The COVID-19 pandemic affected the global economic system and the Bratislava real estate market was no exception. The number of new build apartments sold in Bratislava in the quarter-on-quarter comparison decreased by 40%, but in the year-on-year comparison actually increased by a third. Apartment sales prices have also reached new heights—the average price of a unit in Bratislava is currently just under EUR 3,000 per sq. m.
Experts estimate that the fallout from the economic downturn caused by the new Coronavirus pandemic will be felt especially in the second half of 2020, which, if they are correct, would put pressure on real estate prices. The National Association of Real Estate Agencies in Slovakia (NARKS) stated that housing preferences may change in the future after society’s experience with lockdown measures and quarantines. People will be more likely to take into account the importance of space and quality when it comes to buying property. “Many of our clients are currently searching for properties with a balcony, terrace, or front garden. The popularity of primary or secondary housing, where owners can comfortably spend their weekends, part of the workweek, or the summer months, has also increased,” says Dagmar Skalníková, real estate agent at Svoboda & Williams.
The COVID-19 travel ban was naturally followed by a decline in the number of short-term rental or Airbnb customers, which resulted in an increase in offers of properties for long-term rent. In Bratislava in the first half of the year, the situation caused a 28% growth in available apartments. The real estate market thus changed from a landlord’s to a tenant’s market.
During the Coronavirus crisis, the Svoboda & Williams real estate agency quickly adapted to the new demands of the market and came up with several innovations, such as real-time video viewings, Flexi Rentals services, or Flexi Office Management. Even with the Coronavirus pandemic in full swing, Svoboda & Williams was actually exclusively retained to sell new apartments in the Koliba and Schön residential projects. “The crisis has not stopped clients who need to discuss housing issues from contacting us. On the other hand, clients who have acquired real estate as an investment have chosen to bide their time and wait until the crisis starts having an impact on property prices. At this point in time, however, developers working in the Bratislava real estate market aren’t thinking about lowering prices,” adds David Martan, head of the Slovak branch of Svoboda & Williams.