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Significant decline in property sales across Croatia, Zagreb leads way

In the first quarter of this year, Croatia saw a dramatic decrease in property sales.

A total of 3,357 flats were sold, compared to 5,730 in the same period last year—a drop of 41%.

Zagreb’s Real Estate Market Analysis

The capital Zagreb experienced a notable decline in property transactions, with a 28% decrease in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2023.

Filip Brkan, owner of the real estate agency Imperium Immobiliare, conducted a detailed analysis of transaction data from 2017 to 2024.

According to his findings, and reported by Večernji list, 1,711 flats were sold in the first three months of this year, down from 2,370 in the same period last year.

Previous years showed varying figures: 2,207 in 2022, 2,692 in 2021, and 2,411 in 2020. The data for this analysis was sourced from the e-nekretnine system, managed by the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction, and State Assets.

Trends and Influences

From 2017 to 2018, there was a significant 17% increase in transactions, partly due to the introduction of APN-subsidised housing loans.

Foreigners buy 50% more properties in Croatia in 2021 than in 2020

Property sales decline in Croatia

This positive trend continued with a 10% increase in 2019.

However, in 2020, the market saw a slight decline of 6%, attributed to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The market rebounded in 2021 with a 12% increase in transactions, indicating an adaptation to the new living and working conditions during the pandemic.

In 2022, transactions dropped significantly by 18% compared to 2021. This decline was due to economic uncertainties, continued labour market changes post-pandemic, geopolitical tensions such as the war in Ukraine, and rising interest rates by central banks to combat inflation, which increased housing loan costs and decreased property affordability.

The most significant decline occurred in 2024, with a 28% decrease in transactions compared to 2023. Comparing this to the last positive year, 2021, the drop is even more pronounced.

Fluctuating Property Prices

Brkan’s analysis also touched on property prices. For the first time in a long period, Zagreb is experiencing a decrease in property prices alongside a drop in transactions.

The average price per square metre rose from €1,947.86 in 2022 to €2,315.12 in 2023, marking a 19% increase. Prices continued to rise, albeit more slowly, reaching €2,375.68 in 2024, a 3% increase. However, when considering inflation, there is actually a decrease in real terms.

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