In this time of economic distress, many countries have suffered. Yet, reports Milos Gledovic, Partner at Samardzic, Oreski & Grbovic, Serbia has proven resilient. “The pandemic has not affected the number of transactions in our market, except in the industries directly affected by anti-COVID measures,” Gledovic says, describing the overall economic situation in Serbia as stable.
Gledovic reports that some sectors have even been on the rise recently – perhaps most notably real estate, where a boom in residential development continues and interest in logistics properties is higher than ever. Gledovic points to the sale by the Poseidon Group and Mitiska Reim of retail parks in the Serbian cities of Zajecar, Leskovac, Sombor, and Sabac to Austria’s Immofinanz AG (as reported by CEE Legal Matters on December 28, 2020), which, in his opinion, demonstrates that even the retail segment of the real estate market remained active.
Gledovic says that the high demand for real estate includes residential properties; a trend that is explained in part by the availability of affordable loans and, he says, an inevitable form of group-think. “A herd mentality is present in the sense that, seeing how the sector is very active, people are rushing to buy,” he says. However, not everything is sunshine and roses even in Serbia’s burgeoning real estate sector, and Gledovic suggests that some companies might resort to sale and subsequent lease of their office space in order to secure working capital.
Another fairly stable part of Serbia’s economy is its financial sector, which Gledovic says has registered several significant events, including the sale of Komercijalna Banka to Slovenia’s NLB (as reported by CEE Legal Matters on March 5, 2020). Gledovic reports that the recent establishment of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation in Serbia represents a valuable addition to the country’s financial sector, and is expected to result in new investments in the market.