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.