«In the Emerald Residence residential complex in Bar, 80% of apartments have already been bought by foreigners.» An interview with Alexey Bartuli, co-owner of the developer company Avista Realty Group
In the city of Bar, which is located in the south of Montenegro, the modern and unique residential complex Emerald Residence is currently under construction. Interestingly, more than 80% of the apartments in this residential complex have already been purchased by foreign buyers. We talked with Alexey Bartuli, co-owner of the developer company Avista Realty Group, about what trends are typical for the and what makes the Emerald Residence residential complex, which is focused on foreign buyers, unique.
Co-owner of the developer company Avista Realty Group Alexey Bartuli in the city of Bar, Montenegro
«The city of Bar has become the main and starting point for Russian-speaking immigration in Montenegro»
— Why did you, as a developer, think the small town of Bar in Montenegro was so promising?
— Half of my answer lies in your question: because the city of Bar is a small CITY, not a fishing village from which they built a fashionable hotel, or a former submarine repair plant in Soviet times turned into a marina for super-yachts. People have lived for thousands of years in this place as a city. And perhaps my distant ancestors lived here. But that’s a different story, not for this article. Photo caption: The co-owner of the developer company Avista Realty Group Alexey Bartuli in the city of Bar, Montenegro.
— What are the main features of the region for real estate buyers?
— The region of the city of Bar is very different from other coastal regions of Montenegro. Climatically, it is the sunniest place in the entire Mediterranean. Rains are not rare here in winter, but this is the most relatively dry place on the seaside. This is due to the fact that the Wind Rose of this place creates air currents that carry the clouds over to the nearest villages — Sutomore in the north and Dobro Voda in the south. And over the center of Bar, the sun is shining and a light breeze from the mountains is constantly felt. There is no such fresh air in the picturesque Bay of Kotor.
Historically, families from all over the country spent their summer holidays in Bar since the days of Soviet Yugoslavia. Therefore, this place now continues to be a center for family summer holidays. Noisy discos and crowded restaurants in summer are available in other towns and villages of the Montenegrin seaside.
It so happened that Bar is not an expensive resort. Therefore, real estate is not so expensive here. Plus, affordability is added, an abundance of housing offers, products in stores and on the market. «The city of Bar has become the main and starting point for Russian-speaking immigration in Montenegro» And it is also important that life in Bar does not stop in winter, as it does in other places in Montenegro.
«Real estate prices in Bar are more affordable than in other cities and towns of Primorje»
— How is the real estate market developing in terms of price and quality trends?
— The real estate market in Bar is developing at a moderate pace — it isn’t «hot» or «cold». During the peak of lockdown due to the covid pandemic in 2020, projects did not stop. But at the same time, Bar doesn’t have such a number of built and unsold apartments as other seaside cities with an overheated real estate market — Budva and Tivat.
The population of Bar and the Bar region is also constantly growing and, in 2020, it was more than 40,000 people. Foreigners add several thousand permanent residents to this number of people, of which most of them are Russian-speaking citizens of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. They don’t register under the residence permit program, but use the official opportunity to keep a constant tourist status, leaving for a few hours to neighboring countries once every few months — this is how the «visa-run» program works.
Real estate prices in Bar are more affordable than in other towns and villages of the seaside, and now they go at about 1,500 euros per square meter of housing. We are also seeing a tendency for prices to rise, primarily due to inflation. Prices for building materials have increased all over the world, and in Montenegro, too — by 30-50%. Prices in the secondary real estate market have grown by about 10% over the year.
As for the cost of housing in the Emerald Residence residential complex, at the very beginning of construction, at the stage of the first 3 floors, we sold apartments at a price of about 1,100 euros per sq.m. And now, after a year and a half, apartments are being sold at a price of about 1,500 euros per square meter. After the first tenants settle in our complex and the start of mortgages from banks for apartments in the Emerald Residence residential complex at the beginning of next year, I would not be surprised if we see prices of about 2,000 euros per square meter.
All apartments are commissioned after a full renovation in the Emerald Residence residential complex
— We realized that, as a developer, one must take into account the changes in desires and even the mentality of the organization of everyday life in Montenegro. How did you use these changes to create the Emerald Residence? Have you taken into account the expectations of Montenegrins or foreigners more?
— Montenegro is a very, very patriarchal country, with its own traditions and customs. This, of course, is reflected in the tastes and preferences of local buyers. Our views on the perception of a residence as a family home in the 21st century are radically different from the idea of the ideal apartment for local residents. And that’s why our target audience is foreigners.
We, the creators of the Emerald Residence residential complex, are convinced that living in Montenegro today according to the principle «my home is my fortress» is not modern.
People want new, more harmonious relationships both with nature and among themselves. To achieve this, we take the space of the apartment outside its walls, realizing the concept of «harmonious living with nature near the city center». Just imagine: your residential complex has a green lawn with a rose garden. Being in harmony with nature can lead you to a more harmonious relationship with yourself and with your environment.
The comfort of living also depends on the quality and environmental friendliness of finishing materials, and we have already taken care of you when it comes to the layouts of apartments and the use of premium materials when creating them.
— You are the customer of the construction. Who are your partners in the construction of the Emerald Residence complex? What criteria do you lay down when choosing partners?
— We use an invincible rule of success: «The best attracts the best.» That is why we, the creators of the Emerald Residence residential complex in Bar, have attracted the most worthy «hands» of Montenegro to the construction of our residential complex. Cooperation with the leaders of the construction market allowed us to create the residential complex of our dreams — a green oasis of silence near the city center.
We have 14 contractor companies, each of which is a leader in its area of expertise. For example, Lange Bau Technic from Podgorica is the second largest contractor for the construction of a highway from Serbia to Bar. They do rough concrete work here and are our General Contractor.
«Our personal style is the adaptation of the global trend towards environmentally friendly and affordable housing in the urban environment of Montenegro»
— Tell us, do you have a personal style as a developer in Montenegro? What are you doing to improve the image of the real estate sector in Montenegro for investors?
Our personal style is the adaptation of the global trend towards environmentally friendly and affordable housing in the urban environment of Montenegro. We are integrators and pioneers. We offer something that has never been, and still is not, available in Montenegro. And we turned out to be right in choosing such a concept as an idea for creating a residential complex. Today, 5 months before the commissioning of the first building, more than 80% of our apartments have already been sold. Our main buyers are the Yugoslav diaspora from Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, the USA, and Sweden, as well as Russian-speaking residents of Israel and Germany. There are buyers from Russia and Belarus. So far, we have only 2 families of Montenegrin buyers.
— How easy or difficult is it to engage in construction in Montenegro from the point of view of doing business? Are government institutions and the current business environment helping your project?
— Construction is no different from any other activity in Montenegro. Paraphrasing the words of one of the Russian satirists about doing business in the modern realities of post-Soviet countries, we can say: organized crime in Montenegro is not visible either on the street or when dealing with government agencies or private companies. It may exist somewhere, but it is so well organized that I have never seen it for several years.
Government institutions help. For example, at the height of the 2020 lockdown, a moratorium on the payment of bank loans was introduced in Montenegro — the state assumed the costs of banks through financial assistance from the European Union.
By the way, joining the European Union in 2024-25 is a very powerful driver not only for the growth of real estate prices in Montenegro, but also for the fact that there will be a «before» and an «after» in the life of its people. For example, many experts among politicians and economists who study macro-trends are confident that the aging population of the North of Europe will move in large numbers to Montenegro. The reasons are the high cost of living in Europe, a significant reduction in people’s incomes upon retirement, and the inability of states to raise pensions even to the level of inflation. And the opposite picture in Montenegro — cheap products, cheap prices for services. It is expected that upon joining the European Union, European networks of medical services, hospitals and health insurance companies will come and start operating in Montenegro. Thus, this will give a large influx of solvent clients to the real estate market, in the first place. We don’t have to wait long — this will all happen just in time for the completion of the construction of the last building of our residential complex, «Emerald Residence», in 2-3 years.
Hurry up and order your apartment layout before the building is commissioned in January 2022!
* For more information about the Emerald Residence residential complex with photos, renders, apartment layouts and prices, read the next article.