In our previous article about Georgia, we introduced our reader to the red-hot real estate market of this country. It would be an understatement to say that the real estate market in this small republic is booming. The demand for real estate is barely covered by the huge amount of construction going on in various regions of the country, spearheaded by the capital Tbilisi and the seaside city of Batumi. The main factors of this development are:
- Migration from neighboring countries, like Russia, Iran, Turkey, etc. While this process has been going on for many years due to favorable business climate and good general climate, it accelerated after war in Ukraine, when tens of thousands of people from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus migrated to Georgia.
- Expansion of tourism sector. On average, every year Georgia is hosting a tourist population twice the size of its own population. Many of those visitors are staying in the private sector. Thus, it is usual to buy a flat and provide it to travelers.
- A large population of Georgian migrants are buying real estate back at home, with a goal of investing their savings and building up some assets.
- Deterioration of old housing stock, from Soviet as well as pre-Soviet times. A large chunk of Georgia’s population still lives in the flats, which are hardly suitable for living, thus there is native demand for fresh, higher quality housing. This is especially true for the growing Georgian middle class.
All in all, Georgia is a kind of “Switzerland for the poor,” not only in terms of nature, but also in terms of political positioning, trying to be an open business hub to everyone, and having problems with no one (not even with Russia).
All of these factors keep pushing real estate prices in Georgia higher over the last decades and there is no sign of slowdown. On the contrary, compared to the real estate prices in other similar markets, like Turkey or Montenegro, real estate is still very cheap in Georgia. So, in our opinion, the long-term outlook for the real estate market of Georgia is very positive.
Real Estate in Georgia: Good, Not so Bad and Ugly
Having said this, it doesn’t mean that you should buy a ticket and purchase the very first property you find in Georgia. There is a huge range of available options, from premium class to slums. The same is true for prices, you can find flats for 500 USD per square meter, as well as ten times this amount. So, to give you some overview, we’ll try to categorize Georgian real estate into three categories.
Here we put more or less everything built during the Soviet era, especially during the late Soviet period. Though some Stalin era architecture might have a chance of getting a status of protected buildings, all in all, neither general quality, nor current status gives any hope of a better future to this housing stock. Briefly explained, don’t touch anything, which looks like this:
Not so Bad
This category is for investors who are willing to take their time to research and evaluate the right property and maximize their return on investment. Broadly speaking, we put two kinds of buildings into this category:
- Pre-revolution buildings (meaning historical buildings built before the communist era).
- Projects developed by “indie” developers during last 15 years.
To give you an idea, about each category, this is the first one:
And this is the second one:
The first category (though it looks like something which could be torn down) has protected status! House by house, street by street, such buildings are renovated, and after renovation, prices skyrocket! Besides that, such buildings are in the very center of old cities, therefore most popular with tourists, businesses, etc. On the downside, it might take time until “civilization” reaches your investment property.
The second category, let’s call it “indie development,” covers huge numbers of developed properties since the 2000s. You can find anything here, from solid, well looking apartment buildings to buildings looking like haunted asylums. Since we are not a huge fan of the second subcategory—haunted asylums—we’ll continue talking about the first subcategory—solid buildings with good chances of leasing out.
With some smart moves, you might have the best return, as well as value appreciation chances, in the “not so bad” category.
Welcome to the world of premium class buildings, with stunning views, best locations, high quality services, nouveau riche inhabitants… So, you got the point. If you want less risk and more fun, without chasing every bit of potential return, select a property from this category.
This is how such buildings look:
You can do anything with such a property: long term rent, short term rent, rent for commercial use, flip…
Prices of Real Estate in Georgia
Factors influencing the prices of real estate in Georgia
After such a long introduction, the time has come to talk about prices of properties in Georgia. As already mentioned, the range is very wide and the market is still quite inefficient, meaning you can get a bargain, but you can easily overpay as well. As everywhere, there are some rules to be aware of:
- City: in Georgia there are two major cities, with booming real estate markets: Tbilisi and Batumi. The rest is far behind. The only exceptions are several top tourist hotspots like Gudauri, Bakuriani, Kazbegi, etc. You have by far the most opportunities concentrated in these two big cities, but also the highest prices. And while most small cities don’t show the dynamics of the bigger ones, you can find good deals there as well. Especially if you want to get in cheap and capitalize on long term value appreciation.
- Location: there are top locations, there are overhyped locations, and there are hidden champions. Depending on the location, the price per square meter varies, so does the rent, and also the value appreciation potential, which is much higher in case of “hidden champions.”
- Quality of building: even in top locations, there might be huge differences between two neighborhood buildings, resulting in up to a 300% difference in price.
- View: everyone appreciates a good view; this is not new. What is new for many investors, is the fact that in Georgia you can have a nice view today and no view at all tomorrow. Therefore, you should select a building or flat with a nice view that can’t be easily covered by another building. If you see an empty space, or even small family houses in front of your balcony, be careful, instead of that nice green area you might get 20 store buildings built within a couple of years.
- Branding: remember those indie development companies? On the other hand, there are “branded” buildings, which means that some locally or internationally known developer has constructed it. Price differences for the same quality can vary from 20% to 50% per square meter.
- Size: small apartments (45-65 sq. m) cost more per square meter than large apartments (>100 sq. m). Price differences can be up to 20-30%!
- Renovation status: in Georgia I heard for the first time the expression: white, black, and green carcass. It describes the status of unrenovated flats. Black carcass means you have walls and nothing else. 😊 White carcass means you have some basic renovation in the apartment. Green carcass means you have some renovation plus some extras, but the real renovation is still up to you. And of course, there are renovated flats. With each step in this renovation chain, the flats get more expensive. This is especially important if you plan to flip the real estate.
Sample prices for real estate in Georgia
And finally, the promised prices of real estate in Georgia. In this article, we only show the prices for the top two cities. If you are interested in real estate in other regions, please get in touch.
Prices for real estate in Tbilisi
|Premium location (f. e. Vake, old city)||Good location (f. e. Saburtalo, Vera, etc.)||Average location (f. e. Didube, Nadzaladevi etc.)|
|Premium quality||3000 – 5000 USD||2000 – 3000 USD||1500 – 2500 USD|
|Standard quality||1500 – 3000 USD||1300 – 2000 USD||900 – 1500 USD|
|Low/bad quality||1100 – 1500 USD||800 – 1300 USD||500 – 900 USD|
Summary: prices of real estate in Tbilisi can be as cheap as 500 USD per square meter or as expensive as tenfold, though this is very rare. The only current place with such prices that we can think of, are renovated apartments in Axis Towers in Vake.
In a fairly good location, a renovated flat should cost around 1300-1500 USD. If you would like to buy white or even black carcass, then you might find suitable properties up from 800 USD per square meter. Renovation costs are around 200-250 USD from black carcass to a renovated state. If you plan to buy, renovate, and sell, your margin can be around 10-15%.
Prices for real estate in Batumi
|Premium location||Good location||Average location|
|Premium quality||1500 – 2500 USD||1200 – 2000 USD||1000 – 1500 USD|
|Standard quality||1200 – 1500 USD||1000 – 1200 USD||800 – 1000 USD|
|Low/bad quality||800 – 1200 USD||800 – 1000 USD||500 – 800 USD|
Summary: real estate in Batumi is a bit cheaper than in Tbilisi, especially in the premium segment. This is due to wild construction activity over the last years, which has produced huge numbers of buildings of various quality. This affects the prices, which can differ in neighboring houses by more than 100%.
As in every seaside city, proximity to the beach, popularity among tourists, and sea view are important factors. Additionally, there are local factors, such as building quality, branded vs. indie development, how secure your sea view is, and how probable it is that your view will be covered by another skyscraper.
Besides that, it is important to understand how you are going to generate return: if you want to lease out the flat on daily basis, f. e. on Airbnb, you’ll hit the jackpot in summer, while it will be harder to get any guests in winter. In this case, you should instead opt for a small flat with a sea view. If the plan is to lease out the flat to expats who stay in Batumi all year long, think about 2-bedroom apartments for small families. In this case, you’ll generate decent monthly cashflow throughout the whole year, and sea view and tourism popularity are less relevant factors.
Prices of Real Estate in Georgia: Summary
The prices for real estate have seen a major upwards trajectory during the last 20 years. From this point of view, the situation is similar to most other developed or developing countries. What makes the market attractive is the combination of wild growth rate (4x value appreciation within last 10 years isn’t something special there) and continuing cheap prices of real estate compared to basically any other eastern European country.
Currently, the Georgian real estate market is red and hot. Since March 2022, the prices are up by approximately 20%. That means you should be careful when looking for a good property to invest in. Expect short term fluctuations. But the long-term outlook is very good. The country is likely to achieve Montenegrin levels in 5 to 10 years, which is another 2-3x compared to current prices.