Bulgaria’s housing market has taken a significant hit after a strong start to the year, with prices on the rise and some analysts predicting that they could rise further.
Bulgaria’s housing boom lifts its status in the global rankings of hottest countries as a result of a strong first quarter and a rebound in demand for rental properties, according to the real estate consultancy IBK International.
“The first quarter was the first time we saw an increase in the demand for housing,” said Maria Zvornikova, an economist with IBK.
“There was a sharp drop in the number of people looking for a home, and that was accompanied by an increase of interest in renting.
People have become more aware of the fact that housing is a viable investment and that a house can be a viable business investment.”
In the second half of the year we are seeing a recovery in the numbers of people wanting to rent.”‘
People have bought their first home in February. “
I think we can say that this first quarter of the new year is a very positive one,” she said.
“People have bought their first home in February.
“As a result, the prices have increased, and the rental market is rising, which makes the market attractive.””
Bulgarians have been keen to sell their homes, and many are moving to more affordable rental properties in neighbouring Romania. “
As a result, the prices have increased, and the rental market is rising, which makes the market attractive.”
Bulgarians have been keen to sell their homes, and many are moving to more affordable rental properties in neighbouring Romania.
The government is planning to reduce the threshold of people allowed to own a property from 200,000 to 200,500 to allow people to buy apartments, which means many people who could have bought a home in Bulgaria will now be able to rent.
“With a lot of apartments available, and a growing number of rentals, people are buying apartments to stay in Bulgaria,” Zvartikova said.
“The real estate market is also showing a very strong first half, which shows that the government is not afraid to take risks.”
Real estate investment in Bulgaria has also been picking up, and it is estimated that the country could see a rise in the amount of investment in the first half of next year.
The realtor’s survey, which was published in February, shows a 12% increase in property investment, with a further 19% of sales coming from foreign investors.
Zvartakova said the realestate boom in Bulgaria could last up to the end of the month, but the government’s plan to introduce a 25% discount on the cost of a home could have an impact.
“If we see an increase, then we could see more rental property investments,” she explained.
“We are expecting that the real-estate market will recover in the second quarter of next years and we are confident that there will be an upturn in the housing market.”
Al Jazeera’s Paul Thompson reports from Sofia.