Банкеръ Weekly

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ONE-BEDROOM FLATS IN SOFIA ALREADY COST EUR20,000-PLUS

Most of the offers for the sale of one-bedroom flats in Sofia are already around EUR20,000 and even higher, brokers from the real estate agencies in the capital city claim. The change of the currency in which housing is traded - from US dollars to euro - lead to that considerable price increase. Although the closed deals are not many, the higher rates have been practically accepted by the market. Only very small flats of some 35-40 sq. m or prefab flats in unattractive housing quarters, such as Drouzhba, Obelya, Lyulin and Novi Iskar, could be had against EUR10,000-14,000 in the last few months.On the other hand, the prices of one-bedroom flats in the preferred residential districts of Borovo, Strelbishte and Lozenets already approximate EUR30,000. The advantage of these regions is the availability of central heating, good communications, and proximity to the city's central part, real estate agents claim, adding that the availability of a telephone line or the floor are not so important. New buildings where expensive materials have been used are the most preferred ones. The average price in a block of flats, located in Oborishte street, for example, is EUR478/sq. m due to the marble staircase, mineral coat, heat insulation on the facade, PVC window frames and aluminium radiators. A flat of 47 sq. m in the same building costs EUR22,500. The other selling offers for housing in better residential districts are also high - a 45 sq. m flat in a 20-year-old building in Borovo changed hands on October 10, 2003 for EUR22,800, brokers from the Rigel real estate agency specified. Small flats are almost non-available downtown Sofia, and if such offers are placed, the prices are as high as in Western Europe. A premise of 18 sq. m near the Russian Monument was put up for sale last week at BGN16,000. A 55 sq. m flat near the National Palace of Culture (NDK) was offered at EUR36,000. The average price for housing in that part of the capital city is EUR652/sq. m. Demand for small flats in Sofia has been high for a long time, experts in the branch comment. Therefore, prices are unpredictable and are often wide apart from whatever average prices of housing in the capital city. Everything depends on the location and functional convenience of the offered flats, as well as the buyer's purchase capacity. In fact, if we calculate the prices in Bulgarian currency, there is practically no price increase, real estate agents point out. Flats, offered at USD20,000 a year ago (when the BGN/USD exchange rate was 2.20:1), currently cost EUR22,000-23,000, i.e. the equivalent of the price in US dollars was BGN44,000, and the equivalent of the price in euro is BGN 43,700 Ґў at present.

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