Bratislava's pathetically low number of available apartments is matched only by their distressingly low quality. This dearth of supply, combined with a trend to prefer owning a niche instead of renting one, has prospective flat-owners climbing over each other to pay relatively high prices for niche-like new apartments.
As a result, new projects featuring one-room studio apartments are becoming more popular among developers. One such development 10 kilometers east of downtown in the district of Vrakuňa is selling 27.3 square meter-apartments for 600,000 Sk ($19,000).
Although not to be completed until late next year, about 40 percent of the 70 studios in the Vrakuňa development have already been sold and another 20 percent are in negotiations, according to Blažej Ďurža of the selling agency Novobyt.
Walk into the entryway of one of the future Vrakuňa studio apartments and immediately to the left is a bathless bathroom, a tiny tiled room with a toilet, sink, and shower. Two paces further in is the living/dining/bedroom with a kitchen sink and stove in the corner. Straight at the back of the flat is a balcony barely big enough for a chair so that a person can inhale a little fresh air.
This does not offer a resident enough space, according to Michal Ružek, whose Bratislava-based agency Mitan is also planning to develop an apartment building one-third of which will be studio apartments. "They should be a minimum of 30 square meters plus a small balcony or terrace," Ružek said.
Ružek said he is not familiar with Vrakuňa, but based on the 12,000 Sk price tag Ružek's development will pin to each square meter, the Vrakuňa apartments are expensive, but not outrageous. "There are some selling for more," Ružek said, "but they are better located."
These studio apartments are attracting young single people, as well as young couples, some of whom even have a first child. Ďurža said that there is a big desire for larger flats, but they are still too expensive for most first-time home-buyers. As Ďurža said, "I can want something, but I must have the money." Older people are also moving into these studios and vacating bigger apartments, some of which command a higher price.
Given these factors and the favorable prospects for the near future, Ružek said more of this kind of apartment buildings will be built. "There is absolutely no problem selling these apartments in Bratislava right now."
8. May 1997 at 0:00 | Rick Zedník