Karanovic & Nikolic in cooperation with local lawyers
Can anyone (including foreigners) own and occupy real estate in your jurisdiction (including shares in property owning companies)? Are there any restrictions?
There are no restrictions for foreigners to hold shares in domestic property owning companies. However, foreigners can own and occupy real estate subject to certain restrictions. For example: foreigners can only have a long-term lease over agricultural land (subject to reciprocity and obtainment of certain consents); citizens of Member States of the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“Member States”) can own buildings and construction land or have a long-term lease over construction land under same conditions as domestic citizens, while citizens of other countries can have the mentioned rights only pursuant to reciprocity; etc.
Are there restrictions on lending for the purchase of real estate by foreign companies? If so briefly give an outline?
No, except with respect to individuals, organisations and governments that are subject to sanctions or protective measures (adopted by relevant Macedonian authorities or international organisations (and accepted by domestic authorities during appropriate procedures)). Additionally, foreign companies seated in countries which are considered as high risk under the Macedonian anti-money laundering regulations will be subject of enhanced client due diligence. In cases where the measures for client due diligence cannot be implemented, the business relationship/transaction will be rejected. Finally, certain credit operations must be recorded with the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia for statistical purposes.
Please provide a short summary of the fees and costs (including tax) relating to buying real estate in your jurisdiction.
When buying real estate, several fees and costs arise, such as: fees for searches related to the real estate and title review, fees to a real estate agency if hiring one, fee for notarization of the Sale and Purchase Agreement, fee for registration of the ownership in the Agency for Real Estate Cadastre (“AREC”) and the municipal Real Estate Registry, real estate sales tax (tax rate ranges between 2% and 4%), Value Added Tax, etc. The amounts payable and appropriate tax exemptions differ when buying residential, commercial or combined real estate and depend on a few conditions.
Are there taxes applicable to owning real estate and can the burden of the taxes be passed to someone else (e.g. a tenant or an occupier - not being the owner)?
Property taxes are paid based on the estimated market value of the real estate by the competent municipality and the tax rate varies between 0.10% and 0.20%. Property tax is payable for owning immovables by the legal entity or natural person owner of the property. Only if the owner is unknown or unavailable, taxpayer is the user of the property.
Are there tax breaks or other incentives for foreigners to buy real estate in your jurisdiction? If so what are they?
As an incentive, temporary residence permit in the Republic of Macedonia can be issued to a foreigner - resident of a Member State who has acquired the right to own an apartment, apartment building and house in the territory of the Republic of Macedonia under conditions determined by law, in the amount of at least EUR 40,000.
How is the ownership of Real Estate evidenced in your jurisdiction?
The ownership of Real Estate in the Republic of Macedonia is evidenced with the AREC, who possess sole competence for maintenance and registration of real estate rights (such as ownership) and issue appropriate certification on the same in the form of Property Sheets (in Macedonian: “имотен лист”).
Additionally, the Registry of Rights over Real Estate, as part of the Central Registry of Macedonia issues information of informative character on ownership rights, data on land parcels and objects on such parcels, as well as information on liens.
Is it possible to keep the identity of owners of real estate confidential in your jurisdiction?
Information on real estate ownership registered with AREC evidenced with a Property Sheet are considered as public and contain the name and address of the owner. However, in accordance with the Law on Personal Data Protection, Property Sheets will not contain the owner’s Unique Personal Identification Number (“UPIN”) when issued to a third person. This is due to the fact that a citizen’s UPIN is protected and may only be processed and issued with prior explicit consent by the relevant person/owner listed in the Property Sheet.