Czech banks tightened credit standards overall for corporate loans and loans for house purchase in Q3 2012, while leaving them unchanged for consumer loans, according to the Bank Lending Survey published by the Czech National Bank (ČNB) on Monday. The tightening of standards for both corporate and housing loans was due mainly to perceptions of risks relating to expected general economic activity and manifested itself during the approval of loans chiefly via a higher collateral requirement for corporate loans and a rise in margins, the national bank said. The demand for corporate loans and loans for house purchase declined. By contrast, demand for consumer loans increased, the central bank said. In Q4, banks expect credit standards to tighten for corporate loans and to ease for loans for house purchase. According to banks, demand for corporate loans should continue to fall. On the other hand, banks expect demand for loans to households to rise, the survey suggests.
A court in Ostrava has handed the owner of devastated local apartment buildings, Oldřich Roztočil, a 30,000 crown fine for failing to move out residents after eviction notices were issued by the authorities. About 100 residents, mostly Roma, have decided to remain in buildings that form a slum in Prednádraží Sreet in the hope of seeing repairs go ahead. The owner questioned Wednesday’s ruling, saying that he had appealed to the residents to leave but was left few options when they refused. Mr Roztočil may appeal the court decision.
Authorities in the city of Ostrava have ordered the demolition of one building in the Přívoz district ghetto, home to a community of Roma recently ordered to vacate the area. The announcement came on Friday morning with an order for the demolition of house “number 9” – one of ten in the area and described as in the worst condition – ordered to take place within 15 days for reasons that the property is in a dangerous state of disrepair. Last week, local authorities ordered Roma families in the area to evacuate the ghetto, again ostensibly for health and safety reasons, although many families have refused to do so.
Around 30 people, who were evacuated from the Prague Marina apartment complex on Saturday morning, were able to return to their homes. The building had to be evacuated again due to cracking walls after tenants in the luxurious new complex, located in the Holešovice neighbourhood in Prague 7, called the emergency services; the fire brigade then evacuated the complete building. The incident took place less than two weeks after some 30 people had to leave their apartments after one of the structural supports bent and the building threatened to collapse.
After years of growth, the real estate market in the Czech capital has seen a slow but steady decline, with decreasing prices and many more new listings having turned Prague property into a buyer’s market. One factor behind the change is waning interest from foreigners to invest into real estate in the Czech capital. However, some parts of Prague have become more attractive for Czechs and foreigners alike, while others remain popular primarily with foreign clients.
A leading Czech producer of lighting products, Preciosa Lighting, aims to expand its position in the United States. The firm with a centuries-old glass making tradition has now opened a permanent showroom in Dallas, Texas, a must for everyone who’s anyone in the industry, says Preciosa Lighting’s sales director Petra Macháčková. Radio Prague talked to Ms Macháčková about her company’s plans.
Pre-fabricated apartment blocs known in the Czech Republic as paneláky (panel buildings) were once the Soviet ideal and countless thousands were built in Czechoslovakia from the 1950s until 1989. Now, for the first time, one such bloc of homes will be demolished strictly for aesthetic reasons. The Southeast Bohemian town of Havlíčkův Brod has confirmed that a low-rise smack in the town centre – considered an eyesore for years – will soon be a thing of the past.
A legacy of the communists’ fascination with the pre-fabricated building method, paneláky or tower block buildings to this day can be found across the Czech Republic, often in prominent and elevated places, towering over cities and towns. After all, they were considered the height of architectural and technological progress during communism.
The deputy chairwoman of the Czech Constitutional Court, Eliška Wagnerová, harshly criticized Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek for his reaction to a recent verdict issued by the court regarding a change in law for building savings accounts. The court had ruled that a cut in contributions by the government was unlawful, since it retroactively affected agreements signed under different conditions. Mrs. Wagnerová said in an interview printed in the Saturday edition of the daily Lidové noviny that the finance minister was well aware of retroactivity being a problematic factor and had tried to circumvent the law. She compared his practises to those widely used in Nazi-era Germany. In a reaction to the ruling, Mr. Kalousek said on Thursday that he is planning to discontinue state support of buildings savings accounts entirely starting 2012.