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Polina Stoykova for Euronews Bulgaria: Now is an ideal time to sell property

2024-01-22   |  euronewsbulgaria.com

"One year is too short a period to go from boom to bust. But the market did calm down at the end of the year and we ended up with 6-8% price growth in Sofia and Plovdiv, and a bit more in some other cities."

This is what Polina Stoykova MRICS - Managing Director and Head of Reasearch of BULGARIAN PROPERTIES said in the studio of "Good Morning, Europe" on Euronews Bulgaria. An she added:

The market is quite active. Prices rose with 20-30% in 2022, which was driven by both inflation and income growth. It is normal that as inflation calms down, this price increase process also to calm down. A balance has been struck in the market with higher prices and strong demand.

Over the last year, there has been almost no change in mortgage interest rates in Bulgaria, unlike in other countries where there has been a drastic change, and this has led to an outflow of interest in property. Here the interest rates are still close to their historic lows. The expectation of the banking sector is that even if there is growth, it will be small and gradual. But there are views that there may not be an increase at all.

There will be another year in which supply will be more buoyant in view of the fact that many people are expecting property prices to rise as we enter the eurozone. This leads to a pent-up supply of property as people wait for better prices. At the same time, many people will rush to buy before that happens. So, we may see an insuficcient supply for the available demand this year as well.

I don't think we are going to see dramatic price rises this year because prices have risen a lot in the last 2 years and we are closer to the European average. Our admission into the eurozone will go smoothly for the property market. Property prices have been in euros for many years. However, there is some concern and hesitation and this may have a slight impact on the market.

The demand is mainly for one and two bedroom apartments. Houses in or around big cities. Holiday apartments are sought after by the sea and in ski resorts. This keeps the market quite active, it is mainly driven by the local demand.

In the big cities, it is mainly new construction that is sought after. The most preferred neighbourhoods in Sofia are always the southern ones. However, there are also wider areas where construction is booming and a lot is being bought. These are neighborhoods such as Malinova Dolina, Banishora, Krastova Vada, Mladost and others. They attract new projects at reasonable prices. What customers are willing to pay is around 1,550-1,600 euros per square meter, and the ranges are wide as there are different types of properties. Deals above €3,000 per sq. m. are harder to close. On the secondary market, deals tend to happen with negotiation and small discounts from sellers. We see that sellers have softened and are ready for a dialogue, indicating that they are aware that the peak in prices has been reached.

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Right now is the perfect time to sell a property. It seems sellers are more confused as they are not sure whether to go out on the market, while buyers know what they are looking for and are ready to make deals.

Price growth in 2024 will slow down. We can expect about 5% growth in Sofia and 5-10% for the rest of the country. It will be no different from what it is now. So far there is no indication of a downturn on the market. There is no particular supply, there is nothing economically holding us back, incomes are rising, unemployment is low.

We have a more active market for selling homes, but there is also demand for rentals. There has been a very large return of international students since COVID-19, as well as a lot of working people, so there has been very strong price growth in that market as well.

I expect an active market this year. It has started that way. Whenever the year has started actively we have noticed that it continues that way. Price increases are subsiding, it's a good time to sell, it's also a good time to buy because interest rates are low.

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