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Property investment in Croatian stone villas

Stone villas in the Istrian countryside

As a child I played with my cousins, running down the green rolling hills of the quaint Istrian countryside. We gathered flowers, picked strawberries, shouted in the wind and chased the chickens down the twisty lane. Laying in the grass and looking at the clouds was our favorite past time. We had red cheeks and a lions appetite. Evenings we spent listening to stories next to the open fire. We woke up early morning to the sound of the famous Istrian nightingale and the smell of freshly baked bread.

Somebody once told me a story about people that lived here for centuries and than they were gone… They left behind their belongings, servants and their manors and dispersed around the world.

 One day a visionary came up with the idea to purchase these seemingly ruinous remains of the tumultuos past and lovingly restore them to their former glory. The houses have been brought into the 21st century by installing the newest modern amenities the heart can desire.

 This combination of simple living and luxury has taken off. It has become a very popular way to spend holidays for many European upmarket visitors. Many have fallen in love with the simple life and beauty of the countryside and have since purchased their own little heaven on earth.

What is so special about the old stone houses scattered all over the Istrian countryside? Why do they make a good real estate investment?

First we must look closely at the locality where these houses are usually found. The most common places being Istria, the largest Croatian peninsula, Croatian coastal areas and the Croatian islands. As the famous real estate adaggio goes location,location, location!

Second will be the price. Houses ranging for example, from 150m2 to 200m2 and land size 2000-5000m2 can be still found for 80 000-120000 euros.

Thirdly they are very popular with holiday makers and they provide a handsome income stream from holiday rental.

Lastly they are unique and limited in numbers. Basically this type of property is like a classic automobile, less of them available for purchase on the market means increasing value.

In conclusion the reasons why you should look into investing in this type of unique property are:

  • Prices are still low compared to similar type of property around the world (for example Tuscany)

  • Holiday rental can bring a good income stream

  • Easy to maintain and the stone they are built from is a natural insulator, saving energy.

  • Croatia does not have property taxes, which is an additional bonus.

  • Since their number is limited and they are very popular with tourists and the EU investor community, good value appreciation can be expected.

Example and costs:

This is a typical example of an Istrian stone house for renovation. In this case the house is a part of an abandoned village. Houses in similar condition and on a good location ranging from 250-200m2 living space with land size varying from 2000-5000m2 will be found on the market from 80 000-100 000 depending on the size and condition.

The costs of renovation will vary from 700-800/m2. Which means that the costs of reconstruction for a 150m2 house (including all the finishes and landscaping) will be from 110 000-130 000.

Costs of all architectural drawings, documentation, licensing, deeds transfer and property transfer deeds will bring the final total cost to 225 000.

Now the house is ready to be rented out. The usual going price of rental is 300-400 per day. The perfect marriage of traditional architecture and 21st century luxury.