The holiday property market in Bulgaria is a segment that offers a large selection of property proposals, thanks to the geographical conditions, the good climatic conditions of the country, and the diversity of the territories for recreational activities. The Black Sea provides excellent conditions for recreation in summer and the mountains in winter and beyond. Holiday properties are positioned mainly in seaside and mountain ski resorts, but also in SPA resorts and golf complexes.
The holiday property market is directly related to tourism. Bulgaria is a popular destination for international tourism with almost 80 years of history. The state-organized tourism in the country was established soon after the coming to power of the Communist Party, and its emergence is due to the unpaid debt of our country to the Czechoslovak Republic. In 1948, Balkantourist was established. Over the years, Bulgaria has become a favorite destination for tourists from many European countries.
In the years after 2000, the country became the object of interest in buying property from foreigners, which was dictated by the expectation of Bulgaria’s accession to the EU. One of the first foreign buyers were citizens of England and Ireland, who bought properties en masse in the Black Sea region and mountain resorts. Increased interest leads to a construction boom and a significant rise in prices. For the period 2004 – 2009, construction has tripled, with the highest growth in the regions around Varna and Burgas.
In the years after the economic crisis (2008), when the real estate market marked a significant decline, the main buyers of holiday properties in Bulgaria are mainly Russians. According to several Russian rankings, Bulgaria is the most preferred destination for buying real estate by Russians. The most preferred of them is the Black Sea coast. According to unofficial data, there are over 300,000 Russian property owners in our country. The trend for Russians to be the dominant buyers of holiday properties has persisted for several years, and after 2014 the trend is reversed. One of the main factors for this is the collapse of the Russian economy and the devaluation of the Russian currency.
In recent years, the holiday property market has been significantly less active, in contrast to the residential property market in major cities. The deals are mainly on the secondary market, there is almost no new construction, and the newly built complexes are much more difficult to realize. As the prices of the implemented projects are higher than the properties offered on the secondary market, many investors are starting to rent out the properties for the season, waiting for better times.
Under the conditions of COVID-19 in 20201, the holiday property market was influenced by the trends in the mass housing market, so there is a revival. It is a consequence of some factors:
Holiday properties on the Black Sea coast are one of the most preferred and sought after by both local and foreign buyers. As a result, the maritime (holiday) property market offers the largest selection of offers. The Black Sea coast is over 370 km long and can be divided into 3 below the region – north – from Varna to the border with Romania; central – from Varna to Bourgas; south – from Bourgas to the border with Turkey. Each of the three regions enjoys great interest from buyers, but the central and southern Black Sea coast have an advantage. In recent years, interest in the southern Black Sea coast has taken precedence.
Southern Black Sea Coast – Burgas, Chernomorets, Sozopol, Lozenets.
The Black Sea coast is characterized by large gated holiday complexes, which offer various opportunities for recreation, entertainment and sports. Mass buyers prefer this type of property, as the facilities offer excellent conditions for complete relaxation – there are swimming pools, green areas, playgrounds and restaurants; security – the complexes have their own 24/7 security, video surveillance and limited access control to outsiders; maintenance of the territory and common areas. The combination of these conditions contributes to preserving the value of the investment.
In 2021, real estate transactions on the Black Sea coast are increasing, with the main buyers in the last 3-4 years being Bulgarians. For years until 2015, the main buyers of maritime property were the Russians, they are now in the role of sellers. Mass sales have put pressure on prices, making holiday properties attractive to local buyers. More and more agencies are seeing an unprecedented increase in Bulgarian interest in maritime properties, and despite the large selection of offers, the quality property is declining and prices are rising. This is partly due to the difficulties faced by Bulgarian buyers wishing to buy property in Greece. The travel restrictions imposed by the Greek authorities reflected the interest of Bulgarians in buying property in Greece, as a result of which they redirected their search to the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The combination of the above factors that currently drive the mass market has contributed to a significant increase in transactions and prices to rise and levels from 2015, when the market was still under the influence of Russian buyers.
Northern Black Sea Coast
The North Black Sea region is the least preferred for buying a holiday property. In the area are sought-after properties in gated communities (including golf complexes, which will be discussed below), mostly apartments and houses in the villages near Balchik and Kavarna.
The region of Balchik is one of the most popular on the North Black Sea coast, as it offers the amenities of the urban environment and a seaside resort with its close proximity to Albena. It is a popular tourist destination with its botanical garden and the palace of the Romanian queen. In the region of Balchik, there is a great variety of sites – apartments and houses in the city, apartment complexes on its outskirts, as well as villas and plots.
The average prices of real estate in Balchik area – for the apartments they are about 750 euros/per sq.m., and the houses are about 850 euros/ per sq.m.
The promenade in Balchik
Central Black Sea Coast
The most popular and desired destination in the central part of the Black Sea coast is the area of the municipality of Nessebar, which includes some of the most popular resort areas – Elenite, town of Sveti Vlas, Sunny Beach, Nessebar and Ravda. This area is also one of the densely built-up, and offers a large selection of real estate. The area offers mostly apartments in gated communities and hotels. Houses are offered in the area of Intsiraki, between Saint Vlas and Sunny Beach, as well as in the villa zone of Kosharitsa, near Sunny Beach.
Average property prices in the area of Nesebar municipality:
It should be noted that the average prices of properties “new construction” and those offered on the “secondary market” are with a difference of 200-300 euros per sq.m.
At the end of 2021, in Sunny Beach, the average price per square meter already exceeds 650 euros. The average offer prices of one-room apartments (studios) are in the range of 28 thousand euros, and the most common deals are at prices from 20 to 22 thousand euros.
For the one-bedroom apartments, the mass deals are already at price levels of 35 thousand – 40 thousand euros, and before that, for many years the deals were concluded at an average price of 28 thousand euros. Thanks to the movement of the market, new construction has appeared in the area of Sunny Beach, which has been lacking in recent years.
There is great interest in the properties in Saint Vlas, as the most sought-after and bought properties are the apartments located in complexes around the sea. This is the area under the road, known as the new part of Sveti Vlas, where construction is relatively new – mass construction is in the period 2005 – 2012. The region of Sveti Vlas maintains relatively stable property prices even in the years after 2014, when mass sales of Russian citizens began. Price adjustments in this area is significantly smaller compared to Sunny Beach.
In 2021, the apartments in Saint Vlas are offered for sale at average prices of 900 euros per sq.m.
Among the great builders, such as Dinevi, it is noticeable that in 2021, most of the properties that stood for years have now found their owners. Due to the interest and lack of sites Dinevi launched a new large project “Etara 4” – which consists of 159 apartments. Prices for green start at 850 euros per square meter, and all apartments are issued on a turnkey basis. A few years ago, they launched another unique for the region project of single-family and terraced houses – “Venid Eco Village“, located on the mountain slopes above Saint Vlas.
Southern Black Sea Coast
The most desired destination for summer vacation for many Bulgarians is the Southern Black Sea Coast. The warmer climate, beautiful beaches and beautiful towns, with their cultural and historical heritage, attract most of the tourist flow. Due to these advantages in the last few years the real estate market in this area is booming. Sozopol, Chernomorets, Lozenets and Tsarevo are the main resorts around which the holiday property market revolves.
As the largest and most ancient city in this area, Sozopol is the place where you can find the most offers to buy a holiday property – apartments in complexes and private homes, houses, villas and plots. Here are some of the large gated holiday villages on the Black Sea coast – such as Santa Marina and Green Life. One of the landmarks is the holiday village “Sozopolis” designed and built in the style of ancient Sozopol. It consists of two-storey houses with apartments and detached villas. The complex is in the “premium” class. Over 80% of the properties have sea views.
Statistics on the number of transactions on the Black Sea coast
In 2021, real estate transactions in the region of Balchik increase by 40% – from a total of 934. in 2020, the registered sales increase to a total of 1325 units in 2021. In 2020 there is also an annual growth of 3% compared to 2019. The statistics are presented by quarters in Table 1.
As the sea capital of Bulgaria, the Registry Agency Varna has the largest number of registered sales transactions on the Black Sea coast. In 2021, they increase to a total of 15,600. or by 24% of a total of 12,521 for 2020. In 2020, transactions on an annual basis decreased by 3% compared to 2019. Statistics are presented by quarters in Table 2.
Byala is one of the regions on the Black Sea coast with the lowest growth of transactions in 2021, compared to 2020, as it is only 19%. On the other hand, the number of registered transactions in 2020 decreased by 11% compared to 2019, which forms only 8% growth in 2021, compared to the pre-pandemic period of 2019.
The area of Nessebar municipality is one of the most preferred for the purchase of a holiday property on the Black Sea coast. This can be seen in the number of completed transactions (Table 4) in 2021, during which the increase on an annual basis is 102% compared to 2020 and 66% compared to 2019. The registered transactions are respectively – 4388. in 2019, 3606 pcs. in 2020 and 7294 pcs. in 2021. The total number of completed transactions in the last year in the region of Nessebar is close to that of the major cities on the Black Sea coast, and it should be noted that in them most of the transactions are with permanent housing. This is an indicator of the interest in holiday properties, which are the main object of transactions in this municipality.
In 2021, real estate transactions in the region of Burgas increased by 38%. Out of a total of 6084 in 2020, the registered sales increase to a total of 8399 units in 2021. Comparable to 2019, the increase is 28%. In 2020, compared to 2019, transactions decreased by 10%.
Tsarevo is another region on the Black Sea coast, which enjoys great interest from buyers of holiday properties. Table 6 presents data on the registered transactions, as in 2021, they are a total of 1419, which is an increase of 76% compared to 2020, when the transactions were a total of 804. More interesting is the fact that in 2020, there is also an increase in transactions by 21% compared to 2019.
The market of mountain holiday properties is formed mainly around the large ski resorts, which are attractive centers for tourism. Except for lovers of winter sports, these properties provide excellent conditions for rest in almost all seasons.
Most popular destinations for buying a holiday property in the mountains:
Pirin – Bansko, Razlog, Dobrinishte, Banya
Rhodopes – Pamporovo, Chepelare
Rila – Borovets, Govedartsi, Samokov
In the period 2010 – 2020 the real estate market in the mountainous areas was severely affected by the crisis, prices were strongly adjusted to attractive levels. Despite more affordable prices, the mountain property market has gone through a difficult period. The effect of COVID-19, which is observed on the entire real estate market in 2021, did not pass that of the mountain holiday properties. In the past year there has been an increase in demand and prices in mountain properties. The main buyers in the mountainous regions are again the Bulgarians, who represent over 80% of all buyers.
The resort town of Bansko is located at the foot of Mount Todorka and is one of the most popular ski resorts on the Balkans. It has a rich cultural and historical heritage. Its ski area has over 70 km of well-maintained slopes and a gondola lift. In Bansko there are world hotel chains such as Kempinski Grand Arena. Undoubtedly Bansko offers the largest variety of real estate for sale. The closed apart-complexes are typical for the region. Most of them have their own spa areas, indoor pools and sports grounds. The properties have a fee for maintenance and servicing of the common areas. A significant share of the objects offered for sale on the market, as well as the deals are mainly with apartments. But compared to other mountainous areas, in Bansko you can find old private houses and houses in gated communities, which are located on the outskirts of the city. They are bought by wealthier buyers for investment purposes. The object of sale are mainly properties on the secondary market.
• The average prices for the most sought after apartments, those with one bedroom are about 38 thousand euros. A year earlier, the average price for such an apartment was about 25 thousand euros. Average price per sq.m. – 640 euros.
• For one-bedroom apartments (studio type) the average prices in 2021 are about 27 thousand euros, at prices below 20 thousand euros a year earlier. Average price per sq.m. – 620 euros.
• The two-bedroom apartments are now offered at an average price of 65 thousand Euros, having previously been priced below 55 thousand Euros. Average price per sq.m. – 680 euros.
• The houses are offered at an average selling price of 206 thousand Euros and an average price per sq.m. from 850 euros.
In recent years, there has been no new construction in Bansko and there are no prospects for it in the near future.
Borovets is the oldest mountain resort in Bulgaria, located on the northern slopes of Rila – Samokov municipality. The relatively close location to Sofia makes it a preferred place for recreation by the citizens of Sofia. The real estate market in Borovets is more limited than offers for sale and the prices are the highest. There is almost no new construction and mostly properties are offered on the secondary market. Here the average prices vary around 900 euros per sq.m. In 2021, the demand for houses and plots in the nearby villages and the region of Samokov intensified.
We offer for sale mainly one and two bedroom apartments:
• Average selling price for one-bedroom apartments – 65 thousand euros, at an average price per sq.m. – 920 euros.
• One-bedroom apartments (studio type) vary in the price range around 45 thousand euros. 936 euros per sq.m.
Pamporovo is the third largest mountain resort in Bulgaria. It is located in the heart of the Rhodopes below Snezhanka peak. In terms of bed capacity, it is superior to Borovets. The resort has over 50 km of ski slopes. Characteristic of the resort are the large apart-complexes in mountain architectural style. As in other mountain resorts, in Pamporovo for sale are mostly apartments.
• Average selling price for one-bedroom apartments – 39 thousand euros, and there are offers on the market at prices of 24 thousand euros. Average price per sq.m. they have 620 euros.
• One-bedroom apartments (studio type) vary in the price range around 16 thousand – 20 thousand euros. The average price per sq.m. is about 480 euros.
Statistics on the number of transactions in mountainous areas
All transactions from the region in which Bansko, Razlog, Dobrinishte fall are registered with the Razlog Registry Agency (RA). The data in Table 7 show a significant increase in the interest and the number of concluded transactions in 2021. For the year the real estate transactions increased by 82% compared to 2020 – a total of 2993. in 2021, and a total of 1637 registered sales in 2020. In 2020 compared to 2019, transactions decreased by only 12%. That is, the number of transactions in 2021 significantly exceeds those for the period before the pandemic.
In 2021, the number of transactions in the municipality of Samokov (which includes the resort of Borovets, Govedartsi, etc.) increased by 51% compared to 2020 – a total of 1527 transactions in 2021, compared to 1011 in 2020. The number of registered transactions in 2020 is unchanged compared to 2019.
A total of 436 deals were concluded for the Chepelare region in 2021, which is an increase of 59% compared to 2020, during which only 273 deals were concluded. In 2020, compared to 2019, there is a decrease of 4%.
If we compare the total number of transactions for the three regions in 2021, we can not fail to notice that the Razlog region is significantly ahead of the other two regions with a total of 2993 registered transactions, compared to 1527 for the Samokov region and only 436 transactions for the region Chepelare.
Bulgaria became a popular golf destination only in the years after 2010. Golf destinations, which offer holiday properties for sale, combine the pleasure of sports with the atmosphere of the sea and the mountains.
The most popular destination is the Northern Black Sea Coast, known as the Bulgarian Golf Riviera. In the area between Balchik and Kavarna, there are three of the major golf villages – Lighthouse Golf and Spa, Black Sea Rama and Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort. All three are a gated complex in which apartments and villas are offered for sale. They attract with their unique location and beautiful atmosphere near the sea.
Lighthouse Golf and Spa
Lighthouse Golf and Spa is located on an area of 1000 Dec. It offers a variety of types and prices of holiday properties – apartments with one, two and three bedrooms, terraced and detached villas, scattered throughout the golf course. The properties in the complex are of middle and high class. On the secondary market you can find apartments at very low prices.
• The average price per sq.m. of the apartments is 550 euros. The one-bedroom apartments by the investor are offered at prices of EUR 45,000, while on the secondary market they are offered at prices starting from EUR 35,000. The two-bedroom apartments are offered at prices of 59 thousand euros.
• The offer prices of row houses are from 85 to 120 thousand euros.
• There are also variants of luxury villas with a cloak of 360 sq.m. and a yard of 700 sq.m., at prices of 490 thousand euros. They are located on the slope, with a magnificent sea.
Black Sea Rama
The properties in the complex are of the luxury class. Both primary and secondary sales are available. The properties are scattered in different parts of the complex, separated as neighborhoods, and their location determines the price. The highest prices are for the properties located on the slope with a frontal sea view. Average price per sq.m. – for villas 2000 euros; row houses 1200 euros; apartments – 1500 euros. All properties are fully furnished and equipped.
• Apartments – one-bedroom 130 thousand euros; two-bedroom – 200 thousand euros (excluding VAT)
• Townhouses with 2 bedrooms – 220 thousand.
• Detached villa with two bedrooms and pool – 290 thousand euros (excluding VAT)
• Detached villas with 4 bedrooms – 440 thousand euros (excluding VAT).
Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort
The properties in the complex are of the luxury class. This complex is located closest to the sea and has its own beach. The complex has many low-rise buildings located in different areas – Marina Village, Hillside Village and the luxurious CHEDI Golf View Residences. Prices vary according to the area, their location relative to the sea and the golf course, and of course mostly from the view.
The complex offers for sale mostly spacious apartments – one and two bedroom. Prices range from 1500 euros to 3500 euros per sq.m.
• The one-bedrooms have an area of 80 to 160 sq.m. and are offered at prices starting from 120 thousand euros.
• The two-bedrooms have an area of 120 to 250 square meters, with prices starting from 210 thousand euros.
• Four-room apartment of 240 sq.m. at a price of 440 thousand euros.
All properties are offered fully furnished and equipped!
In the immediate vicinity are several closed complexes, the most famous of which is Kaliakria Resort. It is located on a slope, just above Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort, which offers breathtaking views. The complex is an alternative option for buying a property near the three golf courses, offering similar amenities and infrastructure, but at significantly more affordable prices.
Pirin Golf and Country Club
Pirin Golf is the only golf complex located in a mountainous area. It is located in the Razlog valley, at the foot of Pirin, near the town of Bansko. The complex is an excellent combination of golf, mountain, ski and spa. It is one of the largest complexes. Over 80,000 sq.m. have been built on an area of 150 hectares. properties – small buildings with apartments and detached and terraced houses. The complex is organized for zones, as the properties are positioned in several neighborhoods, which depends on their price range.
The market offers for sale properties from the builder, as well as resales, which are at significantly lower prices.
• Studio apartments (studio) – from 24 thousand euros.
• One bedroom apartments – from 45 thousand euros.
• Two-bedroom apartments – 75 thousand euros.
• Terraced houses on 2 floors, with 3 bedrooms – from 250 thousand euros.
• Detached house with three bedrooms and a yard – 580 thousand euros (excluding VAT).
Near Sofia there are 4 other golf complexes:
Air Sofia Golf Club – in Ihtiman, which was the first built in Bulgaria in 2000;
Ibar Golf Club near Dolna Banya;
St. Sofia Golf Club to Elin Pelin;
Pravets Golf Club – near the town of Pravets.
Properties for sale are offered only in Ibar Golf Club and Pravets Golf Club.
Ibar Golf Club offers apartments and villas in the low and medium price range. But the choice of properties on the market is very small. On the secondary market can be found studios at prices of 12 thousand euros and houses at a price of 75 thousand euros.
In Pravets Golf Club there is a large selection of properties at average prices of 990 euros per sq.m. There are apartments, terraced houses and detached luxury houses. Most are offers from row houses at average prices of 160 thousand euros. The apartments are offered at prices starting from 38 thousand euros.
Bulgaria is one of the richest countries in Europe in terms of mineral springs, which is why balneological tourism is well developed in the regions of Velingrad, Pavel Banya, Kyustendil, Banya. In recent years, rural tourism has become especially popular, as well as other alternative forms of tourism in these areas, which further stimulates the real estate market in these destinations.
Velingrad is considered the spa capital of the Balkans. Located in the unadulteratedly beautiful Chepino valley, it is claimed to be one of the most cloudless cities in Bulgaria. The real estate market is diverse – apartments, houses, villas, hotels and plots.
Apartments are offered in gated apartments and hotels, at an average price per sq.m. from 800 euros.
Average sales prices:
• Studio apartments (studio) – 32 thousand euros;
• One bedroom apartments – 50 thousand euros;
• Two-bedroom apartments – 65 thousand euros;
• Multi-room apartments – 70 thousand euros;
• Houses and villas – 115 thousand euros;
• Plots for construction are offered at an average price of 60 euros per sq.m. The largest selection is from plots in the price range from 20 to 40 thousand euros.
• Guest houses and hotels are offered at prices from 150 thousand euros to 1.5 million. Euro.
The village of Banya attracts the interest of buyers with its proximity to Bansko, combining mountain tourism with mineral springs on the one hand and more attractive prices on the other. Due to the weak supply of real estate and the increased demand, however, at the end of 2021 the prices increase significantly reaching the levels of the properties in Bansko.
Here you can find studio apartments at prices from 16 to 20 thousand euros, one-bedroom apartments in the range of 40 – 50 thousand euros. You can also find old detached houses at prices of 50-80 thousand euros, and new construction from 100 to 150 thousand euros. Demand for construction plots has increased significantly in the last year.