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Zagreb, Croatia - the secret of holiday investments?

Zagreb - the capital of Croatia, is a beautiful and fun city!

It claims to be the place where Central Europe and the mediterranean met and mix.

And, the city does represent both these sides of Europe.



It is expensive - average salaries in Croatia are 600 Euros per month vs 181 Euros per month in Bulgaria (obviously, Zagreb pays more and the white collar service jobs which concentrate in the capital pay much much more than the average).

And therefore Zagreb is more prosperous and what British and Irish investors might describe as more 'obviously european' - which really means that the city is more like a British city (with coffee shops and bars and pedestrianised disticts) than Sofia or Bucharest (for instance) which are developing very, very fast but from a different urban history.

But Zagreb is destined to enjoy a boom from Secret FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) just like Constanta will and Varna already is enjoying.

Here's why....

Zagreb, like Sofia and Belgrade, suffered hyper-inflation (see my blog on instant riches).

And, during this period, many middle class people living in Yugoslavia (and Zagreb in particular) saw that cash was no longer an effective investment.

Back in those 'Berlin Wall' days, Yugoslavia had a relatively free trading economy (ie it was not stuck behing the iron curtain and the Croatian and Slovenia parts of the country were allowed to trade with Western Europe).

But, local people had very few investment options. Pensions were non-existant, investment funds didn't really exisit and buying shares meant sending money abroad (ie all local firms were mainly privately held or state owned).

So, your middle class person typically had three options for their money

- savings (in the form of cash, usually stuffed under a matress)
- gold (which needed to be bought in hard currency and therefore not easy) or
- property (mainly holiday properties and land on the coast)

Therefore, in the 70's, a large number of Zagreb citizens bought land and property on the Croatian coast for next to nothing.

Over the next 5 to 10 years, this area will be developed and the riches will flow back to the citizens of Zagreb.

(If you follow Property Secrets investment advice you will know that in holiday locations we believe the money is made by the land owners and developers - not the poor foreigners who are sold holiday property dressed up as investment propety).

And, therefore, when the cash comes back to Zagreb it will be spent on nice new homes, smart cars and all the normal middle class desires and habits (including resturants and coffee bars).

All this adds up to Zagreb becoming a propety hotspot - and the best place for a Croatian investment.
It is also worth knowing that buying in cities makes surity of property title much easier. Although the local view is that with a good property lawyer, you should be able to establish the previous ownership and therefore title of any piece of land (including that on the coast). Any Croatian lawyers out there want to confirm this?
Cheers
Neil
ps. A side point - the fragmented nature of Croatian coastal land ownership is the most likely explanation of the lack of over-development (sorry, environmentalists, it is the economics which determines the landscape not the lobbyists).
Therefore, Croatian coastal property could reach sky high prices - due to lack of supply! Does this mean you should buy a Croatian holiday property? For holiday - yes. But for investment, no! Instead buy your investments in the city - Zagreb is the obvious candidate!
POSTED BY NEIL LEWIS ON SAT 11TH AUGUST AT 08:33 GMT
TAGS: Zagreb Property, Croatia Property


Neil LewisNeil Lewis, publisher and and founder of Property Secrets , is an experienced property investor in his own right and co-author of two highly successful property investment books, Buy To Let Secrets and Property Developer Secrets.

Neil regularly speaks at conferences and property shows across Europe, and is often interviewed by journalists for his insightful views into international property investment which he writes about on property crumble and other forms of direct investment such as business angel investing.

His business background is from media and publishing consultancy to a wide range of industries such as Finance, Music, Travel, Economics and Politics before setting up Visium Group (then JoJaffa) in 1999. Neil studied Philosophy and speaks German, Spanish and a lot of English.

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