Bulgarian Property Market Sluggish
by James Roberts
It seems the word to describe Bulgarian property at the moment is sluggish, with statistics showing that prices are continuing to slowly decline. The Global Property Guide reported that with the economy improving only slightly and the housing market remaining fairly stagnant, any change in the sector isn't likely to occur any time soon.
Figures from the National Statistical Institute (NSI) revealed that in Q3 2012, the average price of existing flats fell by 2.2 per cent to BGN 881.2 (?384.03) per square metre. While this decrease is smaller than the 6.1 per cent decline noted in 2011 and the 4.3 per cent fall during the year to Q1 2012, it isn't the performance many in the industry will have been hoping for.
So what does this all mean for investors? Bulgarian real estate prices are now 38 per cent lower than their Q3 2008 peak, when they stood at BGN 1,481 (?645,43 approximately) per square metre. Consequently, potential buyers are able to obtain property at a much cheaper price, but in a sluggish market, any return on investment will not be swift.
What's more, with prices falling across the country, knowing where to invest can also pose significant problems. Even the capital Sofia has witnessed decreasing values, with the average price of a dwelling falling by 0.6 per cent since 2011 and by 41 per cent since the peak, the Global Property Guide reported. Prices now stand at approximately BGN 1,447 (?630.61).
Eighteen provinces also experienced significant price drops in Q3. Values in Montana fell by 13.2 per cent, while Vrasta experienced a 7.3 per cent loss. Pernik property prices also dropped by 7.2 per cent. However, there are areas where moderate gains were noted, including Targovishte (4.5 per cent), Stara Zagora (4.5 per cent) and Veliko Tarnovo (3.5 per cent).
The ease of which European Union citizens can buy property in Bulgaria is now much greater than in years previous, since the Accession Treaty was lifted in January 2012.
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