Two good salaries, the chance of finding an apartment is still slim. “I filter offers at the lowest prices and hope for a stroke of luck”

Beneficiary of the "Safe Loan": male, single with relatively high earnings.

Experts from the Polish Economic Institute estimate that the situation on the real estate market in the coming quarters will largely depend on when the new loan subsidy program will start. “Assuming that this type of subsidies will be maintained from the second quarter of 2024, we expect high demand for the purchase of apartments. At the same time, we expect a low supply of new apartment sales offers,” say the Institute’s economists. So, translating from the language of reports into everyday language: there will be great interest, and there will be few apartments available for purchase. The experience of recent months has shown the impact this has on prices.

– We started saving for an apartment, or rather for our own contribution, five years ago. And nothing has changed in these five years, we still rent an apartment from my sister. Although the amount of savings has increased, apartment prices are constantly ahead of our possibilities, says Magda, a 40-year-old corporate employee.

Earnings above average, chances of finding a flat are low

He earns PLN 7.5 thousand. PLN net, her husband PLN 6.5 thousand net. zloty. They have two teenage children. Magda started working only at the age of 32, previously she stayed at home with her children, so the family has only recently managed to have any savings. Their goal was specific: their own apartment. However, it gets further away every year.

– It’s hard for me to understand that two people who earn above average are unable to buy an apartment – ​​he says with regret.

Although he already has his own contribution (in addition, his parents promised a donation), but the loan installments will consume most of his salary, so the spouses avoid this risk. They would like to have an apartment because they understand that it is good to have something of their own, but they also do not want to take out a long-term loan since they are renting from their sister “at cost” – they pay several hundred zlotys less than if they rented the apartment commercially. They also don’t know how big an apartment to buy to make it make sense. The older daughter will graduate in 10 years, but she may want to move out sooner.

The combination of all these events resulted in the fact that a couple with an income of PLN 13.5 thousand PLN plus PLN 1,600 child benefit lasts during the transitional period, which was supposed to be renting a 50-square-meter apartment in Ursus.

There are thousands of people in a similar situation who, despite good earnings, are unable to take out a home loan because the installment would cost them e.g. PLN 4,000. of the 13,000 they have at their disposal per month for four people. They would still complete the household budget, but they would probably not be able to save anything – and everyone needs a financial cushion in case something unexpected happens: illness in the family, loss of job, need to provide financial support to loved ones.

Six months with government loan subsidies

Magda considered using the government program “Safe 2% Credit”, but did not manage to do so.

– On the one hand, I felt that it was worth submitting an application for subsidies, but I hoped that in the second or third year of the program, real estate prices would start to fall. And I didn’t live to see this moment because the program was canceled – she recalls.

Although the previous government announced that “BK2” was a program for several years, it “finished life” after six months. The then Minister of Development reserved far too little money for subsidies: at the end of 2023 he announced that the statutory total limit for 2023 and 2024 for loan subsidies had been exhausted. And these are not minor discrepancies in numbers: the statutory limits on expenditure on program subsidies assumed that support in 2023 and 2024 could cover approximately 50,000 people. loans. By December 21, 2023, approximately 55.8 thousand were signed. credit agreements.

Already in late autumn, analysts predicted that the funds allocated for subsidies would be zeroed. As doubts grew, Poles submitted more and more applications for subsidies, rightly predicting that it was first come, first served. And while between September and the end of October there was a visible decrease in interest in subsidies (which was acknowledged by the fact that whoever was supposed to submit an application had already done so), from mid-November to the end of December the banks became crowded again. For example, in the last week of December, 7.7 thousand applications were submitted. applications more than a week earlier.

The starter apartment will be launched in mid-2024

The new government does not want to continue the solutions of its predecessors, but announced its own program: Starter apartment. We write about its assumptions here.

Magda knows its assumptions and believes that this time she and her husband will submit an application for the subsidy. However, he has a lot of doubts.

– What worries me most is credibility. I am afraid to trust a program that is announced to last for several years and may end after a few months because someone underestimated it or the authorities changed and they have their own idea. I’m afraid that if the rules of the game change, it will also affect people who have already signed the contract. In “BK2”, subsidies were available for 10 years, but will the beneficiaries really not be surprised by the new conditions? – the woman wonders.

He still hasn’t given up on his dream of having his own apartment. She admits that she is afraid that with the low pensions expected for today’s 40-year-olds, she and her husband may not be able to rent the apartment (because her sister will probably one day want to use the apartment differently, which she is currently renting at cost). She sees her own apartment, even a small one, as a guarantee that she will be able to live in retirement without the fear of annual rent increases and the need to participate in casting calls for a tenant. Unfortunately, this is quite a realistic forecast for people who will not buy anything.

How much do apartments cost in the largest cities?

However, the chance to buy real estate at a price that will not ruin it is not in developers’ offers, but in… demography. Every year there are fewer and fewer Poles. Young heirs do not necessarily want to live in grandmother’s or grandfather’s apartments, as long as they are in old buildings. Today, even low-standard apartments requiring full renovation cost in the largest cities not much less than apartments in new blocks of flats on the outskirts (their attractiveness is determined primarily by their location – blocks from the 1960s were built on main streets, and much was designed around them). greenery), but when more of them start to hit the market, the price may start to decrease.

How much do you have to pay for an apartment today? Data from the Polish Economic Institute show that in Warsaw the average price of an apartment on the secondary market exceeded PLN 17,000. PLN per square meter. On the primary market, prices are close to PLN 16,000. PLN per square meter, although – according to the Institute’s experts – exceeding this ceiling is probably a matter of the next quarter. In Krakow, the second most expensive city, apartment prices exceed PLN 15,000. PLN per square meter in both markets. In Wrocław, you have to pay PLN 13,000 on the secondary market. PLN, and on the primary one – 12.8 percent. Poznań is slightly cheaper: PLN 11.1 thousand. on the secondary market and 11.7 thousand on the primary one.

There is a very clear difference between new and second-hand apartments in Katowice and Gdańsk. In the capital of the Silesian Voivodeship, you have to pay PLN 11,200 for a new apartment. PLN, and second-hand – PLN 8.6 thousand. zloty. In Gdańsk it is 12.3 thousand respectively. compared to 14.7 thousand zloty. In every city, apartments on the secondary market are more expensive.

What’s next for apartment prices?

PIE experts estimate that the situation on the real estate market in the coming quarters will largely depend on the date of introduction of the new housing loan subsidy program and its conditions.

Assuming that this type of subsidies will be maintained from the second quarter of 2024, we expect high demand for the purchase of apartments. At the same time, we expect a low supply of new apartment sales offers,” say the Institute’s economists.

The condition for a decline in apartment prices is the appearance of a large number of new apartments on sale, i.e. an increase in supply. However, this condition will not be met. In the next four quarters, premises whose construction started in 2022 will appear on the market, and this was a period when the number of construction starts was almost 20% lower. than the average from 2019-2021.

“Due to the fact that the average construction time for an apartment is just over 2 years, we expect a decline in the supply of apartments for sale in the following quarters. Due to the mismatch between demand and supply, we anticipate a further increase in housing prices in 2024.” – wrote the PIE report.

More apartments will appear on the market only in 2025 – these will be apartments whose construction began after the announcement of the government loan program, which, regardless of its shortcomings, started the market. Unfortunately, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and this is clearly visible in the real estate market. Experts on the subject have no doubt that the crazy increase in housing prices is mainly (apart from the rising costs of energy and building materials) the result of government subsidies; sellers knew they could raise prices because there would be people willing to buy them. It was easier for the beneficiaries of the program to swallow the increase because they received the subsidy anyway, and everyone else was an involuntary victim of government generosity. analyzed price changes in selected districts of large cities. In Krakow’s Mistrzejowice (near Nowa Hita – for years the district did not enjoy the reputation of a desirable address) in December 2023, a square meter of an apartment cost almost PLN 13,000. PLN, which means an increase of 42.6%. compared to the same period in 2022. In Bielany, Warsaw, prices in this period increased by 29.9 percent, Kleczków in Wrocław (32.6 percent), Brzeźno in Gdańsk (36.5 percent), and in the Stary Grunwald district in Poznań (34.1%) – quotes selected data by

No salary increase, even of 10%, compensates for these increases. Currently, prices have slowed down, but the market is waiting for the start of the new program. Sellers and real estate agents are in the starting blocks, and buyers like Magda set real estate sales websites to filter by the lowest prices – and hope that somewhere there is an offer that will meet their possibilities.

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