More and more Lithuanians who look for a balance between tranquillity and activity are turning to Klaipėda. Experts note that housing in this city is being snapped up like hotcakes. Buyers are interested in properties in both old apartment blocks and new projects, and the prices do not intimidate them, as the return on investment is quick. While the demand for rental properties increases in summer, more and more people are discovering the city’s year-round appeal.
In August, there were about 730 properties for sale on the Klaipėda real estate market. The largest supply (70%) was 2-3 room apartments, mostly in old-built buildings. One-room flats were the second most available, while four-room and more flats were the least available.
The real estate market in Klaipėda is expected to be further boosted by the planned construction of an offshore wind farm. More and more holidaymakers are discovering Klaipėda as a tourist and leisure city, with beaches, all the necessary infrastructure, cafes and entertainment venues.
“Holidaymakers are discovering Klaipėda and are often surprised. It is a compact city with the amenities of a big city, many activities for adults, children, families and an active cultural life. The sea helps to recover after hard work and encourages creativity,” – says Virginija Ketlerienė, Regulatory Affairs Project Manager at Klaipėda ID, the city’s investment and business development agency.
Quick returns on investment
According to Aurimas Petrikas, Head of Klaipėda Branch at Ober-Haus real estate agency, taking into account the current demand, real estate developers are striving to offer 2- to 3-bedroom apartments. They do this by designing new multi-apartment buildings or implementing conversions of old buildings to adapt them for residential use. He notes that many properties in the Lithuanian port city are being purchased to rent them out.
“The price of a square metre of a two-room flat in an old building ranges from €1,500 to €3,500. New and partially furnished ones cost between €2,000 and €3,500 per square metre, while resale prices (including furniture) range from €1,000 per square metre in old buildings to €3,000 per square metre in newly-built houses in the best locations of the city. Investments pay off quickly, as every fourth apartment in Klaipėda is bought with the intention of renting it out, which is the highest ratio in Lithuania,” says Petrikas.
A thriving seasonal rental market
According to the interviewee, the most frequent clients are young couples who have recently started their lives together, often coming from outside of Klaipėda. Families with children often look for housing in the suburbs, in detached houses. It is estimated that the price of a house in the Klaipėda district municipality is similar to that of an apartment in the city. Meanwhile, the rental market has recovered: in August, there were around 140 apartments for rent, most (100) of them two- or three-room units.
“Rental costs vary based on the furnishings and amenities provided. For a two-room apartment, one can anticipate monthly costs to range from €550 to €700, plus utilities. Three-bedroom flats come at a slightly higher cost. Properties are relatively cheap, but rental rates are high, making property investments profitable in a short span. During the summer season, many individuals opt for short-term rentals. Some of our clients take the keys to a property we have for sale in the spring and return it in the autumn,” adds the expert.
Projects under development quickly find buyers
Over the last couple of years, six major large apartment projects have been launched in Klaipėda, although there are also smaller buildings. According to Petrikas, whatever the market offers, everything is sold out. Customers are not deterred by the higher prices per square metre, which usually range from €2,700 to €3,500 in new construction. Currently, Klaipėda is developing such high-profile projects as “Bastionų namai”, “Memelio miestas”, “Klaipėdos Holivudas”, “Danės krantas” or “Parko pakrantė”. According to Ketlerienė, developers are increasingly talking about the construction of short-term commercial lease objects.
“We are in touch with the developers, and small flats are in high demand; mostly, they are bought by non-Klaipėda residents. They often purchase these units for rental purposes or as weekend getaways, given the city’s appeal to vacationers. Recently, there has been growing interest in developing commercial rental housing. An excellent example of this is the Lighthouse Hub, which has a co-living space, capsules and larger rooms for sleeping, a common area with a kitchen and showers, and on the ground floor services for the inhabitants can be provided,” explains the project manager of Klaipėda ID.
Petrikas emphasises that sales are not affected by the season – transactions occur irrespective of the time of the year, so the search for a home can start at any time. However, he advises those who want to rent to start their search in autumn, closer to the heating season, when landlords are more likely to negotiate on price. Other favourable periods are February-March and prior to the start of summer.