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Montenegro will launch a program for obtaining citizenship for investment

On July 26, the Montenegrin authorities announced the launch of a citizenship for investment program. To get a passport, an investor must buy property on its territory and invest 100 thousand in a special development fund of the country. For the lagging regions in the north, the minimum cost of facilities is 250 thousand euros, for developed southern ones – 450 thousand. The program will start operating from October 2018. The number of participants is limited: in two years, only 2 thousand applicants will receive Montenegrin citizenship.

What does a passport give?
The passport of Montenegro provides visa-free entry to 123 countries of the world, including all Schengen countries. However, Montenegro is not a member of the European Union (although it is considered an official candidate since 2010) and is not included in the Schengen zone, therefore its citizenship does not allow to live in another country.

Passports of EU member states are several times more expensive. Maltese citizenship can be obtained for at least 816 thousand euros, Cyprus or Austria – for 2 million euros. “Since Montenegro is currently only a candidate for EU membership, it will not be able to create competition for EU programs,” said Ekaterina Maslova, Tranio’s client relations manager.

However, foreign investors should be aware of: until the country has joined the agreement on the exchange of financial information. “This means that if a client opens an account at a bank in Montenegro, the bank will not send information about this to the tax authorities of the country where the client resides,” explains Ekaterina Shabalina, a lawyer at Tranio.

International investors are already showing interest. “I had a couple of requests from South Africa, and my clients are primarily interested in a residence permit. They applied as soon as the information about the program appeared, – says Svetlana Larionova, Tranio’s manager for the sale of real estate in Montenegro. – In my opinion, if the conditions are acceptable and the objects are interesting for investment, the demand for the purchase of real estate in Montenegro should increase. In any case, from those countries where the European residence permit is relevant. ”

Real estate market
The global financial crisis of 2008 greatly affected the real estate market in Montenegro: according to The New York Times experts, the cost per square meter in the middle of 2009 collapsed by 20–30% and has not yet recovered. According to official statistics, in the fourth quarter of 2017, residential real estate in the primary market of Montenegro cost an average of 1,079 euro / m² – 11% more expensive than a year earlier, but, for example, 3% cheaper than at the end of 2015. However, the market is expanding: in 2017, 7% more permits for the construction of residential facilities were issued than in 2016, and 36% more than in 2015.

Montenegro real estate market
Experts believe in rising prices. Thanks largely to tourists: according to the Statistical Office of Montenegro (MONSTAT), the number of their arrivals increased from 1.5 million in 2013 to 2 million in 2017. The overwhelming majority of guests are tourists from abroad: Russia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine and Germany. They prefer to rest on the coast: 95% of overnight stays fall on the coastal resorts in the south of the country. Real estate here is much more expensive than in the north. Thus, according to MONSTAT, if in Podgorica, Bar and Budva, located in the southern part, real estate costs 1 119, 1 105 and 1 212 euro / m², respectively, in other cities – an average of 881 euro / m².

A two-room apartment in Budva with such a sea view will cost 180 thousand euros
A two-room apartment in Budva with such a sea view will cost 180 thousand euros

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