Good news for buyers! Property transfer tax is reduced to 3% as of January 1st 2019. This relates to all buyers, natural persons or buyers who buy through company.
Exempt from paying property transfer tax are buyers who buy from company a new built apartment which was not yet used. In this case seller who is company is obliged to pay VAT, therefore to avoid double taxation, buyer is not paying property transfer tax.
Foreign buyers who buy property in Croatia and who are natural physical persons with citizenship of the country that is member of the European Union, can buy real estate in Croatia which is only inside building zone. This could be land inside building zone or ruin, house, villa or project in development. If foreign buyer, with EU country citizenship, want to buy house which is inside agricultural zone, this buyer is not allowed to buy as natural person, but can register Croatian company, and company buys house on the agricultural land.
Foreign buyers who are non EU citizens, there are two ways to buy property in Croatia, but there is same condition as for EU citizenship buyers, obligation to buy only inside building zones. Foreign buyer who is non EU citizen and wish to buy as natural person, firstly depend on the reciprocity rule between Croatia and buyer’s country of residence. If reciprocity rule exist (I can check in Croatian Foreign Affairs Ministry website) then buyer can buy as natural person but after finished purchase, must apply to the Ministry of Justice to get their approval for the purchase. After approval granted, buyer will be registered as new owner in the title deed of the purchased property. Ministry of Justice takes one or two months usually to issue the approval. Application to the Ministry of Justice can prepare your solicitor.
Foregin buyers non EU citizen who do not want to get into this process of waiting for approval of Ministry of Justice, can skip this and register Croatian company in few days (or one week time) and buyer’s company becomes owner of the property instantly, no need for applying to Ministry or any other body. There are some specific requirements regarding foreigner non EU citizen registering Croatian company, which your lawyer/solicitor will present to you. Those specific rules depend on the contracts signed between your country and Croatia. These info you get from your solicitor. I can recommend reliable and experienced solicitor who is dealing with these situations frequently.