While the share of the market held by rental apartments in the countries of the European Union is between 19 and 62 percent, in Slovakia it is only about 6 percent. This negatively affects labour force mobility and housing for young families and handicapped citizens, the Benchmarking Information Exchange Project has discovered. The Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) in Slovakia participated in the project and focused on the comparison of support for rental housing between Slovakia and the Czech Republic and Austria where the share of rental apartments on the market is 21 percent and 42 percent, respectively.
The Slovak Construction Ministry considers that to a large extent, the current state of housing is a consequence of the changes following the fall of the communist regime in 1989. This meant not only an end to support for the construction of state housing and the consequent significant decrease in new housing, but also a massive sale of apartments into private ownership.
In Slovakia and the Czech Republic, responsibility for the housing needs of citizens lies with the municipalities.
“The number of completed municipal rental apartments decreased from 2,305 units in 2009 (12.24 percent) to 359 in 2016 (2.29 percent),” reads the NKÚ’s report, indicating that the construction of municipal rental apartments in Slovakia as well as in the Czech Republic followed a downward trend between 2009 and 2016.
The office points out that the support scheme in Slovakia does not take into consideration differences in general rental costs and the monthly fee is set at €55.80 for a single and €89.20 for a family. In the Czech Republic the contribution is based on real or normative housing costs and the number of persons in a family. However, in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic state support, due to the increasing price of real estate and the tightening of conditions surrounding mortgages, is ceasing to be affordable for wider groups of citizens.
The NKÚ cites Austria’s rental housing scheme as an example of good practice. It is not only focused on households with low incomes, but its goal is to provide wide groups of citizens with affordable and quality housing.
“In Austria it is the individual federal republics that, in cooperation with the municipalities, insurance companies and banks are responsible for rental housing,” reads the report. “Contrary to Slovakia and the Czech Republic, in Austria they focus primarily on support for affordable housing as rental houses.”
Photo: Town of Svidník is rebuilding former dormitory into municipal rental apartments, TASR
The new city district Bory, between the Small Carpathians and the Morava River in Bratislava, continues to grow. Its developer Penta Real Estates has announced two more phases to the residential area. After completion, the new district will feature offices, shops, parks and amenities including a kindergarten, besides housing.
Housing construction in recent years has lagged behind consumer demand in Slovakia. Not only were new apartments bought, but also older homes, whose prices were pushed higher by the acute shortage of new residential buildings.
Long-term manager and developer of logistics warehouses, P3 Logistic Parks, continues to record strong growth over the past 12 months. This has been driven, in part, by the boom in online demand, which has fuelled the need for strategically-located warehouses in Europe. P3’s customer base has grown by 20 percent, with customer retail share surpassing 30 percent for the first time in the company’s history.
Housing affordability in the Bratislava Region is the lowest compared to the remaining seven regions of Slovakia. This is true for employees with an average monthly wage of €1,360 and average prices of residential real estate. While the average wage in this region is 39 percent above the national average, the average price for one square metre of real estate is 117 percent higher than the average, specified VÚB bank analyst Andrej Arady.
Company owners are searching for more effective solutions for managing their companies. One of such solution is shared office space; as much as 80 percent of companies using this solution put cost reduction as the reason. This way they save especially on costs needed for acquisition of offices and rentals, as well as repair and maintenance costs, a survey conducted by International Workspace has confirmed.
Extensive reconstruction of Mlynské Nivy Street in Bratislava and construction of a brand new central bus station, including an adjacent high rise office building, are progressing. Currently almost 450 workers of various professions and 18 cranes are working on it, the biggest construction site in central Europe at 4.4 hectares large. The developer HB Reavis still promises to launch the new bus station in late 2020.
In the former industrial zone on Račianska Street in Bratislava, next to the Lidl retail store, stands an old brick smokestack and concrete beams. These are the remnants of a long defunct parquet factory. Developer Corwin plans to replace the remnants with Guthaus, a residential complex with a new vision for housing quality.