The residential real estate market in Kaunas is currently undergoing a substantial recovery. It is primarily sparked by news of facilitated credits, and for this reason consumers are encouraged to buy residential property before it's too late.
Two- and three- room apartments in residential districts are in the greatest demand. Housing prices currently range between 290 euros - 520 euro per square meter in residential microdistricts and between 430 euros - 1,015 euros per square meter downtown and in the Old Town.
New housing development is still in its early stages in Kaunas, though the Freda residential housing program - designed in accordance to the "town in the city" concept - is worth mentioning. The housing territory occupies an area of almost eight hectares in the scenic district of Aukstoji Freda near Vytautas the Great University's botanical gardens. The harmonious ensemble of the housing development is comprised of five districts of the same style: Apartments, Crete, London, Villa Avenue and Olympus. Prices of the 48-square-meter - 75-square-meter apartments range between 30,000 euros and 58,000 euros, while prices of 123-square-meter - 250 square-meter-individual houses range from 310,000 euros to 750,000 euros, depending on the district.
Construction of new commercial space in Kaunas has floundered over the last few years, with most activity concentrated on Laisves Avenue and the surrounding area. This year, however, property developers have shown renewed interest in the city based on demand for commercial premises. As a result, about 190,000 square meters of new commercial buildings will be constructed in Lithuania's second largest city by the end of 2005. Considering there are over 66,000 square meters of modern commercial buildings, this new supply will triple existing space.
In addition, there are plans to open the following new shopping centers by the end of 2005:
VP Market Akropolis. Construction of this new 60,000 -square-meter shopping and entertainment center is taking place on Karaliaus Mindaugo Avenue. The mall is scheduled to open in late 2004, early 2005 and will be the largest complex in Kaunas. Tenants will pay 11.5 euros - 25 euros per square meter.
Savas. This 20,000-square -meter shopping center is being developed by Hanner on Savanoriai Avenue near class "A" office buildings. It is one of the first shopping malls to be developed in Kaunas, and opening is scheduled for the second half of 2004. It will house about 40 shops, including a HyperRimi. Rent prices start at 11 euros per square meter.
Viesnage Kaune. This commercial building with a total area of 5,700 square meters will be opened in November 2004 near the existing Rimi and Reda shopping centers on V. Kreves Avenue in one of the larger districts of Kaunas. Rent prices in the complex are 12 euros - 17 euros per square meter, with most premises (90 percent) already rented.
Baltic Shopping Center 1. Work on this 100,000-square-meter shopping and entertainment complex has already begun. Located near the Vilnius-Klaipeda highway, it will offer entertainment, shopping and recreation facilities. Rent prices will start at 16 euros per square meter.
The demand for office space is high because the supply of modern premises in the city has been insufficient for a long time. All class "A" offices are currently being refurbished. Three new class "A" office buildings (at Savanoriu 349 - the Tower, Savanoriu 363, Donelaicio 62 - the Business Leader Center) that opened at the same time created considerable competition among one another and predetermined the average occupancy of the office buildings.
The office market has been replenished with "the Tower" - a newly reconstructed administrative building on Savanoriu. The building's convenient location, solid tenants (Vilniaus Bankas, Pizza Jazz), the high quality of decorative materials and a spacious parking lot contributed to its successful beginning after opening last month. Administrative premises on the ground floor were rented for 13 euros per square meter.
Forecasts indicate that all office premises will be fully rented within a year, and the vacancy rate will be 7 percent - 8 percent. Currently, the rent price of class "A" offices is about 8 euros - 11 euros per square meter, whereas the price of class "B" or "C" offices ranges between 4.5 euros and 9 euros per square meter.
Saulius Umbrasas is office manager at Ober-Haus Real Estate in Kaunas.