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Notarial authentication of real estate transactions down 17 pct in Estonia in 2023

The number of notarial acts performed by notaries in Estonia fell by more than a tenth on year in 2023 and the number of real estate transactions authenticated by notaries fell by 17 percent, figures published by the Chamber of Notaries show.

While in 2022, notaries across Estonia authenticated 80,153 real estate transactions, 66,551 transactions were authenticated in 2023.

The number of real estate transactions fell more than the average in Voru County, by 33 percent, Hiiu and Jogeva County, 29 percent, Polva, Saare and Tartu Counties, 19 percent, and Harju and Jarva Counties, 18 percent.

In West-Viru County, the number of transactions for immovable property decreased by as much as in Estonia on average — by 17 percent. The reductions were smaller than average in Laane and Parnu Counties, 16 percent, Viljandi County, 11 percent, Rapla County, 6 percent, and Valga County, 2 percent.

East-Viru was the only county to see an increase, with a rise of 3 percent. In January 2024, notaries authenticated 4,369 transactions for immovables across Estonia, almost 6 percent less than in January of last year, when notaries authenticated 4,642 transactions.

“The 17 percent decrease in the number of real estate transactions last year clearly shows the uncertainty of people regarding the long-lasting general increase in prices and the simultaneous decline in the economy,” said Merle Saar-Johanson, chair of the Chamber of Notaries.

“Despite the resumption of the rise in real wages recently, people continue to be cautious when buying real estate, as reflected in the continued decline in the number of real estate transactions in January,” she noted.

The overall number of notarial acts decreased by 11 percent last year. Where in 2022, notaries performed 315,004 notarial acts, last year acts numbered 279,295.

The decline in the number of notarial acts was particularly pronounced in Voru County, at 20 percent, in Jogeva and Polva Counties, at 16 percent, in Tartu County at 15 percent, in Laane County at 14 percent, in Hiiu and Viljandi Counties at 13 percent, and in Harju County at 12 percent.

In Saaremaa, the number of notarial acts fell by 11 percent, or by as much as in Estonia one average. The decrease was smaller in Jarva County at 10  percent, West-Viru County at 9  percent, Parnu and Rapla County at 5 percent, East-Viru County at 2  percent, and Valga County at 1 percent.

Although the number of notarial acts was down by more than a tenth last year, the number of remote authentications, meaning authentications of a transaction via video link, grew. While in 2022 there were 46,285 remote notarial acts, in 2023 their number was 46,454, higher by 169 than in the previous year.

“The number of remote authentications remaining essentially the same in a situation where the numbers of both notarial acts and authentications of real estate transactions are in a clear decline shows that e-solutions are increasingly important in the work of notaries,” Saar-Johanson said.

Compared with 2022, notaries in 2023 authenticated somewhat higher numbers of wills, marital property division contracts and legal entity minutes. There was a significant, 30 percent decrease in the certification of marriages, while the number of divorce certifications increased by 19 percent. There was also an increase in the submission of data on beneficial owners to the Commercial Register through a notary and the provision of legal advice as a service.

All notaries in Estonia are members of the Estonian Chamber of Notaries. Currently, there are a total of 86 notaries working in Estonia and the notary service is available in all counties.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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