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On April 30, 311, Galerius proclaimed the Edict of Toleration at Serdica (today's Sofia - the Capital of Bulgaria) ending the Christian persecutions. Galerius died on May 5, 311. He was succeeded by Constantine I, his longtime rival. Constantine's rule marked a significant turning point for the Roman Empire, for he was the first emperor to convert to Christianity, but even prior to that had strengthened the original 311 edict of tolerance with his own Edict of Milan in 313, which banned all forms of religious persecution in the empire.
December 22, 2014 Sanctions, Falling Rouble Force Russians to Settle in Bulgaria
Russian citizens have increasingly started to settle in the peripheries of Sofia, near mountain Vitosha.
In the past two years Russians have been among the most active purchasers in the region, Bulgarian daily Telegraf reports, based on information of brokers and solicitors who participate in the deals.
Following the sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and the devaluation of the rouble, their interest has not come to a halt, but even increased.
The reason is that they see the Bulgarian market as salvation for their savings, as they can invest them in something material.
Back in the summer Russian media reported the trend that Russians have started to choose Bulgaria on a more frequent basis when purchasing real property.
Bulgaria is also seen as more attractive for developing business, so Russians buy properties there and relocate together with their families, Tatre.ru reported.
Several years ago Russians would only concentrate on the big coastal cities in Bulgaria â€“ Varna and Burgas, where they would aim to establish companies.
At present they have started to â€œconquerâ€ the smaller towns as well, among which Balchik and Kranevo.
The Black Sea town of Pomorie is inhabited by 4000 Russians, who live their on a permanent basis.
The first thing that Russians usually associate Bulgaria with is the Black Sea.
December 8, 2014 Victoria Group VM 'to Acquire' Sofia's Five-Star Kempinski Hotel
Businessman Vetko Arabadzhiev is poised to become the new owner of Kempinski Hotel Zografski, also known as "the Japanese hotel", media reports suggest.
Arabadzhiev has reportedly paid off Kempinski and the purchase is expected to be formalized later on Monday, Capital Daily informs.
The price tag has not been disclosed, but previous reports suggest it is about EUR 45 M.
Intentions of Arabadzhiev to buy one of Sofia's biggest hotels were made public this summer.
Arabadzhiev's Victoria Group VM will hold a 92.84-percent stake of the company which owns the hotel.
The group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seychelles-registered Lavana Tour, was set up in June this year.
Built in 1979 as a state-owned hotel, it was acquired by the late millionaire businessman Ivan Zografski in 1994 for USD 41 M, a sum he did not fully pay since he used brady bonds for the deal. Zografski died in 2007 and his heirs had intended to sell it ever since.
October 24, 2014 Bulgaria's Dwelling Prices Record Slight Decrease in Q3 2014
The market price index of dwellings for Q3 2014 compared to Q2 2014 was 99.9%, i.e. the average decrease of the market prices of dwellings was 0.1%, according to Bulgaria's Statistical Institute.
The market price index of the dwellings for the third quarter of 2014 in comparison with the corresponding quarter of the previous year was 100.4%, i.e. the average increase of the market prices of the dwellings was 0.4%.
In the third quarter of 2014 compared to the previous one, a price decrease was recorded in 19 district centers and in Sofia district.
The decrease was more considerable in Kyustendil - by 2.5%, Pernik – by 2.4% and Razgrad - by 1.9%.
In 8 district centers a price increase was recorded. In the third quarter of 2014 the average market price of the dwellings for the whole country was BGN 868.77/sq. m.
The highest average prices were recorded in the following district centers: Sofia – BGN 1 485.67/sq. m, followed by Varna – BGN 1 378.33/sq. m and Burgas – BGN 1 145.33/sq. m.
October 8, 2014 Construction Production Index Down 1.6% in August
Bulgaria's construction sector index of production in August was 1.6% below its level in the previous month, according to the national statistics preliminary data.
In August 2014, the working day adjusted data showed a decrease by 0.3% in the construction production, compared to the same month of 2013.
The construction production calculated from the seasonally adjusted data was below the level of the previous month.
The index of production of building construction decreased by 1.5% and the production of civil engineering-by 1.6%.
On an annual basis in August 2014, the decrease of production in construction, calculated from working day adjusted data, was determined mainly by the negative rate in the building construction by 7.7%, while in the civil engineering was registered an increase by 9.7%.
October 6, 2014 Real Estate Prices in Bulgaria See Slight Rise
Real estate prices have recorded a slight increase in 2014, according to Bulgaria's National Statistical Institute.
The main reason for the growth is the increased demand for property, which leads to quicker transactions, expert.bg notes.
According to the real estate website imot.bg, the average one-bedroom apartment available for sale in Sofia is of 45.15 square meters and is worth EUR 31,878, thus the price per square meter is EUR 706. Since the beginning of the year, one-bedroom apartment prices have increased by 2.5%.
The average price of two-bedroom apartments in Sofia is EUR 55,477, which is EUR 796 per square meter. Their price has increased by 0.8% in 2014.
Three-bedroom apartments are sold at an average price of EUR 89,207 for 106 square meters, or EUR 841 per sq.m., which is an increase of 4.1%.
The average apartment with more than 3 bedrooms in Sofia with a living area of 205 sq. m. is sold for EUR 206,190, or EUR 1002 per square meter.
September 29, 2014 Commercial Property Investment in Bulgaria Up 60% Y/Y in Jan-Sept
Investment in commercial property in Bulgaria have increased by 60% on the year to EUR 98.7 M in the first nine months, according to data from real estate advisers Forton.
Investor.bg quoted Michaela Lashova, managing partner at Forton, as saying that capital inflow has been increasing during the period under review, pointing to accelerated market recovery.
"We can hope to see deals in large assets in the following months," Lashova said, adding the number of deals concluded in the period January-September has doubled compared to the corresponding period of 2013.
She added Forton's July forecast of EUR 130 M investments in commercial property in Bulgaria for all of 2014 could be exceeded.
Commercial property investment in Bulgaria increased by 26% last year to EUR 54 M.
Forton is a commercial real estate adviser covering Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo. It is an alliance partner of Cushman & Wakefield, the world's largest privately held commercial real estate adviser.
According to Forton data, land and office space have been among the market segments showing the greatest growth dynamics but retail space and hotels have also been attracting increased investor interest.
Deals in large plots of land for new developments accounted for EUR 29 M, or 30% of all transactions in January-September, Forton said. Office space had a market share of 14%, transactions in retail properties had a share of 42% and hotels had 14%.
September 20, 2014 Sofia, Varna Property Prices Rise, Still Well Below Pre-Crisis Peaks
Property prices in Sofia and Varna last month were higher than they were a year earlier but still well below the pre-crisis peaks of 2008, a real estate consultant has said.
According to the latest price index update compiled by Bulgarian Properties firm, August prices in Sofia were 0.92% higher than a year earlier, while those in Varna were up 13.3%.
Sofia and Varna led the way in market recovery last month as compared to August 2013 with rising prices and the biggest numbers of deals, Bulgarian Properties said.
It added property sales in August hit record high numbers in Sofia, Varna and the Black Sea resort of Slanchev Bryag, supporting the company's optimistic expectations for the second half of the year.
Yet, Sofia property prices were 41.7% lower last month than they had been before the crisis. Varna property prices were 35% lower compared to the pre-crisis levels.
Unlike the cities of Sofia and Varna, Slanchev Bryag and the ski resort of Bansko couldn't show a year-on-year rise in property prices last month.
In August, property prices in Bansko were 5.6% lower than they had been a year earlier, while prices in Slanchev Bryag were 4.6% below the level of August 2013.
Compared with pre-crisis peak levels, August property prices in Bansko were 61.7% lower, while prices of Slanchev Bryag properties were 37% lower.
September 15, 2014 Bulgarian Real Estate Market Picking Up - Brokers
Bulgaria's property market is picking up and there is a slight price growth over the last three months, according to one of the leading companies in the sector.
Its chief executive Teodora Dimitrova was clear that the price hike may continue, but it will not be drastic, Darik news reports.
Dimitrova noted that for the first time in six years a minimum increase in real estate prices was reported in March. The highest demand is for one or two bedroom homes, she added.
"The money Bulgarians invest in houses range between BGN 30,000 and BGN 50,000, these are the most common transactions. They are mainly financed with own funds, from the sale of another property or with a bank loan," Dimitrova said.
Asked whether the stirring of the market will lead to higher property prices Dimitrova said that currently there is a high supply and therefore prices remain stable.
The company, which has offices in most European countries and monitors the market in the United States and Turkey, reported that the domestic interest rates are among the highest, Darik news informs.
September 12, 2014 Concerts, Fashion Shows Attract Visitors to Mega Mall Opening in Sofia
The mega-opening of Mega Mall Sofia attracted tens of thousands of visitors on the event's first day on Friday.
Austria's Real4You group is the investor in the first major shopping mall built in Lyulin residential district, on the western outskirts of Bulgaria's capital.
ECE Bulgaria will manage the facility and lease out commercial space to retailers.
Mega Mall features over 100 shops, restaurants and coffee houses spread on an area of 24,000 square metres. Visitors will be able to find shops of Benetton, DM, Deichmann, Reserved, Cropp, Sport Vision, Grouppofiori Techmart and Hippoland, among others.
The new mall will comprise for the first time in Bulgaria the commercial concepts of Billa hypermarkets and consumer electronics retailer Techmart.
Following its opening, Mega Mall will create 350 new jobs.
Visitors can easily reach Mega Mall by the Sofia underground railway (direct access to Level -1 from Zapaden Park station) or by other means of public transport.
Located between two boulevards - Tzaritza Joanna and Dr Petar Dertliev - Mega Mall Sofia is also easily accessible by car. Its car parking area can accommodate up to 600 vehicles.
The opening of Mega Mall Sofia, which is featuring a concert of Bulgarian music stars on Friday evening, will continue in the next two days with working hours from 10am until 10pm.
On Saturday, the fashion brands leasing space in Mega Mall will stage Bulgaria's first 12-hour show of their latest collections. On Sunday, children will enjoy a puppet theatre show.
September 11, 2014 Bulgaria's Rents, Capital Values to Rise in Next 12 Months, RICS Says
Rents and capital values in Bulgaria and Hungary are expected to rise over the next 12 months, the London-headquartered Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has said.
"In Bulgaria a particularly firm increase is expected in the office market," London-headquartered RICS revealed.
The RICS said in its Commercial Property Monitor for Q2 2014 that most markets in Central and Eastern Europe "slowly but steadily seem to be getting out of the woods."
Macroeconomic challenges continue to impact real estate sentiment, but expectations are improving with longer term outlook for capital values, the RICS said in its survey "Better perspectives in Central and Eastern European real estate markets".
"In Bulgaria, the government's resignation and a swift outbreak of vulnerability in the banking sector can cause some challenges and jeopardize a brighter outlook, while the other three countries are facing record low inflation and interest rates," according to the survey that looks at the markets of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.
RICS highlighted that occupier demand had risen in April-June 2014 in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, particularly in the office sector in Bulgaria and in the office and retail sectors in Hungary.
In Bulgaria, RICS said, investor interest is on the rise backed by "brighter outlook for occupier demand and rental growth across all three commercial real estate segments".
"The fundamentals further improved in the office market with positive spillovers seen beyond the prime segment. And in industrial and logistics real estate the shortage of supply is putting upward pressure on rents whereas demand builds up."
According to Lila Pateraki, Director of Business Development at Zeus Capital Managers, an international privately held investment management company, "although the number of investments one could make in Bulgaria, and more precisely in Sofia, is rather limited, there are some good quality investments that can generate decent returns and therefore be of interest to the investors."
September 4, 2014 Russian Buyers Of Vacation Properties On Bulgaria's Coast Waning
The Ukraine crisis and the sanctions against Russia are already affecting Bulgaria's vacation properties sales on the Black Sea coast, reports Investor.bg.
According to the analysis, sales of vacation properties to Russians, who were the most numerous buyers, and as a whole, are already dropping.
The main factors, affecting the Russian buyers, are the record low exchange rate of the rouble and the mass bankruptcies of Russian tour operators.
At the same time, however, the drop is somewhat compensated by an increased interest on part of Bulgarian and British buyers, who, in the times of crisis, had lost their interest in buying vacation properties almost completely.
According to the Green Life investment company, quoted by Investor.bg, in June and July this year, the number of potential Russian buyers who looked at various properties on the coast, dropped almost twofold, year-on-year. The interest of Russian buyers, however, remains at mostly the same level.
Teofil Petrov of Green Life said there are still highly motivated Russian buyers who arrive in Bulgaria after a serious market research.
According to both Green Life and the Address real estate company, the most active Russian buyers were elderly couples and families with children.
Another real estate company - Bulgarian Properties - told Investor.bg that there was a 7% drop in sales to Russian buyers, but they remain the largest group and account for 80% of sales of vacation properties on the seaside.
At the same time Green Life saw a 10% increase in sales to Ukrainians who are withdrawing from the market of the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia.
September 1, 2014 Ukraine, Belarus Make Up for Russians on Bulgaria's Property Market
Bulgaria is still at the forefront of preferred destinations for Russian-speaking real estate buyers, an investment company says.
Data from Green Life, an entity building and selling holiday properties in the country, shows the market has not yet been affected by the turmoil in Ukraine's east or by the tensions over the breakaway of Crimea.
A drop in inquiries made by Russians goes has been observed, but alongside this trend the number of Ukrainian citizens purchasing dwellings here is 10% up, the website Money.bg reports.
Citizens of Belarus and Kazakhstan choosing to have properties in Bulgaria is also on the rise, Green Life estimates.
Its figures dismiss previous forecasts that the holiday property markets could be affected by the sanctions which EU leaders have imposed on Moscow.
Teofil Petrov, who works for the company, says even though inquiries dwindled twofold in June and July compared to the same period of 2013, it has managed to attract more customers from the ex-Soviet countries.
August 25, 2014 Seaside Property Sales to Russians Drop By 30%
The sales of Bulgarian seaside real estate to Russian citizens has dropped by 30% since end of July, reports the Nova TV national channel.
According to real estate brokers, the story with the British buyers repeats - suddenly the interest of Russian buyers dissipated and some of the owners are already trying to sell.
"It is true that this season we have weaker demand and less inquiries from Russian buyers, hence the sales are also less," said Diana Ivanova, owner of a seaside real estate agency.
The main reasons, according to brokers, are the tensions between Russia and Ukraine and the wider availability of vacation destinations in Russia - Sochi and the annexed Crimean peninsula.
"Another reason is the higher transport expenses," said Vyacheslav Goryunov, chairperson of the Omsk association of real estate companies. "If they want to get to Bulgaria, they must fly, which is a lot more expensive than to drive."
According to Russian owners, another put off is the constant construction, which is unbearable.
In spite the exodus of Russian buyers, they remain the largest foreign group, which owns real estate in Bulgaria.
August 18, 2014 Three Vie for Kempinski Hotel Zografski in Sofia
Three bidders have remained in the final leg of the race for the five-star Kempinski Hotel Zografski in Sofia, the Pressa daily has reported.
The bidders are Bulgarian hotel owner Vetko Arabadzhiev, owners of local Chimimport group and Lebanese entrepreneurs.
According to the newspaper, Victoria Group VM company seen as close to Arabadzhiev has the biggest chance among the three to acquire the landmark Sofia property.
The price of the potential deal is estimated at about EUR 50 M, Pressa added.
Bulgarian-born businessman Ivan Zografski bought the hotel from the state for DEM 65 M twenty years ago. Since 2007 it has been owned by Zografski's heirs.
Kempinski Hotel Zografski ended last year with BGN 12.06 M in revenue, down 9% on the previous year.
July 29, 2014 Bulgarians Spent BGN 200M on Property in June - Brokers
At least BGN 200M higher levels of cash flow were recorded on Bulgaria's property market by the end of June and the beginning of July, 2014.
According to brokers, additional BGN 40M real estate investments are expected in the autumn when the market activity traditionally improves. The flows of cash have most probably come from deposits withdrawn during the banking system panic in June, Bulgarian 24 chasa suggests.
A total of 220,000 property transactions per year are carried out on average. Their number is nearly 19,000 per month at an average price of BGN 100,000 per deal. In July only, brokers report a 15% growth in real estate transactions.
Cash flow on the property market may turn out to be higher, as the survey does not include the property purchased by Bulgarians abroad, the media outlet notes.
Experts report an unusually increased activity in the summer months in the transactions in office space and building plots with construction permits.
Big real estate agencies suggest that it is entirely possible for the migration of deposits to properties to increase for two reasons - the market is traditionally weaker in the summer and records growth in the second half of the year. Secondly, the process of purchasing property takes at least 4-6 months.
July 23, 2014 Class A Office Space Rental Rates in Sofia Record 8.3% Growth Y/Y
Rental rates of class A office space in Sofia have reached EUR 13 per sq.m. in Q1 2014, according to the recent data provided by Colliers International.
The increase is 8.3% compared to the previous six months and on an annual basis, Investor.bg informs citing the company report.
Profitability from office rents in Bulgaria's capital city has remained stable at 9.5%, being commeasurable with the markets of cities such as Tirana, Cairo, Saint Petersburg, and Belgrade. Lower-risk market profitability varies in the range of 3.5% to 4.5%.
European office rental rates growth is unstable, although there is a trend of improvement corresponding to the better prospects for the economy, the latest Colliers International report says.
The most considerable decline is reported by the peripheral markets which have registered the highest profitability in recent years - Dublin, Madrid, Athens, Barcelona and others. A moderate downtrend has been recorded in the cities of Central and Eastern Europe - Bucharest, Budapest, Prague and others.
The downtrend in profitability is expected to continue in the coming months, Investor.bg notes.
July 23, 2014 Bulgaria's Dwelling Prices Increase in Q2 2014
The market price index of dwellings in Bulgaria for Q2 of 2014 compared to Q1 of 2014 was 100.3%, that is the average increase of the market prices of the dwellings was 0.3%.
The market price index of dwellings for the second quarter of 2014 in comparison with the corresponding quarter of the previous year was 100.3%, i.e.the average increase of the market prices of the dwellings was 0.3%, according to the latest data released by Bulgaria's National Statistical Institute.
In the second quarter of 2014 compared to the previous one, a price increase has been recorded in 13 district centers. The increase was more considerable in Burgas, Silistra and Shumen - by 1.8%, Plovdiv - by 1.3% and Stara Zagora - by 1.1%.
In 14 district centers and in Sofia district a price decrease has been recorded.
In the second quarter of 2014 the average market price of the dwellings for the whole country was 869.29 BGN/sq. m. The highest ones were the average prices in the following district centers: Sofia - 1 473.67 BGN/sq. m, followed by Varna - 1 366.50 BGN/sq. m and Burgas - 1 130.67BGN/sq. m.
July 22, 2014 Property Deals On The Rise, Russians Buy Less
The real estate deals in Bulgaria in H1 2014 grew by 64%,year-on-year, shows an analysis of the ERA Bulgaria real estate company.
Due to the bank panic in June, buyers showed increased interest in buying homes in Sofia.
In Varna and Burgas, however, the deals with Russian citizens dropped by 35% in H1 2014, year-on-year.
The analysis of the real estate company shows that this year the property sells twice as fast, compared to 2013. On average an apartment in Sofia, Varna and Burgas sells for 66 days, while in 2013 it took 120 days.
July 21, 2014 Bulgaria - Favourite Real Estate Market of Russian State Officials
Bulgaria is the favourite spot of Russian state officials for buying real estate, shows an investigation of the Russian business publication RBC.
The RBK journalists have analysed the property declarations of almost 500 Russian MPs and state officials. They show that 176 of them have apartments in Bulgaria. Often they own just part of the property.
Most preferred were one and two-room apartments (187).
Among the more notable home owners in Bulgaria is Russia's deputy finance minister Alexey Moiseev, who owns two apartment and 50% of a third. The total area is 386 square meters.
"We are living in the north and the children need to strengthen their immunity," said Karelia MP Alexandr Fedichev who owns a 84 square meter apartment in Bulgaria.
The most frequent reason for ownership were the need of vacation home for the children, treatment of relatives and wives' whims.
Second most favourite spot for Russian state officials is Spain with 61 owners of 37 apartments and 32 houses. In top five are also Montenegro, Lithuania and Germany.
The remaining 30 other countries - from South Korea to Egypt - lag far behind.
According to the publication, the real number of real estate properties abroad, owned by the Russian state officials, is much higher, but remained undeclared, because as of last spring they are banned from owning property abroad.
July 12, 2014 Bulgaria's Real Estate Market Up 15% in June
The sales of residential properties in Bulgaria grew 15% year-on-year, say real estate agencies, quoted by the BNT public broadcaster.
Prices, according to them, have also increased. Often the purchases are with investment purposes, as rents are also rising.
The majority of deals were in the price range EUR 50 000 - 70 000, but there were also sales of properties priced up to EUR 100 000, as customers seek larger apartments.
"In the past few months we are observing considerable growth in demand for apartments of 60 sq meters and over," Kaloyan Bogdanov, marketing manager of a real estate agency tells BNT. "The growth of sales of three-bedroom apartments is considerable."
According to him, in Sofia people are mostly seeking to buy apartments around the two metro lines because of better communication, and in the city center.
The interest in a second home in the vacation complexes was also returning. In Bogdanov's words, around 20% of the sales in this segment were to people who are planning to rent the property out.
July 10, 2014 City Center Sofia Mall Renamed to Park Center
The first Sofia mall - City Center Sofia - which was recently acquired by Revetas Capital Advisors LLP, will be renamed to Park Center, reports Capital Daily.
The plans of the new owner are to add the mall to the retail chain Park Centers, which currently includes 12 shopping centers in Central and Eastern Europe with a total area of 124 000 square meters.
Radu Boitan, senior investment director of Revetas Capital Advisors, told the newspaper that the company plans to entirely renovate the mall and update the concept and tenants mix.
He added that the acquisition of City Center Sofia is one of the several the company is planning in Bulgaria.
July 3, 2014 Bulgaria Keeps Attracting British Property Buyers In June
Bulgaria remains relatively stable in terms of the most desired second homes purchase destinations for British citizens.
In end-June, Bulgaria occupies the 11th place in the ranking of the online portal TheMoveChannel.com after the country has managed to reach 10th place twice in 2014, Investor.bg reports.
For the first time Poland has reached the top 10 in the international ranking. The country occupies the 10th position in June, which is the highest position in the ranking that a Central European country has landed so far.
The United States remains the most desired destination for Brits buying property abroad. Spain has returned to the second position in the ranking, followed by France and Portugal. The fifth position is occupied by Brazil.
The strongest increase was observed in the demand for holiday homes in the United Arab Emirates in June. According to the online portal, the interest of the British customers in the country continues to grow.
June 23, 2014 Sofia's Kempinski Hotel Zografski Finds Buyer
The sale of Sofia's Kempinski Hotel Zografski is about to be completed, report Bulgarian-language media.
According to a notification letter, published on the website of the Competition Protection Commission, the buyer is the Plovdiv hotelier Vetko Arabadzhiev. The notification informs that the company Victoria Group VM, managed by Arabadzhiev's daughter Zlatomira Arabadzhieva, is merging with the companies Zografski AD and Fortuna Construction AD.
The five-star hotel, also known as "The Japanese hotel" has been up for sale by the heirs since the death of its previous owner Ivan Zografski in 2007. According to the Pressa daily, the initial asking price was EUR 200 M, but was sold for between EUR 45 M and 55 M.
Zografski had bought the then state-owned hotel in 1994 for DEM 65 M.
June 23, 2014 Office Rental Rates in Bulgaria's Sofia Increase By 8% in Q1 2014
The office rental rates in Bulgaria's Sofia have increased by an average of 8% in Q1 2014 compared to the same period of last year.
The rents of more luxurious offices now range between EUR 10.50 and 12 per sq m per month, the Managing Director of Colliers International Iglika Yordanova told Bulgaria's Trud.
The main reason for the price hike is the decreasing supply of first-class office space, according to the expert.
Thus, currently in Sofia where there are no more than twenty first-class office buildings, the vacant space is only about 10%. For comparison, the vacancy in all commercial buildings in Sofia is about 18%. For the same period of 2013, the vacant office space was 25%.
The leading trend on the office space market in Sofia is for a higher demand for premises from 100 to 1500 square meters at the expense of larger offices, Trud daily informs.
By the end of the year some 80 000 square meters of offices will be complete. Those are located mostly along the Bulgaria and Tsarigradsko Shose Boulevards.
June 19, 2014 Bulgarians Spend 10-Year Average Wage For New Home
The residents of Denmark, Germany and Portugal can afford to buy a new home for 2.1 - 3 years with an average gross income, according to a recent Deloitte survey.
In Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and Austria residential property is also relatively affordable, and costs the average gross income for 3.6 to 5.6 years.
To purchase a new home, buyers need to invest the average gross income for 7.9 years in France, 8.5 years in the UK and 10.4 years in Russia.
In the Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary and Poland, the financial effort is also significant and costs the average income for 7.2 to 7.4 years.
With an average gross salary of BGN 828, Bulgarians can afford a new dwelling of 74 sq m, for the price of EUR 50 thousand, in some 10 years, money.bg informs.
June 9, 2014 Russians Invested EUR 18 B in Property in Bulgaria
The Russian citizens own 300 000 properties in Bulgaria and invested around EUR 18 B, reports Deutsche Welle.
According to estimates, this is about 10 times more than the officially recognized investments by Russian companies in Bulgaria. Thus Russia becomes the largest foreign investor in Bulgaria's economy.
According to Deutsche Welle, which quotes information from real estate companies, the Russians are mostly interested in real estate properties in the Black Sea coast cities and in the tourist complexes, with increasing interest in winter resorts and villages.
Sebastian Petrov of the BGLife real estate company tells the media, that the main reason for the interest are the relative closeness to Russia and the fact that property in Bulgaria is at least two-three times cheaper than in Turkey, Greece or Croatia.
Petrov said that the actual number of deals with Russians is at least 700 000 - by 200 000 more than the official number. According to him, this was mainly due to the fact that Russian state employees buy three-four properties and put them in the name of their relatives, in order to avoid the limitations of the Russian law. "We consider such a deal as a single one," he said.
May 28, 2014 Russians Own 500 000 Real Estate Properties in Eastern Bulgaria
Around 500 000 real estate properties in eastern Bulgaria are owned by Russian citizens, said the Russian consul in Varna Yurii Solovyov, quoted by the wire service BTA.
The consulate in Varna covers the regions Varna, Dobrich, Shumen, Burgas, Yambol and Sliven. On its territory permanently reside 6000 Russians and around 300 000 visit Bulgaria regularly.
According to Solovyov, the Russian citizens in Bulgaria were feeling quite well and have no complaints. His forecasts are that the number of Russian tourists visiting Bulgaria will not decrease and even expects the contrary.
May 21, 2014 3 New Shopping Malls to Open in Sofia by End 2014
Three new shopping malls will open in Sofia by the end of the year, shows an analysis of the real estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield.
In April in Sofia opened Panorama Mall and three others, with a total area of 120 000 square meters, are to be completed by the end of the year - Sofia Ring Mall, Plaza West and Mega Mall.
"Bulgaria is one of the most dynamic retail space markets in the region," noted representatives of the strategic partner of Cushman & Wakefield in Bulgaria and Macedonia, Forton.
The retail space for rent in the shopping centers in Bulgaria is expected to increase by 19% in 2014, from the 735 000 square meters in the end of 2013.
"In 2014 the economic growth and consumption are expected to speed up, according to estimates of the government and some international financial institutions," said Rosen Genev, manager "Retail Space" at Forton. "The retail chains are actively seeking new space and are acting as a factor in support of construction."
The Cushman & Wakefield report expects that by the end of 2016 will be completed 9.7 M square meters retail space, 69% of which will be in Central and Eastern Europe. According to it, in 2014 and 2015 Russia will become the leader in total retail space in Europe, if all current projects there are completed.
May 7, 2014 Bulgarian Office Building Construction Sees 25% Increase in Q1, 2014
In Q1 2014, Bulgaria's municipal authorities have issued building permits for the construction of 1015 residential buildings, 44 office buildings and 917 other buildings.
As compared to the previous quarter, the building permits for residential buildings decreased by 1.6%, their dwellings-by7.2%, while the gross building area rose by 4.8%, according to the latest data provided by the National Statistical Institute (NSI). The issued building permits for administrative buildings increased by 22.2%, but their gross building area fell by 42.8%. The number of issued building permits of other buildings decreased by 17.8% and their gross building area-by 21.3%.
As compared to the first quarter of 2013, the issued building permits for new residential buildings increased by 32.9%, their dwellings-by 80.7% and the gross building area-by 69.0%. The issued building permits of administrative buildings increased by 37.5% and the other buildings-by1.6%. The gross building area of the administrative buildings increased by 38.1% and the gross building area of other buildings rose by 1.9%.
In the first quarter of 2014 began the construction of 504 residential buildings, and 30 administrative buildings/offices. As compared to the previous three months, the number of new residential buildings construction decreased by 14.7%, and the new administrative buildings increased by 25.0%, but their gross building area dropped by 55.1%.
As compared to the first quarter of 2013, the new residential buildings under construction increased by 26.3%, their dwellings-by 6.8% and the gross building area-by 21.9%. The number of new administrative buildings rose by 36.4%, and their gross building area-by 16.5%. An increase is observed in the other buildings under construction by 25.6% and in their gross building area-by 48.5%.
April 29, 2014 Rent of Shops at Sofia's Vitosha Blvd Post Highest Increase in Europe
The rent of shops at Sofia's pedestrian Vitosha boulevard posted highest increase in Europe, shows a survey of the Colliers International consultancy.
In the end of Q1 2014, the average rent rose by 48% year-on-year to EUR 37 per sq/m and has returned to the levels of the years before the significant drop of 2012-2013, says the report.
In 2005 Vitosha boulevard was the 22-nd most expensive commercial street in the world, according the list of the Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker. The economic downturn and the construction of the Sofia metro, which practically shut down the boulevard, brought it down to the 59-th position in the same list.
The Colliers report finds that the profile of the tenants along boulevard has changed - the luxurious brands have moved to the Saborna and Lege streets and the new shopping malls, while Vitosha is increasingly preferred by bar and restaurant owners and fashion brands of lower price category.
The most expensive commercial street in Europe is Old Bond Street in London, where the average monthlu rent is EUR 908 per sq/m, followed by Banhofstrasse in Zurich and Champs Elysees in Paris.
April 25, 2014 Apartment Prices in Bulgaria On the Rise After 1.5 Years' Drop
After 1.5 years of drop, prices of residential property in Bulgaria posted an increase in Q1 2014, shows data of the National Statistics Institute (NSI).
Compared to the previous quarter, the average price rose by 0.2% to BGN 864.52 per sq/m and reached the prices in Q1 2013.
The most significant increase was marked in 18 regional centers, most notable in Stara Zagora and Veliko Tarnovo.
Prices in Sofia rose by 0.4%.
Prices in nine regional centers dropped - most notably in Vidin and Kyustendil. Prices in the Black Sea cities Varna and Burgas also decreased.
Most expensive is the residential property in Sofia - an average of BGN 1463 per sq/m, Varna - BGN 1370 and Burgas - BGN 1110 per sq/m.
The NSI data is based on real property sales in the regional centers and does not include the newly completed buildings.
April 24, 2014 Construction in Bulgaria Grows For the First Time in 5 Years
For the first time in five years, construction in Bulgaria in 2013 posted a growth, shows the data of the National Registry of New Buildings and Reconstructions.
In the past year the overall construction of new buildings grew by 21.96%.
Highest growth was posted in Sofia - by 28.23%, followed by the Black Sea city of Burgas.
Vacation property construction increased by 19.35%, followed by residential properties - by 16.47%. Construction of office buildings grew only by 3%.
The Registry has been keeping track of all new buildings in the country for 10 years.
April 22, 2014 Bulgaria's Real Estate Market Stabilizes
Sales of residential properties in the center of Sofia in Q1 2014 have doubled, compared to Q4 2013, shows data of the real estate company Adres.
More than 30% of the purchases were for over EUR 100 000 and around 20% of the buyers got the property for investment purposes.
Another rising trend is the increase interest in property still under construction. Around 10% of the sales were for properties before they obtained Act 14 (construction certificate issued when the main construction of the building is completed). This, according to Adres, is a sign for stabilization of the real estate market in Bulgaria and increased optimism.
The Adres study shows that the market is still more favourable for the buyers, but it does not mean that the sellers are in a disadvantaged position.
The company expects an increasing demand in the following months, partially driven by the new legislation, regulating the credits.
April 14, 2014 Price of Agricultural Land in Bulgaria Increased by 8.6% in 2013
The average price per one decar agricultural land in Bulgaria reached BGN 594 in 2013, which was 8.6% higher than in 2012, National Statistical Institute latest data reveals.
In comparison with previous year, the highest increase was recorded in the price of vineyards - by 21.8%. The increase in the price of arable land was by 11.7% and in orchards - by 5.1%.
Only for the permanent grass land a decrease of price by 8.8% was registered. Though there was some decline in 2013 in comparison to previous year, the highest price of agricultural land was the in Northeast region - BGN 827 per one decar. In comparison to the previous year, the highest increase in the land price per one decar was registered in the Southeast region - by 38.7%, while in the South central and Southwest region a decrease was registered - respectively by 1.9% and 35.0%.
The average rent price per one decar leased agricultural land in 2013 reached BGN 38, which was by11.8% higher than in 2012. In comparison to the previous year, the highest increase was in the price of vineyards - by 61.9%. Thus, in 2013 the vineyards exceeded the price for orchards and approached the arable land price.
In 2013 the highest price per one decar leased agricultural land was in Northeast region - BGN 58, which was more than three times higher than the value in Southwest region and two times higher than Southeast region. Increasing of rent payment in comparison to the previous year was observed in all statistical regions.
April 10, 2014 Bulgaria's Property Sales to Russians See Contradictory Trends
Two very different trends are observed in the real estate sales forecast in Bulgaria to Russian citizens during the spring - summer season.
The situation in Russia and Ukraine and the devaluation of the Russian currency have resulted in two opposite trends regarding the property sales, according to an analysis of Bulgarian Association of real estate brokers, Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) reports.
According to brokers from Varna and Burgas, Russians will remain the main buyers of holiday homes on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in 2014 summer season. A slight increase in residential property investments may be observed due to the ruble's devaluation.
Real estate brokers from the regions of Pomorie and Bansko expect an average to weak season for holiday homes because of the complex situation in Russia and Ukraine and the continuing devaluation of the national currencies of both countries, BNR informs.
Regarding the property market in Central Bulgaria, the expectations of brokers in this region are that the gap between the offer price and the optimal selling price will continue to shrink.
April 10, 2014 Free Space In Sofia Malls Decreases
The share of unoccupied stores in the Sofia shopping malls has dropped to 10.5% since the beginning of 2014, shows a survey of the company for business properties MBL.
At the same time the empty stores in the countryside malls have increased to 21%. According to the company experts, however, this is mainly due to the bad situations in several shopping centers in Plovdiv and Varna.
As a whole the total area of retail space in Bulgaria remains unchanged in Q1, but the forecasts are for an increase, thanks to the expected completion of Sofia Ring Mall, Mega Mall and Plaza West Mall, with a total area of 118 000 sq m.
April 10, 2014 Experts Warn about Property Bubble Risk in Eastern Bulgaria
Major players in the construction industry have cautioned about a bubble risk on the real estate market and in the construction sector in eastern Bulgaria in the next few years.
Bubble fears are explained with the fact that the demand for vacation properties, mostly by Russian-speaking citizens, is concentrated there, according to reports of investor.bg.
The forecast was presented as part of the presentation of the annual report of National Registry for New Constructions and Reconstructions bcc.bg on the construction market.
During the presentation, Angel Zahariev from A & A Architects and Nikolay Bachvarov from Baumit warned about the unsustainable model in the construction industry created by the lack of a national strategy on the housing policy and on the concentration of new construction in the Black Sea coast region (the districts of Varna, Burgas, and Dobrich), caused by increased demand for vacation properties.
Zahariev claimed that the vacation properties market was strongly dependent on foreign policy events and global economic trends, stressing that it was an unsustainable practice for the sector to rely on increases in this segment of the market.
The two cautioned that a collapse on the vacation properties market would be detrimental to the entire construction sector, citing Spain as a case in point.
In 2013, the newly launched vacation property projects exceeded 438 000 square meters of gross floor area, up by over 19% from 2012, when the newly launched construction projects in this segment amounted to slightly over 367 000 square meters, according to data of bcc.bg.
The gross floor area of the completed holiday complexes, however, dropped by 25.6% year-on-year from a rate of over 577 000 square meters to slightly over 429 000 square meters.
Angel Zahariev pointed out that there were positive signals in the construction sector, citing the growth in the construction of industrial buildings as an example. He claimed that the increase in this segment was evidence of economic revitalization trends.
The participants in the discussion agreed that the construction sector had reached a bottom in the period 2012-2013 and was just beginning to spring back to life.
Petar Mastikov from bcc.bg informed that in 2013 the gross floor area of the newly launched construction projects increased by nearly 22% on the year to over 2.4 million square meters.
The only decrease was registered in the segment of commercial construction, which fell by nearly 23% to slightly over 197 000 square meters.
The sharpest increase was registered in office construction, up by 153% to over 174 000 square meters of gross floor area, despite the fact that the amount of newly launched construction projects was far from the levels recorded in the peak years for the market.
Newly launched hotel construction projects increased by 1.7%, residential buildings went up by around 17%, and industrial buildings added 18%.
Residential buildings continued to dominate in the total volume of newly launched construction projects, with a stake of over 763 000 square meters, followed by vacation properties with over 430 000 square meters, industrial buildings with over 400 000 square meters, specialized buildings with 226 000 square meters, commercial site projects with 197 000 square meters, and hotels with slightly over 100 000 square meters.
The year 2014 started on a moderately optimistic note, with an annual increase of slightly over 6% in newly launched construction projects. Apart from that, several large-scale projects, mostly for vacation properties on the Black Sea coast, were launched, or were in a pre-launch stage.
As regards finished works, 2013 saw a 2.7% decrease in the volume of completed construction projects to slightly over 2.32 million square meters on a national scale.
The steepest decline was registered in the sphere of completed office buildings, down by around 54% to slightly over 105 000 square meters of gross floor area. The decrease in completed industrial buildings stood at 42%, to 202.6 thousand square meters, while commercial buildings registered a decrease by around 13% to around 403 000 square meters.
Completed residential buildings increased by almost 3.5% to slightly less than 825 000 square meters. Completed hotels registered an almost two-fold increase from a rate of 75 000 square meters to 131.4 thousand square meters.
April 9, 2014 English-Speaking Clients to Return to Bulgarian Real Estate Market
A Bulgarian real estate company expects that this year the English-speaking customers will return to the market.
According to Teofil Petrov, executive director of Green Life - a real estate company specialized in such customers - quoted by the BTA wire service, there is an increase in queries for purchase of homes. So far, however, there are no deals.
Petrov said he hoped this was a sign for the end of the crisis in the vacation home segment and the return of the English-speaking clients.
According to Petrov, this year the vacation home segment in Bulgaria will still be dominated by the Russian-speaking clients, who usually plan to live permanently on the property. He said he expects that this year the sales will increase by no less than 5%, while prices will go up by 1-3%.
April 9, 2014 Construction in Bulgaria Posts Growth
The construction market in Bulgaria in 2013 showed signs of resurrection, shows an analysis of the National registry of new buildings.
According to the data, there was an increase in demand and investments in vacation homes and office space.
The growth in construction in 2013 placed Sofia on the top place in built-up area in Bulgaria.
The demand of apartments in Sofia spurred a 15% growth in construction of residential buildings. The office buildings construction increased by 28%.
According to the registry, the demand of vacation homes drove the construction sector in Varna.
In 2013 the overall construction of residential buildings in Bulgaria grew by 16%. The forecasts are that this year the revival of the construction sector in the country will continue.
April 8, 2014 Number of Vacant Offices in Sofia Declined in Q1 2014
The share vacant office space in Bulgaria's capital city of Sofia has dropped to 17.7% or just under 290 thousand sq.m. in Q1 2014.
This has been the lowest rate of vacant office space since Q1 of 2010, according to data by real estate company MBL, cited by Investor.bg.
A leading trend on the office space market in Sofia is the strong demand for premises with an area of 100-1500 sq.m. at the expense of demand for large offices of 2,000 - 3,000 m2.
Meanwhile, there has been a reduction in supply of premium office space, which resulted in a 10% increase in average prices in Q1, according to the company data. The price rates for Class B office space remained unchanged.
As of January to end-March, the total volume of newly leased office space is about 15 thousand sq.m. The net leased space reached 19 thousand square meters.
Expectations are for stable rent levels by end-2014, as well as a continuous decline in the share of vacant offices. Additional 80 thousand sq.m. of office space for lease will be completed by the end of the year, Investor informs.
April 3, 2014 Offshore Companies Banned from Bulgarian Agriculture Land Ownership
Offshore companies can not acquire and have ownership of agricultural land in Bulgaria, according to the latest amendments to the Agricultural Land Ownership and Use Act.
The changes to the Agriculture Land Act were passed on second reading, Thursday, Bulgarian BTV reports. The restriction applies to joint-stock companies that have issued bearer shares, as well.
Lawmakers allowed ownership of agricultural land to be granted to natural or legal persons who have been residing in Bulgaria for more than 5 years. At the suggestion of ultranationalist Ataka party, the initial period of more than three years has been increased.
The same 5-year period applies to legal persons in order to be granted ownership of agricultural land in Bulgaria. They will be permitted to purchase land in case they are registered under the Bulgarian legislation in less than five years on condition that the board members, association members or founders of the joint-stock company meet all requirements.
April 1, 2014 Bulgaria's Agriculture Ministry to Introduce Tax on Uncultivated Land
An expert group will start working on tax on uncultivated lands by end-May, Bulgaria's Agriculture Minister Dimitar Grekov announced at a meeting with agricultural associations
The new tax seeks to stimulate owners to lease uncultivated lands to cooperatives and to local companies in order to utilize fertile agricultural lands.
Experts will determine the new tax amount, define the difference between uncultivated and unclaimed lands, as well as decide on the abandoned lands. The expert group will include specialists from the Agriculture ministry and business representatives, Minister Grekov said.
"Such a tax would make land owners consider taking the appropriate measures, namely lease the uncultivated land, or put these lands for sale," said the chair of the Bulgarian Association of Agricultural Producers Ventsislav Varbanov.
The National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria indicated that the uncultivated or abandoned lands are a serious problem and a potential tax on them would be hard to collect as many of the owners have left the country.
The amount of uncultivated land comes up to a total of 1.6 million decares, which brings some BGN 15-16M to the state budget annually, Darik news reports.
March 31, 2014 Property Sales On The Rise In Sofia
The first quarter of 2014 saw active property sales in Sofia, shows the data of Bulgarian Properties.
The sales of residential properties in Sofia rose by 15% year-on-year and inquiries rose by 30%, which could mean an increasing activity in the upcoming months.
According to Polina Stoikova, operational director of Bulgarian Properties, buyers are mostly interested in apartments and around 18% are seeking houses in Sofia. The majority of sales were in the residential areas Vitosha and Mladost at prices of EUR 600-750 per sq m.
The average price in Q1 of 2014 was EUR 730 per sq m and remains unchanged, compared to 2013.
The customers most often buy apartments for up to EUR 50 000, while the luxurious properties sell for over EUR 120 000.
March 25, 2014 Environment Minister: The Karadere Project Will Not Be Approved
The hotel project in Karadere will not get environmental approval, as the area is in two Natura 2000 zones, said Bulgaria's Environment Minister Iskra Mihailova.
"For us the Black Sea Eco Garden Resort project must start again from scratch," Mihailova said in an interview for Bulgaria's TV7. She added that the investor must limit the project within the legal possibilities and only then the ministry would consider its application for environmental permit.
"Without such evaluations, without an analysis of how the resort will affect the environment, this project doesn't exist for us," she said.
According to Mihailova, the memorandum for understanding between the Government and the investor Madara Europe, does not mean that the project received an environmental evaluation.
"Furthermore, this project is not officially declared, the Environment and Waters Ministry doesn't know about it," Mihailova said.
She added that in her opinion the standard rule for each investor is to check if his project can be realized in Bulgaria within the legal framework, before applying for anything.
Meanwhile, Scott Perkins, member of the board of directors of Madara Europe said in the morning talkshow of another TV channel, that he hoped the construction will start in September. He denied the reports that the company had "a friend in the government" and explained that his colleague was just making a joke.
Perkins explained that the company has amended the project in accordance with the Government requirements and gave some vague explanations who the owners of Madara Europe are.
"We are positive that we're going to build in Karadere," Perkins said. "We've been here for seven years. We invested seven years in this project."
Karadere is one of the last virgin beach along Bulgaria's Black Sea coast and is a favourite spot for camping and extreme water sports. It is part of the Natura 2000 network, in the protected area Kamchiyska Planina, for the conservation of bird species and protected area Shkorpilovtsi Beach for the conservation of the conservation of natural habitats, wild flora and fauna.
The government decision to grant Madara Europe an Investor Class A certificate, sparked a new wave of anti-government and environmentalist protests. The latest one will take place in Sofia on Tuesday evening.
March 24, 2014 Construction At Bulgaria's Karadere To Start In September
The construction of the Black Sea Eco Garden Resort at the Karadere area will start in September 2014, said Minister of Economy and Energy Dragomir Stoinev.
The construction will continue through September 2017, according to Stoinev who presented the project at the Monday meeting of Bulgaria's government.
The project, however, must obtain an ecological evaluation, before getting a construction permit.
The government decision from March 19 to green-light the controversial project and grant it a first class investor certificate sparked a new wave of anti-government and environmentalist protests throughout Bulgaria. The most recent took place in Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna on Sunday. Also on Sunday there was a rally in favour of the project in the town of Byala, near Karadere.
According to the public records of the March 19 government session all ministers were in favour.
Karadere is one of the last virgin beach along Bulgaria's Black Sea coast and is a favourite spot for camping and extreme water sports. It is part of the Natura 2000 network, in the protected area Kamchiyska Planina, for the conservation of bird species and protected area Shkorpilovtsi Beach for the conservation of the conservation of natural habitats, wild flora and fauna.
The investor in the controversial project Black Sea Eco Garden Resort is the shrouded in anonymity company Madara Europe, allegedly registered in an offshore area.
The holiday complex is to span over 247 decares, which will include three hotel buildings, 1200 separate residential units, service buildings, a marina and public service areas. The investors promise 500 new jobs.
The government's decision clashes with the stance of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), which submitted to Parliament a draft memorandum on banning construction works on Black Sea coast areas in 2013.
March 7, 2014 Bulgaria Ranks among Britons' Preferred Holiday Real Estates
Bulgaria is currently the tenth most preferred destination by Britons who want to purchase vacation housing.
The country has once again made its way into a list created by TheMoveChannel.com, a website reflecting British predilections for summertime immovables.
With some 1.6% of property inquiries to the website, it has moved 5 places up in February.
Last year, Bulgaria was somewhere between 15th and 20th, suffering an unexpected blow after it had been ranking among top 5 holiday property sellers for a long time.
The first ten countries in the list also include US, France, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Canada, Turkey, Australia and Italy.
March 4, 2014 Some 350,000 Russians Own Property in Bulgaria
More than 10,000 Russian citizens have become homeowners in Bulgaria in 2013 alone, according to Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria Yuri Isakov.
"Russian buyers occupy a leading position on the local real estate market, some 300-350 thousand Russians own property in Bulgaria," Isakov said in an interview for Bulgaria's Focus news agency.
"Having arrived in Bulgaria as tourists, many Russian citizens have fallen in love with your country and have decided to stay here. I can say with certainty that the majority of them are satisfied with their choice and feel very well here," the Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria stated.
According to Isakov, "despite the lower intensity of new housing estates construction and the notorious Bulgarian real estate market saturation, Russian interest in buying property here has been preserved."
Bulgaria was visited by 700,000 Russians in 2013, some 480,000 of them spent their summer holidays at Bulgaria's Black Sea resorts. Meanwhile, Russian tourists are increasingly interested in ski and spa tourism in Bulgaria, Isakov claimed.
February 26, 2014 Bulgarian Seaside Rivals Sochi in Property Market Competitiveness
The Russian city of Sochi is losing its competitiveness for seaside property in favour of other countries like Bulgaria, due to high costs.
This forecast was made in an article posted on the website of The Moscow Times, a Russian English-language newspaper.
The author claims that a property boom in Sochi after this year's Olympics is not very likely. Starting prices at the Black Sea resort are close to USD 1,700 per square meter, whereas Bulgarian rivals can boast with half this sum.
"Moreover, better quality of some services in Bulgaria comes together with interest-free 3-year mortgages", Evgenia Starkova, a Russian property entrepreneur has told The Moscow Times.
The director of another real estate agency explained that Russian middle-class citizens preferred Bulgarian seaside, while the better-off ones opted for Spain or Italy.
Short travel by plane, the more moderate Bulgarian climate in summer, and the fact that a large number of Bulgarians have studied Russian at school add to the reasons many Russians choose the country.
The seaside city of Sochi showed off this February with the most expensive Olympics in history, with investments worth more than USD 50 B.
Russian businesses have said that they expect tourists and buyers will be attracted to the destination long after the Games, due to its climate, the combination of mountains and sea, and also to other upcoming sport events that are scheduled to take place later at the resort.
However, high prices turn away potential Sochi home owners, with a mere 700 apartments changing hands every year.
February 24, 2014 Bulgaria's Agricultural Land Records Price Hike
The average price of agricultural land in Bulgaria has increased by 313% in the last 13 years, according to statistics.
In 2013, two-thirds of all real estate transactions were for agricultural land, an analysis of the Agricultural Marketing Information System shows. Prices increased by 4.6% in 2013 compared to the previous year.
Most of the transactions were for agricultural land in northwestern Bulgaria. The most expensive agricultural land is in northcentral Bulgaria with an average of BGN 560 per decare. In 2013, prices in the region have increased by some 11%. Land in the north Black Sea region of Balchik is sold for BGN 1250-1350 per decare.
February 21, 2014 Office Rents in Bulgaria Among the Cheapest in Europe
The office rents in Bulgaria are among the cheapest in Europe, shows a survey of the Cushman&Wakefield international consultancy.
The only European countries, where the prices are lower are Cyprus, Croatia, Estonia and Macedonia. In the global list Bulgaria is at the 60-th position.
The analysis of the data shows that the average rent per square meter of office space in downtown Sofia for 2013 was EUR 223. This sum covers the rent of an average of EUR 12.5 per square meter per month, plus the additional expenses for property management and utility bills.
For comparison, the average price per square meter per annum in London is EUR 2122. The offices in Sofia are also considerably cheaper than in Warsaw where the rents are by 77% higher, Budapest (35% higher) and Bucharest (34% more expensive).
February 3, 2014 Bulgarian Construction Sector Emerging from Crisis
Bulgaria's construction sector is adapting to the market situation and is clearly showing signs of overcoming the crisis, according to the National Statistical Institute.
The construction of 591 residential buildings of 286,640 sq.m. gross floor area began in Q4 2013, NSI data show.
Residential buildings construction decreased by 14% and their total area - by 2.6% compared to Q3 of the same year.
The issued construction permits for residential buildings in Q4 decreased by 12%, for apartments - by 2.8% and by 9.1% for gross floor area. However, the decrease was mainly due to seasonal factors.
On an annual basis, construction permits for new residential buildings increased by 4%, 15.6%, and 14.2% for apartments and gross floor area, respectively.
The number of administrative buildings under construction has increased by 20% and the gross floor area has doubled in Q4 of 2013, compared to the same period of previous year. Nonetheless, construction permits in this segment of the market have dropped by 25%.
The largest number of new buildings is reported in the districts of Burgas - 147 residential and 98 other buildings; Plovdiv - 77 residential, 7 administrative and 54 other buildings; Varna - 52 residential and 31 other buildings, Sofia - 33 residential and 35 others buildings, Sofia (city) - 37 residential and 23 other buildings.
January 30, 2014 New Mallification Wave to Hit Sofia in Autumn 2014
The process of mallification continues in the western and southern districts of Bulgaria's capital Sofia with three new enormous shopping malls due to open this autumn.
The three schemes under construction - Plaza West, Mega Mall and Sofia Ring Mall - will bring the process of mallification to its final, mature stage, according to experts from Colliers realtor.
No more shopping centers are in the pipeline.
The opening of furniture giant IKEA, which took place in September 2011, stimulated the competition in this segment, being a major determining factor for the price and product policy of many operators on the market.
While malls and shopping developments continue to be clustered in Sofia, the mallification ambitions of other big cities have been hit hard by the raging economic slowdown and shrinking demand.
The only exception is the northern town of Pleven, where Panorama Mall is to welcome its first customers in April.
The country ranked first in the European Union in the number of new shopping malls in the first half of the 2010, but now the number of malls is on the slide.
Some of the announced and planned projects have been delayed, while others may never make it off the drawing board.
The Danube town of Ruse, northern Bulgaria, is an example of developments on the retail market and the construction of malls in particular across Bulgaria.
Out of the seven separate new shopping malls initially planned, five got were under construction, but only three opened their doors to clients. Royal City Center, Mall Ruse and Mega Mall Ruse are still operating, but do not enjoy high occupancy rates
January 29, 2014 Interest in Bulgaria's Luxurious Properties on the Rise
Bulgaria's market for mid-luxurious and luxurious properties is on the rise, shows data of the Colliers real estate company.
"The number of deals in such properties has increased by 15%", said Tania Emilova of Colliers.
According to her the growing demand and decreasing supply have led to distinct shortage of quality residential real estate property in the second half of 2013. She expects the shortage to increase further in 2014.
The analysis of Colliers shows that in 2013 the most active buyers were seeking a property in a gated community in Sofia, who had been postponing the purchase of a first home.
The main factor in choosing a home remains the correlation between price, quality and infrastructure and some buyers were willing to pay more to get what they want.
The most sought were the 2 and 3-bedroom apartments and houses. The data shows that the sales of 2-bedroom apartments has doubled year-on-year and comprise 47% of all real estate deals. Only 8% of the buyers had a mortgage and one fifth of the apartments were bought as an investment.
The average price of residential properties in the mid-luxurious and the luxurious segment varies between EUR 850 and 1600 per sq/m.
The company expects that the market of such real estate will remain steady in 2014.
January 23, 2014 1.2% Dwelling's Price Drop in Bulgaria Q4 2014 Y/Y
The market price index of dwellings in Bulgaria for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to the third quarter of 2013 was 99.9%, i.e. the average decrease of the market prices of the dwellings was 0.1%.
The data was released Thursday by the National Statistics Institute, NSI.
The market price index of dwellings for the fourth quarter of 2013 in comparison with the corresponding quarter of the previous year was 98.8%, i.e. the average decrease of the market prices of the dwellings was 1.2%.
In the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to the previous one, a price decrease has been recorded in 20 regional centers and in Sofia Region.
The decrease was more considerable in Vidin - by 3.4%, Kyustendil by - 2.4%, and Blagoevgrad - by 1.8%.
In 7 regional centers a price increase has been recorded.
In the fourth quarter of 2013 the average market price of the dwellings for the whole country was BGN 864.52/sq. m.
The highest average prices were registered in the capital Sofia - BGN 1 456.83/sq. m, followed by Varna - BGN 1 374.50/sq. m and Burgas - BGN 1 112.17/sq. m.
The market price index of the dwellings for the 2013, compared to 2012, was 98.2 %, i.e. the average decrease of the market price of the dwellings was 1.8%.
In 2013, compared to 2012, a price decrease has been recorded in 24 regional centers and in Sofia Region.
The price drop was more considerable in Sliven - by 7.0%, Vratsa - by 6.8 % and in Pazardzhik - by 6.1%. In Veliko Tarnovo the prices remained at the level of the previous year. Price increase has been recorded in Targovishte - by 0.2% and Ruse - by 1.0%.
In 2013, the average market price of the dwellings for the whole country was BGN 865.638/sq. m.
Average prices were the highest in the capital Sofia - BGN 1 439.79/sq. m, followed by Varna - BGN1 390.33/sq. m.
The market price index of the dwellings measures the total relative price change of the prices of existing dwellings - flats (newly built flats, houses and luxury dwellings are excluded). The object of the statistical survey is the prices of flats really sold by households in regional centers.
January 21, 2014 Bulgarian Real Estate Attracts Turkish Businesses
Turkish investors are interested in renting or purchasing real estate property in the South Bulgarian city of Plovdiv.
These are usually businessmen looking for production or trade sites, as well as warehouses, according to the annual analysis of the Association of Realtors in Plovdiv.
So far, the foreign investors interest has not affected the real estate prices in the area and they remain stable.
Among the top property buyers in Bulgaria are citizens and businesses from Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Israel. The prognosis of the realtors is for near future investments from affluent citizens of Middle Eastern and African countries.
The Association of Realtors reports another tendency - the exchange of property between Greeks, Russians and Brits.
Russian citizens are mostly interested in purchasing real estate on the Bulgarian South Black sea coast. Prices there vary between EUR 500 - EUR 1000 per sq.m.
Due to the high demand in the area, new construction flourishes
January 13, 2014 Bulgaria Among Top 20 Property Destinations for Brits
Bulgaria is ranked 14th in the demand for property among British citizens, according to the British website TheMoveChannel.com.
In the ranking for December, Bulgaria climbs up 6 positions. In terms of European countries, Bulgaria is the 8th most popular place for Brits to buy property.
United States and Spain keep the top positions firmly, with a big lead over the rest in rating.
Argentina has seen the highest rise in the ranking, climbing 18 positions, to 6th. Greece, which had dropped considerably during the years of recession, is now recovering, up to 16th place.
British citizens are increasingly buying property in Croatia and Romania as well.
January 6, 2014 Ex Bulgarian Tsar Lists Royal Property for Sale
Bulgaria's former Tsar and Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg and his sister Maria Luisa are selling the royal residence in the town of Banya, near the town of Karlovo in central Bulgaria.
The new was reported Monday by the Bulgarian Trud (Labor) daily.
The property is listed for sale on the website of the Russian real estate company "Rossiyskiy Auktsionnoy Dom" (Russian Auction Home), and its price is EUR 2.5 M. The ad states that a total of 9500 square meters of land with buildings with a total area of 1000 square meters are available for sale. It is noted that the house is a monument of culture and its facade cannot be changed. Listed advantages of the property include the adjacent park whose trees were planted personally by Simeon's father, Tsar Boris III, and the house being located near mineral springs.
The notice further states that the house is habitable, has staff and Simeon visits it often.
Other Bulgarian property is listed on the same Russian site, including part of the assets of the shipyard in Burgas, projects for resorts, as well as a former military airport, according to "Trud"
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