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House prices continue to rise in Slovak Republic
The average residential property price rose by 4.8% to €1,396 (US$1,621) per square metre (sq. m.) during the year to Q1 2018, down from a y-o-y rise of 7.59% in Q1 last year, according to the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS). When adjusted for inflation, property prices rose by 2.41%. During the latest quarter, property prices rose by 2.65% (1.5% in real terms).
Despite this, Slovakia's house prices are still 9.9% below their Q2 2008 peak (-21.6% in real terms).
In Bratislava region, which has the country's most expensive housing, residential property prices rose by 3.84% y-o-y to €1,945 (US$2,259) per sq. m. during the year to Q1 2018, after rising 8.58% a year earlier.
All other regions also saw robust house price increases.
- Kosice experienced the biggest rise of about 12.6% y-o-y to €1,073 (US$1,246) per sq. m.
- In Trnava, house prices surged 9.7% y-o-y to €1,000 (US$ 1,161) per sq. m.
- In Banska Bystrica, house prices increased 8.5% y-o-y to €769 (US$893) per sq. m.
- In Nitra, house prices rose by 7.3% y-o-y to €691 (US$802) per sq. m.
- In Trencin, house prices rose by 6.4% y-o-y to €749 (US$870) per sq. m.
- In Zilina, house prices increased 5.2% to €883 (US$1,025) per sq. m. over the same period
- In Presov, house prices rose by 3% y-o-y to €830 (US$964) per sq. m.
The housing boom in Slovakia lasted from 2006 to Q2 2008. The surge stopped in late 2008, and in following years prices either fell or only increased a little.
House prices in Slovakia are expected to continue rising this year. Property demand, both from local and from foreign investors, is surging, according to local property experts.
That's largely because Slovakia's economy is projected to expand by 4% this year and by another 4.3% in 2019, according to the IMF. Slovakia registered economic growth of 3.4% in 2017, after GDP growth of 3.3% in 2016, 3.9% in 2015, 2.8% in 2014, 1.5% in 2013, 1.7% in 2012, and 2.8% in 2011. This stronger economic growth is likely to continue boosting house prices.
There are no legal restrictions on foreigners buying buildings in Slovakia.
Rental returns are moderate in Bratislava, Slovakia
How much will you earn? Gross rental yields on apartments are moderate in Bratislava, at around 4.5% to 5.4%. To define terms, the gross rental yield is the rent the landlord will earn - before taxation, vacancy costs, and other costs - compared to the purchase price of the property.
The gross rental yield in the Old Town is about 4.5%, with smaller apartments earning more. Returns are not much different in Ruzinov and in the New Town. The Airbnb market is thriving, but expect damage to your property.
How much do apartments cost? Apartments in the Old Town of Bratislava cost on average EUR 2,900 per square metre (sq.m.). In the nearby areas of Ruzinov and in the New Town, apartments tend to be cheaper, selling for around EUR 2,400 per sq. m. You can 'get into the market' for EUR 120,000 to EUR 350,000.
How easily will you rent your property? Anecdotally, properties can be quite hard to let. Bratislava is a small place. Few people absolutely need to live in the centre of Bratislava (unlike in other larger cities). The number of expatriates, embassies, and international companies in Bratislava is small, which again restricts the supply of tenants.
Round trip transaction costs are very low on residential property in Slovakia. See our Slovak property transaction costs analysis and our Slovakia transaction costs compared to other locations.
Rental income tax is moderate in Slovak Republic
Rental Income: Rental incomeis taxed at a flat rate of 19% for income up to €35,022.31, and at a flat rate of 25% on income exceeding €35,022.31.
Capital Gains: Capital gains realized from the sale of real estate are taxed at 19% to 25%.
Capital gains realized from selling properties held for more than five years may be exempted from capital gains tax, subject to certain conditions.
Inheritance: Inheritance taxes were abolished as of 01 January 2004.
Residents: Income and capital gains are taxed at a flat rate of 19% for income up to €35,022.31, and at a flat rate of 25% on income exceeding€35,022.31.
Roundtrip buying costs are very low in Slovakia
Total roundtrip buy-sell costs are very low, between 4% and 7.60% of property value. The buyer pays for the notary and registration fees, and legal fees. The seller pays for the real estate agent’s fees.
Slovak law is neutral between landlord & tenant
Rent: Rent control was abolished in Slovakia from 2007, and previously did not apply to individually-owned apartments.
Tenant Security: The tenant can break the contract at any time by giving three months’ notice without needing to give a reason, while the landlord needs substantial reasons to break an ongoing contract.
Healthy economic growth; falling unemploymentSlovakia is one of Eastern Europe’s most successful transition countries. Born in 1993 after seceding amicably from the Czech Republic (the two countries were formerly known as Czechoslovakia), it has a stable polity and liberal market economy. Slovakia benefited from eight years’ reform under the centre-right coalition led by Mikulas Dzurinda (1998-2004) whose reforms won praise from international organizations, and who oversaw EU and Nato entry.
The economy’s rapid growth facilitated the country’s membership of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU) in 2004. In December 2007 Slovakia became a full member of the Schengen Zone, allowing passport-free travel in the 24-member European nations.
In 2006 Roberto Fico became Prime Minister (prime minister 2006-2010, and 2012 to March 2018), swept in on a victory for the populist Smer party after loudly criticizing the previous right-wing government's economic, tax, social, pension and legislative reforms. These had been seen as very positive and successful by such international bodies as the IMF, the World Bank and OECD. However they negatively affected large segments of the population, particularly low wage earners, the unemployed, and welfare and other social assistance recipients. While in opposition, and primarily during the election campaign, Fico vowed to reverse the majority of these reforms, but on taking office he adopted a more cautious approach, and Slovakia successfully fulfilled the Maastricht criteria required for Euro currency adoption on 1 January 2009.
Fico conducted virulent campaigns insulting press critics as anti-Slovaks, who in turn produced many revelations of his corruption, including the unexplained wealth of an apparent mistress, his now-secretary Halászová. Fico’s stewardship was marked by tension with Hungary, and populism towards Slovakia’s Roma population and Muslim refugees.
Real GDP growth reached an impressive 10.8% in 2007, following 8.5% for 2006. Kia, Volkswagen, and Peugeot Citroen all have built large car plants in Slovakia. In 2008 there was 5.6% growth.
With the crisis there was a 5.4% GDP contraction in 2009. Slovakia’s economy recovered quickly with GDP growth of 5% in 2010, but this was followed by 4 weak years, with 2.8% GDP growth in 2011, 1.7% in 2012, 1.5% in 2013 and 2.8% in 2014.
In the past three years, the economy bounced back, recording a 3.9% expansion in 2015, 3.3% in 2016 and another 3.4% in 2017. The Slovakian economy is projected to expand by 4% this year and by another 4.2% in 2019, according to the IMF.
Slovakia's budget deficit fell to below 1% of GDP in 2017, down from 2.2% in 2016, and 2.7% from 2013 to 2o15, and the country is expected to record its first budget surplus of 0.16% of GDP in 2019.
Slovakia’s gross public debt has fallen to 50.9% of GDP in 2017, down from 54.7% in 2013, according to the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, and is projected to fall to 46.6% of GDP next year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The country had an annual inflation rate of 2.8% in June 2018, up from from -0.8% two year ago, according to the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic.
Unemployment fell to a record low of 7.1% in Q1 2018, from an annual average of 13.3% from 2009 to 2015, according to the country’s statistics agency.
Fico resigned the premiership in March 2018, following the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak, who was writing stories on tax frauds and the connections of the Italian mafia 'Ndrangheta to Mária Trošková, an assistant to Fico. However the current ruling government coalition continues, Smer having named as prime minister former Deputy Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini. Fico remains the power behind the throne.