Real estate in Montenegro
Montenegro has been attracting the views and attention of Russians for about fifteen years, many of which consider this country not only as a vacation destination, but also as a “distant summer residence” or country of permanent residence. Let’s try to understand all aspects of this interest.
I’ll start with the recent historical past. After the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia, which included Montenegro, it became a member of the union state of Serbia-Montenegro. In 2006, according to the results of the referendum, with a slight margin, a decision was made on the complete independence of this state. Immediately after gaining independence, the country’s authorities proclaimed the main goal of joining the European Union, the euro was adopted as the national currency.
It’s funny that, having made such a decision, the Montenegrin authorities did not bother to ask the European Bank about it. Due to various factors, the government decided to increase the budget revenues mainly due to revenues from tourism and recreation. This is where one of the reasons for the interest lies for the Russians, for whom entry into Montenegro has become visa-free.
We could be here for three months every six months, having only a valid passport in our hands. Of course, the second most powerful factor that attracts Russians is the magnificent nature and favorable climate. I will not dwell on the description of the beauties of Montenegro. I can only say that the world happened to see, and this combination of the Adriatic Sea, mountains, bays, rivers and lakes, I was delighted. This feeling has remained so far.
The peak of Russian interest in Montenegro fell between 2006 and 2008. At this time, foreigners, including citizens of Russia, began to massively buy up land, houses, villas and apartments. At first, low prices for Montenegrin real estate began to rise, and mainly due to the “fault” of the Russians. The lion’s share of buyers were residents of Moscow, where, as you know, real estate prices are very high. It was enough to sell an ordinary two-room apartment and buy a decent apartment or a house on the coast of the warm sea in Montenegro. The most favorite place for the Russians was a small town called Budva. No wonder subsequently they began to call it “Moscow at Sea”. Montenegrins have the concept of “Russian margin”.
The excitement over the Montenegrin real estate lasted until the summer of 2008, when prices were already at their maximum. Many people bought real estate here simply because they liked the country and low prices compared to the untwisted European destinations.
Someone planned to use the purchased property as a distant cottage, some wanted to capitalize on rising prices. Naturally, there were those who wanted to move to Montenegro for permanent residence. The crisis of 2008 changed the situation not only in the real estate market, where sales have seriously fallen, but also in understanding the feasibility of its acquisition and further use. To some extent, these thoughts were influenced by the practice of using Montenegrin real estate purchased by foreigners.
It should be borne in mind that the legislation of this country began to be formed only in 2006 and has since been constantly improved. Given the fact that Montenegro seeks to join the European Union, the authorities are trying to bring laws into line with them.
The rules for the stay of foreigners in the country are being gradually tightened. If earlier Russians could be in Montenegro for 90 days in each half of the year, now it is only 30 days. Entry is still visa-free, but with the approach of the EU accession deadline, the situation may change.
Real estate in Montenegro. What to expect for the Russians in the coming years
The main problem appears for those who would like to live legally in Montenegro. I will not consider the issue of obtaining Montenegrin citizenship, since there are not so many such cases and the solutions are in many ways similar for other countries. Russians are more concerned about obtaining a residence permit.
At the beginning of the real estate purchase boom, many believed that its availability facilitates the process of obtaining a residence permit, but this was not the case, and this process differs little from most European countries. Legally for a long time you can live in Montenegro by registering a legal entity with it, or you can obtain a work permit yourself and get a job.
The procedure for obtaining a residence permit and its extension, unfortunately, is not very clearly defined and the inspector for foreigners, who is in each opshtina, can interpret it differently. The problem, as a rule, is solved in the way that is familiar to us, although not always. And the appetites are completely different than those of our officials.
Many Russians permanently residing in Montenegro take other paths. For example, fictitiously getting a job and paying little money for it, they receive a medical policy and pension contributions.