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Property Market 2009: The Year Of The Buyer

After years of bustling construction activity, solid price growth and quick profits, the Bulgarian real estate market will see buyers become the trend-setters, analysts said at the BalreAct conference dedicated to the impact of the crisis.As investors fight for their lives, homebuyers with cash at hand can cut 15-20 per cent off the price of the property, said Tsvetelina Tasseva, director of real estate agency Address.However, the housing market has skidded to a halt, with deal volumes falling and buyers taking five or six months to make up their minds, not five weeks as they did earlier, Taseva added.Moreover, hundreds of flats were being offered at prices that were well above what buyers were willing to pay, with the difference between the price asked and the amount paid reaching 12 000 euro in Sofia.Property buyers have become more choosy and were now looking out for good location, infrastructure and other benefits, according to Tatyana Emilova, housing space manager of Colliers International.In the past years, the pace was set by investors on the hunt for quick profits splashing cash on buildings offered at exorbitant prices that did not match quality.Many entrepreneurs took out short-term bank loans at various phases of the projects, hoping to pay back from instant sales. Now, the stagnating property market is bringing them to their knees before banks, analysts said.Natural selection will help the market get back to business as usual, Bozhidar Neichev of PricewaterhouseCoopers said.His view was echoed by Mauricio Mesa Gomez, Hercesa country manager for Bulgaria and Romania, who said that the crisis will turn out to be a healthy period as it would cleanse the market.Construction entrepreneurs and investors should get together to hammer out common price levels because no one would survive this crisis on their own, Sofia chief architect Petar Dikov said.Creative marketing ciykd no longer sell properties as both investors and consumers now needed to know all the details, said Lindner Immobilien manager, Rossen Plevneliev, who labeled 2009 "a year of truth" for the sector.