Ljubljana, 04 November (STA) - Demand by foreigners for properties in Slovenia remains strong despite the ongoing housing bust, but the structure of sellers has changed in favour of Russians, according to the realtors' association Fiabci Slovenija.
Between 1 May 2004, when Slovenia joined the EU and liberalised its property market, and 30 April this year foreigners have bought almost 4,300 properties.
Britons have been the most avid buyers, accounting for over a quarter of all transactions (1,284), closely followed by Italians (1,228).
Austrians bought 479 properties, Germans 389 and the French and Irish 109 each, according to figures by the Tax Administration.
Russians are not featured in a separate category, but Mojca Žižek Sauli, the head of Fiabci Slovenija, says purchases by Russians have increased recently.
"Overall demand has remained roughly level, but demand by British citizens has declined whereas demand by Russians has been increasing," Žižek Sauli told the STA.
Her statement is borne out by numerous recent media reports of Russians extensively buying properties on the coast, in Ljubljana and around main tourist centres such as Bled and Rogaška Slatina.
The Tax Administration figures suggest that foreigners still account for a small percentage of all property transactions.
Since 2009 the number of transactions has been around 10,000 annually; before the housing bust in 2008 the figure was even higher.