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As has been this editor’s tradition in recent years, I managed to switch off my outlook over the last few days of the year and spend the winter holidays right: on a sunny, warm spot by the beach, getting my vitamin D fix. I paid my dues when I returned to cold Budapest, though, as the first signs of a flu appeared on my first evening back.

The recent upturn of the Slovenian real estate market has yielded a raft of new logistics projects and residential developments, as well as substantially increasing the scope and number of retail real estate transactions. A significant share of Slovenian retail properties changed hands, mostly as a consequence of the financial or organizational restructuring of the previous holders. This opened the market to both institutional and strategic investors.

Estonia’s commercial real estate sector is enjoying steady growth in practically all segments, with the construction of numerous new office buildings, logistics centers, hotels, and industrial buildings. Even though the majority of transactions are still being made by local property funds, there is an increasing inflow of foreign capital looking for decent returns in a stable environment. One critical aspect facilitating foreign investments into Estonia’s property market is the favorable legal environment.

Tourism in Austria is booming. The capital, Vienna, has reported a 9.9% increase of overnight stays, to 7.94 million, in the period from January to June 2019, a new record. Demand for common rental platforms, such as Airbnb, has increased even more. For several years now, Austria’s federal states, municipal administrations, legislators, and competitors (in particular the hotel industry) have been kept busy with the business model of commercial short-term rentals.

The Baltic real estate and construction markets remain active, with a number of sizeable transactions completed during the first few months of 2019 and investment pouring into the development of infrastructure, commercial, and residential projects. For the past decade, the Estonian and Lithuanian real estate markets have been more active than the Latvian market. Now, however, with Estonian and Lithuanian markets becoming more and more saturated, Latvia is attracting an increased amount of interest from developers and investors.

The footprint of flexible workplaces (i.e., co-working spaces) continues to expand as more and more global businesses embrace the modern workforce and the increasing options for work arrangements. Turkey has joined the flexible workplace trend.

With GDP growth for 2019 projected to be approximately 4%, the Polish economy remains strong, and the country’s real estate sector continues to set new records. The low availability of housing, strong domestic consumption, and stable industry production have boosted the profitability of real estate investments. Demand for land is high and developers compete fiercely for the shrinking number of attractive spots. In August 2019, a new law came into force which may make real properties held in a right of perpetual usufruct (RPU) more attractive than they used to be.

The Czech Republic has – due to its strategic location in the heart of Europe – always been an important transportation and business hub. It has one of the highest densities of railway networks in Europe, with almost 1,200 km of track for every 10,000 square kilometers in the country, and it is also an important road transportation hub.

The interest of foreign investors in acquiring real estate in Romania has grown significantly since the January 1, 2014 expiration of the country’s prohibition against EU citizens and businesses acquiring agricultural land. Land is available at competitive prices, compared with many other European countries, and other advantages include the facts that Romania holds an important share of the European crop land due to its grain production, has a favorable position within export routes, has high-quality soil, and has a climate suitable for a wide range of agricultural investments.

Contrary to all expectations, Hungary still does not require the use of building information electronic modelling (BIM) tools in tenders for public works contracts, despite the excitement in the construction industry about the possibility that the tools would be made mandatory as early as 2014.

Ukrainian commercial and residential real estate markets continue to be dynamic and are becoming more and more attractive to both local and foreign investors. The new Ukrainian Parliament, elected in summer 2019, has already passed some laws necessary for the development of the real estate sector and attracting investments to it. Below you will find an overview of the most significant changes in Ukrainian real estate legislation regarding buildings and construction in 2019.

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: What was the most useful or valuable piece of software or new technology your firm has acquired in the past five years?

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