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General country information
Formerly part of Yugoslavia, Croatia
declared its independence in 1991, sparking
a war with
Serbia that lasted for over four years. Following
elections in 2000 which brought defeat of
the former right wing nationalist government,
country has undergone democratic reform.
It currently has EU candidate status
and is next
in line to join after Romania and Bulgaria.
Membership could come as early as 2009, but
EU officials have indicated that reform of
the EU’s own constitution make full
membership unlikely by then, with 2012 suggested
more realistic date.
the Adriatic Sea and having borders with Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia is one of the richest
countries in the region. Recently it has experienced annual growth
rates in the order of 4 per cent, although unemployment is as high
as 13 per cent.
Comprising both mainland and a multitude
of islands (1,185 in total), Croatia has
a spectacular coastline extending some 5,835
km (the mainland coastline is 1,777 km long).
Although boasting a Mediterranean type climate
with hot dry summers and mild winters along
on the coast, Croatia is also subject to
earthquakes (mostly in the Dubrovnik area).
Since 2000 the Government has strived to
encourage tourism and investment, and although
the Croatian property market is still relatively
immature, local agents say prices have been
moving up sharply in coastal areas with annual
gains of between 20 per cent and 30 per cent.
Direct ownership by foreigners of Croatian
property is regulated by the Croatian Property
Law (amended in July 2006) which generally
requires approval from the Ministry of Justice
before a purchase can be made (MFA). The
ultimate proof of ownership is entry of the
owner's name against the property in the
local Land Registry and Katastar maps. Local
courts will not allow the names of foreign
citizens to be entered in the Land Registry
without MFA approval. However, common practice
is for foreigners to set up a Croatian company,
a procedure which does not require permission
and which can be used to buy the property.
Foreign nationals are not permitted directly
to own their property if they wish to let
it out to tourists. This activity is strictly
regulated and requires a rental licence which
can only be obtained for properties owned
by Croatian companies, and not foreign citizens.
Despite the seeming simplicity of the system
title can sometimes be in doubt, especially
as the aftermath of the war has left a backlog
of civil cases involving land tenure.
The potential problem most affects property
seized from Serbs during the war. Any overseas
investor buying such a property should take
care and generally have their lawyer verify
the validity of title.
can sometimes be unsaleable because they
are jointly owned by members of large
families – there are sometimes
as many as 60 joint owners, some of
died since the property was registered
without leaving a will. And as Croatians
emigrated, there are now significant
numbers of people living in other countries
each own tiny shares in Croatian houses.
means buyers must have their lawyer
or estate agent check ownership papers
records to ensure they tally.
Croatian Government has taken steps
to preserve the country’s
unspoilt coastline, which means
planning regulations are tight.
In the past illegal building has
been common, although generally
authorities turned a blind eye.
More recently they have started
to issue knock down orders on illegal
buildings or extensions. So again
care needs to be taken to verify
that necessary permissions have
to the US Department of State, while foreign investors enjoy equality under the
law with domestic investors, in practice foreign investors often face difficulties
arising from institutional weaknesses in government bodies, and in some cases
because of corruption which remains a problem. Red tape also presents difficulties.
Even so, it
concludes that ‘Croatia offers a number of attractions for investors. It
is an official EU candidate, and as such will be continually improving its legislation
and administrative capacity over the next several years’.
Country information - Croatia
55,000 sq km
4.5m (July 2004
age of population:
||total: 40.3 years
male: 38.3 years
female: 42.1 years
other 4% (including Italian, Hungarian,
Czech, Slovak, and German)
|Dubrovnik - 4.4hrs
|Zagreb - UTC/GMT