The small country , most likely, be the next European Union member, as membership negotiations should conclude in 2025. Most of the legislation already conforms to EU standards, as Montenegro opened 32 out of 33 negotiations chapters (March 2020 data).
The country’s economy is growing continuously, it has a free trade agreement with both EU and Russia, and already has Euro as a national currency. Even as Montenegro continues to approach European standards, the average salary is still relatively low (511€), which is beneficial for investors, as well-educated domestic workforce is readily available. World Bank’s Ease of doing business index ranks Montenegro on 42th place among 190 countries, placing Montenegro in the category of countries where doing business is “very easy”.
Foreign companies have equal rights as domestic ones in Montenegro, and all foreign investors are eligible for government incentives same as local one. The country also entered into the protection of investments agreement with almost all European states, as well as the economic cooperation agreement with diverse countries from China to Germany and UAE, providing investors from these countries with additional help.
Furthermore, Montenegro is attracting investors with its liberal tax policy. With corporate income tax of only 9% and personal income tax of 9%, Montenegro is among the Europe’s lowest taxes countries. The tax on real estate transfers is only 3%. The use of the Euro as official currency, Montenegro’s membership in NATO and its active pursuit of European Union indicate stable and positive economic growth of the country.
With only 625.000 residents, 293km long shoreline on Adriatic (73km of beaches), overlooked by gorgeous, untouched mountains, Montenegro presents the perfect opportunity for real estate development.
Tourism is economic stronghold income from tourism makes up 20% of Montenegro’s economy, with over two million visitors each year, six times the number of local population! All foreigners who buy real estate are given residence permits and enjoy the full protection of the state.
Adriatic coastline is dotted with hotels, built mostly in recent years. The hotel business is competitive, but potentially rewarding, and there are also still many hotels from Yugoslav era on extraordinary locations, awaiting buyers or partners to provide funds for renovation.
Montenegro opened to the world in 2000, and the early real estate investors were the Russians, who bought thousands of villas relatively cheap, but as European and Middle-Eastern investors started arriving in bigger numbers, many Russians are now selling their residences to make a profit. In 2019 in Montenegro has been present investors from 112 countries.
Tourism in Montenegro took a big turn in recent years, as the country became attractive for the very rich, especially with the completion of luxury yacht resorts in Porto Montenegro, Portonovi, Lustica Bay and other places. World tourism and travel council has ranked Montenegro in top 5 countries in the world according to longterm growth forecast. The comprehensive tourism plan for the current decade includes further development of this potential, featuring golf courses, spa’s and other luxury facilities.
Great opportunities are now emerging for the development of luxury residences, primarily in Boka Kotorska, the biggest natural bay in Adriatic, as Montenegro becomes the destination of the very rich, while still being popular middle-class vacation destination. Segmentation is now taking place, as large sections of prime coastline are developed as luxury resorts, while hotels and private houses are continually being built all along the coast.
Government of Montenegro is investing in infrastructure such as highway, airports, local roads, water and electricity supply but further improvements would be necessary as number of tourists increase every year.
Regardless of whether foreign investors plan to develop tourism or residential projects, without committed and trustworthy local partner, they are likely to overpay and almost as likely to buy a property with very low real value. For example, a property may seem to be ideal for a luxury complex, but is in the area which is not interesting for tourists on yachts as nearby ports are unsuitable for yachts. Many expats bought fantastic houses, only to discover later that because of high mountains, the house is in the shade most of the day. A careful buyer may overcome these difficulties, but some other issues are impossible to evade without a local support. For example, there are areas of the coast which are simply considered not to be chic and are not frequently visited by wealthy tourists…
The one advantage of living in a small country is that one is familiar with all its parts, and a good consulting firm’s staff will be personally acquainted with all the key government and local regulations, subcontractors and even property owners, so there is no chance making a subpar investment.
At Golden Group, we continuously monitor all changes in the investment climate and on the ground. We always have several existing projects and a few potential ones to recommend to our clients, and if they already made a decision, we are ready to help with financial, tax and legal advice, as well as to monitor every stage of the project, from an idea to the completion.
We believe that year 2020 is especially good year to invest, as coronavirus fear impacted the real estate prices, with prices falling at least 10%. Whenever the pandemic may end, income from tourism will continue to grow and is likely to do so for decades. Therefore, the present moment is a very good one to make an investment, both in residential and tourism sector. Many sellers are eager to sell, and a possible bad season this summer will lower the prices further. The investor has only to come in the right time and at the right place, and Golden Group will be there to help them achieve their goals.