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2022 – one of the most successful years for the vacation property market

2023-02-15   |  Polina Stoykova MRICS, Managing Director and Head of Research of BULGARIAN PROPERTIES

In 2022, housing markets in the major Bulgarian cities saw price increases of around and above 20%. The vacation segment followed closely these trends, and in some of the resorts the increase in prices was even higher - by more than 25% on an annual basis.

A faster rate of growth was recorded in the second half of the year and at the end of 2022 resort prices reached levels not seen in 10-15 years.

In addition to the main factor for the increase in prices - high inflation - an additional incentive for growth in this segment is insufficient supply. For many years, most resorts, unlike big cities, lacked new construction. This exacerbated the lack of supply in 2022, when many sellers pulled out of the market.

The demand for properties in the resorts is from both Bulgarian and foreign buyers. The main destinations for foreigners continue to be Bansko and Sunny Beach, while in the other sea and mountain resorts the buyers are mainly local.

The registered volumes of transactions are proof of the increased interest. According to data from the Registry Agency, in 2022 more transactions were registered in Nessebar than in Burgas. Thus, the region of Nessebar ranks 4th in the country in terms of number of transactions after Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna.

Most expensive are the properties in Borovets of the mountain resorts and those in Sozopol and the other seaside resorts to the South of Burgas. Sunny Beach and Bansko have similar trends and prices, and the lowest prices are in Pamporovo and in some of the resorts on the Northern Black Sea coast.

Apartment prices in mountain resorts

The data of BULGARIAN PROPERTIES indicate that Borovets is the most expensive, but also the most preferred among mountain resorts. The average price there for 2022 is 850 Euros/sq.m. (compared to 770 Euros/sq.m. a year earlier). In the last quarter of 2022, the highest levels were reached - 960 Euros/sq.m., which represents 26% growth on an annual basis. The average purchase price of apartments in Borovets has increased from € 48,300 in 2021 to € 60,500 in 2022. In the last quarter of 2022, the average price of purchased homes in the resort reached peak levels of almost € 68,000.

The average price of properties in Bansko for 2022 is 555 Euros/sq.m., and in the last quarter of the year BULGARIAN PROPERTIES reports an average price of 685 Euros/sq.m. The average price of the purchased apartments reached nearly 50,000 Euros. These are the highest prices since 2010.

Pamporovo has the lowest prices for a property in a mountain resort - there you can still buy properties for about 450 Euros/sq.m., and as an average purchase price for 2022 - about 40,000 Euros.

Apartment prices in seaside resorts

The average price in Sunny Beach, based on real transactions according to BULGARIAN PROPERTIES data, has reached 620 Euros/sq.m. in 2022. These are levels we haven't had since the Russian boom in 2013-2014. The growth is about 115 Euros/sq.m. or by 22% compared to a year earlier.

The same can be seen in the total purchase prices – while in 2021 the average purchase price of apartments in the resort was around € 30,000, in 2022 it rose to € 40,500. The highest price was reached in the 3rd quarter – 700 Euros/sq.m. and this is understandable in view of the active summer season. Then purchase budgets exceeded the € 52,000 average price.

Sveti Vlas has an average price of purchased apartments of around 800 Euros/sq.m. and an average purchase price of around 50,000 Euros.

In Pomorie the prices are between those in Sunny Beach and Saint Vlas - an average of 730 Euros/sq.m. and about 46,000 Euros total price.

To the North, Byala and the area between Byala and Obzor are of particular interest. In Byala, the average price in 2022 is 675 Euros/sq.m., and the total purchase price is 38,000 Euros.

In the resorts North of Varna, there is a greater variation in prices, as the complexes are diverse in quality and scale, so it is difficult to compile an average price. There, deals are concluded both at prices between 500 and 600 Euros/sq.m., and at levels between 800 and 1,000 Euros/sq.m.

In the luxury complexes between Balchik and Kavarna are also some of the most expensive vacation apartments purchased in Bulgaria. These are large apartments with direct sea views in complexes with many extras such as swimming pools, restaurants, golf courses.

What properties are most preferred?

In the case of holiday apartments, there is a variety of preferences both in terms of the type of apartments and in terms of the price class and, respectively, the class of the complexes, the extras available and the distance from the ski lifts and the beaches.

When properties are purchased for rental purposes, one- and two-bedroom apartments in top locations are most preferred, and when they are for personal use, two- and three-bedroom apartments are preferred.

In general, two-bedroom homes are the most widely purchased in the vacation rental segment.

And in 2022 mostly furnished apartments were bought on the resale market. The average area of ​​properties purchased in ski resorts is 70 sq.m., and those in seaside resorts - about 60 sq.m.

Outlook for vacation homes in 2023

At the beginning of the new year, the demand for vacation properties remains at high levels. We observe great activity in both mountain and sea resorts.

There is a slight increase in the supply of properties both on the secondary market and of new construction. New developments are experiencing a kind of a restart - many abandoned buildings are being completed, new ones are being designed. This will gradually lead to a balance in the market, but at higher prices, as the cost of construction has increased.

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