After a period of decline, property sales in Bulgaria seem to have turned a corner at the start of 2013 according to new figures.
The National Statistics Agency announced a leap of 23% in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in the previous year, with 44,174 transactions completed as opposed to only 35,821 at the start of 2012.
Values also rose to hit a high of BGN 1,481 per sq. metre which was a significant increase on those of the third quarter of 2012, which saw falls of over 2% to hit 881.2 per sq. metre.
However, the new figures are still well below the market peak which was achieved in 2008, with National Statistic Institute data showing that current levels are 38% lower than five years ago.
Surprisingly for a country whose beach hotspots such as Sunny Beach provide some of the biggest appeal for visitors and overseas buyers alike, the summer months usually see a slowdown in activity in the Bulgarian property market.
The National Statistics Agency also noted that 55% of the overall sales in the country were recorded in Bulgaria’s regional cities, marking a shift in emphasis away from the locations traditionally more popular with tourists.
With prices only just recovering from historic lows, there are plenty of Bulgarian bargains still to be had and that affordability is seeing investors take increasing stakes in the cities.
Capital Sofia saw sales increase by 8.3% in the first three months of this year and in Varna the figures were even higher with a significant jump of 18%. However, prices in the capital are some 40% lower than they were at their peak, according to Global Property Guide.
Things could all be set to change at the end of the year when Bulgaria becomes a full member of the European Union in December. As well as making it even more easy for non-Bulgarian investors to get involved in the market, it may also see a rapid increase in values as well as transactions.
If you want to send money abroad for a property investment, whether to Bulgaria or elsewhere, it may be worth using a specialist currency exchange firm as these generally offer better rates than the banks.