High mountains, deep inland lakes and a spectacular southern coastline of bays and beaches, plus sunny summers and mild winters, are just some of the reasons why Montenegro has become a holiday hotspot. Combine this with the fact that it occupies a key location for business, is attracting foreign investment, has a rapidly growing infrastructure and has been a sovereign state since 2006 upon its independence from Serbia and you have one of the world’s most intriguing emerging property markets.
Montenegro is aiming for EU membership in 2014, which will add to its attractiveness for buyers looking for investment properties or holiday-home ownership. There are no restrictions for foreigners wishing to buy property in Montenegro, other than land for development, and the buying process is relatively straightforward. Montenegro property prices and lawyers’ fees are low and there is no capital gains tax liability in Montenegro, all of which is helping to fuel the sector.
Montenegro is well served by airlines. Flights arrive at Podgorica and Tivat airports regularly from Europe and further afield, plus into Dubrovnik in Croatia, which is a drive of around 50 minutes across the border to Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor. Kotor, a fabulous old city that has been recognised as a UNESCO heritage site, and is one of the country’s most popular holiday hotspots, lies on the banks of the bay.
Much of the new development is taking place around Kotor and already there are reports of property increasing by as much as 100% over the past year or so, with the potential for further capital growth being maintained, plus excellent rental returns being achieved through holiday home rentals.
“Montenegro property offers an excellent investment opportunity,” says Glenda Lazare, managing director of Key Universal, an overseas investment specialist company. “The country has a burgeoning tourist industry, bolstered by the government’s Tourism Masterplan 2007-2020, which aims to develop high-end hotels, golf courses and other luxury facilities in order to attract affluent tourists.”
Key Universal is currently marketing Kotor Apartments in Dobrota on the fringes of Kotor. A boutique residence of just ten two and three bedroom contemporary apartments offering stunning sea and mountain views, and a specification that includes parquet flooring, granite staircases and fitted kitchens and bathrooms, the development is ideal for investors looking for exclusive holiday-home rental opportunities, says Lazare.
The complex will have landscaped gardens, a pool and parking spaces. Key Universal has negotiated a special deal direct with the developers and prices for the upmarket apartments will start at EUR154,880 (£124,000), with a 30 per cent deposit and 70 per cent payable on completion. “The rugged beauty of Montenegro continues to attract high-profile visitors, including Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, Madonna and The Rolling Stones,” adds Lazare. “It is being tipped as the next Monte Carlo.”
Other companies marketing in the Kotor area include Europe Property Plus, which is offering Dobrota Heights, a brand-new luxury collection of apartments from around EUR225,000 (£180,000), and Rosco Properties that has off-plan apartments at Herceg Novi-Igalo from EUR142,00 (£114,000) and homes with sea views at Baosici from EUR144,000 (£115,500), plus small resale houses in need of modernisation from around EUR50,000 (£40,000).
David Stanley Redfern is offering Acacia Hills Apartments, a collection of one-, two- and three- bedroom homes at Herceg Novi, near Djenovici, overlooking the bay. The use of natural materials has been a key feature of the design. Prices are from EUR103,000 (£82,600). “Acacia Hills offers an excellent investment opportunity in an area that is seeing one of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world,” says David Redfern, managing director of David Stanley Redfern. “Prices for these off-plan apartments are extremely competitive and we expect to see buyers realising capital increases of at least double in the next three or so years, combined with achievable rentals of around eight per cent.”
Other popular holiday hotspots in Montenegro include Sveti Stefan and Bar, which are further south along the coast, plus the historic stronghold town of Budva, where life revolves around its elegant marina and harbour. “Budva real estate and the property market in this area have become very active recently, especially with Russian investors who know the area from holidays and need no visa to visit,” says Alex Mark Moller, who is marketing the Budva Hill Resort in Budva.
“Foreign investors are interested in Budva properties because of the capital growth potential and the return of investment. We have already sold around half off-plan and are confident we will have sold all apartments when the development is complete in 2010.” The Budva Hill Resort, says Moller, will be a landmark development of one- and two-bedroom apartments in the area, offering top notch features and luxurious living. “There is a shortage of luxury resorts in the area,” he adds. “The apartments will lie on a slope offering fantastic views of the Adriatic Sea.”
Buying Montenegro property is straightforward. If buying a resale Montenegro property then a deposit of ten per cent will be required to secure the property, but if buying off-plan Montenegro property then an initial deposit followed by stage payments will be required. Montenegro property buyers are advised to appoint a local solicitor and get all documents officially translated and stamped in court. Also, ensure you check the person you’re buying from has the correct title deed ownership. After that, Montenegro property ownership should be plain sailing and lots of fun.