Interview with iO Partners Director Jelena Radulović on Belgrade’s real estate potential and long-term outlook

Serbia, particularly Belgrade, is becoming an inevitable market for investors interested in this part of Europe. In an interview with Jelena Radulović, director of real estate services company iO Partners for the Balkan region, Serbia Monthly discussed with Radulović the full potential of these real estate markets and which are most attractive for investors in general.

SM: How do you evaluate the commercial real estate market segment in Belgrade and Serbia?

JR: I see it as a stable one and with a potential for development in those segments that are not adequately or are undersupplied, but have already reached its full potential in more developed Western European markets. A segment that is notably missing in our market is the sufficient stock of class B business assets which were not recognized as attractive enough by developers currently operating in our market.

In the office space market segment, there’s a significant trend toward the development of co-working spaces. The reasoning for this is that these spaces offer to clients increased flexibility in terms of lease duration, flexible head count, mobility and opportunity to focus on key business aspects. They are especially beneficial for creative industries, small companies, startups, and also for medium and large companies, especially the ones who are providing employees hybrid working options as the commuting times have increased in Belgrade over the last decade immensely. Overall, coworking emerges as a solution for optimizing business costs, evident in the opening of more than 13 large regional coworking centers in the Balkans this year.

Regarding rental prices in commercial buildings, they have maintained relative stability compared to last year. However, a notable increase of 30% occurred in service charge costs, primarily influenced by inflationary growth because of the global inflation and increase in the worldwide commodities and energy challenges.

SM: Which business centers are currently in focus when it comes to Belgrade?

JR: Currently, in Belgrade, we have three office buildings that are in the final phases of construction at different city locations: Artklasa and the development in the Port of Belgrade; Brankov Business Center  and the refurbishment project of a long standing old socialist building, and BIGZ project, which is the reconstruction of a monument of culture done by a famous Yugoslav architect Dragiša Brašovan.

These developments, although similar in use, make Belgrade seem like modern business centers found in cities like London, Prague, or Amsterdam. We see as noteworthy the shift in focus from the Central business district being solely concentrated in New Belgrade to continuous requests from office occupies to find other options throughout the city like Dedinje, Senjak and even Cukarica area. Other locations in the capital are now gaining significance and proving to be interesting and promising for both investors and tenants.

SM: How do you see the development of the industrial market, which has been booming in the last few years

JR: Serbia has a strategically undiscovered position in this segment of real estate due to not being the member of the EU. This is primarily because of the stimulating business environment, and I am referring to the competitive labor costs that make this market attractive for companies that want to optimize the cost of business operations and to direct their resources towards development and innovation.

In the second place, I would like to point out the very positions of Belgrade and Novi Sad, which have a central place in this part of Europe.

These two cities are also defined by the proximity of the Airport „Nikola Tesla”, which is a transportation and infrastructural hubs that makes its environment suitable for industrial activities that require efficient logistics. This is confirmed by the industrial facilities of the BHM Group, then CTP industrial parks, as well as the newly built VGP industrial park in Dobanovci. Our predictions are that the industrial segment will continue to grow as the most stable business line and we are putting strong efforts in the regional segment of industrial and land sector, led by our colleague James Fitzgerald currently based in Prague.

Also, we are preparing for the globally large project of international importance and character EXPO 27, which will definitely make Belgrade even more infrastructural and commercially developed and reiterate its strategic position amongst the other capital cities in the region.

SM: What are the biggest trends when it comes to office space?

JR: In addition to the growing trend of coworking spaces, a significant global shift in the domestic market involves increased investments by the real estate industry in implementing green initiatives. These initiatives aim to enhance energy efficiency, achieve climate neutrality, and foster social responsibility, in general incorporating ESG principles and postulates into business practices and operations.

Locally, this often involves obtaining the green certification for buildings. Furthermore, an observable trend is the increasing presence of commercial assets equipped with solar panels, green gardens on rooftops, and support for alternative modes of transport, contributing to the development of the local community. A noteworthy example is project Artklasa, a unique project placing the community at the core of its operations. It introduces an innovative office space located in the city center. Additionally, MPC Properties, a domestic developer, deserves special recognition as one of the pioneers in green building development within this market.

About iO Partners:

iO Partners (IOP) is a real estate services company headquartered in Vienna, providing a full suite of services in the Czechia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and in Serbia, comprising Agency, Leasing, Capital Markets, Valuation, Project and Development Services and Advisory. With a commanding presence in the Industrial and Office sectors, and the leading valuation team in the region, the company has offices in Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, Prague and Bratislava, with ambitious plans to continue to expand backed by an outstanding team and its preferred partnership with JLL. For further information, visit

Photo of Jelena Radulovic, courtesy of iO Partners.

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