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No one buys apartments, building firms hope for foreigners.

Building firms hope that foreign citizens are going to buy their apartments, thus saving them from their grave situation. Under the latest legal modifications, foreign citizens having bought a house or an apartment of at least 40,000 euros will be entitled to a longer stay in the country. The crisis in selling apartments has taken almost a year, during which time supply has increased as demand has dramatically declined.

Real estate agencies say that it is clear that the real estate market crisis is neither a coincidence or short-lived as some suggested during the summer. Agents say that buying apartments has tapered off by more than 30 percent. However, this has no major effect on prices, especially not when it comes to new buildings.

"In the center of Skopje, prices range from 1,150 to 1,350 euros per sq. meter. These are by far higher prices than those in Belgrade, Thessaloniki or Sofia," real estate agents say.

They further explain that new apartments are likewise expensive in Ohrid (800-1,200 euros per sq. meter) where the foreign citizens' interest in buying real estate is expected to rise. This means that Macedonian real estate prices compared to those in the region are not at all competitive and that there is room for them to fall.

Unlike new buildings, prices of old apartments have already declined by 10-15 percent, according to the real estate agencies.
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS NEWS
Publication:INFOMAC Daily News Service
Date:Dec 12, 2012
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