2010 – stabilization of the prices and an increase in the number of realized deals.
2011 – continuing stabilization of prices, more convincing increase in the number of deals and a small increase in property prices in the last quarter of the year.
This is how the main trends for the past year and our expectations for this year can be described.
According to BULGARIAN PROPERTIES (http://www.bulgarianproperties.com/
2010 in numbers*:
• 8.3% decrease in average property prices in the country compared to 2009.
• 10% increase in the number of realized property sales around the country compared to 2009.
• 7.8% decrease of average prices per sq.m. of sold Sofia apartments, a 2% increase of the average asking prices and a 5% annual increase of the number of concluded deals in Sofia.
• Stable property prices in Bansko but lack of dynamics on the market.
• 27% decrease of the average prices of sold apartments in Sunny Beach and the neighboring resorts and an increased interest and number of deals.
• 18.8% decrease of the average prices of sold rural properties.
*The data is based in actual concluded deals of BULGARIAN PROPERTIES around the country
Highlights of the year:
• Higher dynamics on the city property market in Sofia and an increased dynamics in the other big cities, although on the background of the activity in Sofia the markets in the other regional cities are quite slow.
• An increased interest towards holiday apartments at low prices.
• An increase in the share of Russian property buyers among foreign buyers in Bulgaria by about 40% compared to 2009.
• Complete withdrawal of British buyers from the Bulgarian real estate market.
OVERVIEW OF 2010
This past year was a year in which the market was expected to finish its readjustment from a regime of boom that abruptly went into crisis to a pace and dynamics normal for the present conditions. We can say that this was exactly what happened. 2010 ended with stable property prices and a beginning increase in the number of deals which validated our expectations and forecasts.
Twice during the year - due to bad economic news and forecasts - the market showed instability and there was sudden decrease in the interest and in the number of deals. However, in both cases these shocks passed fast and in the next couple of months the market became more dynamic. This shows that the market is now stable and only if there is a strong shock to the Bulgarian economy will it result in an additional shrinking of the market.
The decrease in the average prices of the concluded property deals in 2010 is 8.3% which is considerably less compared to decrease of 36% in 2009. It is observed that the data of prices and the number of deals are starting to have positive values, which shows that the market is gradually becoming normal and is starting to recover.
In 2010 prices were the most important element for concluding a deal. Buyers continue to follow the market very closely and react fast when bargain offers come out. That is why our advice to sellers looking for a quick sale continues to be to put the lowest possible and most reasonable price.
PROPERTIES IN SOFIA
The property market in the capital Sofia was the most dynamic in the country in 2010. According to BULGARIAN PROPERTIES data the average concluded deals as per quarters in 2010 and 2009 are as follows:
• 1st quarter– 1040 EUR/sq.m. - 1050 EUR/sq.m. (2009) -0.9%
• 2nd quarter – 870 EUR/sq.m. - 1020 EUR/sq.m. (2009) -15%
• 3rd quarter – 840 EUR/sq.m. - 945 EUR/sq.m. (2009) –11%
• 4th quarter – 930 EUR/sq.m. - 980 EUR/sq.m. (2009) -5%
In the beginning of 2010 it was properties that are in the higher price class that were mostly bought. The lowest value of the average prices of sold Sofia apartments was reached in the 3rd quarter of 2010 after which there was an increase of 10%. Comparing these trends to the market in 2009 we can say that there is an annual cycle in which it is more expensive properties that are sold in the first couple of months of the year after which in the 2nd and 3rd quarters it is cheaper properties that are the focus of attention. Prices of purchased properties increase at the end of the year due to a renewed interest and solvent demand mainly of more expensive properties.
The average price of the properties sold in Sofia in 2010 is 76,000 Euro, which is about 2% more than the average price of the apartments sold in 2009 – 74,500 Euro. This is a minimal increase in the average price which shows that after the second quarter - when there were still price decreases within 10-15% on a quarterly basis - in the third and fourth quarters of 2010 the market became stable and annual data even show a slight growth.
Comparing the average price per sq.m. in 2010 (920 EUR/sq.m.) to that in 2009 (998 EUR/sq.m.) we see a decrease of about 7.8%. There is also a slight decrease of 5% on an annual basis in the average prices from the last quarters of 2009 and 2010.
This means that on the one hand we have a decrease of between 5 and 8% in prices per sq.m. and on the other we have a minimal increase in the prices based on general buying prices in 2010 and on the volume of deals. This can be interpreted as reaching the point of change of market trends from a decrease to stabilization and a gradual transition to price increase.
The most property deals were concluded in the 4th quarter of the year – about 20% more compared to the previous quarter. The news for 2010 for Sofia properties was the strong market even during the traditionally weak summer months.
In the second half of the year the deals in Sofia increased by 30% compared to the first half and by 16% compared to the second half of 2009. This, together with the price stabilization, shows the beginning of the market’s coming out of the crisis.
As the property market in Sofia is indicative of the general market trends we can say that in the second half of 2010 the trends turned positive and the perspectives before the Bulgarian real estate market have started to improve.
About 30% of the deals in Sofia are in gated developments as these are mainly apartments in the higher price class. It can be concluded that there is now once again higher interest in apartments in the central parts of the capital. This interest was considerably reduced in 2009.
THE OTHER BIG CITIES
From the middle of 2010 we are witnessing a more dynamic real estate market in the other big cities around the country as well. However, this higher activity is far from the dynamics and maturity of the market in Sofia apartments. Still, we can say that the interest in apartments in Varna, Bourgas, Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo, etc. has increased slightly and deals with apartments were concluded at between 20,000 and 40,000 Euro. Here are the average prices of the sold apartments in some of the big cities in Bulgaria:
• Varna – 77,200 Euro
• Bourgas – 41,800 Euro
• Plovdiv – 43,400 Euro
• Veliko Tarnovo – 36,100 Euro
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