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  BLOG - 2010 | PROPERTIES IN BULGARIA (a service of easyBG Ltd.)

 

November 22, 2010
Bulgaria Real Estate Investment Market to 'Take Longer to Pick Up'

It is going to take a little longer before the real estate investment market in Bulgaria improves due to the opportunities available at the moment in western Europe, says the managing director of Tishman Management Company.

"A number of the American and European investors would prefer to invest in those markets than to be investing in the emerging markets like Bulgaria, where the additional risks are not truly reflected in yields," Julian Edwards, Managing Director of Tishman International Ltd. and Managing Director of Tishman Management Company, EOOD, said in an interview for Novinite.com and its "International Survey: Bulgaria-USA."

 

November 15, 2010
SAC Introduces New Sustainability Standards in Bulgaria

Tishman International Companies and GE Real Estate have introduced new sustainability standards for commercial space in Bulgaria through their major Bulgarian project, Sofia Airport Center (SAC).

Tishman International and GE Real Estate presented Sofia Airport Center at the BalREc conference in Sofia dedicated to real estate and construction investments and sustainable development. Nikola Ignatov, "Properties Management" executive at Tishman International, presented SAC "green advantage" in the context of investment efficiency.

"Tishman International is proud of its pioneer role in the introduction of sustainable development. Our project Sofia Airport Center is a vivid example of that – SAC has the first in Bulgaria office building, which is LEED-certified. Our participation in the BalREc conference shows Tishman's commitment to green construction and providing information about successful Western practices in this sector. We work to encourage international investments in order to introduce sustainable construction models in Eastern Europe," commented Alan D. Levy, President of Tishman International Companies.

 

November 11, 2010
Bulgaria's Sofia Tops Real Estate Prices Drop in Europe

Sofia is the capital with the biggest drop of real estate prices in Central and Eastern Europe for 2009, according to analysis of the consultant company ERA Europe.

Compared to 2008, last year the real estate prices in Sofia dropped by 22%, putting the Bulgarian capital at the top of the list for the region.

According to the analysis, compared to the whole Europe, Sofia ranks third, left behind only by Dublin and Lisbon, which registered a 26% and 24% drop of real estate prices in 2009.

Bulgaria's capital is followed by Bucharest, with a drop of 15%, and Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Prague, Paris and Athens, which had more moderate decreases of 5% to 10%.

Data showed that Bern was the only capital to register increase of the real estate prices in 2009 – 10%.

The countries that are the least affected by the recession are the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and Turkey. The reasons are different in every country but there is a category that is valid for all of them and this is the lower consumer confidence and more sellers.

 

November 1, 2010
Plovdiv Airport Ready to Meet 1st London Passengers

The Plovdiv Regional Governor, Ivan Totev, will attend the ceremony for the official launch of regular flights between London and Bulgaria's second largest city of Plovdiv.

The flights would be executed by the budget career Ryanair.

The first passengers will land in Plovdiv at 11 am Tuesday at the Plovdiv airport brand new terminal.

Totev says regular flights from and to Plovdiv are one of the main steps towards the Region's economic recovery. Upon taking office, the Governor vowed to make the airport development a priority.

"After one year of determination and thanks to the joint effort of the State, the airport's management and the municipalities, the launch of the regular line of the Irish Ryanair is now a fact," Totev says.

 

October 26, 2010
Green Shoots of Revival for Bulgaria Construction Sector 'Next Year'

A mix of global slow-down, restricted financing and withdrawing investors have brought Bulgaria's construction sector to a stalemate, but entrepreneurs hope that the first green shoots of revival will emerge in the spring next year.

"We are in for a tough winter, but hope that the spring next year will bring the first signs of recovery," Svetoslav Glosov, chairman of the Bulgarian construction chamber, commented on Tuesday as the sector celebrated its professional holiday.

"This year the construction sector suffered its heaviest blow, marking a more than 20% decrease over last year," says Ivan Boykov, Executive Director of the chamber.

Just two years ago Bulgaria, a confident European Union new member, was celebrated as a property hotspot with healthy growth in all segments. These days, frozen projects and bankrupt investors paint a gloomy picture and there is growing alarm that the big boom is on the brink of becoming the big bust.

 

October 22, 2010
Bulgaria's Apartment Prices Up by 6% in 2010 Q3

The average apartment price in Bulgaria declined by 6% in July-September 2010, year-on-year, according to data of the National Statistical Institute.

Thus, in the second quarter of 2010, a square meter of apartment space cost BGN 959.79 on average.

Compared with the second quarter of the year, the average apartment price went down by 1.2%.

The highest average price per square meter is in Sofia – BGN 1592.58, Varna – BGN 1592.58, and Burgas – BGN 1164.88. The apartments in Kyustendil are the cheapest – BGN 575.46 per square meter.

Smaller cities around the country such as Gabrovo and Targovishte saw the average apartment prices drop by more than 6% year-on-year.

 

October 19, 2010
Sofia Office Market Sees Signs of Recovery

After a period of relatively low activity, the Bulgarian capital Sofia is seeing signs of recovery in the office market, according to a survey by Colliers International.

The net absorption for the first half of 2010 has marked a 27% increase compared to the previous six months, the most active companies being mainly from the telecom, outsourcing and IT sectors, shows data of Colliers International.

The vacancy level has reached 21% of the total stock and was higher in Class A than Class B buildings - a testament to the price sensitivity of the market.

"Key parameters on the Sofia office real estate market remain the rental levels, location and functionality of the buildings", comments Anton Slavchev, Manager, Office Department at Colliers International.

According to him, more transactions on attractive rental levels and conditions should be expected in the coming months, the major driver of demand being the effect of further consolidation and global mergers and acquisitions and the fact that companies can currently get very favorable leasing conditions.

 

October 12, 2010
Residential Properties Prices in Sofia Stable

Prices of properties in Sofia have been stabilized, according to data from Bulgarian real estate agency "Bulgarian Properties" and credit holding "Creditex & Hypocredit."

According to the data, the main reason for the stabilization of prices is the reduced construction of new apartments. The National Statistics Institute has announced that construction permits have decreased by 1/3 in the last year.

Another reason is the resumed crediting, which makes sellers more relentless during negotiations.

"Two months before the end of 2010, we can conclude that this year did not show any substantial change in the volume of deals or in prices of properties, in comparison to 2009," the Operation Director of "Bulgarian Properties," Polina Stoykov, said.

 

October 4, 2010
Rockefeller to Acquire Set for Bulgarian Move Europa - FT

Rockefeller Group, the US real estate company, is said to be in talks to buy a controlling stake in property fund manager Europa, which has repeatedly declared its interest in the Bulgarian market.

Rockefeller, established in 1928 by John D Rockefeller to develop the eponymous centre in Manhattan, which is now owned by Japan's Mitsubishi Estate, is in the final stages of acquiring a 75% stake in Europa Capital in a deal that will create a USD 20 B fund management group, the Financial Times reported.

London-based Europa is a private equity real estate fund manager with more than EUR 2 B of asset under management.

It has raised six opportunistic real estate funds and invested more than EUR 6 B in 17 European countries since 1995. It is currently investing its third regional fund as well as another focused on Eastern Europe.

The real estate fund manager Europa Capital declared its interest in the Bulgarian market as early as in 2007, when it said it is looking at a commercial center in Bulgaria.

After the recession set in, the company was forced to postpone its plans, but in March this year it announced its determination to make a comeback in Eastern Europe after an absence of more than two years. It said it is in talks for the purchase of an office project in Sofia.

The company says it is planning to invest over EUR 100 M in key markets like Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Western Balkans.

 

September 9, 2010
Luzhkov Opens Moscow-Owned Resort on Bulgarian Sea Coast

Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov have foramlly inaugurated a resort complex on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast owned by the Russian capital.

The Raduga complex, which is part of the Kamchiya resort, was built in 12 months, with an investment of about EUR 40 M.

The complex is owned by the city of Moscow, which invested in it in order to turn it into a recreational facility for Russian kids and pensioners.

The "Children's Health Camp Raduga", as it is formally called, has about 600 beds and the capacity to host a staff of 100. About 11 000 Russian kids and 3500 war veterans are expected to stay at the resort in 2011.

 

September 7, 2010
Real Estate Prices at Bulgaria's Potential F1 Track Skyrocket

A week after it was announced that Bulgaria might built a Formula 1 circuit, the real estate prices at its future site near Sofia have skyrocketed despite the fact that the initiative has been troubled by an international scandal.

The properties near the village of Dobroslavtsi right outside of Sofia to the northwest, which is expected to host the Formula 1 racetrack on a former air base plot, increased by 50%-75% overnight, according to bTV.

The private channel reports that the rumors around the future F1 site are not the only the locals at Dobroslavtsi have been targeted by buyers for their land as three years ago a Spanish company bought 40 hectares close to the village at about EUR 10-12 per square meter.

 

September 6, 2010
Greece's Bluehouse to Ink EUR 27 M Deal in Bulgaria

Greek investment fund Bluehouse Capital is to acquire four properties of Sofia-based ERG Capital 1 and ERG Capital 2 REITs in a EUR 27 M deal, according to media reports.

Bluehouse Capital has already signed preliminary contracts with the two companies, majority-owned by the Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund (BAEF), Dnevnik daily reported, citing insiders to the negotiations.

The Bulgarian subsidiary of real estate consultants Colliers International has been picked as consultant on the deal.

Last year Bluehouse Capital acquired for EUR 27.3 M the building complex Auto Union Centre, which is located in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia and houses an office complex with the same name.

 

July 29, 2010
Cleves Launches New Luxury Rental Project in Sofia

Cleves, a luxury Sofia apartment rentals company. has opened a brand-new 15-apartment development at Cherkovna Str in Sofia’s Oborishte municipality.

Cleves Cherkovna is the company’s most central rental property to date. The new property, which was formally presented to the media Wednesday night, is just to the east of the Doctors Garden. The developer was Prime Property BG REIT.

This is the company’s fourth property to open in Sofia. Cleves already has a Sofia portfolio of 42 apartments for rent at projects in the quarters of Boyana, Izgrev and Manastirski Livadi.

 

July 23, 2010
Fall in Bulgaria Residential Property Prices Slows Down in Q2

The average asking sales prices for residential property in Bulgaria continued to fall, though slightly, in the second quarter of 2010, official data shows.

Residential property recorded a negligible, average decrease of 0.8% for second quarter of the year after falling by 2.3% during the previous quarter, data of the statistics office shows.

The year-on-year comparison shows an average decrease of 9.7%. Prices fell by 7.8% on an annual basis in the first quarter of 2010.

More significant price reductions have been registered in 13 regional centers with the biggest slumps in Gabrovo - 8.3%, Shumen – 7.8% and Vratsa – 6.9%. In Sofia residential prices remained unchanged.

 

July 13, 2010
Tishman Presents 1st LEED Certified Building in Bulgaria at Sofia Airport Center

Thousands of residents and guests of Bulgaria’s Varna attended the opening of the city’s newest shopping and entertainment center – Grand Mall Varna.

The ribbon of Varna’s largest mall was cut by a number of high-profile guests and partners in the project including Eli Egosi, advisor to the CEO of the investor in the project Orchid Developments; His Excellency Noah Gal Gendler, Ambassador of Israel to Bulgaria; Rosen Plevneliev, Bulgaria’s Regional Development Minister; Steven Cliever, Manager of Grand Mall Varna.

All of them tossed coins for good luck and success upon entering the new mall as part of an opening ceremony that included a traditional Bulgarian welcome with freshly baked bread, honey, and salt. The mall management has promised that the visitors of Grand Mall Varna will be able to enjoy a number of special events during its entire first week.

The opening of the complex ahead of schedule was announced Wednesday at a special news conference by the real estate developer and investor, Orchid Developments Group, and two of the major tenants, the international retail giant Carrefour, and Alexandra Group Holding, a Bulgarian operator of the Arena movie theaters.

The construction of Grand Mall Varna started in 2007; over EUR 120 M have been invested in the complex so far, and some 2 000 people have worked on completing the project.

 

June 7, 2010
Polish GTC Builds 3 Shopping Malls in Bulgaria

The Polish company GTC (Globe Trade Centre SA) investment program for Bulgaria amounts to EUR 350 M, the company's management announced Monday.

GTC is building 3 shopping malls and has purchased terrains for the construction of residential and office buildings.

From the 3 malls called “Galeria” (Gallery), the one in the southern city of Stara Zagora is in the most advanced stage and will open during the third quarter of 2010 with 50% of the stores already rented. The mall will introduce for the first time in the city the Inditex group with its brands Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, and Pull & Bear, along with the House, Cropptown, Deichmann brands. The Slovenian Mercator and Cinema City are among the key mall tenants. The investment amount is estimated at EUR 50 M.

 

June 7, 2010
New Office Center to Open in Bulgaria's Capital in Fall 2010

Poligraphia Office Center will open doors in the Bulgarian capital Sofia in Fall 2010, announced Forton International, which is the intermediary of the deal.

The center, which is located on the Tsarigradsko Shousse Blvd, is the result of a project for transforming five old, historic buildings into modern business areas. It has a built-up area of 21 200 sq.m., over 2 200 sq.m. commercial space and 19 000 sq.m. office space, and 230 parking spots.

The complex is at finishing stage and the official opening is scheduled for October 1, 2010. The central entrance and the internal parking are still not ready, but the office interiors are all done.

The complex will feature a restaurant and a coffee shop. The company stated that it is working on finalizing deals for 5 000 sq.m. office space, but refused to reveal specific company names and rent prices.

 

May 27, 2010
Grand Mall Varna Opening Attracts Thousands in Bulgaria's Black Sea City

Thousands of residents and guests of Bulgaria’s Varna attended the opening of the city’s newest shopping and entertainment center – Grand Mall Varna.

The ribbon of Varna’s largest mall was cut by a number of high-profile guests and partners in the project including Eli Egosi, advisor to the CEO of the investor in the project Orchid Developments; His Excellency Noah Gal Gendler, Ambassador of Israel to Bulgaria; Rosen Plevneliev, Bulgaria’s Regional Development Minister; Steven Cliever, Manager of Grand Mall Varna.

All of them tossed coins for good luck and success upon entering the new mall as part of an opening ceremony that included a traditional Bulgarian welcome with freshly baked bread, honey, and salt. The mall management has promised that the visitors of Grand Mall Varna will be able to enjoy a number of special events during its entire first week.

The opening of the complex ahead of schedule was announced Wednesday at a special news conference by the real estate developer and investor, Orchid Developments Group, and two of the major tenants, the international retail giant Carrefour, and Alexandra Group Holding, a Bulgarian operator of the Arena movie theaters.

The construction of Grand Mall Varna started in 2007; over EUR 120 M have been invested in the complex so far, and some 2 000 people have worked on completing the project.

 

May 27, 2010
Bulgaria's Capital Small Housing Market Shows Signs of Recovery

After a temporary retreat, in May investors show renewed interest in the urban real estate market, a study of GreenLife shows.

The buyers are looking for small, but attractive plots, and aim at profiteering from lower land and construction prices. The plots in question are between 500 and 800 square meters at key locations where an apartment building with about 20 units can be built. The sale of such apartments is feasible in the near future, which can make a new construction project very beneficial despite the fact demand is still smaller than supply, according to the GreenLife experts.

The land sales' price is estimated at EUR 250 per square meter, which can bring the investor profits of about EUR 375 000 for the entire building in one year. The favorable factors are the low labor cost, abundance of materials and lack of competition.

Investors are, however, looking to purchase only attractive and promising plots, whose owners want and need cash, which, on one side, would help the latter cover current bills and prevent them from huge losses in case the investor files for bankruptcy – before the economic crisis the bankruptcy risk was estimated at 10% while now it is over 70%, GreenLife say.

 

March 16, 2010
Bulgaria's Newest Shopping Mall 'Serdika Center' Opens in Sofia

The newest Bulgarian shopping mall, “Serdika Center”, was formally opened in Sofia Tuesday.

Serdika Center is located on the Sitnyakovo Blvd. It has 210 stores with a commercial space of over 51 000 square meters on three levels, and office space of some 30 000 square meters.

Only three of the 210 stores remain unoccupied at the time of the opening, announced ECE Project Management, the company running the complex. Some of the stores, however, will start operating only in April 2010.

Over 60% of the commercial space has been rented by fashion brands. Several brands including Zara and Peek&Cloppenburg, as well as the Austrian shoe producer Humanic, enter the Bulgarian market for the first time with their stores in the Serdika Mall. New Yorker and Deichmann are opening their first stores in Sofia in the newest shopping mall.

 

March 15, 2010
Tishman Sofia Airport Center Office 1st to Win Green Award

The Management of the Sofia Airport Center, a project of Tishman International and GE Real Estate, has presented the first building in Bulgaria to be LEED certificed.

A presentation by Tishman International highlighted the new building development at Sofia Airport Center, the international business park now under development in the Bulgarian capital.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized certification scheme of "green" buildings.

Carlo Marzot, Tishman’s design engineering representative and managing director of EZ MEP International, presented the first LEED certified building in Sofia Airport Center - and the first awarded building in Bulgaria - outlining the definitions of sustainable construction and energy efficiency and the benefits of both programs in shopping areas.

 

March 12, 2010
Bulgaria Still No. 1 on Russia's Real Estate Market

Bulgaria remains on the top of the list of the Russian real estate market, according to the organizers of the first in Russia international competition for best vacation properties.

The competition is affiliated with the Russian edition of the 35-year-old British “Home Overseas.”

250 projects applied to participate in the competition and 18 made the final cut, of them 3 Bulgarian – in the beach towns of Sozopol and Shkorpilovtsi and in the winter resort of Pamporovo.

According to the Russian real estate agencies dealing with Bulgarian properties, the crisis had not affected negatively Russian interest in acquiring vacation properties in Bulgaria.

The same trend was demonstrated during the first for the year expo of Bulgarian properties, recently held in Moscow. The potential buyers were offered differed payment opptions and legal help. During the exhibit the direct sales have jumped 20% compared to 2009, the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, reports.

 

March 12, 2010
Bulgaria February Mortgage Credit Shoots Up 9%

Bulgaria's mortgage credit market rose by 9% in February, when compared to January, as the result of new credit products and positive media presentation of offers.

Bulgarian banks contributed to the rise by offering new credit facilities in February. Together with an easing of interest rates, which are now once again approaching pre-crisis levels, the financial institutions are now returning to the practise of prior credit approval.

The advantage of prior approval is that potential buyers receive advice that allows them to properly evaluate their budget for purchasing a new home, and to achieve better terms in negotiations with vendors of the property.

Another advantage of the market is the faster procedure now increasingly adopted for examining documentation and increased flexibility in assessing and approving loan candidates.

The average amount of mortgage loans drawn for the country in February was EUR 38 576, which is about EUR 4 000 euro more than the average for the month of January.

The growth is due to increased activity in different price segments of the market, according to data published by consultants KreditCenter on Friday.

The average size of loans in February 2010 is almost EUR 2,5 thousand greater than the same period of 2009, with clients favoring Euro loans over the Lev by a ratio of 92:8.

 

February 23, 2010
Brits Looking to Move Abroad Still Look at Bulgaria

Bulgaria continues to be among the top destinations for Brits, who are looking to move abroad, shows statistics from a property website.

Spain, France and the US were the most searched-for destinations, while Cyprus, Turkey and Bulgaria, which registered the highest monthly increases of between 55 % and 60 %, found their way into the top ten, according to the latest Primelocation International Search Index.

The index showed that enquiries after international property rose by 134 % between January 2009 and 2010, while searches were also up by 25 % between December 2009 and last month.

Adam Samuel, director at Nubricks.com, said that although enquiries are definitely increasing, landlords building insurance policyholders should not take that to mean the market is booming.

"We need to be cautious about what that means in terms of actual recovery. A lot more people are looking at what is available and considering where to invest," he commented.

He added that Turkey, which charted at number five on PrimeLocation's survey, was of particular interest "because prices are still relatively low and there are bargains to be had".

 

February 23, 2010
Bulgaria Ranks 54th for Most Expensive Office Space

The Bulgarian office market, ranked 54th in the world, has been under severe pressure during 2009, according to the latest annual survey by real estate giant Cushman & Wakefield.

The principal reasons for this are a combination of reduced commercial demand and the completion of many new projects.

This has caused rental levels to fall in the past year by over 20%. An upward trend is likely after mid-2010, according to the Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) survey.

With office tenants in the capital, Sofia, paying an average annual cost of EUR 205 per square meter, or a monthly charge of EUR 17, Bulgaria slipped from 49th to 54th in international cost rankings over the period of a year.

According to the report, "Office Space Around the World 2010", the average rent for prime office space in Sofia is EUR 13,5 per sq.m. per month, excluding VAT.

"Despite substantially lower market rents of office space in Bulgaria in 2009-2010, we are yet to see serious interest in new office projects in Sofia," said Sergei Koinov, Executive Director of Forton International, which represents C&W in Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia.

"We predict that with the improvement in the economic situation of the country, which is expected in the second half of 2010, and completion of part of the new projects, to realize a significant volume of transactions of the office market, which will position the active companies in long-term economic conditions," he added.

The most expensive cities in terms of office space are Tokyo, London and Hong Kong.

Regionally, Serbia, which is ahead of Bulgaria by one position in 53rd place, slipped from 47th position in 2008; Croatia fell two places - from 48th to 50th. Greece moved up the rankings by two places, to 18th place compared to last year's 20th.

There was a worldwide decline in the trend that determined the office markets in 2009, according to the consulting company's data.

Globally, the fall was about 10% - the first mass decline recorded since 2003. The trend has affected every market in the world to varying degrees.

According to Cushman & Wakefield, rent levels in 2009 had the lowest decline in North America -8%, while South America registered only 5%. For Europe, the fall was about 11%, mainly due to the strong decrease in Central and Eastern Europe.

Sergei Koinov remained cautiously optimistic about future trends, predicting they would again become positive.

"Rental levels are expected to reach their lowest point in the middle of 2010, and then we will witness the stability, and in places even growth. The current year will not go without risks and challenges, but it is still expected that 2010 will be a period of recovery and optimism for owners and tenants," he concluded.

 

January 21, 2010
Moody's Changes Bulgaria's Rating Outlook to Positive

Moody's Investors Service has changed Thursday the outlook on the Bulgarian government's Baa3 ratings from stable to positive.

This rating action on part of Moody's restores the positive outlook of Bulgaria which was in place before the start of the financial crisis in September 2008, and is the first positive rating action on an EU member state since July 2008.

"The Bulgarian government's finances were relatively resilient through the 2008-09 financial crisis. Despite a deep recession, Bulgaria will have very low budget deficits by global standards in 2009 and 2010, keeping government debt ratios low and stable," says Kenneth Orchard, Vice-President/Senior Credit Officer in Moody's Sovereign Risk Group, as quoted by finchannel.com.

He is quoted as saying that an upgrade of the Bulgarian rating perspective to Baa2 is contingent upon the country's ability to renew growth. and weather the impact of regional shocks. Yet, he has pointed out that the economic problems in Greece could hinder the Bulgarian recovery as 9% of the Bulgarian export goes to Greece, and Greek companies are major foreign investors in the country.

According to Orchard, Bulgaria's economic growth should resume in 2011-12 thanks to significant EU funds and FDI "attracted by the low cost base". His forecast is that after the recovery the Bulgarian economy will be growing at about 3%-4%, below the average rate from before the crisis at about 6%.

Recently, Bulgaria "won" Moody's misery index. Bulgarians came in less than a third as miserable as the Spanish.

 

January 21, 2010
Bulgaria Property Prices Down 20% y/y

Average asking sales prices across all property sub markets fell 20% on average on a year-on-year basis, data of realtors shows.

There are significant differences between neighbourhoods, with no particular area being resilient to the changed market conditions, according to a report of Colliers International.

Only Doctor's Garden remained above 2007-levels, but the experts point out that there were quite few offers with a wide span in prices per square meter.

During the second half of 2009 the supply of new residential units grew at a modest pace. According to data published by the National Statistical Institute, the growth rate was reduced to almost half of what was delivered to the market in 2008; 41% fewer units were added to the market in 2009 compared to 2008.

In general, there was limited supply of high-quality properties on the market. In H2 2009 very few projects entered the construction phase. Usually those projects had previously secured financing but have experienced delays due to administrative obstacles.

Many residential developments continued the construction works, but at a slower speed. Some projects were put on temporary hold, either due to shortages in financing or low demand.

During H2 2009 the supply of foreclosed properties increased measured by the number of units offered to the market. However, it is still not a significant supply factor on the residential market.

Demand started picking up in August/September after six months in 2009 of almost complete stand still, the majority of it focused on properties priced below EUR 1,000/sqm for a fully finished product.

 

January 15, 2010
Bulgaria Ski Resorts Tempt Russian Property Buyers

The demand for European property by Russians is steadily increasing despite the economic crisis, Russian media have reported.

According to official data, Russian people are currently the most active foreign buyers of property in Europe, especially in its eastern regions. The majority usually look for property near the famous ski resorts of Bulgaria, Montenegro, Turkey and other countries with a well-developed tourism sector.

Russians now account for almost half the buyers of real estate in Europe, despite the fact that compared with 2009, the number of transactions completed by them has decreased by 5%.

In contrast, the demand for foreign property among the citizens of the European Union and the US has significantly dropped since the beginning of the recession.

According to the Kvadroom Property Group, currently prices on real estate in Russia are so high that more and more Russians prefer to invest their money in buying property abroad.

The average cost of one square meter of housing in Moscow is now more than USD 5 000.

Whereas in the past many preferred to buy homes and apartments in Eastern Europe, Russian citizens are now also increasingly interested in Western European real estate.

 

January 12, 2010
Penny Market to Roll Out 50 Units in Bulgaria by End-2010

Penny Market (Rewe Group), German soft discounter with an aggressive growth strategy for Bulgaria, announced it wants to build a 50-unit network in the country by the end of the year.

The news comes shortly after German retailer Tengelmann launched talks to sell its discount retail chains in Romania and Bulgaria to rival Lidl, which is part of Germany's Schwarz retail group.

Tengelman, the parent company of Plus, owns 94 and 16 stores in Romania and Bulgaria respectively.

According to realtors the economic crisis in the past year has proved fertile for the discount retailers stepping on Bulgarian soil in recent months and the country will see their boom in 2010.

Three food discount chains are currently operating in Bulgaria; Kaufland, Penny Market and Plus.

 

January 6, 2010
Bulgaria to See Boom of Discounters in 2010

The economic crisis in the past year has proved fertile for the discount retailers stepping on Bulgarian soil in recent months and the country will see their boom in 2010, a realtor report says.

When comparing with the structure of the retail segment in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) it is evident that Bulgaria is still in its discount infancy, and significant development can be anticipated on this front, especially in the food section, Colliers International Bulgaria says.

Three food discount chains are currently operating in Bulgaria; Kaufland, Penny Market and Plus.

Kaufland is a part of the Swartz Group which also owns Lidl. It is a soft discounter that entered the Bulgarian market in 2006 in Plovdiv. Now it is strongly positioned on the market with more than 26 hypermarkets.

Plus (part of Tengelman) and Penny Market (Rewe Group) are two other German soft discounters with an aggressive growth strategy for Bulgaria. Both chains are using the approach of Lidl, which is about to open its first sites in Bulgaria.

In 2010 the Bulgarian market will also witness the entry of international retail giants - Inditex Group (with its 5 brands; Zara, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius and Pull and Bear), Peek&Cloppenburg, and GAP.

 

January 4, 2010
UK Government Pushes Bulgaria to Crack Down on Property Fraud

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has urged Bulgaria to raise standards and tighten controls in the Real Estate sector in the country.

A letter to Bryan Talbot, who recently won his final appeal after having his dream EUR 98 000 villa stolen from him and sold on three times, was exclusively shown to Novinite.com regarding the issue.

Natalie Luscombe from the European Directorate of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office stated that the UK Ambassador in Sofia met with the then Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister in early 2009 "to emphasise the need to raise standards and tighten controls in the Real Estate sector and also sought assurances that the problems encountered by British Nationals purchasing property in Bulgaria would be taken seriously at government level."

Luscombe added that "following the parliamentary elections in Bulgaria on 5th July a new Bulgarian government was sworn in on 27th July our Ambassador (Steve Williams) again raised these issues in his introductory calls on relevant new Ministers." She continued by praising the "new governments subsequent commitment to promoting more transparent and effective overall public administration, and to tackling corruption much more rigorously than in the past."

"I hope that the efforts of our Embassy, and the stated commitment of the Bulgarian government, will help, to raise regulatory and professional standards in the Bulgarian Real Estate sector, .....and people who purchased in Bulgaria to have better protection and access to advice in the future," she concluded.

 
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Above information courtesy of novinite.com and Financial Times

 

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telegraph.co.uk, 05/05/2004
The prices are almost irresistible, but buyers must beware dodgy deals and 'iffy' infrastructure, writes Cheryl Markosky in Bulgaria Beckons[read the article]


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