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Higher Rents, Fewer Real Estate Sales Expected In Plovdiv In 2009

Despite frightening forecasts for the Bulgarian property market due to its stagnation that began several months ago, prices in Plovdiv have not gone down, brokers from real estate agency Europolis have said in a media statement.Europolis presented its annual analysis, indicating that the global financial crisis has not affected the local property market, whose segments registered a total growth from 15 to 20 per cent in comparison with 2007. Prices remained high and the only "deviation from the norm" was the significantly lower number of sold office spaces, the statement said.Throughout the year, the hottest sales in Plovdiv were retail spaces, regardless of the location, averaging a price of 1508 euro a sq m. Luxury homes were the second best sale, starting from 1326 euro a sq m and third came offices, running for 1106 euro a sq m.Warehouses and industrial spaces kept low prices at 325 euro a sq m and 556 euro a sq m, respectively. Brokers explained the lack of interest for such facilities with the general business climate in the country and the low entrepreneurial activity.In regards to residential property, Europolis concluded that irrespective of the location, well-maintained or renovated flats sold for an average 1125 euro a sq m, while run-down homes sold for 850 euro a sq m. Most desirable remained the two-bedroom flats, which sold for 983 euro a sq m.There was an increased interest toward one-family houses in Plovdiv's vicinity, Europolis noted in the statement. Families with high income seeking comfort away from the big city were able to afford such homes, which sold for 1058 euro a sq m.According to Europolis, the rental business in Plovdiv also saw no significant changes as its average level remained at 10 per cent higher than in 2007. Clients sought the most to rent out flats, followed by retail spaces and then offices. Luxuriously furnished two-bedroom flats were rented out for 350-400 euro a month.The brokers predicted fewer deals for 2009 and the implementation of additional guarantees on the side of the developer while selling off plan. Even without rapid dumping of the property prices at the moment, the market remained hard to forecast. The only thing expected for certain was the rise of rental prices, but preferences would weigh down to cheaper residences, the statement said.