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Favorable Conditions for Lithuania’s Real Estate Market | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A contemporary home in northern Vilnius, Lithuania. Credit: Leonas Garbacauskas for The New York Times

This five-bedroom house in a tranquil setting in northern Vilnius, built in 2013, has simple lines, from the architecture to the furniture, appliances and lighting. Its exterior is made of stone, brick and glass, and the interior uses hardwood on the walls and floors.

A driveway through sparse pines leads to the house, which sits on about two and a half acres and encompasses around 9,700 square feet, according to Egidija Bruziene, an agent with Baltic Sotheby’s International Realty, which has the listing. A three-car garage and carport are to the left.

Past the front door, there is an entryway; a hall to the left leads to four bedrooms, one with an en-suite bath. The entryway connects to a glass gallery that leads in turn to the living room, which has mahogany-paneled walls and walnut floors. Beyond that is the master suite, with glass walls overlooking a serene landscape, Ms. Bruziene said. To the right of the glass gallery are the dining room and an adjacent kitchen, with appliances by Gaggenau. A library and office are past the dining room.

The house has three full baths and two half-baths, a wine cellar in the basement and a fitness room in the attic. Several lighting fixtures are by Jeremy Cole, a New Zealand designer. The house is being sold furnished, including pieces by Eames and Knoll. Paintings and art are not included.

Ms. Bruziene said the house is part of an exclusive 36-acre gated development of 13 properties bordering on a lake. Amenities include security and athletic facilities such as tennis and basketball courts.

The home is in an area known for its natural beauty, Ms. Bruziene said, adding that a major equestrian center is a seven-minute drive, while a golf club and the historic Verkiai Palace are 15 minutes away. Shopping is about a mile and a half distant, she said. Downtown Vilnius is around nine miles away, with the closest bus stop a little more than half a mile. The international airport for the city, which has a population of roughly 540,000, is about 15 miles.


Growing incomes and a falling unemployment rate in every year since 2010, combined with historically low mortgage rates, are enabling more Lithuanians to purchase homes, real estate agents said. The country’s adoption of the euro in 2015 and regional turmoil have caused only temporary slowdowns, agents said.

The number of property transactions in Vilnius (mainly apartments) for the first 11 months of this year was 10,630, said Remigijus Pleteras, chief executive of Ober-Haus, a real estate agency based in Vilnius. That was an increase of 10.5 percent over the same period last year.

In the center of Vilnius, luxury apartments cost between 200,000 euros ($208,000) and a million ($1.04 million), depending on size. Single-family houses start at 450,000 euros ($468,000) and go to 2 million ($2.08 million), he said.

Gediminas Pruskus, the chief executive of Inreal Group, a real estate agency with offices throughout the country, said prices today are around 86 percent of what they were in 2008. For the first three quarters of 2016, prices for luxury apartments were around 2,725 euros a square meter, or around $264 a square foot, an increase of around 9 percent over 2015 levels.

The increase “was influenced by a few newly launched projects that were much more expensive than the class average,” Mr. Pruskus said in an email.

Younger Lithuanians of means are increasingly choosing to live downtown. “People from the surroundings are coming back to the center,” he said. They are also buying rural summer homes, he added.

The country introduced the euro in January 2015, which caused buyers to hesitate in the first half of the year but had no lasting effect, agents said. The crisis following Russia’s military incursion in Ukraine in 2014 led to a brief drop in housing prices in Lithuania, but they recovered within a few months, Mr. Pruskus said. Western economic sanctions against Russia had not had an impact on housing prices, he said.


Foreign buyers account for only about 10 percent of the luxury market, Mr. Pleteras said, including those from Scandinavia, Russia and Belarus, as well as Germany and Britain.


Kestutis Adamonis, a partner with the Sorainen law firm, which has offices throughout the Baltic region, said people who are not citizens or permanent residents of Lithuania, the member states of the European Union or three other organizations, including NATO, are not permitted to purchase land in Lithuania. However, Mr. Adamonis said, land on which a single-family home sits can be rented, or the purchaser can set up an E.U.-based company that will own the land.

Most transactions are handled by a notary, but buyers in complex or high-value transactions — those above around 300,000 euros, or $312,000, — may benefit from the use of a real estate lawyer, he said. That typically costs between 2,000 and 10,000 euros, or around $2,080 to $10,400, depending on the complexity.

A valued-added tax of 21 percent of the purchase price is levied on newly constructed properties, he said.

Mr. Adamonis estimated that for a property costing a million euros, or $1.04 million, closing costs paid by the buyer would be around 7,000 euros, or $7,280. That includes the notary fee, a mortgage fee charged by the notary if applicable, title registration and technical fees. It also includes a 21 percent value-added tax on certain items. It does not include a possible commission or legal services.

Agents said the seller typically pays any commission to the real estate broker. Mr. Pruskus said the commission is generally around 2 to 4 percent of the purchase price.

Most foreign buyers pay cash, Mr. Adamonis said.


Lithuanian government: lrv.lt/en

Vilnius tourism: vilnius-tourism.lt/en


Lithuanian: euro (1 euro = $1.04)


Annual property taxes are 400 euros (about $416). The gated community has an annual fee of 16,000 euros (about $16,640) covering security and use of amenities.

(The New York Times)