The number of new buildings that received Permission To Use in the last quarter of 2012 in Bulgaria are by 21.6% (or by 692) less on an annual basis. Among them, the new apartments and houses are by 16.9% (or by 2 875) less. The highest number of new buildings that received the permission is in Varna – 132 buildings with 476 apartments, followed by Burgas – 95 buildings with 880 apartments and Sofia – 80 buildings with 120 apartments. The total of the living area of all newly built apartments in the last quarter of 2012 was by 20.35 less in comparison with the last quarter of 2011.
The expectations or 2013 on the Bulgarian property market are for an increase in the sales of luxury houses and apartments. This tendency is due to the increase of the number of foreign companies coming to the country, as well as the new tax on the bank deposits that decreased the profitability of the money kept at a Bulgarian bank. In the last year the average annual interest of bank deposits was 5% while the annual yield from renting a luxury property in Bulgaria was on the average 6.3%.
At the moment the price of luxury apartments has registered a slight increase from 1450 euros per square metre to 1500 Euros per square metre. The prices of houses remain the same – about 1650 Euros per square metre. At the end of 2012 there was a slight increase in the number of the sales. However, the sales of luxury properties in Bulgaria are under 10% of all property sales. Luxury properties are considered those with a larger living area exceeding 200 square metres and situated in an attractive area with nice view, well maintained gardens and luxuriously finished common parts. The prices of luxury apartments range from 300 000 to 1,5 million Euros, while the prices of luxury houses begin from 700 000 Euros. The rent of such properties is between 5 and 7 Euros per square metre but in some cases it reaches 12 Euros per square metre.
After a good start at Christmas, the skiing season in Bulgaria continues to be more successful than the last one. The harsh winter last season led to the closure of roads and many skiers could not reach the slopes and in January 2012 a significant decline of the number of skiers was registered in all Bulgarian ski resorts. However, this season the tendency is exactly the opposite. Despite the mild winter this year, there is plenty of snow in the mountains and the number of skiers has increased by 7%. The reason for this is the fact that the Bulgarian hotels were prepared with very attractive packages and all resorts diversified the ski lift cards and now offer cards for half a day. The most significant increase of the numbers is among skiers coming from the U.K. and Russia, as well as from neighbouring Turkey (a steady tendency in the last years). Only the numbers of Greek skiers continue to decline since last year due to the recession that has hit the country. According to the statistics 12% less Greeks ski in Bulgaria on an annual basis. The decrease of the hotel prices in the end of January is expected to lead to a further increase in the number of the skiers.
The decrease of the property prices in the Bulgarian capital Sofia has stopped in 2012 and the analysis expect this tendency to continue in 2013. In the last months the demand for good quality properties has increased however there are not many such properties on the market. If the property prices stay stable than the property market will be much more predictable. It is expected that the property market will be dominated by Bulgarian buyers and will depend on the economic recovery of the country and the access to bank credits.
The Bulgarian Council of Ministers approved the amendments to the Law for Energy Efficiency which have been made in order to include the EU Directive 2010/31 of 19 May 2010 concerning the energy saving requirements for the buildings. The Bulgarian government will develop a national plan for the increase of the number of buildings the energy consumption of which is close to zero. This plan will include technical requirements for these buildings and it will outline the national objectives for the improvement of the quality of the buildings depending on their classification. The energy saving qualities of a building will be certified during the granting of the permission to use which is the last stage of construction. After a detailed re-novation of a building, the energy saving capacity of the re-novated part will have to be al least the minimal required by the new amendments to the law.