All the World’s a Stage


New Kolizej in Ljubljana
The new Ljubljana Opera House project presented at Ljubljana City Hall
(Novi Kolizej)

As the Bluff was called and all the main players took the stage on national TV last night, I couldn’t help but think of the Immortal Bard. The dethroned Lord of Bluff remains Slovenia’s Prime Minister. May he and his entourage serve the country well in the year that remains of their term.

All the World’s a Stage
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Real Slovenia: What is Fuelling the Prices?


Planned Real Estate Development in Ljubljana
Some of the planned real estate development in Ljubljana as presented at the Ljubljana Townhouse

As prices of real estate in Slovenia continue to rise, even in the already not-so-cheap Ljubljana, you, like Adriaan, may be wondering whether the prices have been affected by foreign investment or are they fuelled by local demand and how people can afford these places.

In Ljubljana, the rising prices have traditionally been fuelled predominantly by local (Slovenian, that is) demand as to us, Ljubljana natives, it sometimes seems as if the entire rest of the country wanted to move here.

Since joining the EU along with major Eastern European countries in May 2004, Slovenia has consistently stayed a step ahead of the other “new kids from the bloc” by being the only new entrant so far to join the Eurozone, having been admitted on 1 January 2007 and by becoming the first of the newbie countries to hold the Presidency of the European Union scheduled for the first half of 2008.

With Slovenian business traditionally firmly embedded in the international environment and for example just the export to the 25 EU members in 2006 reaching 69% of the country’s GDP with the total export gaining 17% in the first nine months of this year compared to 2006, and considering an almost equal flow in the opposite direction, an increasing number of foreign businesses are seeking facilities in the country and their employees renting or buying real estate as well.

On the other hand, growing exposure of the country in foreign media, interesting travel packages and low budget airlines are bringing in many visiting tourists who fall in love with the country and decide to purchase a dream home away from home, which considering the continuously rising prices, also makes for an attractive investment.

Potočnik's Galaxy
Potočnik’s Galaxy

Sky’s the limit in the country whose member on the EU Commission Janez Potočnik (Commissioner for Science and Research) visits an astronomical observatory and identifies and names his very own galaxy in passing. advises: If you are an ultra-cautious investor who is likely to lie awake at night sweating even if there is the teeniest-tiniest element of risk to your investment, then perhaps Slovenia is the right country for you to be putting your money into.

If you do, you will not be alone. Slovenia was tipped by Channel 4’s ‘A Place in the Sun’ programme as the 8th best place to invest over the next 10 years, with predicted increases of 250% over that period. Knight Frank are similarly bullish about Slovenia, putting it in their joint number two position along with Latvia for 2007 with a predicted growth of 17.5%.

To conclude, it is both local demand that the supply has not been able to meet the demand and foreign investments that keep the prices on the rise. Perhaps the most notable difference between the two factors being the territorial factor. Whereas local demand pushes the prices up primarily in the large city areas (close to workplaces) and the posh touristic places, foreign investors are quite likely to go for the cheap properties in regions not interesting to Slovenians as places of permanent residence due to their remoteness and absence of available jobs and other infrastructure.

This brings us to another real issue: How does one handle all the local and imported real estate fuel and finances the purchase of real estate in Slovenia?

Ideally, you have money readily available and pay in cash you pull from under the pillow (do share which Starwood hotel you usually stay at when at a European city served by a low budget airline from Ljubljana). If not, several types of loans are available.

In Slovenia, you can choose between regular loans secured by insurance, guarantor or the property itself (mortgage), financial products that combine loans with life insurance or investment in mutual funds, or so-called leasing.

The information I found on the net in English, claiming that the loan-to-value mortgages only goes as high as 50%, is out of date as the market has become far more flexible than that although thankfully not going into the sub-prime mortgage area quite as yet. So next in the series coming from this couch will be: details on the types of available financing.

Real Slovenia: Who can buy real estate in this country?


Terme 3000 spa resort bungalow property for sale
Property at Terme 3000 spa resort for sale at GBD Real Estate Ltd.

Who can buy real estate in Slovenia? Perhaps the obvious answer to that question would be: anyone who can afford it. Which, to some extent is true. However, while Slovenian citizens only have the financial aspects of the purchase to consider, most foreigners do face some more formal restrictions.

Main source: Slovenian Ministry of Justice website

EU nationals
Slovenia had to change its Constitution in the part pertaining to real estate ownership by foreigners (Article 68) in order to be able to join the European Union. With the signing of the accession agreement in 2004, European Union citizens obtaioned the right to purchase real estate in the Republic of Slovenia under the same conditions as its citizens, which means they no longer have to lodge applications for the determination of reciprocity previously required under the special so-called »Spanish Compromise«.

Pursuant to Article 40 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area, citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway can also purchase real estate in Slovenia without any restrictions specific to foreign nationals.

Due to the ‘most-favoured-nation’ status under the Treaty on Trade and Navigation concluded between Serbia and the United States of America in 1881, US citizens can purchase real estate in the Republic of Slovenia under the most favourable conditions for any foreigners doing same in Slovenia. Consequently, US citizens can purchase Slovenian properties under the rules that no longer call for mandatory determination of reciprocity by the Ministry of Justice.

The Protocol concluded between Switzerland and the EU in 2006 includes a chapter on real estate ownership by three categories of Swiss nationals: (1) Swiss citizens with a right to live in and to a permanent residence in a member of the EU; (2) Swiss citizens with the right to live in an EU member but no permanent residence there who need real estate for business purposes (includes right to purchase touristic accommodation facilities) and (3) Swiss citizens living near the borders, employed in an EU member bordering on Switzerland who need the property for business purposes or as temporary residence (includes touristic accommodation facilities). Swiss citizens can therefore purchase real estate in Slovenia provided that they have the right to live in and to a permanent residence in the Republic of Slovenia or that they at least have the right to live in the country (without permanent residence) and need the property for business purposes (including touristic accommodation facilities).

EU Candidate Countries
As of 2006, natural and legal persons in EU candidate countries and candidate countries can obtain ownership of real estate under the condition of substantive reciprocity, which means that Slovenia recognises certain rights of foreigners only on the condition that the foreigner’s country recognises those same rights for citizens of Slovenia. Existence of reciprocity is established by the Ministry of Justice. Incidentally, the Ministry is obliged to respond within 90 days of receipt of a complete application.

Other Countries
Citizens of countries not listed among the exceptions above can acquire real estate in Slovenia only as inheritance if the condition of reciprocity is fulfilled. In other words, if a Slovenian citizen can inherit real estate in a third country, a citizen of such country can inherit real estate in Slovenia. This right is based on Article 6 of the Inheritance Act in combination with Article 68 of the Constitution.

You may be asking… what if I come from one of the “other countries”, but I fell in love with Slovenia and wish to purchase a property here. I further believe this is a great place to invest into. Is there a way for me to buy?

Where there is a will, there is a way, right. You might fall in love with a Slovenian and move here, which should settle this particular problem although it might create a few new ones. On the other hand, you might want to look into registering a company in Slovenia and have said company purchase the real estate you are interested in. Namely, even a 100% foreign-owned company can purchase real estate in Slovenia provided that it is entered in the Slovenian registry of companies.

YIPPIE, I can buy a property in Slovenia! Ok, what’s next?
Now, unless you’re rather well off (in which case, let’s go for a cup of coffee next time you’re in Ljubljana) and have liquid assets at your disposal, you may be looking for a way to finance your new dream home, holiday home or investment property. In that case, grab yourself a cup of home-made coffee and come back to dr. Fil’s virtual couch for the next post in this series. We’ll look at the types of financing available in Slovenia along with the approximate ranges of interst rates.

Article 68 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia
(Property Rights of Aliens)
Aliens may acquire ownership rights to real estate under conditions provided by law.
Aliens may not acquire title to land except by inheritance, under the condition of reciprocity.
(amended in 1997, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No. 42/97)
Aliens may acquire ownership rights to real estate under conditions provided by law or if so provided by a treaty ratified by the National Assembly, under the condition of reciprocity.
Such law and treaty from the preceding paragraph shall be adopted by the National Assembly by a two-thirds majority vote of all deputies.
(amended in 2003, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No. 24/03)
Aliens may acquire ownership rights to real estate under conditions provided by law or a treaty ratified by the National Assembly.

Real Slovenia: Prices of Real Estate in Ljubljana. The Great Rise and… Fall?


Ljubljana Apartment for Sale
Luxury apartment for sale in downtown Ljubljana – (GBD Real Estate Ltd.)

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding real estate in Ljubljana is: will the prices fall?

Ever since 1995, the market value of real estate in Slovenia have been riding a strong wave that has yet to subside. Particularly in Ljubljana and some other highly sough-after areas such as coastal properties (remember, this country only has 43,157m – yes, that’s metres, not kilometres – of coastline), prices are not low and continue to rise. Some speculate that the properties are overpriced and that the inflated bubble is bound to burst sooner or later.

If in January of 1995, one had to pay approximately €1,300/m2 for a studio or about €1,000/m2 for a 4-bedroom apartment in Ljubljana, you’d be paying almost €3,500/m2 for a studio and an average of €2,300/m2 for a 4-bedroom apartment in June 2007 (source). I need to emphasize here that these are average prices. The very top properties go for as much as €6,000/m2.

Traditionally, prices of apartments in the greater Ljubljana area have been considerably lower than in the city itself, but with the ever improving road infrastructure, the shortage of available appropriate properties, unaffordable prices and the fact that the younger population is more willing to commute than ever before, many of those employed in Slovenia’s capital have decided to stay in their original home areas or to move further from the centre to secure more space for a better quality of life. Consequently, prices in the greater Ljubljana area have seen a steady rise since 2003.

Now for the big question: Are prices inflated and will they start falling? Unfortunately, my crystall ball is in a repair shop at the moment so I can’t provide a real answer. But based on how this city is developing, how many apartments are being constructed, how Slovenia is positioning itself in the EU both on the short and on the long term I tend to agree with the assessment that architect Miran Gajšek, Head of Department for Urbanism at the Municipality of Ljubljana gave at the Investment Conference two weeks ago.

Mr. Gajšek said, and I concur, that the only potentially overpriced real estate in Ljubljana are studios of up to roughly 35 m2. Prices there might well decrease in the future. As for the other types of properties, the upward trends are bound to continue.

Real Slovenia: A series of blog posts on the subject of real estate in Slovenia, coming every Tuesday and Thursday at

Real Estate: Call for Ideas and Questions


Hello, my dear reader (or readers on a good day 😀 ). I need some input here. I’ve decided to introduce a new category to my blog, dealing with one of my professional fields, i.e. real estate. I will be writing about rules and regulations on Slovenian market and try to address the most frequently asked questions that potential buyers – and sellers, renters or tenants for that matter – might have.

I am looking for a cool category / post series title and possibly for some questions you might have.

Shoot. The panda sure did. (Will explain this one later.)

PS: Dobrodošla so tudi vprašanja v slovenskem jeziku.

Drool with me


No time to really write, so today, I’ll just post another photo. Being in the real estate business, I come across all types of properties, but the ones on our portfolio lately are so nice they make me go oooh and aaah. If you were a client, I’d be talking investment opportunity, appreciation, rental return. But actually, all I want is some sympathy 🙂 When I win the lottery, this will be my party place.

Photo I took with my Nikki:
Sunset in Ljubljana Penthouse

Penthouse Sunset

(click to enlarge)

Drool with me… 🙂

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