Polina Stoykova for Darik Business Review: AI will take the property market to a qualitatively new level
See how the Managing Director of BULGARIAN PROPERTIES summed up the current state of the Bulgarian real estate market and what she predicts for the next year.
What was 2023 like for the property market in Bulgaria?
The past year, on the whole, has been calmer for the property market. It managed to bring balance after the turbulent processes that took place in the years following the pandemic.
A new equilibrium has been reached in the market at higher prices. Demand continued to be greater than supply as a result of rising incomes and still low interest rates on loans.
Accessible lending was the leading factor in keeping the market active and home buyers returning to home ownership. This was the distinguishing feature of the Bulgarian housing market - against the backdrop of rising interest rates in European other countries.
Currently, bank lending remains at low interest rates and the trend is to have a very smooth growth that will not hinder the development of the market in the coming year.
What are your company's most iconic projects of the last 12 months?
For the second year in a row, the absolute sales leader is the Central Park complex in Banishora, Sofia which promises to become the new emblem of the Bulgarian capital.
The scale of the complex, its rapid progress and attractive prices have attracted buyers and enabled us to close over 200 home sales this year, which is a unique result for a residential development in Sofia.
Thus, by the end of this year half of the available homes in the first 5 buildings of the complex have already been sold out, even before the start of construction of two of them.
Two other of our buildings - Kenar Residence and AMur Homes - have also become a sign of success in new construction in Sofia. Just under a year and a half after construction started, their progress is visible, with less than 10 homes available in each of the buildings. That is to say, we can boast of almost completely sold out buildings at the rough construction stage.
Among other projects that we exclusively represent on the market, several buildings stand out in the quarters of Malinova dolina, Krustova vada, Ovcha kupel and other districts of Sofia.
In the holiday segment, we managed to sell out almost all of the complexes, such as the Euphoria Club Hotel and Resort and the Borovets Hills complex in Borovets, as well as houses in the Lighthouse Golf & Spa Resort complex.
Will the increased interest of Bulgarians in holiday properties continue next year?
I believe that the interest of Bulgarians is just beginning to increase. Although we have had some strong years with Bulgarian buyers in the holiday segment, they have been the innovators, the people who are willing to try new things and experiment.
The mass market is just beginning. More and more people are thinking and will think in the future about a property in a holiday resort.
This segment is dynamic, propertites are bought and sold more frequently for a better investment or more variety and quality of life, so we are definitely looking forward to interesting years and staying fully covered in the major beach and ski resorts to meet the supply and demand for holiday properties.
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Artificial intelligence is already changing many industries. Should we expect it to happen in the property sector too?
Of course, it is already happening. It is evident how many of the available AI-based tools and platforms are helping in operations and especially in property presentation and advertising.
Much more and better video content is being made, translations into different languages, etc. Applications related to customer service, process automation, documentation, data and market analytics are yet to make wider inroads.
I think all of this will take the property market to a qualitatively new level and perhaps finally give market professionals the tools they need to be able to do the volume of quality work they should be offering clients in order to protect the role, place and value of working with real estate agencies.
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Many factors influence the price of property - inflation, interest rates on loans and deposits, even the international environment. Can we predict which of these will have the most significant impact on the sector over the next year?
Factors affecting the housing market continued to have a favourable impact in 2023. Positive economic growth, low unemployment, income growth, low mortgage interest rates have all provided excellent conditions for real estate investment.
The slowdown in inflation is weakening its effect on the market, but it is still significant as high inflation is expected to persist over the next few years.
Alongside this, our imminent entry into the Eurozone and the change of the national currency is stimulating interest in property investment. The combination of all these factors will drive the market in the coming year.
What are BULGARIAN PROPERTIES' forecasts for the property market in the country in 2024 in figures?
In 2024, property price growth will slow further to around 5%, which will be around the level of the forecasted inflation.
We expect supply to improve and some offer prices to adjust to get into the market and deals can happen. That is, sellers will become even more flexible and willing to negotiate, and that will enable deals to get done and keep volume up.
Overall, I think 2024 will be another dynamic and successful year for the housing market in Bulgaria.
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