Bulgarian property prices have dropped by almost 50 pc since the beginning of the financial crisis, say realtors. Bulgarian houses and apartments are sold at low prices. This why most buyers who waited for the prices to come down, are buying now. Even in August, a month that seems to be slow for the property market, there are plenty of buyers. These are generally people who have waited for the prices to drop enough, so they could invest their savings in larger and cheaper housing.
For the Bulgarian capital and the larger Bulgarian cities and towns the average sale prices of Bulgaria homes have fallen by about 20 Euros per square meter since the beginning of this year. Most sought-after are one-bedroom apartments within the price range of 35,000 to 45,000 Euros, however buyers struggle to find good properties within this price range, especially when they are looking for newly-built properties.
Rental prices are not expected to go up, agents predict. Even though August and September are the most lively months on the rental market (especially for apartments in Bulgaria), the supply of rentals exceeds the demand. In Sofia, for example, properties close to the newly-built metro stations are more attractive than the old apartments in the centre.
Since 2008 the rental prices have declined by a third and are not expected to go up, experts predict. This is due to the fact that alongside the old apartments in the centre and other residential areas, newly-built apartments, bought during the recession namely because of their investment potential, are also offered on the market.
And in recent months, buyers and renters express their preference towards new buildings close to transport links, areas with low crime rate and local amenities, such as schools and kindergartens.
Recent festivals (the open-air jazz festival, the international folklore and the opera festival in the Tsarevets Castle) have attracted a significant number of tourists to the Veliko Tarnovo and the area. According to statistics of the local tourist information centre, some 60 thousand tourists have visited the Old Bulgarian Capital. The peak of the visits is expected in August, predicts the head of the tourist agency.
The number of tourist has increased compared to last year, due to the variety of cultural and historical events Veliko Turnovo is organising, as the town prepares its candidacy for the cultural centre of Europe for 2019.
The new inflow of tourists have also been beneficial to the revival of the ols spa town of Voneshta Voda, which now has several hotels, guests houses and spa centres open and offering wonderful spa treatments.
Over the past six years, the bed capacity have been consistently increasing and is currently about 5000. Recent events in Bourgas have not affected the Israeli visits to the old capital and all planned visits are running smoothly.
There is a notable continuous growth of 7 – 10 percent of pilgrimage tourism, which is becoming popular due to the number or ancient and Orthodox churches of cultural and historical significance in the area. Some of the most famous are the “40 Martyrs” Church in Veliko Tarnovo and the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary in Arbanassi.
These have definitely had positive effects on the local property business as well. There is a notable surge in Bulgaria real estate sellers and buyers and we expect the number to peak in the month of August.
Cafes, restaurants and food chains are the type of businesses that have been moving the Bulgarian commercial property market in the last six months. The expansion of grocery stores and restaurants is also directed to commercial streets and at shopping malls, says in a Bulgarian retail market report for the first half of the year.
Banks and mobile network providers are also active on the market, but their activity is not due to their expansion, but rather to the optimization of costs and relocation, the report said.
There have not been any surprises in the market for commercial properties in Bulgaria for the first half of the year. Due to high levels of unemployment and the free space in modern shopping centres, the market continues to be rental-oriented, experts indicate.
Although rental rates have stabilized in recent months, the high competition in the market is expressed in different bonuses for tenants, such as gratis periods when they don’t have to pay rent.
In the first half, the average rental price for retail space in Sofia have fallen by 12% to about 28 Euros per square meter and by 16% to 12-16 Euros per square meter in other Bulgarian cities.
The price drop is mainly caused by the fact that many traders were able to renegotiate the rents for the areas used, due to increasing competition in the market, says the report.
Currently, there are 21 modern shopping centers in Bulgaria and five retail parks with a total lettable area of 680k sqm. There are 9 malls under construction, and for Sofia only this lettable commercial space is expected to grow with another 180k sqm by the end of this year.
Next year in Sofia, the market will grow with additional 93k sqm of retail space in shopping malls. So for every 1 000 people in the capital there will be more than 300 sqm of modern retail space. The country average for retail space per 1 000 people of the population will be a little less than 100 sqm, if all construction projects are completed on time.
For commercial properties for sale in Bulgaria, mainly in the Veliko Tarnovo area, please feel free to have a look at our catalogue.