Arabs are massively buying land in Bosnia, mostly from Serbs: New suburbs are growing, and the real reason is a puzzle

It is mostly land whose owners were citizens of Serbian nationality, and there are individual cases that the land was sold by Bosniaks and Croats

The number of citizens visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) from the Arabian countries is increasing each year, and many of them are buying and building real estates across the country, and many "Arabian suburbs" were already built.

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Arabs have bought around 3.000 and 3.500 dulums, which is around 350 hectares of land.

It is mostly land whose owners were citizens of Serbian nationality, and there are individual cases that the land was sold by Bosniaks and Croats.

The price of land per square meter has risen for over 50 percent, and according to the head of the municipality, Akif Fazlic, it presents a problem to the local residents who want to buy the land to build residential homes. 

- The positive side is that the budget of the municipality is larger. Based on real estate sales last year, we collected nearly 1 million euros, and about 70 percent, or about 700,000 euros, were made by Arab investors - Fazlic told Tanjug.

We also have income from paying rent and changing of construction land, and even that increases the budget, he added.

When asked about the interest of Arab investors to buy the land in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said that his estimate is that they want to spend a part of the time there, a month at most, taking into consideration the climate in their home countries. 

He says that there are individual cases among the residents of that municipality who have expressed disapproval of the arrival of the Arabs, saying that "dilemmas" always exist.

Foto: Profimedia

- We are all thinking about these dilemmas, although I always look at the world's processes, and they show that we have more and more migration and that there is an increasingly open real estate market - he said.

We will see to make that process positive and I hope that there won't be any other connotation, he said and mentions that there are mechanism if there are other connotations, to stop them. He said that the state should have a role here as well.

Fazlic explains that land in Sarajevo Canton is being purchased for shopping centers and hotels, and in the vicinity, for weekend suburbs. One weekend suburb was already built in the municipality of Ilijas.

- Many more locations have been purchases, and they are all in the procedures of granting, issuing permits and all that is needed for these suburbs, their investors are leading the process of construction and then they are selling them on the real estate market - said Fazlic.

The inhabitants of Ilijas Municipality have noticed a growing sale of real estate in the past five years, and they react differently. They note that they have no problems with their new neighbors, but their growing presence is "enigmatic".

Foto: Tanjug/Dragan Kujundžić

- What can I say, all of that is interesting, puzzling, we don't know why are they buying if they are rich so much and they invest in real estates. The real reason is unknown. They are buying a lot in our municipality, they are building settlements, villages with 30, 40 houses. They settle in, they buy apartments - said one of the residents.

University professor and analyst Enver Kazaz considers that many more Arabs go to the tourist destinations around the Europe instead of Bosnia and Herzegovina, so some Arabian countries are investing much more in Serbia than in BiH.

- BiH is in the heat because it is traditionally regarded as a country in which there is a danger of a kind of political Islam. Arab tourists who come here and leave money are simply victims of such a stigmatization, and on the other hand, those who are getting rich and buy land through illegal companies should be prosecuted by the law of Bosnia and Herzegovina - Kazaz told Tanjug.

Nedzad Latic, editor of the portal "The Bosnia Times", thinks that the motive of those who buy real estate is the predisposition for citizenship because they expect BiH to join the EU.

- This is roughly the motive of the majority who are buying, but it is most likely that it is a fraud and that those are some virtual projects. There is still no substantial investigation about that - he said for Tanjug.

Foto-montaža: Wikimedia/Ramirez HUN, pixabay.com

It also says that some of the projects have been implemented and that they are closed-type settlements. Bosnian media report that the massive purchase of property for Arab citizens was checked by security agencies in BiH at the end of last year.

An investigation conducted by the Foreign Affairs Service Department working with the BiH Ministry of Security has determined that such transactions involve a large number of "phantom" companies that have minimal initial capital and invest large sums of money.

The work of 691 companies was controlled in December who dealt with that kind of transactions, and 499 were not found on the determined addresses. The data show that the number of Arab arrivals to the country is increasing.

Referring to the Border Police data, Dnevni Avaz announced that 42,627 Arabs entered the country in seven months, mostly from the Emirates 19,887, and then from Kuwait 11,103.

Third place in the number of arrivals were citizens of Saudi Arabia, 9,385, while 1,531 came from Qatar for the first seven months. The least came from Jordan - 721.

According to the data of the tourist communities, they are staying on average for five to ten days, while many of them rent or buy houses to stay for up to a month, write Bosnian media.


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