Dragos Costache

What is happening in the Romanian real estate market at the moment? At what stage is it?

Since the end of 2022, the Romanian real estate market has experienced a decrease in the number of transactions, as shown by ANCPI reports. Even if the number of real estate transactions is currently reduced, the real estate market continues to be of interest to those who want to invest or want a new home. If we refer to Bucharest and Ilfov, areas where our company is present and operates on the market, we can say that the need for rental space still exists.
The reduction in the number of transactions is largely influenced both by the impossibility of accessing a bank loan by a large number of clients who are no longer eligible following the constant increase in bank interest rates, and by the increase in property prices. In relation to the latter we can say that there is pressure from buyers to negotiate considerable discounts but, for the time being, property prices are being maintained.
If we look back and analyse everything that the real estate market has meant from 2008 to the present day, we can note the almost constant existence of periods of uncertainty with influences on this market, a market characterised by the ability to adapt to new conditions and create new investment opportunities, to the detriment of other options such as shares on the stock exchange, crypto currencies, etc.

Dragos Costache

What do we do in residential, rent or buy housing in 2023?

As a people, we are used to owning real estate when financing options allow, this is our first option. But at the moment buying a property has become increasingly difficult to materialise for a large proportion of customers who 6-7 months ago didn’t have this problem. Renting is now becoming a much more affordable option, and the difference between the rate and rent is, from a net cost perspective, in favour of renting. The majority are moving towards renting until the market and financing options allow them to purchase their desired property.

Credit or cash down? What’s the trend in our housing market?

Lately, cash down transactions are more common than purchases with a mortgage, largely due to rising bank interest rates. There are investors or individuals who have capital that they prefer to invest in real estate, considering this investment to be more secure in the long term.

A decrease in interest rates at any time may shift the balance in favour of buying with a home loan but at the moment we have no information on any significant changes from the banks.

Apulum 94 will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. What are your plans for the future to celebrate this impressive number?

These 30 years of continuous activity are a great achievement for the company and the whole team and a confirmation that you can succeed even in a constantly dynamic market. The success is due both to a team with a willingness to learn and develop continuously and to a procedural and highly organised way of working. Perseverance and determination to provide the right solution to every situation encountered in our professional activity together with the desire to satisfy even the most demanding needs of our clients is reflected both in the culture of our organisation and in the attitude of each of our colleagues. Since the beginning of Apulum 94’s activity, we have built the entire internal climate around the slogan “A partner for the long haul” and now, after almost 30 years of activity, we are focusing our efforts to carry this desideratum forward.
Our plans for the future are still linked to the real estate business and the continuous development of the company. To this end, Apulum94 has acquired and developed the SPINMEDIA brand, which has been providing advertising services for over 16 years.
Specifically, SPINMEDIA’s services include indoor and outdoor advertising, promotion on BOARDING PASS tickets, advertising in Divertiland, TV screens, etc. among the promotional possibilities available to clients.

Apulum 94 successfully promotes its people. Many street ads depict your colleagues in a western manner, ready to help those who want assistance in real estate. Why did you choose to promote Apulum 94’s people and not necessarily the Apulum 94 brand?

The entire team is made up of professionals with extensive experience in real estate who have chosen to build with Apulum94 a strong brand that is recognized for the quality of the services offered. Outdoor promotion is part of the advertising mix that our company has been using for a number of years in order to communicate effectively and transparently with its target audience.
Thus, we have marketing campaigns over certain periods of time where we choose to promote our colleagues in order to make them visible and known to potential clients before they get in touch with them. Brand promotion is also part of our communication campaigns and we allocate sufficient exposure to this.

There are campaigns in which we display available offers from the company’s portfolio, promotional campaigns dedicated to our colleagues but also brand awareness campaigns.

In terms of commercial spaces, street spaces, what do you think will be their evolution this year? Is the square metre getting more expensive? What are they looking for in 2023 in such a space that can attract customers from the gaming, pharmacy, banking, confectionery, bakery, etc. sectors?

Street retail space has always shown high interest from investors and we can expect rents to rise this year, influenced by the economic context but also by rising inflation.
Basically, they are looking for commercial spaces with heavy pedestrian traffic, parking spaces and good visibility. There is still demand for such commercial spaces, even if a large proportion of entrepreneurs are trying to develop their businesses online. For the above-mentioned activities, there is the option of renting spaces that are as compact as possible, offering the possibility of optimisation. A pole of interest for renting such spaces is to be found in newly built residential complexes.

In the context of rising energy and other utility costs in general, many complain about the high maintenance costs of commercial premises that are too large and perhaps not properly sized to meet real needs. What’s your advice to those in such dilemmas? Should they relocate to smaller spaces or stay where they are, in the hope that perhaps costs will stagnate or perhaps come down in the near future?

There is pressure at the moment due largely to rising maintenance costs and the ever-increasing rents of late. But choosing such an option and considering a relocation/downsizing of space requires a contextual analysis of the benefits and losses that such a change may generate. If there is already a mass of customers frequenting the premises, relocating the existing business may result in much greater losses than those related to simple growth due to utilities.
We have observed in the market, where the configuration of the premises has made it possible to reduce the rented area, a change by separating the space into several rooms and renting them out to several beneficiaries or integrating a new bussines into the existing space without making any changes to the partitioning, here everything also depends on the regulations of each individual area.
I believe that 2023 will bring new challenges and opportunities to develop in a direction that would have been difficult to consider in a more settled economic context. The real estate market has never been predictable and periods of “stability” have alternated continuously.