Nikola Velkovski, the last chief architect of the City of Skopje: The apartments were built without thinking about urbanism and with too high prices

Apartments / Photo: SP. archive

It is not just to build the apartment. Every residential building should be monitored by other services for normal living: green areas, parking lots, schools, kindergartens, health facilities, Velkovski warns.

If you would buy mill in 2010, then it would be 14,7 percent cheaper than now. But the biggest price increase was made in the last year, when prices in the first quarter of this year increased by 12,4 percent compared to the same quarter of 2021, according to data from National Bank. On the other hand, the trend of building new apartments does not stop, although at a slower pace. The data from the State Statistical Office show that in the first 3 months of the year they were published building permits of 1.308 new apartments, but this is a smaller number compared to the first quarter of last year when permits were issued for 1.577 new apartments.

Nikola Velkovski, who is the last chief architect of Skopje in the period from 2000 to 2003 and who through his company "Incom Engineering" participates in the construction of many business and residential buildings in Macedonia, in a conversation with "Free Press" says that now there is less housing construction and assesses it as good for the urban living. He also says that for many new apartments, especially in the center of Skopje, there is no excuse for the huge prices.

- It is not just to build the apartment. Each apartment building should be monitored by other services for normal living: green areas, parking lots, schools, kindergartens, health facilities. "Here, we are now witnessing the consequences of the lack of kindergartens," said Nikolovski.

He says that many locations in Skopje where it is now being built, can not meet the criteria of quality living.

Regarding prices, Nikolovski states that they inevitably grew due to the large increase in input costs, but that prices of 1.800 euros, or 2.000 euros per square meter, are unrealistic.

- We already have prices from 1.700 to 1.800 euros per square meter in the center of Skopje, but I also read advertisements for prices of 2.000 euros. These are higher prices than necessary. But there are more reasons for that. On the one hand, people were scared by the declining trend of the value of their money, so they decided to invest as much as possible in real estate, which increased the demand for housing. In addition, there are low interest rates in banks. On the other hand, in conditions when the policy of regional balanced development does not work, everyone wants to come to Skopje. If there was a good decentralization of the competencies of the municipalities, even a good fiscal decentralization with bigger occupations by the municipalities, and if there was work in the smaller places, this would not have happened - Velkovski thinks.

He concludes that it is good that the authorities "slightly raised their hands" regarding the building permits, so their lower issuance is recorded. As a reason for the trend of smaller construction in the center of Skopje, he cites the significant increase in the price of plots, precisely because of the great interest that investors had in them.

According to the ads that can be found on the pages of real estate agencies, apartments that are not newly built in the center of Skopje, are sold from 1.250 to 1.400 euros per square meter, new buildings are more expensive and usually 1.500 euros, but there are higher prices. In Kisela Voda you can find apartments under construction at 1.070 euros per square meter, there is a trend of significant growth in apartment prices that are sold at around 1.400 euros, and in the Skopje settlement Gjorce Petrov the old apartments, built a dozen years ago years, are sold at a price of 900 euros per square meter. There are significantly lower prices in other cities throughout Macedonia.

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