House Hunting in Croatia: A Modern Mountain Villa for $1.2 Million

This three-bedroom vacation home sits in the heart of Croatia’s mountainous Gorski Kotar region, a northwestern pocket of the country — known as the “green lungs” of Croatia — that stretches down to the Adriatic Sea.

Completed in 2019, the three-story house sits on a sloped quarter-acre lot and features the traditional wood construction often found in Gorski Kotar, which is known for its woodworking. The primary materials are locally sourced Siberian larch and iron, in keeping with the owner’s wish that the 2,368-square-foot house be constructed with sustainable materials by local laborers. Even the furniture and shelving were made by local craftsmen from solid wood. The exterior cladding is meant to shield the home from harsh Croatian winters.

“My guiding idea was longevity and resistance to the extreme weather conditions, because it’s Gorski Kotar after all,” said the owner, who asked not to be named for privacy reasons. “But I wanted it to be as natural as possible, with as few chemicals as possible, so that it blends into the pristine nature of the area.”

Designed with a minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic, the house features moss-covered cladding and floor-to-ceiling reflective glass windows that open the main living areas to views of the mountains. “It’s truly a Croatian product,” said Mirjana Micetic, a broker with Croatia Sotheby’s International Realty who has the listing.

Entering through the lower-level two-car garage, the basement has an entertainment lounge, sauna, bathroom and a wine cellar designed in the style of a Croatian tavern, Ms. Micetic said.

A pathway ascends from the driveway past a landscaped garden to the main entrance. On the ground floor, an iron fireplace separates the kitchen from the living room, which has wall-to-wall windows and a door that opens to the platform deck, heated pool and spa. The kitchen, also accessible through glass doors on the side of the house, has a table that seats 10.

The second floor, which cantilevers slightly over the deck, has three bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, the largest of which looks out to the forest through a wall of windows. A fire pit, barbecue, open dining area and garden are in the backyard.

The property is in the village of Ravna Gora, which sits between the larger towns of Delnice and Vrbovsko. Risnjak National Park is about 30 minutes away; Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular hiking destination, is within an hour and half. Rijeka, a port city about 45 minutes west, is a melting pot of European influences with a growing tourism scene and an international airport. Zagreb, the Croatian capital, is about an hour northeast.

Croatia was one of a few European countries to react quickly to the coronavirus, ordering a full quarantine in mid-March that successfully tamped down the spread of the virus. The lockdown was lifted in May, and in June a flood of tourists and buyers poured into the country,

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House Hunting in Chile: A Bright, Modern Villa in the Andes for $1.3 Million

(As of Sept. 29, Chile had reported 461,300 cases of Covid-19 — a much higher rate per capita than neighboring Bolivia and Argentina, and higher even than Brazil’s — and 12,725 deaths, according to The New York Times’s coronavirus map.)

Santiago’s high-end market has been stable for decades, said Luis Novoa, the CEO of Chile Sotheby’s International Realty. He estimated the average asking price among properties with his agency is about $800,000, or $330 a square foot.

The social unrest that erupted last fall initially led to an increase in supply of high-end properties, as affluent homeowners decided to sell vacation homes, but that trend has slowed, Mr. Novoa said. Now buyers are awaiting the results of a coming national referendum in October. Investors, though, have started to jump on properties with price cuts, and some are buying sight unseen. These conditions are also emboldening high-end buyers to offer well below asking price.

Across Chile, luxury prices range between $750,000 for a family villa in Santiago to $20 million for select properties in Patagonia, said Martin Rivera Saez, the director of Alto Andes, a luxury agency based in Santiago. But there has been a shift in what is deemed to be luxury, he added. In the past, buyers wanted “large mansions with luxurious finishes, located in areas with privileged views.” A few years ago, the “concept began to change,” and buyers began to seek “less ostentatious” apartments that are easier to maintain.

Because land for new developments is scarce, “we have seen a vertical densification,” with large single-family properties being replaced by high-end condominiums with seven to 10 dwellings, Mr. Novoa said. Meanwhile, areas “with large spaces and better quality of life” are increasingly in demand with the upper middle class.

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