First of all, it is rare to buy or even rent a house in Skopje. The prices are very high compared to renting or buying an apartment. Second, it seems a lot of people from Skopje like to live in an apartment (don’t ask me why), so construction companies keep building huge apartment complexes. This makes finding an apartment way easier than a house.
To buy an apartment or a house you will need lots of documents and everything is depending on your salary and the mortgage from the bank. Which is common in most countries. But what shocked me is the interest. In the Netherlands it is not even 2% in most cases. Here in Macedonia it goes from 6% the first couple years to 9-11% for the following years. Plus you need to pay 30% from the total amount of the property immediately. Most young people cannot even buy their first home without any help of their family. In order to get that money, families are selling inherited properties, like land or houses. You will see here a lot of parents who are saving for a long period of time (their entire lives) in order to help their children out. It’s either this or you are from a wealthy family, lucky.
The prices are determined per square meter. For a new apartment you will pay 800 – 1200 euro per m2, which highly depends on its location. So looking at the average salary here in Macedonia, the prices are way to high. And it’s logical the real estate market is weak and unstable.
So besides the ridiculous prices, apartment complexes and needs of the Skopje people. I have lived happily in a two-bedroom apartment in Aerodrom, which had a friendly landlord. Unfortunately this changed couple of weeks ago. Long story short: we needed to leave the apartment within a month. This resulted in an apartment hunt, which I thought was very fun the first couple of days… the problem I have is that I hate wasting my money. A lot of people here are renting their own apartments empty, half or completely furnished, through an agency. The agency will charge you, which is often a monthly rent. Even with both salaries of my boyfriend and me, I was not planning on spending a couple of hundred euros to some useless agency. In the end we found an apartment in Kozle and everything was arranged within a couple of days, surprisingly fast.
Where to look
Renting an apartment is probably the easiest thing to do when you come to Skopje to study or live. Almost all the apartments are from private owners, so the owners decide how much they will charge you. This website http://www.najdidom.mk/ will help you a lot, because it is combining multiple websites where they offer apartments. If you want to use an agency to do the work for you, you can find loads of them on Google. Always ask them what they will charge you for their services, not all websites have this information. Make sure you know what you want. Find the right location for you and know your monthly budget. If you know any people in Skopje, ask them if they know someone who is renting an apartment or if they can ask around for you. The people here always want to help you out, so don’t hesitate to ask for help.
The prices for rentals are divers. You can find apartments for 200 euro a month, with older furniture or empty and with one bedroom. But it all depends on location, size and furniture. If you are searching for a two-bedroom 60m2 apartment with ‘ok’ furniture, you will pay 250-300 euro a month. The monthly bills (electricity, water, tv/internet, heating and service costs) will be around 100-150 euro. If you want an apartment in a new building with new furniture and bigger in size, you can pay easily 500 to 800 euro. The amount you pay for the bills will also go up.
Always check out the apartment with the owner of the apartment. Some pictures can be deceiving and some owners can write lies in their advertisements. Also the word ‘new’ in ads for rentals can mean two things: it’s completely new and you will be the first user or it is 10 years old (which can be considered as new…).
Ask about the bills, which bills will you receive, how much money you will need to pay, do you have internet and tv, does it come with service costs for the building, how is the heating arranged?
Most apartments have central heating, which sounds nice (and it is) but there is a price. In summer you most likely will pay a very low price or in some districts 0 Denar. But it winter it can easily go up to 40-60 Euro, which depends on the amount of m2. For others it is arranged that they will pay the same amount every month.
You will see the prices of the apartments in Euros, ask the landlord how and when you will need to pay every month. In Euros or in Denar, in cash or on their bankaccount?
Do you have any tips about finding or renting an apartment, leave a comment!