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1705 Years From
The Edict of Toleration

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 1, 2016
Bulgaria's Sofia Property Prices Up By EUR 100

Prices of real estate property in Sofia have gone up by EUR 100 per sq m since the beginning of the year until October.

According to data of the agency, prices of real estate have increased to EUR 900 per sq m in the third quarter, compared to EUR 800 per sq m in the beginning of the year.

With respect to new construction, average prices vacillate around EUR 1000 per sq m, while these are about EUR 80-100 lower on the secondary market.

“Decisions to buy a home are taken more and more quickly due to the insufficient quality of supply”.

According to Ms Stoykova - CEO of a big Bulgarian estate agency - there has been 10% growth in the number of deals over the period.


November 2, 2016
Boom of Administrative Buildings Expected

In the third quarter of 2016, construction licenses for administrative buildings increased by 37.8%, compared to the previous quarter, while their area marked a 315% growth.

Compared to a year ago, licenses increased by 27.5%, while the area of administrative buildings increased by 81.6%.

This is happening against the background of a decrease in the construction of residential buildings and licenses for such buildings, showed data of the National Statistical Institute.


October 25, 2016
Number of Russians Buying Property in Bulgaria Dwindles in 2 Years

A threefold decrease in the number of Russian nationals buying property in Bulgaria has been registered since 2014, data shows.

Russian-speaking candidates have dwindled after the events in Ukraine, news website reports, citing a report of Green Life Development and Resorts.

However, the property market has retained s stable level since the beginning of 2015, Teofil Petkov, the company's CEO, is quoted as saying.

While the number of transactions has not changed substantially, the motives and profile of buyers has, with more people from Western Europe seeking to acquire such properties. Some of these are Bulgarians willing to invest their savings, the company has said.

The issue of Russian nationals buying properties in Bulgaria was raised again after a Russian MP-elect and journalist said his country had bought half of the country's coastline.


October 18, 2016
Business Property Deals Amount to EUR 225 M for January-September 2016

Real estate deals with business property in Bulgaria, signed over the period January-September 2016, amounted to EUR 225 M, showed a survey carried out by consultancy company Forton and unlisted company Cushman&Wakefield.

Nearly 70% of the contracts were signed for profitable assets – hotels, office buildings, commercial and industrial space, the biggest share being accounted for by hotel acquisitions.

According to the survey, the business real estate market has entered a new phase, moving from stabilisation to growth.

Office space rent prices maintain a level of EUR 13/sq m, while the rate of return is 8%. Rent office space in the capital varies between 126,000 and 154,000 sq m, with a 60% share accounted for by the IT and outsourcing sectors.

With respect to commercial centres in Bulgaria, a restructuring tendency of weak-performing malls has been recorded.

In 2016, rent prices in commercial centres went up from EUR 27/sq m to EUR 28/sq m. In spite of this, the rate of return decreased by 1%, compared to 2015, reaching 8%.

Data showed that, at present, commercial space in malls covers 718,000 sq m. Growing demand for and increased rent prices have been reported regarding industrial space in Bulgaria, since a mere 15% of total supply on the market is allocated for this purpose.


October 5, 2016
Sofia's Average Price of Real Estate in Construction Higher Than Price of Old Buildings

The average price of real estate property in the construction phase in Sofia is higher than the average price of already constructed old buildings, showed a survey of the construction-investment company BLD for the last quarter, cited by

Real estate property certified with Act 16 built before 2015 was traded at an average price of EUR 868/sq m, while real estate property in the process of construction reached a level of EUR 1019/sq m.

According to the survey, active buyers on the market are divided in two groups at the moment – those who buy their first home and those who look for a change in their quality of life.

The first group of buyers is influenced mostly by the price-quality ratio. They act within the framework of a budget and in accordance with primary criteria – district, infrastructure, proximity of schools etc.

The second group of clients looks for real estate property on the basis of much more detailed criteria – location of the building in the district itself, maintenance of the environment, even neighbours’ profiles.

The activity of the second group of clients determines the increase in prices of property in the construction phase.

“Since the beginning of 2016, there are over 13,000 apartments at different phases of construction in the capital. As a whole, these apartments are being built on the basis of clients’ requirements and not on the individual decisions of investors. This is why the price of new homes is higher,” explained Dimitar Savov, Executive Director of BLD.

“One of the most significant factors is the availability of garages. The price of garages in high-quality, new real estate property is between EUR 10,000 and EUR 14,000,” added BLD.


October 4, 2016
Bulgaria 'Ignoring N-Korea Illicit Real-Estate Deals'

North Korea has been generating hard currency through dealings in Bulgaria, Yonhap news agency says in a report.

Citing diplomatic sources, the agency says "real estate dealings in Bulgaria" done by Pyongyang have resulted in raising calls for Sofia to "intervene amid global efforts to choke off sources of revenue" for the North Korean regime.

The North Korean embassy has allegedly lent part of its office buildings in Sofia to business entities specializing in wedding ceremonies and IT, Yonhap says.

Diplomatic personnel is barred from carrying out business activities with real estate registered for diplomatic purposes, under the Vienna Convention.

Bulgaria has not taken any action despite being informed of the wrongdoing by Seoul authorities.

The Foreign Ministry in Sofia has refused to comment.


August 8, 2016
Newly Built Homes in Bulgaria Increase 3.2% Y/Y in Q2 2016, Dwellings Up 15.6%

The number of completed housing projects in Bulgaria rose by 3.2% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2016, reaching 521, the country’s statistical office NSI announced on Monday.

The number of dwellings in newly built residential buildings increased by 15.6% on the year to a total of 2,248 for the period April-June 2016, the NSI said in a statement citing preliminary data.

Newly built dwellings with two rooms were 39.1% of the total in the second quarter of 2016, followed by dwellings with three rooms with a share of 27.9%.The number of dwellings with six and more rooms had the lowest share among newly built dwellings - 2.7%

Houses comprised 72.6% of all housing projects completed and ready for use in the second quarter of 2016,followed by blocks of flats with a share of 15.3%.

Plovdiv Region led in terms of the number of residential buildings completed in the second quarter (81) followed by Burgas (80) and Varna (79), the NSI said in a statement.


August 3, 2016
Housing Construction Permits Rise in Bulgaria in Q2 2016

The number of permits for the construction of residential buildings issued in Bulgaria in the second quarter of 2016 increased by 6.7% year-on-year, reaching 1,216, the country’s statistical office NSI announced on Wednesday.

Those permits covered with 4,438 dwellings (an increase of 28.5% over the second quarter of 2015) with combined gross building area of 604,825 sq. m. (a year-on-year increase of 17.9%).

The number of permits for the construction of new office buildings and other types of buildings issued by the municipal authorities decreased in the second quarter compared to 2015, the NSI said.

The authorities issued permits for the construction of 37 administrative buildings in the second quarter of 2016, down 15.9% year-on-year, while the gross building area increased by 38.9%, reaching 22, 798 sq. m.

The issued permits for the construction of other buildings decreased by 10.2% on the year in the second quarter and their gross building area dropped by 42.1% compared to the second quarter of last year.

Sofia City led the list of Bulgarian regions with the highest number of permits for the construction of new residential buildings issued in the second quarter of 2016, 186. Plovdiv Region followed with 160, ahead of Varna Region with 123.

There were 836 housing starts with 2,961 dwellings and 418 895 sq. m of gross building area in the second quarter of 2016. As compared to the second quarter of 2015 housing starts decreased by 1.3%, the number of dwellings dropped by 18.4% and the gross building area - by 9.9%.


July 10, 2016
Real Estate Agents Note Increase in Sales on Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast

Real estate agents report increase in the sales of property on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.

According to them, the interest towards purchasing property in new buildings is returning and the market is recovering after the stagnation in the past years.

In the two largest Bulgarian Black Sea cities, the interest is much more considerable in Burgas, where sales have increased by more than 12 %, while the corresponding figure in Varna has amounted to only around 1 %.

There have been more sales in towns and resorts on the northern Black Sea coast, with the town of Byala registering an increase of more than 18 %, while in Balchik the corresponding figure has been around 9 %.

Sales in the more popular towns and resorts on the southern coast, such as Nesebar, Pomorie and Tsarevo, have decreased, private bTV station informed on Sunday.

Although the sales there might have decreased in absolute numbers, the figures were still quite high in relative terms. For example, the number of sales in Nesebar exceeded 500 in the first three months of this year.

Most often, customers are young working people aged between 25 and 40, for whom this is their first own property.

They place importance on the quality of construction and the building materials used as well as having good neighbours.

Along with Bulgarians, Russians also remain quite active on the market, despite a drop of between 20 % and 80 % in the number of Russian customers reported by different agencies.

Among the main reasons for the drop in the number of Russian customers are the sanctions imposed against Russia, the economic crisis, the devaluation of the rouble and the bans on Russian civil servants to purchase property abroad.

The forecast for successful tourist season on the Black Sea coast is expected to have positive influence on the real estate market.


June 22, 2016
High Demand for Office Space in Bulgaria to Continue in 2016 - Industry

Last year’s increased demand for office space in Bulgaria has been carried over into the first half of 2016, setting the stage for active and dynamic trading in the next 12 to 18 months.

“It seems that the increased demand for office space will continue. At the same time, projects that entered the market over the past year as well as projects under construction in established office locations will increase supply in response to higher demand from tenants,”.

Newly opened companies were usually looking for office space of about 200 to 300 square meters but demand for offices of 700-800 sq.m. was not an exception.

“The tenants are mostly companies active in outsourcing, financial intermediation services, information technologies. Often, these companies do not serve the Bulgarian market and have their customers abroad,” the Sofia-based real estate agency said.

Occupancy rates of 90% to 95% have been registered for offices in good locations which also feature good functional distribution of areas.

The monthly rental rates for offices in class A buildings vary from EUR 10 to EUR 13 per sq.m.


June 9, 2016
Hyatt to Enter Bulgaria with Five-Star Hotel in Sofia

One of the largest hotel chains in the world,Hyatt,is entering Bulgaria with a hotel in central Sofia, the Bulgarian Tourism Ministry announced on Thursday.

The announcement followed a meeting of Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova with Takuya Aoyama, Vice President Acquisitions & Development of Hyatt International Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EAME) and Lachezar Todorov, CEO of Terra Tour Service, the Bulgarian partner to the project.

"The hotel chain is of very high class and will give a new impetus to the development of our tourism sector," Angelkova told reporters, according to a statement from the ministry.

"We have been working towards the implementation of this investment intentionfor more than seven years and we believe that now the right time has come," commented Lachezar Todorov.

Takuya Aoyama noted that Bulgaria welcomes many tourists and Hyatt want them to stay longer in the future hotel in Sofia.

The first Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bulgaria will be built in Sofia at the site of the former hotel and cinema complex Serdika just opposite the monument of Vasil Levski and across the street from National Art Gallery Square 500.

The five-star hotel is expected to open in 2018. It will feature 190 rooms, three restaurants, a hall area of 1,200 sq.m. suitable for receptions, exhibitions and conferences.

Sofia-based Terra Tour Service is part of Agrohold group founded in 1995. Тhe company concentrates the holding group’s interests in the field of investment, construction and operation of real estate and tourist sites in Bulgaria.


May 11, 2016
Bulgaria Posts 63% Rise in Number of Dwellings in New Buildings Completed in Q1

The number of new residential buildings completed in Bulgaria in the first quarter of 2016 was little changed on an annual basis, while the number of dwellings in them has jumped by more than 60%, official statistics showed on Wednesday.

Acording to preliminary data, a total of 543 new residential buildings were completed in the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 1.1% over the same period last year, the National Statistical Institute said in a quarterly survey on Wednesday.

The number of dwellings in completed new buildings, however, has increased by 62.9% on the year in the period January-March 2016, reaching 2,291.

Houses accounted for 71% of new residential buildings completed in the first quarter of 2016, followed by blocks of flats with 17%. As compared to the first quarter of 2015 an increase of the number of newly built blocks of flats was observed, the NSI said.

Burgas, Varna and Plovdiv led the list of Bulgarian regions with the largest number of new residential buildings completed in the first quarter of the year.

Newly built dwellings completed in the first quarter of 2016 had total useful space of 192,400 square meters (sq.m.), an annual increase of 45.4%. The living floor space increased by 44.6%, reaching 122,300 sq. m.

Two-room dwellings had the highest share among new residential buildings completed in the first quarter (37.3%), followed by three-room dwellings (29.3%)


May 5, 2016
Building Permits Issued in Bulgaria Rise 3.4% Y/Y in Q1

Bulgarian municipal authorities have issued building permits for the construction of 993 residential buildings comprising 3,434 dwellings with total gross building area of 508,473 square meters (sq. m.) in the first quarter of 2016.

As compared to the first quarter of 2015, the number of issued building permits for new residential buildings increased by 3.4%, but the number of dwellings in them fell byby 20.1% and the gross building area decreased by 9.0%, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said in a quarterly report released on Wednesday.

The highest number of building permits for new construction was issued in the following districts: Plovdiv - 143, Sofia City -139, Burgas - 124 and Varna - 100.

In the first quarter of 2016, permits for the construction of 43 office buildings with gross building area of 87,744 sq. m.were also issued.

The figures marked a 79.2% increase in the number of issued building permits over the first quarter of last year and a surge of 135.0% in their gross building area.

Housing starts in Bulgaria increased by 10.7% year-on-year to 601 in the first quarter of 2016, the NSI said. The number of dwellings in those buildings, however, dropped by 19.0% to 2,605. The gross building area also decreased, falling by 16.9% to 353,542 sq. m.


April 18, 2016
Sofia Residential Property Market Makes Strong Start to 2016 - Industry

A significant rise in sales, a sustained upward trend in prices and great interest in newly built homes have marked a strong start to the housing property market in Sofia in the first quarter of 2016, a Bulgarian real estate agency has said.

“Buyers were much more confident in buying residential property even before the start of construction works,” Polina Stoykova MRICS, Managing Director of Bulgarian Properties, said in a statement on Monday

Yet, buyers seemed to be lagging behind market trends, with a big share of demand for apartments that cost up to EUR 50,000 while the offer of such properties was rather limited, particularly in popular neighborhoods of Sofia, Stoykova commented.

The average price of sold apartments in Sofia was EUR 835 per square meter in the first quarter of the year, according to data of the real estate firm.

The average price of residential property in Sofia exceeded EUR 800 per sq.m. in the last quarter of 2015 for the first time since 2011 and the upward trend has been maintained with prices consolidating at levels above EUR 800, according to the company.

Apartments in Sofia sold for an average of EUR 815/sq.m. in the fourth quarter of 2015 and EUR 770 in the first quarter of the same year. Accordingly, the increase in property prices in Sofia for the first quarter of 2016 was 2.5% compared to the previous quarter and 8.4% year-on-year.

Half of total sales were newly built apartments or apartments under construction, including buildings at a very initial stage of construction, Bulgarian Properties said.

The average price of sold property in new buildings was EUR 950/sq.m. in the first quarter of 2016, about EUR 100/sq.m. above market average.

The average price of purchased apartments in Sofia for the first three months of the year was EUR 79,800, while the price paid for newly built residential properties was EUR 90,000, which illustrates the buyers’ willingness to pay higher prices for quality new projects, the real estate agency commented.

Apartments with two and three bedrooms had equal shares in sales over the past three months and together accounted for 85% of total sales of housing property in Sofia.

“It is noteworthy that there was an increase in the share of purchased three- bedroom apartments, with most of them being in new buildings in the early stages of implementation which allows for bringing together neighbouring apartments to make more spacious homes with more rooms to meet the needs of the buyers,” the company said.


February 11, 2016
Moscow Launches Tender for Kamchiya Compound in Bulgaria

The Kamchiya compound, located at the Bulgarian Black Sea coastline and owned by the authorities in Moscow, has been put out to a tender, TASS news agency has said.

Located in the region of Varna, "Sanatorium and Health Compound" of Kamchiya (SOK Kamchiya) is a compound that operates as a school, summer school camp, a "culture house" for children, a sports facility, a sanatorium and a wellness center.

Its initial tender price is set at RUB 6 B (worth EUR 65.8 M as of February 11, 2016). Offers are to be submitted by April 12, 2016, and the tender will take place on April 19.

According to documentation cited by TASS, Kamchiya is an all-year-round "resort town" that can receive up to 2000 guests at a time.

Kamchiya started all-year-round training and recreation for Russian children and adolescents in 2010. Once a resort under the Communist regime (growing out of a small village), millions in investment were poured into the resort during the 2000s by the Moscow administration through an investment project launched by then Mayor Yury Luzhkov.


January 27, 2016
Sofia Apartment Prices, Sales Volumes Increase

The average price of sold apartments in Sofia has increased in the fourth quarter of 2015, exceeding EUR 800 per square meter for the first time since 2011.

According to data compiled by the real estate firm, apartments in Sofia have sold for an average of EUR 815/sq.m. in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase compared with EUR 794 euro/ sq.m. for the third quarter and EUR 764 sq.m. for the fourth quarter of 2014.

The average cost of apartments sold in Sofia in the October-December period of last year was EUR 75,280.

The fourth-quarter data bring to EUR 790/sq.m. the average price of apartments in Sofia sold last year. This is an increase of EUR 45/sq.m over 2014. The average price of sold apartments in the Bulgarian capital city was EUR 70,200 last year.

The asking prices and the actual transaction prices converged further last year, with the gap shrinking below EUR 100/sq.m. - the smallest difference in years.

Apartments in Sofia were offered at an average price of EUR 880/sq.m. last year, an increase of 2% over 2014.

"2014 had been the year of the return of the buyers; 2015 brought a noticeable upturn of the property market in Sofia. Confidence has returned - in the property market and in property as an investment asset”.

Based on data from state-run Registry Agency, the real estate firm has calculated that the number of sales of apartments in Sofia has also increased.

A total of 7541 deals were were registed in Sofia in the fourth quarter of last year, up 8% compared with the same period of 2014.

“For 2015, we have measured the largest increase in sales in Sofia in the last few years. A total of 24,379 sales have been registered against 20,863 for 2014, representing an increase of nearly 17%,” the company said.

The real estate firm expects that apartment prices in Sofia will increase by about 7% this year compared with 2015. The number of deals is also expected to increase.

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Above information courtesy of Bulgarian National Radio, and Financial Times


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