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Mountains, Spa Resorts, and the Capital: Prime Locations for Investing in Rental Properties in Serbia

Real estate investment is a proven, secure, and simple method to increase your wealth globally. Serbia matches this trend, rising in appeal for large investors, construction companies, and individuals who seek to wisely spend their funds by investing in the real estate sector.

Housing for rent in Serbia

Serbia is currently experiencing a strong increase in construction activity. The number of modern residential complexes is quickly growing, along with the amount of investments in the sector. Individuals with extra money are more and more choosing to invest in cottages and apartments to rent them out later on. This not only gives Serbians the chance to boost their capital but also allows foreigners to obtain residence permits and tax residency in Serbia via real estate investments.

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If you are thinking of making a wise financial move in Serbia’s real estate market for attractive returns, we suggest you explore the current landscape in the most promising locations. And remember, we don’t focus on the capital city only.

Serbia’s majestic mountains: Zlatibor emerges as the largest construction area in mountainous terrain

Serbia’s renowned ski resorts draw a significant influx of tourists throughout the year. Meet these star destinations:

  • Kopaonik: The largest and most popular ski resort in Serbia, with over 60 km of ski slopes and 24 ski lifts. Kopaonik also comes with other landmarks like a national park, a spa center, and a night ski trail.
  • Zlatibor: A mountain resort that combines skiing and wellness. It boasts over 30 km of ski slopes and 8 ski lifts. In Zlatibor, you will find other attractions for tourists, including a lake, a cable car, and a dinosaur park.
  • Tara: Another mountain resort ideal for nature lovers, with over 20 km of ski slopes and 4 ski lifts. You should head for Tara if you like national parks, lakes, and rafting adventures.

Serbian ski resorts have seen a steady increase in the number of overnight stays in the past few years. According to statistical data, the first quarter of 2023 recorded a 6% rise compared to the same period in 2022. The mountain accommodations are in high demand throughout the winter season, and finding a vacant room in popular destinations like Kopaonik or Zlatibor may be highly challenging.

Zlatibor is currently one of the most active construction areas in the Serbian mountains. It is undergoing rapid development with new apartment buildings and hotels being built to accommodate the growing number of visitors. If you are interested in exploring your potential as a Serbian developer and seizing this opportunity, International Wealth experts will help you with the formalities. For instance, they can assist you with purchasing an existing company in Serbia with an open bank account.

Zlatibor is a prime destination for investors who want to acquire rental properties in the Serbian mountains. This resort town attracted a large number of foreign guests in 2023, with a 78% increase in overnight stays in the first 5 months compared to the same period in 2022.

Zlatibor dominates the real estate market in Serbia’s most popular tourist spots. Out of the 1,500 apartments sold in the top 7 destinations in H1, 2023, 900 were located in Zlatibor, according to local media reports. The average price per square meter for new properties in Zlatibor was around EUR 1,600 during the said period.

Kopaonik is another resort town where the construction of multi-apartment residential complexes is in progress. However, the pace of development is much slower than in Zlatibor. This makes it harder to find a new apartment from the developer here that can be rented out profitably in the future. The prices for existing and operational properties in the ski resort are much higher than those for construction-in-progress assets.

However, if you look beyond the center of the tourist town, you will find some affordable apartment options. Take a look at properties for sale at the foothills of Kopaonik, where the average price per square meter is about EUR 1,150 in the Brus municipality and EUR 1,380 in the Raska municipality. To complete a transaction, you will need an account with a local bank. International Wealth experts will gladly help you open a personal account with UniCredit Bank in Serbia and arrange for in-person visits if needed.

Spa resorts in Serbia: Sokobanja overtakes Vrnjacka in overnight stays

Serbia’s spa resorts have been attractive for real estate investments for a long time. These resorts have become even more popular in recent years, as they offer thermal and mineral waters that can improve various medical conditions. However, the spa resorts in Serbia are currently facing increasing competition from each other.

Sokobanja, for example, has surpassed Vrnjacka as the most visited spa destination in Serbia in 2022. The town recorded over 767,000 overnight stays in hotels, hostels, and similar establishments last year, showing its growing appeal. Sokobanja is not only known for local spa centers but also for multiple restaurants that make it a culinary hotspot in Serbia.

The rising number of guests and the high demand for apartments have encouraged developers to increase their activities in the region. Local real estate agents report a steady growth in apartment sales in Sokobanja, with most properties being bought for investment purposes.

Data from the Republican Institute of Statistics shows that in Sokobanja, nearly 400 new housing units have been built in the last 3 years. The town has a population of just over 13,000, and most of its residents already have their own residences. Therefore, it is likely that many of these new apartments are bought for rental purposes or as personal weekend retreats.

Property listings in Sokobanja suggest that the prices start from around EUR 1,300 per sqm, mainly in the outskirts. However, if you want to buy a property in a more desirable location near the spa resort downtown, you may have to pay an average of about EUR 1,600 per sqm of living space.

On the other hand, another popular Serbian spa resort, Vrnjacka, saw a significant drop in apartment sales in 2022 compared to the previous year. This trend is supported by data from the Republican Geodetic Institute, which reveals that the average selling price for new apartments in Vrnjacka was EUR 1,325 per sqm. The older apartments were priced at an average of EUR 200 per sqm lower.

Belgrade – Serbia’s thriving epicenter of construction

Belgrade is the economic, cultural, and political heart of the nation. It has always been the most popular destination for buying apartments in Serbia. That is why many tours of Serbia start with Belgrade.

The capital’s municipalities account for about 40% of all housing construction projects in the whole Balkan state. Here are some of the most attractive and sought-after areas in the city, especially for those who want to buy apartments to rent them out in the future:

  • Savski Venac
  • Dorćol
  • Slavija
  • Vračar
  • Novi Beograd.

The city districts mentioned above have higher real estate prices than other areas. However, they also offer a faster return on investment, especially if the purchased apartment is used for rental purposes and even more so if it is a short-term rental.

According to various Serbian real estate websites, the average property price in the prestigious Belgrade Waterfront residential complex (located in the Savski Venac district) is around EUR 4,400 per sqm. In Vračar, near the Saint Sava Temple, properties cost about EUR 3,500 per sqm. Apartments in Dorćol have prices ranging from EUR 3,000 to EUR 4,200 per sqm, depending on the specific part of the municipality. In Novi Beograd, property prices have risen to over EUR 4,600 per sqm. If you are interested in finding real estate in these neighborhoods, we suggest you check out the offerings from International Wealth partners below:

Rental costs vary depending on the property size and location. Generally, larger apartments have a slightly lower price per square meter of living space. Say, the average monthly rent for a 50-square-meter apartment in Vračar, near the Saint Sava Church, is about EUR 700. In contrast, a similar apartment in the Belgrade Waterfront residential complex is around EUR 1,200 per month. In Dorćol, the average rent for a 50-square-meter apartment goes as high as EUR 750. Prices in Novi Beograd are a bit more affordable.

Lately, smaller apartments, such as studios and 1-bedroom units, have been in high demand. It means that investing in compact real estate in Belgrade is a smart move. Belgrade is Serbia’s most visited tourist destination and a hub for various cultural events and business gatherings. Therefore, owning a small apartment for short-term rentals may be very profitable.

Novi Sad: meet the city undergoing a decade of economic and urban renaissance

Novi Sad has experienced remarkable economic growth in recent decades. The city’s urban infrastructure is developing rapidly, attracting thousands of people to the capital of Vojvodina and creating opportunities for new housing development. As a result, Novi Sad has become one of the most attractive destinations for real estate investments.

Official stats show that in 2022, apartment prices in key areas of the city, such as the city center, riverfront, Liman, Liberation Boulevard, and Detelinara, were consistently above EUR 2,000 per sqm. In some prestigious neighborhoods, they even exceeded EUR 2,500 per sqm. Rental prices also varied depending on the location of the apartment within the city. A 50-square-meter apartment typically came with an average monthly rent of EUR 400 to EUR 600.

Novi Sad regularly hosts a wide range of cultural events. It attracts many tourists from Serbia and abroad, which affects the rental property market. During the EXIT festival, accommodation can be hard to find, and advance booking is necessary. This alone makes investing in real estate in Novi Sad a reasonable decision.

Experts say that Novi Sad is the second best option for real estate investments with rental purposes among Serbian cities. Although it may not match Belgrade in this aspect, but it definitely surpasses other major cities in the Balkan country, such as Niš and Kragujevac.

Novi Sad has a lot of historical and cultural heritage sites to offer. We highly recommend visiting the city in person to see its investment potential. You can combine your visit with a tour of Serbian monasteries to enjoy a well-rounded exploration of the region.

Other cities in Serbia

Other Serbian cities worth considering for real estate investment purposes are relatively close to the capital, such as Pančevo, or have a significant number of universities, like Niš and Kragujevac.

Located near Belgrade, Pančevo has a lower cost of living. In 2022, the average price of apartments in Pančevo was around EUR 1,000 per sqm. In the city center, the prices reached about EUR 1,350 per sqm. The rental rates were also affordable. You could rent a 2-bedroom apartment in a new building in Pančevo for about EUR 400 per month. The rates were lower for older buildings.

Niš is the third-largest city in Serbia and has a large student population. The price of new construction in Niš averaged EUR 1,400 per sqm in 2022, with apartments in the city center priced at about EUR 1,700 per sqm. The prices were much lower than those in Belgrade and Novi Sad. The rental rates were also not as high. If you had purchased a 50-square-meter apartment in the center of Niš for rental purposes back then, you would have earned around EUR 300 per month. Kragujevac had similar prices and rental rates as Niš.

Expert assistance with selecting and acquiring Serbian real estate 

Serbia offers a variety of attractive locations for real estate investment, e.g., mountains, spa resorts, Belgrade, and other major cities. These locations differ mainly in the initial capital investment amounts and the rental income potential. They appeal to real estate buyers who are looking for rental opportunities or personal residences.

If you are interested in buying an apartment or a cottage for rental purposes in Serbia, we recommend that you consult with industry pros. The International Wealth team will help you choose promising properties, facilitate advantageous transactions, and even guide you in obtaining a resident permit in Serbia through investment channels.

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