NEWSLETTER

20.02.2007 THE BULGARIAN PROPERTY MARKET 2006/2007

Polina Stoykova, BulgarianProperties

The interest towards properties in Bulgaria has been higher and higher since 2002 when the property boom started. This trend continued in 2006 as well with highest interest towards apartments in the ski and beach resorts and in the capital Sofia.

The political stability and the economic growth of the country plus the expected price increases after its accession into the EU have been the main driving forces for this major interest for property investments in the country over the past few years. Of course, there are many other factors to attract property buyers - the huge variety of astonishing scenery, the climate, the unspoiled nature and ancient culture, and much more.

The decision for admission of Bulgaria into the EU in January 2007 was eagerly expected by lots of buyers who were not willing to risk and wanted to make a safe investment. So, when this decision was announced in September 2006, many of them rushed into buying properties, which made the market very dynamic during the last months of the year. Together with the traditional property buyers the British and the Irish, many people from various other nationalities have now become interested in property investments in Bulgaria. This has made the Bulgarian property market multinational and multicultural with buyers from all around the world.

THE AVERAGE PROPERTY PRICES

Figures from 2006/2007 show that the most expensive properties traded on the market are in the resort areas of Sunny Beach, Varna, Bansko, Pamporovo and Borovets as well as the capital Sofia.

The average prices of newly built one bedroom apartments in the beach resorts are as follows:
  • Sunny Beach 55,000 Euros (38,500 GBP; 72,600 USD)
  • Sveti Vlas 50,000 Euros (35,000 BGP; 66,000 USD)
  • Varna 65,000 Euros (45,500 GBP; 86,000 USD)
  • Golden Sands 70,000 Euros (49,000 GBP; 92,500 USD)
There has been an increasing interest towards smaller beach resorts, which are traditionally extremely popular among Bulgarians. Most of these resorts are situated on the Southern Black Sea coast and benefit from longer summer season and nicer weather. For example, a one-bedroom apartment situated 3-4 minutes from the beach in the quickly developing beach resort of Lozenets can be bought for only 42,000 Euros (29,400 GBP; 55,500 USD). This is about 30 % less than a similar apartment in the big beach resorts like Sunny Beach.

The major ski resorts Bansko, Pamporovo and Borovets offer one-bedroom apartments for about the same average prices:
  • Bansko 60,000 Euros (42,000 GBP; 79,300 USD)
  • Pamporovo 60,000 Euros (42,000 GBP; 79,300 USD)
  • Borovets 70,000 Euros (49,000 GBP; 92,500 USD)
One-bedroom apartments in Sofia are sold for the average price of 66,000 Euros (46,200 GBP; 87,300 USD).

The rest of the country offers a great variety of properties with different characteristics and suitable for different tastes. These properties are mainly traditional rural houses in need of renovation or plots of land. The average prices in the countryside are a lot lower than the prices in the capital and the resorts. The most expensive properties after the ones in the resorts are these of properties near resorts.

Here is a list with locations and average prices starting from the highest and going to the lowest prices on the market:

  • Rural properties near Borovets are with the highest prices - 40,000 Euros (28 000 GBP; 53 000 USD). These properties are situated in small villages about 10-30 km from the resort and the ski runs. They offer a combination of a traditional village atmosphere, ski tourism, hiking and quietness.

  • Houses and plots near Burgas but not on the sea are sold for about 30,000 Euros (21 000 GBP; 39 700 USD). These locations are very pleasant and have the needed amenities for a nice stay, although they are not on the sea. They are also close to the beach attractions and the airport in Burgas.

  • Properties situated in villages to the North of Sofia - 25,000 Euros (17 500 GBP; 33 000 USD). These villages have a great potential for commuting to the capital but are still with poor infrastructure.

  • The areas around Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Pleven and Vratsa in the Central Northern part of Bulgaria - offer properties for 20 000 Euros on average (14 000 GBP; 26 500 USD). The properties in Veliko Tarnovo and in villages close to it are more expensive about 40 000 Euros (28 000 GBP; 53 000 USD) due to the great popularity of the region and the historical heritage that attracts tourists.

  • The rural properties sold in the area of Vidin close to the Danube River and to where the new Danube Bridge will be cost about 18 000 Euros on average (12 500 GBP; 23 800 USD).

  • Properties for sale near Kardjali down in the South part of Bulgaria near the Greek border are cheaper on average for sale around 13,500 Euros (9 500 GBP; 17 900 USD) but mostly in need of major renovations and modernizations.

  • If one is looking to spend even less than this, the properties for sale in villages near the second biggest city in Bulgaria Plovdiv and near the most popular rural location for foreign buyers the town of Elhovo may be very suitable for them. Plovdiv has lots of historic attractions and cultural heritage and Elhovo is within 100 km from the sea and 50 km from the Turkish border. These tranquil and beautiful locations together with the area of Stara Zagora in Central South Bulgaria still offer properties for the average price of around 10,000 Euros (7 000 GBP; 13 300 USD).

  • Down at the bottom of the price scale are the properties for sale near Montana up in the North the lowest prices on the market for the moment of about 6,000 Euros (4 200 GBP; 8 000 USD) on average. This area is gaining more and more popularity as there are still many bargains to find.
The fast growing interest towards agricultural and development land for investment should also be mentioned it will become the hit in 2007. The prices of the agricultural plots are still very tempting starting from as low as 0.2 Euros per sq.m (0.14 GBP; 0.26 USD)! They are expected to appreciate a lot over the next 3-5 years and are suitable for mid-term of long-term investment.

This year will be strong and dynamic for the Bulgarian property market with people from various countries mostly in Europe but also from around the world buying properties in this country. The good news is that there is still something for everyone here property investors, holiday makers, tourists and people who want to change their lifestyles and move to a new place!

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