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The Bulgarian Real Estate Market in 2Q 2011
In contrast to 2010, when property prices dropped by about 10%, in 2011 we are witnessing an average decrease of 5% in the prices of different property types. The good news in the last few months is the increase in the number of concluded deals.
In the first half of 2011 the most dynamic markets were those in the capital Sofia and along the Southern Black Sea coast. The market in Sofia is driven solely by Bulgarian buyers and the seaside market – almost entirely by Russian buyers. According to BULGARIAN PROPERTIES’ data sales in these two areas make up 40% of the total number of sales in the country, which makes them the trend-setters on the residential market and in the holiday home segment.
Highlights of the last quarter:
• An increase in the number of concluded deals in Sofia, a 5% drop in the prices of apartments sold in the capital year-on-year and a 2.5% increase in prices compared to the previous quarter
• A more dynamic holiday home market focused mainly in and around the resort of Sunny Beach and deals with apartments priced between 450 and 850 EUR/sq.m. mainly with Russian buyers
• Almost no interest in the ski resorts and a continuing price drop of Bansko properties
• A decrease in the prices of rural properties of 6% compared to the previous quarter
The dynamic sales in the capital Sofia from the first quarter of 2011 continued in the second quarter. The latest data shows that in the last couple of months there is a trend for buying cheaper apartments in Sofia – between 30,000 and 45,000 Euros and the market of luxury properties slowed down with the beginning of the summer season.
According to BULGARIAN PROPERTIES’ data in 2011 there is a considerable increase in sales in Sofia compared to 2010, on the background of about a 10% increase in the number of deals around the country for the first half of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.
The average price of the deals concluded in Sofia in 2Q 2011 is 850 Euro as in the 1Q 2011 it was 830 Euro (a small increase of 2.5%), while compared to the same quarter of 2010 there is a decrease of about 5% (from 870 EUR/sq.m.). In the last year property prices in Sofia are between 830-870 EUR/sq.m. (except for the last quarter of 2010 when they were 930 EUR/sq.m. due to the more deals in the higher price segment) so in general the market hasn’t changed much in the last year.
Based on the asking prices on the BULGARIAN PROPERTIES site the average price per sq.m. in Sofia has decreased in the second quarter of 2011 by 5% compared to the first quarter and has reached a value similar to that from the end of 2005/beginning of 2006 – 945 EUR/sq.m. It can be seen that average asking prices in Sofia are still higher than the prices at which deals are concluded and deals are concluded after a discount in the price. However, the gap between the asking price and the price at which deals are concluded is getting smaller and smaller.
2. Holiday Homes
The more dynamic market in the beach holiday home segment, especially in the area of the resort of Sunny Beach, which we have been witnessing since the summer of 2010 has considerable positive effect on the real estate market in Bulgaria.
2.1 Beach Resorts
Most deals are concluded along the southern Black Sea coast the main reasons for that being the decrease in property prices and the big supply. Data shows that it is properties priced under or close to their cost price are those that sell. With resales it is often the case that sellers agree to part with their property at a price up to 60% lower than the one they paid in the property boom years (2006-2008).
The number of deals increased with the beginning of the summer season and we expect the interest in the Bulgarian Black Sea coast to remain stable in the next few months, especially during the high season. The number of concluded deals has increased by about 50% compared to the same period in 2010 and the average price of deals with apartments is 31,720 Euro in 2Q 2011. Sales are made mainly in the area of the resort of Sunny Beach.
Sold apartments are priced between 450 and 850 EUR/sq.m. The cheapest apartments sold are priced at about 450 EUR/sq.m and in most cases they are unfurnished apartments in finished developments set far from the beach. Apartments closer to the beach (300-500 m) are sold for between 480 and 650 EUR/sq.m. – they are fully furnished and in functioning developments. Apartments set on first line from the sea are sold at about 850 EUR/sq.m.
According to BULGARIAN PROEPRTIES’ data more than half of the deals are with apartments in the lowest price segment and over 95% of the sales in the area of Sunny Beach are concluded with Russian-speaking clients. This shows that the focus of interest of the Russian buyers has shifted from the area they traditionally like best – the region of Varna, to the south mostly due to the lack of flexibility of the sellers in the region of Varna. The reasons for this lack of flexibility are various but the most important one is the lack of such overdevelopment in this area compared to the area of Sunny Beach.
Interest in the resorts along the northern Black Sea coast is lower as deals with holiday apartments are concluded at prices up to 30,000 Euro. In the last few months there are more sales of rural houses close to Varna.
2.2. Ski Resorts
The summer season means a standstill on the property market in the Bulgarian ski resorts but that said it should also be mentioned that in 2011 the winter season was also not very dynamic in terms of property deals. The number of concluded deals in Bansko and the area remains low and the number of sales is similar to that in the previous quarter and last year. The average price of apartments sold in the last three months in Bansko is 27,000 Euro as the average price per sq.m. is 460 Euro. These are fully furnished apartments in functioning developments. Just to compare, during the previous quarter deals in Bansko were concluded at about 585 EUR/sq.m., which makes a drop in prices of 20% based on actual concluded deals.
Although prices are extremely low there is almost no interest and is focuses on really undervalued properties which are sold at unrealistically low prices and whose owners are ready to sell at a big loss of up to 60% of the price paid before the crisis.
Sales in the resort of Borovets are concluded at 950 EUR/sq.m., the average purchase price being 37,000 Euro. These are the lowest asking prices in the resort. In the last few months there is almost no interest in holiday properties in the resort of Pamporovo.
3. Buyers as per nationality
The buyers driving the market are mainly Bulgarians and Russians. The nationalities of the potential buyers are not so diverse now and at present it is Russians and Bulgarians who are the most active on the property market. Russian buyers mostly look for beach apartments. They want to have a holiday home with all the necessary amenities, close to shops, restaurants, etc. That is also the reason they prefer furnished apartments in functioning holiday developments. They are not very active in the Bulgarian ski resorts, but find the spa resorts more attractive although there isn’t big supply in the established spa resorts in Bulgaria and what is offered on the market are more expensive properties, while at present Russian buyers look for cheaper offers. Russian buyers look for rural properties that are close to amenities, easy to access and fit to live in. The price range in which Russian buyers conclude deals is between 10,000 and 50,000 Euro depending on the property type. Most deals are for beach apartments at prices between 20,000 and 40,000 Euro.
More on http://www.bulgarianproperties.com/
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