Could the New Croatian Property Law Open the Croatian Property Market to...

Could the New Croatian Property Law Open the Croatian Property Market to Foreigners?

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From February 2009 foreign investors in Croatia can take advantage of the new real estate law that will grant them the same rights as locals.

Up until then foreigners can only buy Croatian real estate on the basis of reciprocity. This depends on whether the home country of the investor has an open real estate market, or as a legal entity (a firm).

Many believe that foreign firms have only been setup in the country to buy real estate and local media estimate that some 40,000 people acquired homes or land this way.

The hunt for Croatian real estate is popular with overseas investors. As many as 8,122 odd requests to buy were received by the authorities since July 2006. This is a massive increase from the previous 3,553 in the nine years previously.

When the gruesome Yugoslav civil war ended in 1998, Croatia gained independence and many people have now returned to take advantage of the pretty coastline and the great lifestyle in the country.

A 73 SQ. M one-bedroom apartment in a brand new development can be bought from from €157,500 (£133,200).

This new regulation has many locals fearing that foreigners will soon own some of the most beautiful real estate in the country. Exceptions to the new rule are arable land and forests.

The main targets for investors have been the Istrian Peninsula in the north and Dalmatia in the central part. This whole stretch features some 1,100km of scenic coastline.

Many European expats see Croatia as their ideal second home. With fast flight connections and ease of travel it is no wonder that many Western Europeans enjoy their retirement in Croatia. The climate is mild and ideally suited to those who enjoy quality over quantity.

Many celebrities also bought Croatian real estate, like retired tennis star Thomas Muster who bought a villa in Cavtat, near Dubrovnik. He paid $1.52 million.

Photo credits: Picture of the Opatija Coastline in Croatia by Paco [via flickr]