Pavel Podruh, founder of the Czech start-up Self-Sufficient Houses, has become the first Czech ever to receive the prestigious Outstanding Young Person Award presented by the Japanese branch of the organisation Junior Chamber International. The Czech innovator was awarded for promoting the idea of ecologically friendly housing and for innovations in the field. I asked him to present his winning project in more detail:
Czechs living in rented homes spend more than homeowners, according to a study by the Partners consulting agency, presented on Wednesday. On average, Czechs renting a home pay 1800 crowns a month more than those who own their home. At the same time, flats are rented mostly by people with lower income.
The combination of a cut in state subsidies at home and an increased demand for solar power in Hungary is leading many Czech companies to set up to invest in the country. However, the Czech government’s plans to reduce and eventually completely remove carbon dependency has led some to promote the benefits of increasing support for photovoltaics in the country.
The Czech Republic is under pressure from the EU to have more renewable and efficient resources in its energy mix. While companies are open to photovoltaic subsidies, the country cannot keep up with demand and is reluctant to write further calls, the news server iDnes.cz writes. What’s more, the program is complex; many smaller players would rather use photovoltaics without funding.
High energy expenditures are forcing nearly a quarter of Czechs to cut back on other types of spending, a recent survey conducted by the polling agency STEM revealed. However, other data shows that 68 percent of the population likes to rank up their heating to temperatures by up to 25 degrees, resulting in unnecessary costs.
The average price of new homes sold in Prague reached 101,091 crowns per
square metre by the end of 2018, an increase of 18.6 percent year on year,
a group of developers said on Wednesday.
The number of residential dwellings sold dropped by 9 percent to 5,000 last year, the lowest since 2012, according to data compiled by the developers Trigema, Skanska Reality and Central Group.
The most expensive flats are traditionally in Prague 1 (currently at 198,000 crowns per sqm on average) and in Prague 2 (164,000 crowns per sqm). The most affordable apartments are in Prague 4 and Prague 10, where the average price is 89,000 crowns per sqm.
In terms of price per square metre, smaller flats are more expensive than larger ones, regardless of location, the developers said.
The Prague City Council plans to raise rents on flats now leased out by the
municipality or city administration at below market rates, councillor Adam
Zábranský (Pirates) told the ČTK news agency in an interview.
Zábranský said the council plans to review the contracts of up to 10,000 flats, many of which are rented out at one-third the going rate “for no apparent reason”.
According to the developer Trigema, as cited by ČTK, tenants of city dwellings usually pay 60 to 120 crowns per square metre, so between 4,680 to 9360 crowns for a standard 78 sq m flat. The market rate would be above 20,000 crowns.
Labour offices in the Czech Republic have provided immediate, extraordinary
assistance to around 1160 socially deprived tenants since 2016, according
to the annual report issued by the government Agency for Social Inclusion,
which is set to be debated by the government on Wednesday.
The immediate support is designated for tenants living in lodging houses to pay first and last month's rents in their new housing. Around 560 applications have been turned down by the labour offices.
The government Agency for Social Inclusion was established in 2008 to assist local authorities to resolve housing problems and creating a liaison between people living in social exclusion and labour offices, schools and the police and currently works in 60 municipalities with over 230 socially excluded localities.
The average mortgage rate rose marginally to 2.5 per cent in July,
according to data compiled by the Fincentrum Hypoindex, whose figures are
based on the real values of freshly agreed contracts, including
refinancing. Last month the average rate stood at 2.49 per cent.
About 2,000 fewer mortgage contracts were signed in July while the volume of mortgages fell month-on-month by almost 4 billion crowns to 15.5 billion crowns, according to Fincentrum.
Analysts quoted by the state news agency said the dip was partly a seasonal phenomenon, but mainly potential buyers are hoping that real estate prices have peaked and waiting for the market bubble to burst. But a further cooling can be expected, with stricter central bank guidelines rules on mortgages due to come into effect from October 1.
At its last policy-setting meeting in early August, the Czech National Bank raised the key interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 per cent. It was the third hike in interest rates since the end of the bank’s forex interventions against the crown. Bank governor Jiří Rusnok has not ruled out further increases this year.