Банкеръ Weekly



The most recent data of the National Statistics Institute (NSI), published on October 19, once again confirmed the registered tendency that prices of flats in Varna were catching up with those in Sofia. The difference between them is only BGN70/sq. m and it is insignificant when the average price per 1 sq. m is about BGN1,000. In that situation it is entirely possible that by the year-end prices in the two cities equalize, experts claim. In the third quarter of 2004 real estate prices in the capital rose 104% from the previous three months, while in Varna the price increase reached 111 per cent. If this ratio remains unchanged, real estates in the seaside city will be more expensive as early as in February 2005, brokers pre-estimate. However, the fact that summer months are among the most active on the real estate market in Varna, while trade in the autumn and winter season are considerably sluggish, should not be ignored. In Sofia things are vice versa, i.e. more deals and, respectively, a leap in prices can be usually witnessed in winter. Nevertheless, Varna may become the Bulgarian town with the most expensive flats. One of the reasons is the cheapening of prefab housing, which account for a comparatively greater share on the market in Sofia and a smaller in Varna. There were no great changes in the prices of flats in the other big Bulgarian towns. The most significant price rise - 146% - for the third quarter of 2004 as compared to the previous three months was registered in Smolyan. Real estates in the town reached BGN374/sq. m, up from BGN255/sq. m till end-June. The indisputable price leaders on the domestic housings market are: Sofia - BGN1,061/sq. m, Varna - BGN991/sq. m, and Bourgas - BGN842/sq. m. They are followed by a group of four regional towns where prices are above the average for the country: Stara Zagora - BGN732/sq. m, Plovdiv - BGN662/sq. m, Blagoevgrad - 556/sq. m, and Rousse - BGN529/sq. m. It should be noted that the number of population in the respective town is not of essential importance for the price formation of flats. For instance, Stara Zagora is a smaller town than Plovdiv, while Blagoevgrad is smaller than Rousse, but real estates in them are more expensive.

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