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Is Croatia the new Italy? The market and charm of Croatia and what you may be missing out on.

By Claire Hebb

The day was August 18th, 2016. I was stepping outside of my massive comfort zone known as the United States and entering into a whole new world of unforeseen territory. (Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it unforeseen territory but in an attempt to make my seven-day family vacation to Croatia sound as riveting as possible, unforeseen territory works).

Croatia is home to 1,246 islands, isles, and inlets. We didn’t want to bite off more than we could chew, so we decided to only explore five of them. We started off our tour in the city of Hvar, and then sailed on through Corsica, Dubrovnik, Split, and Trigor in the following couple nights. What interested me the most, as we explored each city, was the character that each city held in relation to its local businesses and architectural styles. The restaurants, bars, and local shops were small, yet authentic and true to the city’s cultural and structural shape. While modern developments were notably absent, the durability of the structures that had upheld Croatia’s natural kept beauty fascinated me. It now made perfect sense as to why the European country has the deserving reputation as one of the most spectacular places on earth. From an American tourist’s perspective, the locals took immense pride in their internationally recognized oceans, weather, history, and most importantly, service sector that thrives off its tourists (making up for about 20% of Croatian GDP).

As our vacation progressed, I began to get a better sense of how the locals viewed their country. According to a tour guide we found in Trigor, many citizens have very poor opinions of the Croatian government after the political and economic reform that took place in the late 1980’s. Under Prime Minister Ante Markovic, the Croatian government transitioned into the privatization of state-owned assets.

From a real estate perspective, how did this affect property investment and development? While recent years have shown a steady decline ranging from 4-14% in Croatian home sales, we’re now starting to see a recovery period begin to form. According to Colliers International, “The Croatian real estate sector expects several developments and transactions in 2016, underpinned by better economic climate, yield opportunities and improved investor sentiment.” Demand from wealthy European homebuyers is expected to increase as well which will, hopefully, help Croatia bounce back from six years of economic recession.

Croatian waterfront is still affordable compared to Italy and other neighboring countries. US Citizens have reciprocity with Croatia, permitting Americans to purchase in the country if certain other requirements are met. The process can be complicated, and post-war remnants of title issues and property ownership disputes still exist in the country. But for the tenacious and willing, the opportunities are many.

Our family vacation to Croatia was hands down one of the most amazing trips I’ve ever been on. Although a small country, Croatia has tons of culture, natural beauty, delicious gelato, and is, in my opinion, an absolute must-see. Also, perhaps, an absolute must-buy.

You would be amazed at what a modest American budget can get you in Croatian waterfront. For more information on foreign purchasing, contact us srci@srcigroup.com.