Dragana Grozdanić, CBS International: Turn The Crisis Into Success

Regional CFO of the leading real estate consultancy CBS International, Dragana Grozdanić, reveals how smart investments in real estate may bring considerable capital gains.

‘Real estate investments have hit a new record globally as the most alluring mode of investment, marking 4% increase as compared to the previous year. ‘A quote from a renowned German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer may best describe the local real estate market saying: ‘The best you can expect from a life is to give you a good opportunity’. As true real estate market connoisseurs we recognize a good opportunity in each and every segment of real estate market, says Dragana Grozdanić, Regional CFO of the leading real estate consultancy CBS International, part of the Cushman & Wakefield Group.’

The last quarter of the year is traditionally a period of intense activities in real estate market. The leading global companies dealing in real estate mark up to 35% higher revenues as compared to the previous quarters, and it is the same in our company.

Primarily this is due to investment activity, greater need for high-value property portfolios evaluations, however, I would also not exclude a psychological factor influencing the decisions regarding the purchase of the property, refurbishment or moving into new office, residential or retail space.

Despite the uncertainty and changing global economy, general trend is that the real estate still guarantees attractive and stable yields. Smart investment in real estate in our market will not only bring you good return on investment through rental property income with favourable yields, but also achieve considerable capital gains should you decide to sell that property. The best case study for this is Central Garden condominium, which from the first to the last phase of construction in 4-year period marked 20% higher apartment prices.

Do you think that the announcements of the new economic crisis are increasingly affecting the real estate market? How vulnerable is the Serbian market in this regard?

– It was actually during the global economic crisis that our company built its recognizability, first of all, because it came to grips with the challenges that the previous positive investment cycle had brought. We may say that the real estate market is adaptable to the global economy challenges, yet the timeframe for a response to a challenge is much longer. The reasons are obvious: if an office building, or a shopping mall starts the construction just before the crisis, an investor will not be able to stop construction with the first signs of warning, but has to deliver to the market under aggravated conditions. That is exactly how we have gained trust of the investors during the previous crisis. In the circumstances in which it was almost impossible, while we were in exclusive agency agreements, we’ve successfully realized lease acquisitions amounting to more than 60,000 sq m. This is our story of ‘windmills and dams’, I believe each company has its own.

What changes may we expect in the forthcoming period?

– As one of the most attractive fields for creation and preservation of the wealth, our industry will undoubtedly undergo various adjustments in order to make the services lines we offer more appealing and earning for the future clients, who were born in the digital era. In what way the behavior of the end-users will change, who are already dominantly ‘millennials’, remains to be seen. The investors we cooperate with are already inclined to global trends which motivate creative spaces, flexibility, green architecture. Great example in our market would be company Nordeus, the leader in gaming and IT industry, which turned their office space into, what would be best called, the space for success.


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