approach to space organization. Therefore, more and more new projects are becoming similar to the familiar environment of a city dweller in large Russian cities. When buying /renting an apartment, “our” person strives to buy/remove the atmosphere and convenience.

The increasing demand for the new housing segment is also pulling up the rest of the market. At the moment, the uniqueness of the Serbian real estate market is that the market itself is a patchwork quilt: even in the center of Belgrade you can find everything at once, from new buildings and “secondary” to a duplex or penthouse.

Premium residential complexes, regardless of the economic situation, will always have their own client. Now we see that in addition to just the location and the cost per square meter, the quality of construction, service and filling of services in the management company of the residential complex play an important role.

Recent amendments to Serbian legislation oblige the developer (or the community of residents) to choose a management company that will carry out warranty maintenance of the house, networks, etc., which will lead to the emergence of new major players and competition in this area.

If you are considering real estate from the point of view of investment, then probably the purchase of an apartment / apartments is the most understandable and appropriate option. It is only important to choose the right object at the same time — the one that is currently a “venture”, but in the future it is likely to “shoot”.

If Serbia is for you the country you moved to and decided to stay here, then investing in land can also be a good investment, but with the nuances of acquisition.

Other, more complex options are possible, such as mini-hotels / ready-made businesses, etc., but to give the right advice, you need to understand several important parameters: budget, goals, deadlines, expectations.

The increase in the price per square meter can reach 15% per year.

Prices for Serbian real estate

— Belgrade is a big city, and if we analyze what Belgrade is and what you can buy there, it will take hours.

Let’s give a very simple example for clarity. A year and a half ago, it was said from every iron that “the market is overheated and they will soon give everything away for free — they say, you just have to wait.” At that time, for a budget of 50,000 euros, a visitor to Belgrade did not have a very large, but still a choice of apartments, and, say, in Vrnjacka Banja — the main mineral resort in Serbia and at the same time our main region of work — there was even a choice on the central streets.

Over the past time, the entry point has smoothly moved to around 70,000 euros, and if you are considering only Belgrade, then each of the realtors will recommend increasing the budget to 100,000 euros in order to have the right choice.

The cost per square meter for new buildings in Belgrade can exceed 12,000 euros per sq.m. Of course, there are options 7 times cheaper — you can buy an apartment for 1,750 euros per sq. m, but already quite on the outskirts.

Inexpensive housing can still be bought in remote regions of the republic. The city/village itself may have a full-fledged infrastructure: a school, shops, cafes, a hospital, but location is the determining factor. At the same time, there have been no prices of, say, 500 euros per meter for a long time.

If you are looking at housing for your personal life and you are satisfied with everything, then an excellent solution for you will be to purchase what you want for your personal budget.

If your goal is investment, then the choice should be made in favor of the capital, large cities with potential or developed tourist centers.

Taxes and utility bills

— Buying Serbian real estate on the secondary market, you will need to pay a tax for the transfer of ownership in the amount of 2.5% of the cadastral value of the object.

If you bought a property on the primary market, then the value of the property includes a VAT (equivalent to Russian VAT), which is 10%. At the same time, as a rule, the price per square meter is said without VAT.

Additionally, you pay property tax of about 0.1% of the cadastral value annually. If you decide to sell a property after owning it for less than 10 years, you will need to pay a 15% income tax on the positive difference between the sale and purchase.

Utility bills in Serbia are a big expense item, especially for those who have just moved. Here you realize that saving light, water, heat and other resources would be worth learning from childhood.

Serbia is a small country, it does not have huge thermal power plants, and most of the country uses individual heating and tries to save money at the same time.

There is a whole pool of tips for “thrifty housewives” written on the back of the receipt: cover the pots with a lid, wash at night, etc.

But if you survived the first winter and understood the principle of a reasonable and economical household, then everything should be fine, and this will not be a problem.

The average monthly cost of maintaining a studio apartment is about 70 euros.

Step-by-step guide to buying real estate in Serbia  

Features of buying real estate by foreigners

— A foreigner can easily become the owner of the coveted square meters in Serbia. What you need to remember and know:

  • payments are usually made in euros;
  • the contract is only in notarial form;
  • over 10,000 euros, all payments must be made through a bank account;
  • The transaction must have a licensed translator and 2 witnesses with knowledge of Russian and Serbian languages.

An important nuance is that a foreigner, as an individual, cannot buy land without buildings. It is also worth noting that the fact of purchasing a real estate object does not automatically give the opportunity to obtain a residence permit / permanent residence/Citizenship of Serbia. To do this, you need to go through a certain procedure.

In addition to Russians, Serbia is home to a very large Chinese, Turkish, and Arab diasporas, plus expats from Europe. The place of purchase from most foreigners is dictated by the place of work, and here again we return to the fact that these are either big cities or tourist locations such as Vrnjachka Banja, Zlatibor, etc.

The opportunity to take out a mortgage

— In theory, foreigners can take out a mortgage to buy real estate. For example, Raiffeisenbank of Serbia has even developed separate mortgage lines for salary projects for employees of the IT sector.

If you work for a Serbian employer or you have created a successful Serbian company, then you can apply for a mortgage loan, but be prepared for the fact that the process will be long and will require patience from you.

There are very few mortgage transactions in the whole country — in 3 years of work at the Serbian real estate agency, we have not made any such transactions due to the lack of a loan client.

The mortgage rate depends on many factors: your status in Serbia, initial payment, loan conditions, etc.

In a broad discussion, it makes sense to look at the situation soberly and understand that for most foreigners it is inaccessible and it makes sense to rely only on their savings.

Serbia’s attractiveness to investors

— Serbia has many advantages for investors:

  • low entry point compared to other European countries;
  • a simple and understandable mechanism for buying real estate;
  • an easy way to transfer funds. For example, Russians still have the opportunity to open a bank account and pay the cost of the contract from the Russian Federation;
  • a growing market;
  • a high range of offers on the market;
  • the ability to rent out a real estate object;
  • the ease of starting your own business.

A residence permit based on real estate ownership, and then permanent residence, are big advantages, but you need to remember that for permanent residence there are requirements for the period of absence from Serbia — no more than 10 months for 3 years in total.

Don’t listen to the stories about “he left with a hundred dollars in his pocket.” Personal experience of living in Serbia: prices, climate and the main mistakes of the relocators

— The main income of investors in the local market is an increase in the price per square meter.

Therefore, if we are talking about shared—equity construction, then the difference between your entry and exit point is your income. Provided that the object is interesting to the market, the price increase can reach 15% per year.

Renting is more about additional income in addition to changing the price of sq.m. It is not entirely correct to consider renting as a way to generate high income — the yield in most cases will not exceed 5%.

By the way, the Serbs themselves are active market participants. They try to buy real estate whenever possible for passive income or to save money. They live more often in their apartment or house.

Rent is usually a story about students, a young family, or a change of region for work. Everyone strives to become the owners of their own personal square meters.

Decent offers on the rental market are selling like hot cakes.

Serbian Rental Market

— The Serbian rental market is doing great. Decent offers diverge with the speed of selling hot pies. There is still a high demand in the premium segment from relocators from the Russian Federation, plus local ones are also active participants in this market.

The demand for the medium and low—cost segment will depend on the location, the arrangement and the main parameter – the price.

In general, regardless of the offer price, all owners compete with each other in quality and price, so our rental business packaging services are in high demand.

2022 was the year of the tsunami in the rental market: total demand, lack of supply, etc. But in a few months it leveled off, developed rules and requirements for the Landlord and Tenant, and now the market is in uniform growth. But, as usual, the most flexible and resilient will survive on it.

Prospects and forecasts

— It is difficult for a modern person to make forecasts now, as there is a lot of uncertainty around, but we see trends in rising real estate prices. And this trend will continue, as global projects such as, for example, EXPO 2027 are ahead of us.

We see an increase in the quality of services, which, of course, will also have a positive impact on the market.

Simplification of the procedure for obtaining a residence permit in Serbia will make it possible to attract foreigners who will rent/buy housing and develop their businesses.

Therefore, we can only wish everyone successful purchases in the Serbian real estate market.


Актуальный обзор рынка недвижимости Сербии и советы экспертов

Yulia Yanukovych Editor-in-Chief

I am responsible for the work of the editorial office. I write expert interviews and guides.


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