The Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque, a painting by the United Kingdom’s most famous prime minister, Winston Churchill, was sold for 7 million pounds at our partner Christie's London auction house on March 1st. The pre-sale estimate was roughly 2.5 million pounds.
Churchill’s most famous painting was formerly part of Angelina Jolie’s private art collection. Churchill painted this unique work during the Second World War while on an official visit to Morocco in 1943, where he travelled to attend a secret conference with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Casablanca. This was a pivotal moment in the war as the two powers agreed on a united war strategy going forward during their very important meeting. Churchill returned to his beloved Marrakesh after the conference concluded and invited Roosevelt to join him there.
The painting is significant not only historically, but also politically. Churchill admired Morocco’s unique landscape, especially the play of light as the sun set over it, and insisted that Roosevelt see the Marrakesh panorama with his own eyes. He later gifted the oil painting depicting Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains to the American president. Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque is arguably Winston Churchill’s finest painting. According to Nick Orchard, Head of Modern British Art at Christie's, it highlights the significance of Morocco to Churchill and the importance of the friendship between the two world leaders. The fact that Churchill gave the painting to Roosevelt shows in what high regard he held the partnership between the United Kingdom and the United States during the Second World War. The gesture was a very personal diplomatic act.
Winston Churchill began making sketches of Morocco while on his first visit to the country in 1935. Over the course of his lifetime, he painted more than 500 paintings, most of which he gave away to his family and friends, but many remained in his personal possession. Today, Churchill’s artworks are in high demand by art collectors.
David Martan, Managing Director of Svoboda & Williams Slovakia, was one of the guests of the Radio Slovakia program on the topic of the development of real estate prices in Slovakia.
David Martan spoke mainly about the segment of high-end properties: “In premium real estate, an estimated 65-70% is inhabited, a third serves as an investment. A relatively large number of people buys premium real estate with a purely investment purpose. We know from experience that in the long run it is the premium real estate which happens to be the least affected by market fluctuations.”
You can listen to the section dedicated to premium real estate from 32:43 here.
The year 2020 was marked by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant market constraints affected every sector. However, the real estate market has had a successful twelve-month run, despite the dire forecasts at the beginning of the pandemic. Svoboda & Williams’ team expanded during the coronavirus crisis and came up with several innovative solutions that allowed it to adapt swiftly to the new situation.
When demand exceeded supply, prices didn’t go down, but in fact reached new heights in 2020. The price per square meter for new builds reached approximately EUR 3,500, which is 11% higher than in the previous year. Changes were also registered in the rental housing segment, where there was an increase in supply due to short-term rental properties being changed to long-term rentals or even offered for sale. In some regions, average monthly rents have decreased by about 15%.
Investing in real estate has long been one of the safest places to park one’s money, and the crisis solidified this fact. “There is currently a lot of money being pumped into the economy, which is likely to cause inflation, and therefore properties, even the most high-end ones, can be safe havens. Many people today see buying real estate as a ‘pillar of the pension system.’ Due to the frequent changes to this pension system, people have stopped trusting it. They see its guarantees as insufficient and are seeking their own solutions, such as acquiring properties that they can rent out and earn income from,” says David Martan, Managing Director of Svoboda & Williams Slovakia. Purchasing power remains relatively strong despite the pandemic, while the supply of housing is lagging behind, and so prices can be expected to increase in 2021.
In the middle of December, Svoboda & Williams introduced its online magazine Selected, thereby entering the premium media segment. The new magazine will feature quality content that will acquaint readers with high-end brands, experiences, and real estate. Selected’s website is the work of Biceps Digital, a leading web design and development studio.
Svoboda & Williams created Selected Magazine with the ambition to become the leading authority on luxury living and the place for clients of the premium segment to get information in the Czech and Slovak online media space. Its editor-in-chief is Tomáš Otta, whose twenty-five-year career in journalism includes a stint as the editor-in-chief of ForMen. “Selected is an oasis in the media world. Readers can spend time here every day and find an expertly curated mix of information, from exclusive new products, authentic experiences, to inspirational tips from top professionals in various fields,” says Otta.
Selected is hosted on Svoboda & Williams’ website as well as on its own domain: selectedmag.cz. The online magazine was designed by Biceps Digital, who worked closely with Natalie Kuznetsová, Marketing Director at Svoboda & Williams. “Our goal is to offer quality content that reflects its online form of communication. Last but not least, we want it to be a place that supports talented artists, designers, and brands,” says Kuznetsová. Rudolf Matějček, Creative Director of Biceps Digital, had this to say about working with Svoboda & Williams: “Selected Magazine is a bold project in the domestic Czech market in terms of both style and content. We wanted to give as much space as possible to the strong content when we were designing the visual appearance of the magazine.”
For now, Selected is purely an online magazine, but next year we are planning to publish it in print on a biannual basis and distribute it directly to readers.
Svoboda & Williams Slovakia’s team grew to seven members when real estate agent Eva Košovská joined its ranks this October.
Eva Košovská is a Property Consultant at Svoboda & Williams Slovakia. She graduated from the School of Management in Bratislava and went on to obtain an MBA from the University of St. Francis. She previously worked in marketing and project management in both the public and private sectors. On the side, Eva enjoys music and fashion and even has her own clothing brand.
Due to its over two-decade success on the Czech market, the Svoboda & Williams real estate agency expanded to Slovakia last year. Since then, the Slovak team successfully established itself on the Bratislava and Slovak real estate markets, and so the time is right to present its current members.
David Martan, a lawyer and holder of the RSc. title (Real Estate Consultant), which is the highest level of certification, is the Managing Director of Svoboda & Williams Slovakia. He has been working in real estate for more than sixteen years and is the only member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors specializing in residential properties in Slovakia. He previously participated in the sale of several successful projects. David speaks English fluently.
Dagmar Skalníková studied history and the Slovak language at Comenius University in Bratislava. Besides her native Slovak, she speaks English fluently. She started her career in an advertising agency where she worked with multinational clients, helping them launch their projects on the Czech and Slovak markets. She then devoted herself to interior design. She has been a Property Consultant at Svoboda & Williams Slovakia since July 2019. Dominik Horváth is a Senior Property Consultant at Svoboda & Williams Slovakia. He studied law and has more than 13 years of experience in investment and property management. He also worked in Canada and the USA, where he became proficient in English. He has collaborated in the acquisition and sale process of several successful projects.
Eva Koptáková is a lawyer and has worked in the legal field for eight years, four of which as an attorney. She decided to switch career paths after her interest in the world of real estate was sparked by her experience with real estate law. Eva is currently a Sales Representative at Svoboda & Williams Slovakia. She speaks English fluently.
Juraj Jaroš has a master’s degree from the University of Economics in Bratislava. He has been working in real estate since 2007 and was previously employed in international consulting firms and property development companies. He also collaborated on several exceptional important non-residential projects, such as the Eurovea offices of Pradiaren 1990. He is currently a Property Consultant and speaks both English and German fluently.
Ľubica Kulčárová has a master’s degree from the Faculty of Management of the Comenius University in Bratislava. She also worked as a project manager in the public and private sectors. She is proficient in English and Russian. Ľubica has been the Office Manager of the Svoboda & Williams Slnečnice office since October 2019.
The Svoboda & Williams real estate agency has been commissioned to sell an elegant manor surrounded by a large park, located in the Little Carpathian protected area. In addition to the main house, the 63 acre property includes several other buildings: a conference center with a covered pool, staff quarters, or a garage with a charging station for electric cars.
A former spa, this exceptional property was recently thoroughly renovated. Located only 25 km from Bratislava and 1 hour’s drive from the Czech and Austrian highways, it can be used equally conveniently as a primary residence or as a place of business, for example as a private clinic, esthetician’s office, resort, or elegant company headquarters. The popular wine-growing regions of Pezinok and Modra are also close-by.
Built in 1905, the manor offers a total of 12 rooms. Its interior boasts an impeccable design with many high-end elements and accessories by Versace Home Design. It is equipped with wooden Euro windows, solar panels, an audio system, an exterior camera system, automatic irrigation, a well for water, and a fountain. Its extensive grounds full of greenery and mature trees guarantee peace, privacy, and parking for up to 36 cars.
The reconstruction of the Schön building on Obchodná Street is continuing according to plan and is scheduled to be finished in the early part of 2021. The reconstruction aims to preserve the original Functionalist architecture from the first half of the 20th century while ensuring comfortable 21st century living in the center of Bratislava.
The Schön Residence consists of bright apartments with one-bedroom to two-bedroom layouts and floor areas ranging from 43 sq. m. to 139 sq. m. Retail and office space will take up the first two floors of the building. At the end of the summer, work on the façade was completed and new windows were installed. Currently, work is continuing in the interiors—layout modifications, preparation for air-conditioning, and underfloor heating in all units.
Contact our office to schedule a visit of the construction site.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected the global economic system and the Bratislava real estate market was no exception. The number of new build apartments sold in Bratislava in the quarter-on-quarter comparison decreased by 40%, but in the year-on-year comparison actually increased by a third. Apartment sales prices have also reached new heights—the average price of a unit in Bratislava is currently just under EUR 3,000 per sq. m.
Experts estimate that the fallout from the economic downturn caused by the new Coronavirus pandemic will be felt especially in the second half of 2020, which, if they are correct, would put pressure on real estate prices. The National Association of Real Estate Agencies in Slovakia (NARKS) stated that housing preferences may change in the future after society’s experience with lockdown measures and quarantines. People will be more likely to take into account the importance of space and quality when it comes to buying property. “Many of our clients are currently searching for properties with a balcony, terrace, or front garden. The popularity of primary or secondary housing, where owners can comfortably spend their weekends, part of the workweek, or the summer months, has also increased,” says Dagmar Skalníková, real estate agent at Svoboda & Williams.
The COVID-19 travel ban was naturally followed by a decline in the number of short-term rental or Airbnb customers, which resulted in an increase in offers of properties for long-term rent. In Bratislava in the first half of the year, the situation caused a 28% growth in available apartments. The real estate market thus changed from a landlord’s to a tenant’s market.
During the Coronavirus crisis, the Svoboda & Williams real estate agency quickly adapted to the new demands of the market and came up with several innovations, such as real-time video viewings, Flexi Rentals services, or Flexi Office Management. Even with the Coronavirus pandemic in full swing, Svoboda & Williams was actually exclusively retained to sell new apartments in the Koliba and Schön residential projects. “The crisis has not stopped clients who need to discuss housing issues from contacting us. On the other hand, clients who have acquired real estate as an investment have chosen to bide their time and wait until the crisis starts having an impact on property prices. At this point in time, however, developers working in the Bratislava real estate market aren’t thinking about lowering prices,” adds David Martan, head of the Slovak branch of Svoboda & Williams.