News Article coronavirus interview Murapol Poland residential
by Michał Poręcki | Interview

Nikodem Iskra, CEO of Murapol, one of the largest residential developers in Poland, believes that in 2021 the residential market will shake off the effects of the pandemic. He foresees further increases of apartment prices – in his opinion record-low interest rates are not only stimulating the mortgage market, but are also a strong impulse for investment activity

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic turmoil, the year 2020 has been very difficult for many companies. How was it for Murapol?

Although it was a year of uncertainty both for the economy and our everyday life, I believe residential developers as a whole found themselves pretty well in these extraordinary circumstances, especially when compared to other industries. Murapol Capital Group has swiftly adjusted its activities to the „new reality” – we managed to keep strong and stable sales and handing the premises over to our customers. We maintain a „healthy” sales culture, reflecting out geographical diversification – one of the unique trademarks of Murapol`s business model.

Most importantly our offer, tailored for the most absorptive market segments – popular and affordable premium – performed very well. It is designed to suit the needs of the two largest groups of buyers: people looking for apartments for themselves and these buying them as an investment. This second group consists of people, who not only buy the apartments to rent them but also for resale in the future or are just afraid of the loss of the money value in time and are investing it in the property market.

Speaking more of the last year, I have to stress that we did a good job on guarding productions costs and margins. Our advantage is that we accomplish a lot of things in-house. In our capital group, we have a general contractor, a team of architects and qualified sales force. Also, what may be considered as going against the grain, was the removal of the 10/90 and 20/80 payment schedules from Murapol`s offer.

You are present in seventeen Polish cities. Which of them do you consider most promising currently?

Our 17 position-long list of locations is not closed yet.  Last year we started residential developments in two new places – Bydgoszcz and Sosnowiec, but it is not our last word. We want to strengthen our positions both in our current locations and in new ones, which we find promising for development activity, like Szczecin, Rzeszów or Lublin.

Nikodem Iskra

Nikodem Iskra


Since 2018 Chief Executive Officer of Murapol S.A., one of the largest Polish residential developers. He has been involved in the development of Murapol capital group since, 2007, first as a Head of Legal Department, later as a Senior Executive. He has been working for the leading Silesian law firms. Graduate of the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Silesian University in Katowice. Titled legal counsel in 2009. As a CEO of Murapol S.A. he is managing the legal aspects of the property acquiring procedures, managing the investment processes and is a supervisor of the development of Murapol capital group. More »

What are your forecasts for investment demand? With record-low interest rates and general uncertainty, residential property seems to be an easy solution for capital protection…

And indeed it is. At the beginning of last year, Rada Polityki Pieniężnej (Monetary Policy Council) has set the interest rates at record-low levels and it is worth to note that some of its members have already mentioned further cuts in the coming months. Such a situation is not only stimulating the mortgage market but is also a strong impulse for investment activity. Account interest rates vary between 0 and 0,5%, so it is not surprising that Poles are looking for protection for their savings, and the property market in these strange times is one of the safest havens for it.

And how do you foresee the possible scenarios for the rental market? Predictions for it are somewhat cloudy…

During the last few months, we have seen a lot of sharpening and relieving of the restrictions which could make the rental market somewhat rickety. But in these first weeks of the new year, we observe an improvement of socials moods thanks to the start of the vaccination campaign, which will allow us to return to a normal life. Therefore I believe that each month more and more closed services, offices and schools will be opened and the demand will return to the previous levels. Life abhors a vacuum, after all.  

A good sign for the rental market is the growing activity of global investors looking for opportunities in the Private Rental Sector. Its share of the Polish residential market is still marginal in comparison to the United Kingdom, Western Europe or Scandinavian countries. The attention of western investment funds shows that our residential market may be considered finally as a mature one.

Some developers say that because of EU standards for energy effectiveness in residential construction coming into force this year, apartment prices may rise by 20%. Is this scenario possible in your opinion?

New, more rigorous standards regarding thermal insulation will surely have an impact on the construction costs, but its effect for the final prices of the apartments should not be significant. Please remember that we are in a transition period, and the Ministry of Labour and Technology has already announced that this year we will see a revision of the law for the energy efficiency of buildings. Also, the European Commission plans to spend large funds to promote ecological solutions in residential construction, therefore I believe that achievement of the climate goals will not cause a significant price surge for the buyers.   

What are your forecasts for residential property prices in the next 12 months?

During 2021 we shall observe a gradual withdrawal of the pandemic-related risks and uncertainties. Factors like still unfulfilled residential needs of the Polish society and already mentioned high demand for the investment in the residential market make us believe, that situation in the industry will remain good.

I don’t see any threats for the dynamics of apartment production, comparing it to last year. While we have seen the decrease in the number of new constructions started during the lockdowns, the number of applications for construction permits filed in the last quarter of 2020 looks very promising.

Regarding the prices of the apartments, aside from the unabated demand, they will be affected by the number of general economic factors, like inflation, wage dynamics, unemployment or tax policy. A trend of small increases, which has been seen during the pandemic-marked last year should have its continuation in the following months. We shouldn’t forget that year 2020 was also a period of the information noise, during which the pressure for the negotiations of the apartment prices and additional bonuses was observed.