NEWSLETTER

19.11.2014 Property sales in Sofia in H2 of 2014: The Return of the Buyers

Polina Stoykova MRICS, Managing Director and Head of Property Research

'Our optimistic expectations for this year have been justified, especially in the second half of the year, when we saw a significant activity on the property market in Sofia. The sales of residential properties in the capital grew by 15% compared to last year and now we can confidently say that the second half of 2014 will become the most successful period for the residential real estate market in Bulgaria since the beginning of the crisis.' This is how Polina Stoykova, Managing Director of BULGARIAN PROPERTIES, summarized the second half of the year for the real estate market in Sofia, Bulgaria.

'On one hand this is due to the stabilization of the market and the completion of the downward price trend and, on the other hand, this is due to the return of the confidence in the property market. More and more buyers are thinking of buying property because property is a safe real asset', she added.

Many people, who have been postponing the property purchase, have returned to the market and decided to buy a property. Others are driven by the desire to make a reasonable investment and generate rental income due to the high demand of rental apartments in Sofia. The return of the buyers was also driven by the improved mortgage loans' conditions.

As a result of the positive trends, BULGARIAN PROPERTIES and LUXIMOTI opened a new office in Sofia for the Southern districts of the capial. The office is located in an area with a very well-developed infrastructure, in the very heart of Southern Sofia. It is situated meters away from the head office KPMG and the junction of Bulgaria Blvd. and Gotse Delchev Blvd.

Address of the office:
21, Tvardishki Prohod Str.
Tel: +359 2 962 49 62
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I. AVERAGE PRICES IN SOFIA

The average price of apartments sold in Sofia in the third quarter of 2014 is 750 Euro/sq.m, according to BULGARIAN PROPERTIES. It remains almost unchanged compared to the same period of 2013, when the average selling price calculated by BULGARIAN PROPERTIES was 740 Euro/sq.m.

The average total purchase price of apartments in Sofia increased to 83,000 Euros in Q3 compared to 73,500 Euros and 79 300 Euros in Q1 and Q2 respectively. The average price in 2013, calculated by BULGARIAN PROPERTIES, was 61,500 Euros (63,500 Euros for 2012), which shows an increase of about 30 % of the budgets for purchase in Sofia in 2014 on an annual basis.

Apartments at prices up to 50,000 Euros are still in high demand, but we also saw an activation of buyers and more deals in the middle price range - between 50 000 Euro and 100 000 Euro, where the largest group of buyers are young families looking for new apartments with 2 bedrooms and more spacious rooms.

The high-end market is also extremely active - 10% of all concluded sales of residential properties in Sofia in H2 are priced over 120,000 Euros. This is a very good indicator as according to observations of our company specializing in the sales of luxury properties LUXIMOTI - in previous years the share of purchased luxury properties was approximately 5% of the total sales in the capital.

For the first time since the beginning of the crisis we are witnessing a pronounced activity in all price segments, which indicates that buyers have returned permanently and the residential market in Sofia is much more liquid and stable.

II. DEMAND AND PREFERRED AREAS

The buyers are interested mainly in purchase of new-build apartments in the southern districts of Sofia - Lozenets, Gotse Delchev, Borovo, Buxton, Manastirski Livadi. They often prefer homes that are furnished and ready to move in. The deals are concluded at prices between 650 and 800 Euro/sq.m.

An interesting trend in recent months is that interest to the city center has returned. Apartments in the central parts which are repaired and in many cases even furnished are sold at prices between 1,000 and 1,200 Euro/sq.m. The market in the districts of Lozenets and Ivan Vazov resemble the characteristics of the center and therefore the price levels are similar.

The districts of Mladost, Vitosha and Studentski grad traditionally attracted high interest in the middle class properties, while buyers with lower budgets are interested in the districts of Druzhba, Sukhata Reka and Hadzhi Dimitar, which have the opportunity to change their appearance in the next years and significantly increase their attractiveness, especially among first-time buyers because of the affordable prices.

III. SUPPLY

In the most preferred central and southern parts of Sofia the property supply is quite limited. On the resale market there are homes that are sold often at high asking prices or their conditions do not meet the requirements of the buyers. Together with that, the supply of new properties has decreased significantly in recent years. The data from the National Statistics Institute (NSI) about new building permits show a continuous decline since the beginning of the crisis. Just from last year there is a partial recovery and an increase in construction activity in Sofia, but this is a slow process and the market is now entering a phase in which there is a shortage of quality housing.

In the districts like Lozenets, Ivan Vazov, Strelbishte, Beli Brezi, Borovo, Gotse Delchev, which are preferred by buyers, there are only a few new buildings started in the last two years. Most often these are small buildings with several apartments, where small and affordable housing are sold off-plan more often and the larger sizes apartments difficultly meet solvent demand. In the southern districts at the time the largest supply of new construction is in Manastirski Livadi, which recently became more attractive to buyers because of improving infrastructure and affordable prices.

In Iztok, Izgrev and Dianabad there are almost no new construction buildings that have started in the last two years, and the prices of properties are much higher than what buyers are willing to pay.

IV. MORTGAGE LOANS

Our studies show that bank lending has the most significant direct impact on housing prices and therefore we monitor it closely as a crucial factor for the property market in Bulgaria.

The data from the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) show that the volume of new loans in Q3 increased by 21% compared to the previous quarter and about 15% on an annual base, which is another very positive sign that the market is going out of the crisis.

The loans in Bulgarian Lev (BGN) continue to be more profitable and more desirable, accounting for 76% of new loans, according to the BNB. The average interest rates on new mortgage loans in the third quarter are 6.55% in BGN and 6.96% in Euro.

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Copyright: 2014 Bulgarian Properties Ltd. All rights reserved. For further information or advice please contact us on tel.: +359 2 9 11 50 or e-mail: info@bulgarianproperties.com. The use of this article by third parties is allowed only with proper quotations of the source www.BulgarianProperties.com and the Author of the article. The data in this material has been collected by the Author and Bulgarian Properties Ltd. and is presented for information purposes only. We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the data. However, Bulgarian Properties Ltd. and the Author cannot be held responsible for loss or damage as a result of decisions made based on the information presented in this article.
Bulgarian Properties Ltd. 2014.


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