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EAGER HOME-OWNERS BUYING TOP FLATS

Residential 5 rooms selling for 5.5 million Sk

Bratislava is suffering from a lack of high quality property in all areas of real estate, but the rate and price at which two housing developments have been able to sell space indicate the demand is most desperate in the case of residential property.
By committing up to 5.5 million Sk ($180,000) for 5-room apartments still under construction, Slovaks have demonstrated both a willingness and an ability to pay premium prices for scarce premium property.
"Right now, the demand is highest for apartments," said Adriana Litomerická, president of the Slovak branch of FIABCI, the International Federation of Real Estate Professionals. "Last year, office space was number one. Bratislava does not have enough office space, but it needs flats even more."

Bratislava is suffering from a lack of high quality property in all areas of real estate, but the rate and price at which two housing developments have been able to sell space indicate the demand is most desperate in the case of residential property.

By committing up to 5.5 million Sk ($180,000) for 5-room apartments still under construction, Slovaks have demonstrated both a willingness and an ability to pay premium prices for scarce premium property.

"Right now, the demand is highest for apartments," said Adriana Litomerická, president of the Slovak branch of FIABCI, the International Federation of Real Estate Professionals. "Last year, office space was number one. Bratislava does not have enough office space, but it needs flats even more."

Litomerická, who directs the agency Prvá Národná Aukčná Spoločnosť, said 60 percent of the real estate business her agency does now is residential. She estimated the average price for a 3-room apartment in central Bratislava at 1 million Sk. "A year ago, prices were one-third less," she said.

Slovaks are now paying several times that average in order to own flats in two developments still under construction, one in the outlying district of Dúbravka and the other two kilometers from the Castle.

Bratislavská Realitná Kancelária has already sold 36 of 47 apartments in two Dúbravka buildings that will not be completed until next August.

One-room efficiencies of 57 square meters have been grabbed for 975,000 Sk ($32,000), and 5-room suites totalling 215 square meters have sold for 3.5 million Sk ($115,000), according to Igor Fedoroňko, the agency's owner. And this is for apartments 350 meters from the nearest bus stop, which is 10 kilometers from downtown. "There is not very much competition," said Fedoroňko. "Most of these people are choosing this over flats in low-quality apartment complexes built 10, 20, or 30 years ago. The main competition will come from other investors starting to build other apartments."

One such competitor is Kondomínium Bôrik, a residential development of 156 apartments going up much closer to downtown. The real estate agency IURIS has already sold all 78 flats in the first part of the development, which will be complete this coming April. Construction of the second part, which will be complete in July 1998, started just weeks ago, as did sales of those apartments.

The Bôrik development includes three, four, and five-room apartments that range in price from a low of 2.2 million Sk ($72,000) for 80 square meters plus balcony, to high of 5.5 million Sk for 180 square meters plus a balcony.

Agents for both housing developments say most of their buyers are top managers and entrepreneurs who have money to spend and families to house. To meet the demands of this emerging class of home-owners, both agencies are making plans for further developments. "We are already looking for land where we could build flats in the future," said Fedoroňko.

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