Buying properties in Croatia

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Real Estate in Croatia

A growing demand for Croatian real estate and properties

The popularity of Croatian coastline and its islands as tourist destination has been steadily growing year after year. In addition to attracting more holidaymakers each year, Croatia has also attracted many outside property buyers, wanting to own a villa, an apartment or a property on this beautiful Mediterranean coastline.

Being one of the Mediterranean countries, Croatia has always held a certain appeal with those wanting to own a holiday home or a villa in the Mediterranean. With one of the most beautiful coastlines not only in the Mediterranean and Europe, but also perhaps in the world, Croatian Coast has always been interesting to outside investors.

Diocletian Palace on Split's riva at night
Popular Croatian destination is city of Split, with its 'riva' at night, restaurants, coffee shops and famous Diocletian Palace   (Image by Freeimages.com)

Raising real estate prices

In the times past, when Croatia was under communist system, it was next to impossible to acquire a property in this region. But when Croatia achieved its independence in 1991, the things started to change, especially in the late 90s. The interest in Croatia properties has been rising steadily, to the point of these days being hard to find available properties in the likes of the city of Dubrovnik. Owing to its early popularity, Dubrovnik properties prices have rocketed since about the year 2000.

Real estate in Croatia - this 380 sq.m. house is located on the island of Bra─Ź, with swimming pool, terraces, open atrium, located amongst pine trees, 30m from the sea.

But the wider areas of Dalmatian coastline are only starting to be "discovered" by private investors, many of whom have already acquired properties here. After Croatia became officially invited to join the European Union, in 2005, the interest in properties here has significantly increased. Properties and real estate have been a hit with buyers, builders, renovators and investors, in their increasing numbers.

Croatian islands for sale

Over the past few years Croatian islands have proven particulalry popular with international celebrities, who have been yachting around the islands off Dalmatian Coast. Having access to money and good information, usually well before other non specialised investors, rich celebrities often point the way to 'where the action will be'. Those of you who might have visited this area before will no doubt know why all the interest.

Some of the very wealthy have apparently shown interest in purchasing islands here, like it was supposedly done by Bill Gates. But since about 2003 the Croatian government has restricted potential islands (as a whole) sales, making it unlikely that a non-Croatian citizen will be able to purchase an island. Even if a wealthy Croatian citizen wanted to purchase an island, he or she would find it rather difficult to achieve.

Islands off Hvar
Small islands seen from the island and town of Hvar - one of Croatia largest and most popular tourist islands   (Image by Freeimages.com)

The Croatian government has stepped up to further assert its sovereignty over the islands - officially deemed to be government land, in its preparation talks to join the European Union. Croatian islands are considered to be of the national importance to Croatia. Which is not hard to understand, considering the islands importance to tourism in Croatia - perhaps the single largest industry in the country.

Populated islands

There are 746 populated islands on the Croatian coastline. Of those, 326 are private islands. Although, only a handful of the largest and most popular islands actually have a reasonable infrastructure. Croatian government is in the process of drafting the law which will protect these islands and some of them will be declared 'special interest' islands. These islands of special interest will not be possible to sell. For the other islands, the government will reserve the right of first offer.

This means that the owner of such an island will be obliged first to make an offer to the government, at the market price, should he decide to sell the island. The government will then have 30 days to respond. If the state, or the county, or the city, under whose jurisdiction such an island falls don't take the offer within those 30 days, the owner will then be free to sell the island to whomever he wishes.

Currently the Croatian government is allocating 500 million kuna for potential purchases of the islands. It is estimated that if the government was to purchase all 746 populated island, the cost would come to 5,5 milliards of kunas (or 5,5 billion, as per U.S. numbers).

But, acquiring private properties on the islands, on the other hand, still remains open to the outside investors or buyers. In other words, private house, land or apartment owners on these islands are free to sell their property to the outside buyers, builders, renovators or investors.