Bulgarian real-estate sales sank 15.5% in the first half of 2010 compared to the first six months of 2009, according to new data from the Bulgarian Registry Agency. The agency recorded 73,867 transactions involving houses, apartments, business and agricultural land from January to June 2010, compared with 87,459 in the same period last year (which industry operatives deemed a “nightmare” at the time). First-half property sales volumes are now at their lowest level since 2004. (Source: Trud Daily, July 7, 2010).


These statistics paint a pretty pessimistic picture of the pace of recovery in Bulgaria’s once-booming property market. They suggest the Bulgarian government’s plans for relatively quick economic recovery might prove rather optimistic, fueling further pessimism among foreign investors. Farmland is the only stable segment in the entire property market.


Many cities also experienced a decline in property prices in the first six months of 2010 compared to January-June 2009. Prices plummeted 10.8% in Veliko Tarnovo and slipped 3% in Blagoevgrad. The city of Stara Zagora was one of the few that saw an increase, with prices inching up about 1.1%, according to the Registry Agency.


Only 14 of the agency’s 113 offices reported an upswing in transaction numbers between January and June 2010. The Black Sea coastal city of Varna saw an average drop of about 3.6% in transactions in all property segments in June 2010 compared to January; unit sales in Bourgas slid 0.6%. One of the exceptions was the capital, Sofia, where June real-estate transactions topped the January number by 3%.


The 14 offices that reported an increase in property sales numbers between January and June 2010 are in regions with a well-developed market for farmland. The agricultural land sector experienced difficulties in the beginning of the year, but these were mostly down to bureaucratic troubles, not lower demand.


Regions Where Property Unit Sales Increased

Region Growth (June 2010/January 2010)
Ardino 56.8%
Kula 36.7%
Cherven bryag 17.4%
Tryavna 17.3%
Mezdra 9.3%
Sredec 9.1%
Targovishte 5.8%
Byala Slatina 3.8%
Byala 3.1%
Sofia 3.0%
General Toshevo 2.2%
Stara Zagora 1.3%
Pavlikeni 1.2%
Provadiya 0.6%

(Source: Bulgarian Registry Agency)