Analysis of the Bulgarian Real Estate Market – Q1 2012
Polina Stoykova, Chief Operations Manager of Bulgarian Properties gives us an insight into the property market in Bulgaria so far this year
In the first quarter of 2012 the number of sales remained similar to the same period in 2011, which is positive news on the background of an uncertain economic recovery. At present the real estate market in Bulgaria is calm, prices have reached a balance and have remained more or less the same in the last six months while property supply is high-quality and diverse. The market at the moment provides very good conditions for striking a bargain deal. More and more property sellers and buyers are managing to overcome the crisis mindset that had overtaken the market in the last few years and they are adapting to the new reality.
The number of deals in the capital Sofia in 1Q 2012 remained similar to that in 2011. According to BULGARIAN PROPERTIES’ data the average listing price is 870 EUR/sq.m. and the price of the apartments sold in 1Q is 735 EUR/sq.m. Prices are similar to those in 4Q 2011 when the average price of sold apartments was 730 EUR/sq.m. Year-on-year the drop in the average price is 11.5% (830 EUR/sq.m. in 1Q 2011).
Generally speaking, there has been little change in the prices of apartments in Sofia since September 2011. However, there are some monthly fluctuations visible in BULGARIAN PROPERTIES’ index of the average monthly listing prices – the fluctuations are within +/–1% on a monthly basis.
BULGARIAN PROPERTIES’ index of listing prices of apartments in Sofia for March is 58.56 points with a base of 100 in November 2008, i.e. the accumulated price drop is about 42% and this level has been retained in the last six months. This shows price stabilization which is visible both in the listing prices and in the prices of actual concluded deals.
In January and February the most preferred apartments were mainly in the lower price segment while in March there was also interest in more expensive apartments in prestigious quarters in the capital.
The markets in the two biggest resorts in Bulgaria – Sunny Beach and Bansko, are still similar in terms of supply and prices. However, Bansko is still not as interesting for Russian buyers, who are the main driver on the holiday home market in Bulgaria.
BULGARIAN PROPERTIES’ index of listing prices of apartments in Sunny Beach and Bansko in March is respectively 50.28 (with base of 100 in 12.2008) and 47.24 points (with base of 100 in 11.2008) as these levels have remained the same since mid 2011 with slight monthly fluctuations.
Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo
2011 was not a very successful year for holiday homes in the ski resorts in Bulgaria. Prices of properties there dropped considerably and in the beginning of 2012 we are witnessing a more dynamic market.
According to BULGARIAN PROPERTIES’ data the average listing price of apartments in Bansko in 1Q 2012 was 577 EUR/sq.m. while deals were concluded at an average price of 465 EUR/sq.m.
There is also more interest in property in Borovets where listing prices dropped by 18% in 2011 and at present apartment prices vary between 750 and 850 EUR/sq.m., while deals are concluded at about 650 EUR/sq.m.
The average listing price in 1Q 2012 in the third biggest ski resort in Bulgaria – Pamporovo – was 750 EUR/sq.m. as deals were concluded at about 550 EUR/sq.m.
This year, just like in the beginning of 2011, the beach property market is more dynamic and more deals are concluded there than in the ski resorts. This is due to the strong interest of Russian buyers in the beach resorts in Bulgaria.
According to the data of BULGARIAN PROPERTIES the average listing price of apartments in Sunny Beach in the 1Q 2012 was 663 EUR/sq.m. compared to 840 EUR/sq.m. for the same period in 2011, which is much closer to the average prices of the deals concluded there. In the 1Q 2012 deals there were concluded at 440 EUR/sq.m., which is similar to the prices in 4Q 2011 (average price of 412 EUR/sq.m.).
The average price of the rural houses sold in the first quarter of 2012 is 19,870 Euro, while for the same period last year it was 17,200 Euro. In the last three months we are witnessing fewer deals with rural houses compared to the beginning of 2011 which is mainly due to the very cold winter.
Deals are mainly concluded at prices between 10,000 and 20,000 Euro, but there is also interest in more expensive houses that are ready to live in, set close to the resorts or the bigger cities. There is most interest in rural properties in the seaside areas – the regions of Bourgas, Varna, Dobrich and in the villages in Central Bulgaria – around the towns of Veliko Tarnovo, Stara Zagora and Plovdiv. It is Russians who are the most active buyers, but there are also many Bulgarians who want to by a rural house and at present there are great bargain offers, mostly resales from foreign owners.
At the moment prices of rural homes are at their 2006 levels and the supply is more high-quality compared to previous years when the market in this segment was just starting to develop.
Average prices of rural properties sold in 1Q, as per region:
Buyers as per nationality
The main property buyers continue to be Russians and Bulgarians, as Bulgarians buy mainly property in Sofia and in the other big cities and Russians – in the beach resorts. There is also a trend of Bulgarians buying holiday homes and rural properties due to the bargain prices and good offers that come on the market.
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