According to experts, every third apartment in the Czech Republic is an investment apartment. The typical buyers of investment apartments are people in their thirties and forties, but younger age groups are no exception either.
Investment properties are still seen as very attractive. And why shouldn’t they? In most people’s eyes, they represent the security of a stable income in the form of a regular rent. Provided that you successfully rent the apartment and have responsible tenants who pay on time. But that’s not always the case. That’s why every entrepreneur should always keep some backup money, as advised by the Minister of Justice Marie Benešová.
Don’t forget about expenses!
Without trying to discourage you from buying an investment apartment, we feel the need to warn you: there are significant expenses involved in it. Due to that, should you, for example, set your rent too low, you can easily lose money on your real estate investment. That’s why buying an investment property needs to be given due consideration. And you need to do your calculations.
Investment property, yes or no?
First of all, ask yourselves whether buying an investment apartment is even worth it for you. Owners of short-term rentals (Airbnb), for example, suffered a lot due to the coronavirus pandemic and the associated lack of tourists, often landing in a debt trap. Especially if they were paying off their mortgage exclusively from rent money. In this respect, long-term rentals are a safer bet. However, the coronavirus pandemic had a significant effect even on those.
Up to a 6% drop in rents
In the last three months of last year, rents for apartments in downtown Prague fell by up to six percent. Precisely because the offer was expanded by apartments in the city centre previously used for short-term rentals. As you can see, even long-term rentals aren’t a completely safe investment. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the demand for investment apartments is still high. It’s actually so high that it significantly contributes to the high demand for real estate as such.
"I personally recommend investing in a 2-bedroom apartment, because the trend of their popularity will continue. As a result of the covid pandemic, people will try to buy more economical housing, aiming to fit as many people as possible in the maximum area. In the Czech Republic, there are a lot of families with two children, for which apartments with two bedrooms are the most suitable,"
says Elena Jakubovič, owner of a real estate agency with luxury real estate.
How to choose an apartment in which you’re not going to live?
The answer to this question must be based on market demand. You should mainly be concerned with two key questions: Which size of apartments are people most interested in, and in which localities?
The layout of an investment apartment
According to statistics from the website GarantovanyNajem.cz, a typical investment apartment has an area of up to fifty square meters. That means it is either a studio or a 1-bedroom apartment with a kitchenette (or possibly a small 2-bedroom apartment with a kitchenette). However, properties after reconstruction with low operating costs are also in demand.
How much will you earn on your apartment?
Before investing in an apartment, it’s a good idea to calculate how much you can earn by renting your investment property. For this, you need to know the net monthly rent, which you can use to calculate the gross and net rental return. The net rental return also includes the costs of owning and renting the property (insurance, necessary repairs, etc.)
The formula for calculating gross return:
The formula for calculating net return (takes into account the cost of maintaining the investment):
Who will be your tenant?
This may come as a surprise, but the majority of tenants in investment apartments are university students. University cities (Prague, Brno, Ostrava, České Budějovice, Opava, Liberec, etc.) can therefore be considered the ideal locality for an investment apartment. If you buy a small apartment in such a locality, the probability that you’ll find a tenant is very high.
Small apartments for young people
Of course, not only students rent apartments, but young people in general. Families with children usually try to invest in their own property. Again, large cities with good infrastructure and a big selection of civic amenities belong to top localities. Localities near office complexes are also a good choice.
How to determine the amount of rent correctly?
Simply put, there are two types of landlords. The first need their investment apartment to earn (they’re keeping the apartment as an actual investment), while the latter are "satisfied" when their expenses are covered (they intend to retire in the apartment or bought it for their children, etc.). But they need to do their calculations, too. Otherwise, they might eventually have to pay extra for their investment apartment - or even accumulate debt. That is why it’s extremely important for the apartment owner to correctly determine the amount of rent. This must result from an economic consideration of assets and liabilities, i.e. returns and expenses.
Consult an expert
The amount of rent is affected by a number of factors, the main ones being the type, age and attractiveness of the property and, as we have already mentioned, its locality. However. when determining the amount of rent, one must also take into account the price of the property, or the APR of the bank loan (in case mortgage was used to secure the apartment). In any case, experts have calculated the ideal amount of monthly rent at CZK 3,500 for each million invested. You should definitely avoid losing money on investment real estate, wherefore it is advisable to consult a financial or investment adviser to determine the correct amount of rent.
Mortgage for investment real estate - yes or no?
If we were to generalize, an investment in real estate generally pays off, provided that the landlord at least partly covers it using his own financial resources. But that doesn't mean you won't get a mortgage on an investment property. If you’ve managed to save up at least twenty percent of the purchase price, the bank will lend you the remaining eighty percent if you meet a set of clearly defined conditions (these are identical with those for a mortgage on a residential apartment). The amount of the mortgage payment will then form the basis for determining the amount of the lease. However, you’ll need to add more items.
What should the rent cover?
Take the amount of the mortgage payment, and add the expenses associated with the property. Every property, no matter if you’ve bought it as an investment or are using it as permanent housing, needs to be taken care of. That can cost quite a lot. If anything goes wrong in the apartment, it’s you who will have to pay for all the repairs. And don't forget that you’ll have to pay tax on the rental income. You should also take into account that the property may be left without a tenant for some time. These are all items that increase the amount of rent.
According to the website rondainvest.cz, a Czech with an average income has to work for eleven years to be able to buy an average apartment. For Praguers, this period is three years longer.
In most regional cities, rents are rising. People pay the most for living in Prague and Brno. The price of a rental apartment in Prague is currently CZK 298 per m2 in Prague and CZK 263 per m2 in Brno.
How do experts see it?
"In the long-term horizon, the value of real estate keeps growing. Moreover, it brings an effective return in the form of rent. If you buy a suitable property, the operation costs don’t necessarily have to be high,"
real estate agent Michal Souček highlights the advantages of owning an investment apartment on the investujeme.cz website.
"Prague is and always will be very specific from this point of view. People are moving to the metropolis on a large scale for work, students and foreigners come here too. And little is being built in the city. The demand for rental in Prague is therefore exceptional, when compared with the rest of the country,”
Jan Martina from a real estate agency says for idnes.cz.
“The best types of investment today are small and medium-sized apartments in Prague. 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartments with a kitchenette are both a good starting apartment type and a safe investment in real estate for rent. The most popular Prague localities are Bubeneč, Vinohrady, Dejvice, Letná and partly also Žižkov. Civic amenities and proximity to public transport play an important role, "
real estate agent Max Kerndl said for LP-Life.
"If you plan to keep the real estate for a period that spans over decades, it is situated in a location that will prosper in the long run, and if you don’t overestimate your financial possibilities, buying a property will pay off for you even today,"
says Josef Klouček from a regional real estate agency.
"Currently, I’d recommend looking for lucrative places, especially in university towns or in their vicinity. Towns such as Pilsen, Ostrava, Olomouc, Hradec Králové or Pardubice. Students moving to these localities set the market in motion by frequent switching of apartments,”
Viktor Mejzlík from the project GarantovanyNajem.cz said for e15.cz.
What to say in conclusion? Perhaps only that in the long run, it pays to buy any real estate, because you can be absolutely certain that in the horizon of ten or more years, its value will be higher than its original purchase price.