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Sára Goldbergerová
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11. November 2019

Svoboda & Williams Expands to Slovakia

Svoboda & Williams, a renowned real estate agency with Czech roots that has been active on the domestic real estate market for almost two decades, started offering its services in Slovakia this spring. The agency is the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate for Slovakia. This prestigious global network offers properties in the most sought-after locations worldwide.

Czech real estate agency Svoboda & Williams, founded by Marion Williams and Prokop Svoboda, early on established itself as the dominant player in the domestic premium real estate segment. Its reputation is founded on a progressive marketing philosophy and the high quality of its services and portfolio. In 2017, the agency became the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. “The license we received from Christie’s was the immediate impulse for our expansion,” explains Prokop Svoboda, owner of Svoboda & Williams. Another important factor was the high level of interconnection between the Czech and Slovak markets. “In recent years, investors we cooperate with in the Czech Republic, many of them from Slovakia, have often encouraged us to extend our services to the Slovak market,” says Prokop Svoboda. Svoboda & Williams is expanding to Slovakia at a time when the country is undergoing an unprecedented real estate boom caused in part by low mortgage interest rates. Every quarter, the prices of Slovak properties set new records.

Alongside Svoboda & Williams, which focuses on premium properties, the agency is also expanding the Feelhome brand to Slovakia in order to offer high quality apartments and family houses in the mid and lower price ranges. Properties at the proverbial tip of the real estate iceberg will carry the prestigious Christie’s International Real Estate label. “Our cooperation with Christie’s International Real Estate, which is owned by the legendary auction house, offers Slovak premium property owners the opportunity to present their homes and apartments within the context of a brand with an esteemed international reputation and will therefore help them reach investors all over the world. Slovak buyers will have easy access to luxury properties in the most attractive locations worldwide,” adds Prokop Svoboda.

JUDr. David Martan RSc., who has over 15 years of experience on the Slovak market and has worked on a number of successful real estate projects, will head the Slovak branch of Svoboda & Williams. David Martan is a lawyer and holds the title of RSc. (Real Estate Consultant), which is the highest level of real estate education that one can achieve. “We offer Slovak clients the added value of distinguished brands and the know-how of an established real estate agency combined with our expert knowledge of the market. We have put together a team of real estate experts who will work in the Bratislava branch. Negotiations with property owners and local developers are under way,” stated David Martan. Svoboda & Williams will offer its services to those interested in selling, buying, or renting properties, as well as to developers. The agency’s own marketing team creates a comprehensive marketing strategy and the project’s visual identity, which it then communicates through Svoboda & Williams’ marketing channels and through the purchase of advertisements.

The Bratislava branch of Svoboda & Williams is located in Old Town on Ventúrska 12. You can find the Feelhome brand in the new Slnečnice neighborhood, which is being built on the right bank of the Danube River at the edge of Petržalka, on Zuzany Chalupovej 10B. The Feelhome office is also open weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Slovak version of the Svoboda & Williams website.

Svoboda & Williams Expands to Slovakia

11. November 2019

Svoboda & Williams Opened Its New Feelhome Branch in Bratislava

The Svoboda & Williams real estate agency is bringing its Feelhome brand to the Slovak market. Feelhome features properties from the lower and mid-priced real estate segments. The Bratislava Feelhome branch, which opened its doors in October, is located in the new Slnečnice neighborhood, the largest residential project in Slovakia.

The Feelhome brand offers apartments and family houses for sale and rent with affordable prices, yet still with the same high standard of services that clients have come to expect from Svoboda & Williams. Feelhome’s selection of properties, which currently consists of apartments and family houses for sale and rent in Bratislava and other attractive locations in Slovakia, comes with the experience of a renowned real estate agency with its own unique style of communication.

The Feelhome office in the stylish Slnečnice neighborhood on the right bank of the Danube River where Petržalka ends was designed by the SAD atelier. Slnečnice has the vibrant atmosphere of a modern neighborhood with everything that this entails: residential housing, public spaces, and greenery. Upon completion, almost 9,000 residents will call it their home. “Thanks to the gradual development of affordable and comfortable housing in Slnečnice with urban features yet close to nature, we could not have found a better place to fit the brand concept of Feelhome,” says David Martan, head of the Slovak branch of Svoboda & Williams.
Feelhome’s address is Zuzany Chalupovej 10B. It is open for clients every weekday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Slovak version of the Feelhome website.

Svoboda & Williams Opened Its New Feelhome Branch in Bratislava

11. November 2019

Current Trends in the Slovak Real Estate Market

In many ways, the Slovak real estate market shares similar characteristics with the Czech one: property prices are rising (especially in the capital city and its immediate area), interest rates are falling, and the demand for housing is higher than the supply available. These trends are not projected to change in the near future, making Slovakia a very interesting country from an investment perspective.

Analysts have been pointing out that interest rates have hit bottom and that we must expect them to rebound, but the opposite is true—the average mortgage interest rate in the Czech Republic and Slovakia is still decreasing. Banks in both markets are trying to make up for the collapse of the mortgage market. For example, the Slovenská spořitelna bank currently offers mortgages with a 0.79% interest rate (the average interest rate in the Czech Republic is 2.47%). However, with rising housing prices there is less interest in mortgages: in the second quarter, Slovak properties showed a year-on-year increase of 8.3%. The fastest rising prices are for older properties, and potential buyers will pay 5% more for new properties than in 2018. Real estate prices in Bratislava are three times higher than in other regions; in the popular district of Bratislava II – Ružinov they are even increasing by 12% annually.

Investors who are thinking about placing part of their capital in the Slovak real estate market will appreciate the fact that there are no restrictions for foreign clients in this area, except in the acquisition of farmland. What’s more, the increase in property prices is not expected to slow down. In fact, real estate costs are rising exponentially, which is reflected in the prices of new residential projects. The Slovak market also has many advantages over its Czech counterpart. For one, Slovakia doesn’t have a real estate acquisition tax, which means that, compared to the Czech Republic, properties are 4% cheaper. Slovakia is also part of the eurozone, and so investors can have confidence in a stable currency, while avoiding exchange rate risk and currency conversion fees, which are around 1%. Another benefit is Bratislava’s strategic location on the border of Austria and Hungary and close to the Czech Republic.

Current Trends in the Slovak Real Estate Market

23. October 2019

The Czech Concrete Industry Introduced a Revolution in Construction: Recycled Concrete

For many years, construction experts have been trying to innovate how cement is produced. The Czech company ERC-Tech has recently made great strides and together with Skanska it developed a new type of concrete that is entirely made of recycled construction debris. This unique Czech patent has the potential to revolutionize both the construction industry and the environment.

Although not obvious at first glance, demolition rubble and debris is a major problem—it accounts for almost half of all waste generated in the Czech Republic. Only one tenth of the rubble is used for other purposes, which is a shamefully low number considering how much non-renewable resources are wasted and the high carbon footprint of mining and transporting materials. Construction companies have been trying to recycle construction rubble in part because of the rising costs of sand, gravel, and stone, which increase overall construction costs.

The innovations created by František Polák from ERC-Tech will elegantly solve all of these problems. In collaboration with Skanska’s innovation and development specialists, he invented a material called Rebetong, which has properties similar to concrete, but is made of construction debris instead of sand, grave, and stone. It also has a lower thermal conductivity coefficient than conventional concrete, and so it decreases a building’s energy consumption. For now, the technology and know-how—the way in which the debris is crushed and the special nanoblend added to it—is a closely guarded secret. Skanska is the first construction company in the world that officially manufactures this Czech invention.

Source of photos: Skanska a.s.

The Czech Concrete Industry Introduced a Revolution in Construction: Recycled Concrete

21. October 2019

Svoboda & Williams Partner of the Real Estate Market Autumn 2019 Conference

The Real Estate Market Autumn 2019 conference took place on October 17th at the Grandior Hotel in Prague. This time, the theme of the event was the latest trends of the new real estate era. Prokop Svoboda, owner of the Svoboda & Williams real estate agency, took part in the final discussion panel. His presentation was entitled “Premium Segment Prices in a Prague-Wide Context.”

During the course of the conference, panelists discussed the latest topics that the Czech real estate market has been abuzz with. David Kužela from Ernst & Young considered the potential of rental housing projects in the Czech Republic, which are hampered by not being able to deduct VAT and therefore their development has been rather slow. Pavel Sovička, director of Panattoni Europe, spoke about the lack of infrastructure that forces foreign companies to invest instead in neighboring countries. He agreed with Milan Kratina from the Accolade company that investment into infrastructure is crucial for the economic development of the country and that the Czech Republic is lagging behind its neighbors in this area.

There was an interesting debate among the developers and municipal representatives during the panel on public space and participation. Marcel Soural from Trigema pointed out that developers are trying to meet residents’ demands when realizing their new projects, but that they need more support from politicians at the local level and from civil servants.

During the panel on apartments and housing not only in Prague, Petr Michálek, CEO of Skanska Reality, presented a new concept of prefabricated housing that will speed up construction and open the door to people who currently can’t afford to own housing. The owner of the Svoboda & Williams real estate agency, Prokop Svoboda, focused on the other end of the residential housing spectrum, i.e. the premium segment, and more specifically on current premium property prices. According to numerous newspaper articles, it would seem that the average price of an apartment in Prague has risen to the average price of a premium property. However, a closer look at the numbers and prices based on real estate transactions shows that the difference between the two segments continues to be around 40%. Only in Prague 1 and 2 are the averages similar, since both municipal districts are premium locations.

Svoboda & Williams Partner of the Real Estate Market Autumn 2019 Conference

02. October 2019

The Svoboda & Williams Team Welcomes New Members

After a quiet summer season, the Svoboda & Williams real estate agency once again expanded its staff. The Property Management and Marketing departments as well as the Analytics Team all have new members, and new colleagues have been welcomed in the Residential Sales, Residential Rentals, and Commercial Leasing departments.

New Senior Property Manager Petra Řehořková began working in the Property Management Department at the beginning of September. She is a graduate of the University of Economics, Prague with a degree in Business Economics and Management. She has extensive experience in real estate management and worked in this capacity for 2 years in Bohemian Estates. Petra is also well versed in financial analysis. Pavlína Paštová has been our new digital marketing specialist since September. She has a degree in Anglophone Studies from the Metropolitan University Prague and previously worked as a Social Media Manager in GLAMI. This October, Pavel Zadina joined Svoboda & Williams as the agency’s new analyst. He recently held the same position at the Arendon Development Company. Pavel graduated from the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague and lived in Iceland for several months.

The Residential Sales team also expanded at the end of the summer. Jana Kociánová joined the team as a Sales Representative. She studied international business and international relations at the University of Economics, Prague. In addition to English and German, she is an advanced speaker of French. For the last three years, she worked as a marketing manager and also spent several years working in interior design. Kelly Buiová is the newest Letting Representative in the Residential Rentals Department. She has a degree in Human Resources from Newton College Prague and previously worked in production and business development before joining Svoboda & Williams. Aneta Krubnerová recently began working in the Commercial Leasing Department. She studied journalism and new media at the Academy of Journalism, and is an experienced editor and copywriter.

Ester Macháčková is the new receptionist at myhive Flexi Offices, managed by Svoboda & Williams. Ester speaks English and Vietnamese, and has worked as a makeup artist and English teacher.

The Svoboda & Williams Team Welcomes New Members

26. September 2019

Prokop Svoboda Spoke at the 20th Annual CEDEM 2019 International Conference

The 20th annual international conference CEDEM 2019 took place on September 25th at the Slovanský dům in Prague. The Svoboda & Williams real estate agency was one of the more than two dozen participants that took part in its 6 panel discussions, focusing on the hottest topics and trends in the current Central and Eastern European real estate market across all segments.

The experts addressed the current state of the global economy, which many find difficult to grasp due to recent changes. Despite a number of negative factors, such as Brexit, a stagnant industrial sector, and the overall slowdown and uncertainty in global markets, economists in the Czech Republic are not expecting a major recession or real estate prices to fall significantly. In fact, they are projecting prices to rise further. One of the topics discussed by the panelists was the great potential of rental housing in Prague. With rising property prices, fewer and fewer people can afford to live “in their own place.” However, Prokop Svoboda, owner of Svoboda & Williams, pointed out that this is a natural development that does not necessarily have to be negative. Svoboda believes the greater threats to be the mortgages that a large part of the population will be saddled with as well as rent regulation. The current situation, when owning residential property in Prague is becoming a luxury, reflects a well-balanced Czech real estate market. Any direct interference could tip it in the wrong direction.

Prokop Svoboda Spoke at the 20th Annual CEDEM 2019 International Conference

12. September 2019

Trio Harrachov Mountain Apartments: Second Phase Sale Launched

At the end of the summer, construction work commenced on the second phase of the Trio Harrachov project, which is beautifully situated in the heart of the Krkonoše Mountains. Units in the Amálie and Beáta apartment houses are now on sale and the project’s exclusive agent is the Svoboda & Williams real estate agency.

The Trio Harrachov alpine residential project consists of three five-story residences situated in a peaceful valley of the Kamenice River. Together with the start of construction work on the second phase of the project, the sale of apartments in the Amálie and Beáta apartment houses has been launched. Both houses together contain 30 apartments with one-bedroom to two-bedroom layouts that face either south or southeast. The units will be sold in a finished state that is completed to a high standard and will offer lovely views of the picturesque Krkonoše countryside. The completion of the two remaining residences is scheduled for December 2021.

More information on the Trio Harrachov project.

Trio Harrachov Mountain Apartments: Second Phase Sale Launched

08. September 2019

Two Sides to Mortgages with Negative Interest Rates

At the beginning of August, the announcement of the Danish Jyske Bank, which decided to offer a ten-year mortgage with a −0.5% interest rate to potential homeowners, resonated throughout the global financial market. At the same time, Nordea Bank unveiled its offer of a twenty-year home loan with a zero interest rate. If foreign financial institutions are slowly starting to go down this path, we can expect to see similar practices in the Czech Republic.

Upon examination of these negative interest rates, things might not be so black and white once all of the bank charges and fees have been added. Jyske Bank itself emphasized that this type of mortgage is not intended to finance an entire property. But the fact of the matter is that interest rates on loans continue to decline, even in the Czech Republic. If the surrounding markets will follow the worldwide trend of zero or sub-zero interest rates, the Czech National Bank (the local regulator) will have a hard time resisting them. And as interest rates decrease, real estate prices are likely to increase.

But there are two sides to every coin, and this is true for negative interest rates as well. As mortgage interest rates go down, banks will increasingly demand better collateral, which will have a negative impact on demand. This development in capital markets indicates that well-secured home loans with negative interest rates are gradually becoming a safe investment.

Two Sides to Mortgages with Negative Interest Rates

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