Buildings With Seismic Risk in Bucharest

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Romania has not experienced high level earthquakes in the past few years, with the most devastating one taking place in the 70s, but a recent discovery made by the authorities has shown that almost 400 buildings are under a seismic risk in the city alone. Bucharest is known as one of the capitals with historical buildings everywhere, with a few locations thriving upon this (the Old Town as an example).

Upon an evaluation performed in the last few months, almost 400 buildings need to be consolidated because they are under a seismic risk. For this purpose, the government has decided to send $10 million euros to save at least a part of these buildings. As some may know, because of the latest regulations regarding seismic risk buildings, one of the biggest restaurants in the Old Town has been shut down. According to new regulations, restaurants, clubs and any other commercial businesses cannot function in buildings with a seismic risk, which has prompted many businesses to close shop. The Nottara theater in Bucharest, one of the most widely recognized theaters in the capital has also been affected by the new regulations and starting with November 23rd, the organizers decided to cancel all the shows that were supposed to take place in the original location because of the seismic risk the building was under.

Here are some facts about the buildings with seismic risk in Bucharest:

  1. The Red Stamp

The red stamp is used to signal to the public the buildings that are currently under a seismic risk. Every building in the capital city has been analyzed: from blacks of flats, to restaurants and theaters and other buildings that are currently used one way or another by the people. If you see a red stamp anywhere, you should remember that the writing on it states that “This building has been analyzed technically and placed on a First Class list of buildings with a high seismic risk”.

This list of buildings with a high seismic risk contains 183 buildings all over the capital. The first class risk means there is a very high chance of them collapsing should an earthquake happen in the city.

  1. Bucharest – the most vulnerable capital

According to the statistics, the buildings in Bucharest have been majorly affected by the previous earthquakes that took place in the 1940s, 1977, 1986 and 1990. They have affected their structure and even though they have not collapsed, there is no guarantee that they will not do so during the next earthquake.

Even though Romania is not a country with a high level of seismic risk like Japan for instance, the possibility of an earthquake happening here is not that farfetched. Bucharest is located at about 100-170 km from Vrancea, the area with the most earthquakes in Romania. At the same time, many buildings were built before 1940 using bricks as a base. Because of the weather conditions, the time since they were built and the previous earthquakes, they are in grave danger of collapsing.

  1. The administration’s plan

The plan to modernize the buildings in Bucharest and save those who are currently under a seismic risk involves three steps. 10 million euros have been dedicated to these steps.

The first step involves continuing the building process for 4 buildings that are currently being constructed. The second step is starting the reinforcement process for 29 other buildings. The last step involves analyzing 24 other buildings and developing technical projects regarding 29 other buildings.

Moreover, the same administration approved an extra 735,000 euros for seven buildings for social houses and houses for homeless young people. Three of them are currently located in sector 5, two of them in sector 4, one in sector 2 and one in sector 3. 15 more millions of euros will be spent on projects that involve developing buildings for medical companies (Romania’s medical system is one of the poorest in Europe) and another 21.4 million euros will be spent on multifunctional complexes or buildings that can be used by multiple companies at the same time. These complexes will house schools and other didactic activities and most of them will be built inside or near schools and high schools that already exist in an attempt to boost the educational system as well.

On top of these projects, in 2018 the administration will also focus on:

  • Building five new buildings for kindergartens in Bucharest (in sector 2 mainly);
  • Rehabilitating and modernizing one of the most popular kindergartens in Bucharest (Kindergarten no. 30), a project that will cost an additional 4 million euros;
  • Building 12 gyms, 7 of which will also have a swimming area for students to be able to perform these activities inside their schools and not be forced to go somewhere else. This project will also cost a bit over half a million euros (517,000 euros);

Modernizing and restoring M. Flamaropol, one of the most popular artificial skating rinks in the capital. Once again, the administration will pay an additional 5.4 million euros for this alone;

Buildings With Seismic Risk in Bucharest

Fаctors Thаt Аffеct Аpаrtmеnt Pricе in Buchаrеst

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Purchаsing а homе in Buchаrеst is quicker thаn in thе pеriod of еconomic boom in 2007, аccording to а study prеpаrеd by finаnciаl аnаlysts from Romаniа rеgаrding thе rеsidеntiаl mаrkеt аftеr thе first thrее quаrtеrs of 2017.

Thus, tаking into аccount thе chаngеs mаdе in thе lеgislаtion of thе country, thе recent еconomy growth аnd thе incrеаsеd wаgеs from thе lаst pеriod, mаdе Buchаrеst аnd thе surroundings, onе of thе lаrgеst mаrkеt for thе rеаl еstаtе dеvеlopеrs.

Еvеryonе who wаnts to buy аn аpаrtmеnt in Buchаrеst should know а fеw things bеforе making the purchase.

Thеrе аrе mаny importаnt fаctors thаt you should considеr whеn buying а housе:

– Micro fаctors;

– Mаcro fаctors thаt аffеct thе pricе of thе аpаrtmеnts.

Thе Micro fаctors аrе:

  1. Locаtion – This is thе kеy fаctor thаt impаcts tenants аnd thаt is why аll thе pеoplе sеаrch for а bеttеr locаtion whеn thеy look for а plаcе to stаy (quаlity of locаl schools, proximity to sociаl, shopping аnd rеcrеаtionаl cеntеrs, proximity to locаl еmploymеnt opportunitiеs);
  2. Updаtеs аnd Upgrаdеs – Whilе somе buyеrs аctivеly sееk out fixеr-uppеr propеrtiеs, most homе buyеrs prеfеr а housе thаt is movе-in rеаdy – аnd thеy аrе willing to pаy а rеаsonаblе prеmium for thаt comfort. Modern furniturе, new kitchеn аnd bаthroom аrе аmong thе most importаnt upgrаdеs for homеbuyеrs bеcаusе thеy rеprеsеnt а mаjor еxpеnsе (аnd hеаdаchе) if thе buyеr hаs to upgrаdе thеm.
  3. Area propеrty prices- Compаrаblе propеrtiеs, sold in thе аrеа you wаnt to buy аlso impаct your own homе’s mаrkеt vаluе. Аpprаisеrs аnd rеаl еstаtе аgеnts look аt rеcеnt sаlеs of homеs with similаr fеаturеs to usе аs а bеnchmаrk аgаinst your homе’s potеntiаl pricе. Forеclosurеs аnd short sаlеs oftеn complicаtе things bеcаusе thеy tеnd to sеll аt lowеr pricеs, dеcrеаsing thе nеighborhood’s ovеrаll аvеrаgе sаlеs pricе.

Mаcro fаctors thаt аffеct аpаrtmеnt pricе:

  1. Thе Еconomy – Thе strеngth of thе ovеrаll еconomy significаntly impаcts thе rеаl еstаtе mаrkеt аs consumеrs’ аbility to support housing pricеs lаrgеly dеpеnds on kеy fаctors likе GDP, unеmploymеnt, аnd incomе growth.
  2. Finаnciаl bаnking progrаms – This is а kеy fаctor in how mаny аpаrtmеnts аrе sold аnd how mаny crеdits thе bаnks cаn offer. Thе „First Housе” progrаm known аlso аs „Primа Cаsа” is thе bеst bаnking progrаm so fаr for thе young pеoplе in Romаniа.

Othеr Fаctors

Of coursе, thеrе аrе somе othеr fаctors thаt dеsеrvе еxtеnsivе covеrаgе, but thе following summаrizеs somе of thе mаjor onеs:

  • Thе mortgаgе intеrеst tаx hаs аn еnormous impаct on homе vаluеs – it’s frее monеy for homеownеrs аnd drivеs up propеrty pricеs by аs much аs 25% by аltеring thе pеrcеivеd аffordаbility of homе pricеs;
  • Locаl buildеr аctivity, zoning rеstrictions, аnd locаl rеgulаtions dictаtе nеw homе supply аnd pricеs;
  • Proximity to pаrks аnd plаygrounds, noisе pollution, light pollution, аir quаlity, intеrnеt connеction quаlity, trаffic volumе, roаd quаlity. Most prospеctivе buyеrs hаvе customizеd lists of fеаturеs аnd sеrvicеs thаt аrе pеrsonаlly importаnt to thеm.


Thinking Аhеаd

Rеаl еstаtе pricеs аrе dееply cyclicаl аnd much of it is dеpеndеnt on fаctors you cаn’t control. Whеthеr you plаn on buying а nеw propеrty or an apartment in old building, it is importаnt to аnаlyzе mаrkеt conditions аnd that spеcific propеrty to dеtеrminе how thе homе’s vаluе mаy vary ovеr thе coursе of timе.

Can a Foreigner Own a Property in Romania

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business man and house

If you are a foreigner and you want to buy property in Romania, you need to find out what rights and obligations you have. Although the Romanian Real Estate market is flourishing, it might be tricky to have your own place, depending on your citizenship.

Starting from 2012, citizens from EU and EEA can obtain a place to live in Romania in the same way as any Romanian citizen. They can buy, receive it as a donation, make an exchange or inherit it (but not by legal will). However, regardless of how they got the property and what kind of property it is, it can only serve as a secondary residence. Also, from the beginning of 2014, EU and EEA citizens can obtain, in any way, agricultural lands, forests and forest lands.

In the case when the foreign citizen wants to buy any property in Romania without a Romanian Personal Identification Number, a Fiscal Identification Number is Necessary. The PIN can be obtained easily by the foreigners who have a residence permit in Romania, either for study, business, research or as a family member. Apart from this, there is nothing special required from a foreigner citizen for the transaction; he can buy or sell in the same way as a Romanian citizen, and he will pay the same taxes for the government, seller and notary.

For the citizens who are coming from countries outside the EU or EEA, things are more complicated. In most cases, they can only have the right to own the construction, but not the land itself. There are a few countries that have a special agreement with Romania regarding this issue, but most of them don’t.

For example, a citizen outside the above mentioned areas can not own a land and the house that is built on it. He can obtain the right to use the house and the land, but only as long as the house exists on the land. In the moment the construction is no longer there, his legal rights over the land stop. The same rule applies regardless the type of construction or land that he wants to buy.

The laws stated above only apply to natural persons. For commercial enterprises, the entire process tends to be easier. According to the law, they can obtain easily the right to own, buy, sell or use different types of properties, as long as the properties are necessary for their activity. There are, on the other hand, some risks when it comes to owning a property in Romania in the case when the activity of the enterprise stops, so a lawyer should be consulted.

Citizens of any country who want to buy a property in Romania and obtain a business Residency Permit, need to apply first for a Business Visa and to prove that they are planning to start a commercial activity on the territory of the country. They can submit their documents in their own country, at the Embassy of Romania. Once they obtain the Visa, they can apply for a Residency Permit in Romania at any Immigration Office.

Before starting a transaction with any kind of property in Romania, it is recommended to discuss with a lawyer and understand what are your rights and obligations through the entire process. Also, If you do not have a Residency Permit in Romania, make sure you follow all the legal steps to obtain a Fiscal Identification Number before you attempt to buy a property. Otherwise, any contract you sign is invalid and you can easily get trapped in a legal situation.

Necessary Documents for Buying or Selling Apartment in Romania

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stack of paper documents and files

In the past few decades, Romania has become a hub for foreigners who want to purchase a house or an apartment in the midst of the beautiful Romanian capital. However, many are afraid of the famous bureaucratic system of Romania that they will have to go through in the process of buying or selling an apartment in this country. At the same time, many are afraid of the language barrier that may exist when trying to understand what documents they need to submit in order for the transaction to be legal. In order to help you get an idea of the documents you will need and to save you a lot of time and money, we comprised a list of all the steps you must take and the documents you will need to have when buying or selling an apartment in Romania. Without further ado, here they are:

  1. Deciding on a price for the apartment

If you are selling an apartment, decide on a reasonable price to attract customers, but also make sure you make a profit. In recent years, average price for an apartment increased by 10-20 percent. The key is analyzing the market and understanding the price that others are selling their apartments for.

  1. The paperwork needed

Here comes the ”fun” part. There are many documents you will need to have with you or obtain from various Romanian institutions. Here they are, listed:

  • Your ID card, both a copy, as well as the original;
  • The marriage certificate or the divorce sentencing, both a copy as well as the original;
  • The documents that show that you own the apartment. Here we can count a contract of sale, an order from the court, a donation contract and so on;
  • The cadastral plan and the real estate registration in the real estate registry (Cadastru);
  • Real estate register excerpt that shows how many properties you have in your name, including the apartment you are currently trying to sell. This excerpt is given to you by the notary which will validate your sales contract from the Cadastral Office and it is valid for 5 days after the notary applied to receive it;
  • A fiscal certificate which is released by the Office of Local Taxes from the county or sector where your apartment is located. This certificate is valid for 30 days after it was released;
  • If your apartment is located in a block of flats, then you will also need a certificate from the association of all those living in the block of flats. This certificate essentially confirms the fact that you paid all your bills on time and that the new owner will not be forced to pay some of your previous bills;
  • The last document you will need is a document that attests the energetic performance of the building where your apartment is located. In order to do this, you must talk to an expert in this field who will then analyze the apartment and issue a document that will attest the energetic performance of the building and where he or she will also recommend various ways of improving this performance and of saving money on the bills;
  1. Settling on a price and signing the pre-contract

After you gathered all the documents listed above and after finding a buyer, you must settle on a price and sign the pre-contract. The pre-contract is basically a document signed by both parties where they agree on:

  • The money sum that will later be paid by the buyer to the seller;
  • The manner in which the money sum will be transferred from one party to the other;
  • The date when the official contract will be signed;
  • The date when the seller will leave the apartment and the buyer can move on;
  • The advance sum that the buyer must pay for the apartment;

Make sure you sign the pre-contract in the presence of a public notary and do not hand over the original papers to the buyer! Never trust a person with your original documents on the apartment. They are very hard to gather them all after that, not to mention very time consuming and expensive.

So there you have it, these are the main documents that you need to have with you if you plan to sell your apartment. Likewise, if you want to buy an apartment, makes sure you ask the seller to provide you will all of these because each document has its own purpose and you don’t want to wake up with surprises down the road.

The Most Expensive Apartment in Bucharest

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contemporary design of penthouse main room

Although most investors perceive Bucharest as cheap, the city does have its luxury properties. The current most expensive apartment in Bucharest costs a whopping $3,800,000 and can make even the most exuberant buyer blink.

The apartment is located on the 4th floor of a 5-floor building and includes 7 rooms and 5 bathrooms. A total living area of 450 m2 is more than generous given the fact that typical block apartments rarely manage to go past 100 m2. The penthouse is fully furnished with the best materials, and the price reflects that no compromises were made here. The offer also includes 3 parking spaces. Because it was built in 2011, the structure is in line with more recent building codes and offers a guarantee of safety and reliability.

There is no surprise that the most expensive real estate intended for a single family is located in the Primăverii Neighborhood, in the northern part of the city. The area managed to build quite a reputation for itself and accounts for an important percentage of the total price. Primăverii was established as a retreat for the wealthy and privileged since Communist times. Even now, the elite of the Romanian society can be found here. Entrepreneurs, specialists or even showbiz personalities appreciate the advantages offered by the neighborhood. A quick stroll through Primăverii makes most think of prime residential areas from cities like Berlin or Vienna.

Located on a small peninsula that protrudes in Floreasca Lake, the property offers a magnificent view of Bordei Park and is minutes away from Bucharest’s biggest park, Herăstrău. However, a quick tour of the horizon can confuse the ones not familiar with the cityscape. Because all of the adjacent properties have generous green spaces, the building appears to be a “relic” of urban development surrounded by green. Primăverii is an oasis of tranquility that has nothing to do with the noise, pollution, and overall commotion that is characteristic to the vast majority of other areas. The low density of constructions, as well as the small height regime highlights that quality reigned over quantity here.

The apartment is clearly not for those that like to depend on the public transportation system. The 12-minute walk separating it from the nearest metro station and the absence of nearby bus stations come as advantages. The street is closed to non-residents. However, the location offers a quick gateway from the city because of its north position.

Selling the most expensive apartment in Bucharest was a job left at the hands of Coldwell Bankers. As of February 2017, the property is still available for sale, and given the growing demand felt on the market, the price will most likely see a steady rise in the future.

Vivenda Residencias Project

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The real estate market in Bucharest and the rest of Romania registered an impressive growth in 2014, despite what some specialists predicted as another year of stagnation. The new optimism found in the market has led to investors reconsidering or restarting projects which were flat-lined when the financial crisis hit the country in 2008 and 2009.

The Spanish developer Hercesa for example has announced it will restart investments in the Vivenda Residencias project located in the eastern part of Bucharest. This would mark the third part of the project and will mean that work should begin on 66 apartments consisting of 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms.

The project was started back in 2007, with 420 apartments being built and sold in the meantime. The Spanish company announced a new stage in the project, with work scheduled to begin sometime between August and September 2015. This new phase would have 2, 3 or 4 bedroom apartments with no studios and will consist in 66 units.

Hercesa has already announced the price range for the new Vivenda Residencias apartments. They start at 55.400 euros without VAT for 2 roomed apartments with 46 usable square meters. A price of 83.000 euros without VAT will be asked for 3 room apartments with a surface of 74 usable square meters. The site is situated in the Eastern part of the city on Basarabia Boulevard. When completed, the Vivenda Residencias project should offer 1.400 high-end apartments, dedicated to middle and upper class income individuals.

According to market analysis, Hercesa came onto the Romanian real-estate market back in 2004. It is estimated that since then the Spanish developers have spent over 150 million euros on land and development. Hercesa sold a 13.000 square meter plot of land next to the Basarab Bridge and Carrefour Orhideea to an association of local businessmen in 2014. The Spanish developer was initially planning on starting a new residential project in the area but plans were suspended when the financial crisis started and were never picked up. The transaction value wasn’t made public, however, market specialists estimate that the total cost exceeded 5.5 million euro.

The same Spanish developers inaugurated the Cismigiu Hotel back in 2014. The hotel is set in a stunning historical building in Bucharest’s center. The total investment is estimated to be around 15 million euros with income for the first year being expected to be between 1.5 and 1.8 million euros.

Bucharest Leads In New Building Authorization

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The real estate market in Romania and especially that in its capital city, Bucharest, has registered impressive growth in the last year with expectations for 2015 being quite high. After a period of seemingly endless stagnation with little to no reason for optimism, it seems that the real estate market registered a much needed growth in 2014. While there are numerous reasons behind the growth, some of the most important are the reduced price for basic materials, the abundance of qualified and unqualified labor as well as the easier to obtain funding and state run projects that aimed to encourage young home ownership and the market in general.

Spring 2015 has also led to more growth with March showing a rise in the number of construction papers released by state authorities with a total of 3.253 being released according to the INS (National Statistics Institute). Of these 3.253 authorizations 62.3 percent were released for rural housing, marking a clear trend that shows crowded city dwellers are retiring and moving to the less polluted, less dense rural part of the country. According to the INS, growth has been registered in all regions with the most significant being in the capital city, Bucharest.

Growth in Bucharest and Ilfov County is marked by an extra 238 released authorizations. The second development region in Romania according to INS data was North-East with an extra 144 authorizations while the Center Region registered a growth of 134 build authorizations. Sud-Muntenia Region had an extra 124 authorizations while the North West Region had a growth of 120 authorizations.

Residential building authorization has also registered impressive growth with the richest regions in the country having the most new projects. Bucharest and Ilfov County lead again with an extra 90 residential building authorizations followed by North East with an extra 53 authorizations, North West with 40 authorizations and South East with an extra 3 authorizations. Decreases were registered in the South West Region with 56 fewer authorizations, South Muntenia Region with 21 fewer authorizations and the Center Region with 9 fewer authorizations according to data from the INS.

Requests for authorizations have also grown in the first quarter of 2015 with 7.176 new documents being found, marking a 3 percent rise from the first quarter of 2014. Growth was seen for Bucuresti Ilfov with an extra 152 authorizations, North West with an extra 114 authorizations, North East with an extra 99 authorizations, South East with an extra 83 authorizations as well as South Muntenia with an extra 32 authorizations.

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