The Commercial Development and Investment Journal (CIJ) recently interviewed lawyers from across Central Eastern Europe, asking them what they see as the prospects for the region’s market and how these markets will be affected by Brexit. Bojović & Partners Senior Associate Ivan Gazdić gave a brief overview of how strong is the influence of local investors in Serbia.
CIJ: How strong is the push by local investors in Serbia? Is this temporary or do you expect their influence to increase further?
Gazdić: One third of all construction projects in Serbia are currently located in Belgrade. Consequently, the city represents the driving force behind the country’s construction industry. There are several projects planned to renovate the capital, including the restoration of the city’s main symbol, the Belgrade fortress, the construction of a new main bus station, new public garages, the renewal of residential facades, the extension of bicycle paths throughout the entire city (making bicycles a new form of urban public transport), and other developments of major public areas. The key acceleration factor in the real estate development sector is, in my view, a recent regulatory reform. Namely, the recently introduced “integrated procedure” has simplified the process for obtaining required documentation for construction projects, such as licenses and other consents. The procedure encompasses all actions, from the issuance of location conditions, to the issuance of construction and use permits and the registration of ownership over the newly constructed facility with the real estate cadaster. The integrated procedure ensures that the exchange of all relevant documents takes place between the public authorities, without any further involvement by the investor. Instead of having to collect the requisite documentation from a multitude of providers, the investor is now only required to produce those documents which the competent authority cannot obtain ex officio.
CIJ: Is Brexit good or bad for Serbia? Do you see or expect any direct impact for the property market or the country’s economy?
Gazdić: Many Balkan countries continue to negotiate their entry to the EU and did not expect one of its most prominent members to actually vote to leave. I do not believe that many people in Serbia expected the Brexit campaign to win the referendum. Our UK-based colleagues share the same view. However, once the sensationalist reporting started to subside, many stakeholders in South-Eastern Europe seemed to become more at ease with the concept. Some can see the benefits of Brexit and are slowly identifying how they can take advantage of it. In any case, I do not expect any direct Brexit impact for the property market in Serbia.