SOFIA (Bulgaria), March 29 (SeeNews) - The real estate market in Bulgaria remained stable last year despite the challenges stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, with residential property prices continuing to grow, albeit at a slower pace compared to the pre-crisis speed, Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria said on Monday.
The market was supported by the continuing decline in interest rates and comparatively high demand for mortgage loans, Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria said in a statement, citing the findings of an analysis conducted by the lender and based on data by property market indices PSPI and local realtor Bulgarian Properties.
Housing prices increased by 4.6% year-on-year in 2020 in the capital Sofia to an average selling price of 1,200 euro ($1,400) per sq m, by 3.5% to 900 euro per sq m in Burgas and by 2.4% to 870 euro per sq m in and Varna. Residential property prices in the second-largest city of Plovdiv rose by 4.7% last year, reaching some 800 euro per sq m.
According to the analysis, housing prices rose the most on an annual comparison basis in the cities of Sliven and Pernik - by 10.8% each, followed by Montana with 10.3%. Residential property prices decreased the most in Silistra and Yambol, by 6.5% and 5.5%, respectively.
The demand for residential property remained concentrated in Sofia and the rest of the biggest cities in the country but the restrictions introduced to limit the spread of the coronavirus infection resulted in a shift towards less popular locations such as villages near the big cities, the Black Sea coast, and the mountains, Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria noted.
Even though the housing market seems 'immune' to the crisis at present, the unfavourable consequences of the coronavirus pandemic are yet to manifest themselves, especially after the measures aimed at supporting the affected businesses expire, Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria said.
The market activity this year will depend on the success of Bulgaria's vaccination programme and the duration of the measures imposed to limit the spread of the disease, the bank added.
($ = 0.84778 euro)