Sunny Beach is the most popular place to buy property in Bulgaria, according TheMoveChannel.com’s At a Glance infographic. The report compares the 12-month period to the same period two years ago, revealing that the Black Sea resort remains the number on sought-after location, accounting for 1 in 10 searches on the portal in the year to October 2014.
Demand for ski property in Bulgaria, though, is beginning to snowball. While buyers like to be beside the seaside, a growing number prefer to chill on the slopes: Sunny Beach’s share of searches dropped from 40.05 per cent between November 2011 and October 2012 to 9.68 per cent between November 2013 and October 2014, as buyers leave the coast and head for the mountains.
Indeed, three of the top 10 searched-for locations targeted real estate in ski resorts, with Pamporovo, Borovets and Bansko all falling inside the top five. Demand for each has increased in the past two years.
Popular ski resort Bansko saw its share of searches jump from 2.29 per cent two years ago to 4.83 per cent in 2014. In real terms, the number of searches targeting the resort has multiplied by more than five times, making Bansko the second most in-demand place in Bulgaria. Interest in Borovets and Pamporovo also soared by 174 per cent and 135 per cent respectively.
Together, the three ski resorts accounted for 9.57 per cent of searches, almost even with Sunny Beach, while all four appeared in a combined 1 in 5 searches, indicating the extent to which the tourist industry drives interest in Bulgarian real estate.
Burgas, home to Sunny Beach, now makes up 13.6 per cent of enquiries, down from 1 in 5 (19.36 per cent) in 2012. Smolyan, the home of Pamporovo, has also seen its share of activity drop, from 14 per cent of enquiries to just 0.6 per cent. Hoever, demand for property in Blagoevrad, home to Bansko, has remained steady, accounting for 4.02 per cent of enquiries compared to 3.8 per cent.
The biggest increase in enquiries in the past two years was recorded by Sofia. The region surrounding the capital city has seen its share of enquiries almost double since 2012, from 4.75 per ecnt to 7.9 per cent, making it the third most popular region in the country. Searches for the capital city, though, are low. The region of Sofia only accounted for one location in the top 10 searched-for location: skiing hotspot Borovets.
While resorts remain a major source of attraction, though, buying activity is dominated by the province of Veliko Turnovo. The region, which has neither beaches nor ski slopes, accounted for 22.19 per cent of enquiries in the 12 months to October 2012. In October 2014, that share surged to 37 per cent enquiries. The area accounted for six of the top 10 searched-for locations, indicating that for those not seeking rental investments, Veliko Turnovo tops the buyer wishlist.
The At a Glance infographic also charts buyer behaviour on Google. In the 12 months to October 2012, buyers tended to search for “Bulgarian property” and “Bulgarian properties“, while searches for “apartments for sale in bulgaria” steadily increased. In the 12 months to October 2014, buyers mostly searched for “real estate in Bulgaria and “Bulgarian estate agents“. Searches were significantly lower for the majority of keywords, but were consistently higher for “apartments for sale in Bulgaria”.
Editor Ivan Radford comments: “Bulgaria has always been a country that thrives on its affordability – and nowhere is that truer than in its ski resorts, which offer a cheap entry into the ski property market, both for investors seeking returns and lifestyle buyers.
“Sunny Beach remains the most popular tourist resort, but interest is snowballing for ski real estate – specifically, for ski apartments. Searches may not always convert into enquiries, though, which, combined with the drop in Google, suggests that investors are curious yet remain cautious.
“Nontheless, Sofia’s surge in buying activity indicates the interest in resorts such as Pamporovo, with the actual capital city continuing to see little international interest. While popular hotspots are still key to attracting attention, though, lifestyle buyers are also returning to the recovery country in greater numbers: for those not seeking rental opportunities on the coast or slopes, Veliko Turnovo is the number one choice for a holiday home, thanks to its central location, modern city amenities and strong history and culture. The region’s rise in popularity suggests that Bulgaria is continuing its recovery after the financial crisis, progressing from bargain basement buy-to-let to a long-term property destination in its own right. But when the country has fully recovered, will ski property be the new Black Sea?”
Source: The Movechannel