The new look of cultural heritage

The new look of cultural heritage: sustainable, socially responsible, and profitable

When cultural heritage is mentioned, buyers, investors, agents, and owners literally "grab their heads". They are thinking about problems with upgrades, renovations, and all other possible work that depends on the approval of experts from the competent Conservation Department. Should you give up buying a property if it has cultural heritage? The short answer is - NO. Cultural heritage as real estate represents a unique value and great potential that is realized shortly after conservation requirements are met.

Preservation of cultural heritage and the real estate market
 Let's take the example of Dubrovnik for this topic. Why is Dubrovnik a desirable tourist destination? Certainly, in a way, the natural beauty—the beaches, the sea, the rich flora—fascinates visitors every time. However, it could be argued that these natural beauties only add value to the city of Dubrovnik. What is promoted in all marketing brochures for tourism is not a natural beauty but rather one of the best-preserved medieval centers. Perfectly preserved cultural heritage and the historic city center attract over a million visitors to Dubrovnik. When we talk about the Pearl of the Adriatic, we are not talking about Lapad, Gruž, or Mokošica, but about Dubrovnik's historical core.

 Besides popularity, what does superbly preserved cultural heritage mean for real estate prices?
The price of a square meter in the old city center is significantly higher than in other parts of Dubrovnik. The demand for renting these spaces is constantly increasing, and foreign investors prefer to invest in real estate that they rent at highly profitable prices during the tourist season. Superbly preserved cultural heritage is a factor that attracts foreign investors and promises a return on invested capital, often in a shorter period than when dealing with a different type of real estate.

Research and examples of investment in cultural heritage
 The National Center for Cultural Heritage Management in Hungary, Gyula Forster, researched the effects of historical areas and cultural heritage on property prices in Debrecen, Győr, Miskolc, Pécs, and Szeged. The research has proven that the selling price of buildings that are protected as cultural heritage is 20% higher than the price of those that do not belong to that category. Furthermore, average rental accommodation prices are about 15% higher in these properties. The renovation of such buildings also represents a step towards ecological sustainability since gas emissions and the amount of material used are significantly lower than in the case of new, large construction projects.

Although the initial investment is larger and long-term (renovations, permits, communication with the responsible state institutions), the profile of buyers and tenants of such properties and the overall income promise a great return on invested capital, as well as the development of a positive relationship with the local community. However, when we talk about the potential of cultural heritage, we are not talking about the sales value alone.

 A seminar titled "Cultural Heritage: Is it Worth the Investment?" was held at the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels. The European Commission, in cooperation with the representatives of Norway, presented the incredible success of investments in cultural heritage and tried to raise awareness of the potential of such buildings in the context of sustainable development. A study by the British Organization for Historic England was presented as one of the examples. In Great Britain, in 2014 alone, earnings from cultural heritage reached 11.9 billion pounds, and within the same year, 278 thousand people worked in various forms of the cultural industry.

From these studies, it can be concluded that cultural heritage has a positive effect on the real estate market. It is necessary to develop high-quality communication with responsible institutions and to understand how state bodies also want to restore, develop and invest in cultural heritage. The European Commission has shown a great interest in this topic, which means that additional sources of non-reimbursed funding for such projects are possible. In addition, investing in cultural property to sell or rent has added value compared to other investments because it implies the valorization of a carefully preserved piece of history.

How to find out if a property is a cultural heritage?
Dubrovnik's surroundings abound with protected cultural assets. Among the medieval villas and summer houses, it is easy to find an example of cultural heritage. There are several ways to get accurate information. First, check if there is a note in the land register. Unfortunately, sometimes this information simply won't be entered, so you can check the three lists of the Register of Cultural Properties of the Republic of Croatia that can be found on the website of the Ministry of Culture. If you don't want to search but have enough time, just contact the responsible local conservation department or go directly to the Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture.

Conclusion: Dubrovnik as an excellent opportunity to invest in cultural heritage
The aforementioned research proves that cultural heritage has a beneficial impact on the real estate market. In recent years, awareness of the potential of preserved cultural assets has also increased, and the state and European institutions are involved in co-financing such projects. Due to the preservation of already existing buildings, emissions of harmful gases and the amount of harmful construction waste are reduced. Examples of cultural heritage have proven to attract foreign capital, either through tourism or investments. An indirect, additional advantage of preserving cultural heritage is also the development of positive relationships with the local community and state institutions. Considering all the mentioned advantages and the natural beauty and historical wealth of Dubrovnik and its surroundings, this area proves to be an excellent opportunity for all types of investors.

Libertas Engineering offers some of the best-preserved buildings that represent protected cultural assets. Contact us, and our sales agent will guide you through choosing your personal piece of history!