Following on from our interview Christian Zarnescu he informs me that property price are recovering from their lowest point. And he predicted this last year here. I speculated that we are at, or very close to the bottom, in terms of real estate prices here in Bansko nearly two years ago. So we’re both feeling a little smug right now.
But what’s really happening with Bansko property prices?
I took time out to find out more from Cristian Zarnescu, owner of Plus Property.
Q: Tell me about the Bansko property market now?
Our analysis on local and international market and economic situation has seen our prediction that prices this year would increase. We have seen ski property in France show increases in value and we are following this trend here in Bansko.
I still see a substantial increase in property prices within five years time — for these reasons:
- Selling prices are now around 3-4% more than this time last year. 400 to 500 euros per square metre are more common.
- The lower price property stock is almost finished. The best properties been been sold and the price of the remaining stock has stabilised.
- Volume of sales has increased.
- There is a ban on new building permits, except for chalets.
- Russian buyers have decreased, but UK buyers are coming back strongly.
- British buyers are looking at European standard luxury property.
- The local Bulgarian market; having witnessed the highs of the property market here; are now seeing the value in investing in property in Bansko at the current prices
- Ski/Golf/Spa property is usually expensive. A studio is France cost from €90,000. This is five times more than in Bulgaria where you can buy for the same price a luxury 2-3 bedroom in a spa resort or a chalet.
- Bansko is now an International resort, with Ski World Cups, 18 hole golf course. 5 star hotels, complexes and spa resorts. With very competitive rates on offer it attracts over 2.2 million tourist per year — and growing. The very low price, on average half the European average prices and up to quarter of the price of other ski resorts, will continue to attract a growing number of tourists. In the long term, this will push the property prices up.
What are your other businesses in Bansko?
We have a fully integrated business model which includes three main business areas. In addition to Property sales through Plus Property (www.pluspropertybansko.com) I have property maintenance, management & furnishing company through BW Property Services and Furnishing (www.blackandwhite.bg,) and the third business is a property rentals and a hotel management business for the boutique Valentina Heights Aparthotel (http://www.valentinahotelbansko.com).
Whilst this business model is demanding to manage, it has the advantage that we offer full support to property buyers and home owners so our clients are offered a complete service — and there they are very happy with us.
Q: What are the most common top 3 questions asked by your real estate buyers in Bansko? Please give me one more?
The most popular questions are:
1) What other costs are involved in buying a property?
These are the buying costs: Notary fees, Taxes and Land registry fees which in Bulgaria is in the region of 4.5% of the property cost. If the property is close to lifts or in a 4/5 star complex, tax can reach 6%. Other associated costs can be legal fees, which are around 3-500€. Although not a legal requirement in Bulgaria we always recommend that buyers appoint a legal representative to check the property on their behalf before they proceed with the purchase.
2) What are the steps of buying a property (briefly), and is it safe?
In brief, there are 3 steps to buying a property here in Bansko.
a) As soon the buyer decides which property they will buy, a deposit of 2,000€ is paid. This is to take the property off the market and reserve it for the buyer. The buyer has to provide a copy of his passport and sign a Reservation Document where Property details, price and any special conditions are agreed on.
b) Within 2-3 weeks the property is checked to make sure there are no debts and it can be sold. A completion date is arranged to complete the purchase at the Notary.
c) The buyer either comes in person to sign the Title Deeds and complete the transaction at the Notary or arranges for a POA (Power Of Attorney) to a lawyer to sign on his behalf. This is when the final payment is due to the seller. The transaction is completed when the seller receives the monies and the buyer signs the deeds and receives the keys.
Bulgaria has a very safe purchase/sale process for resale properties, which cannot besold if there are any debts or encumbrances. Our partner law firm checks on our behalf all properties we have listed for sale with Plus Property.
3) Why are properties so cheap?
Property in Bansko represents very good value in real estate at the moment. In fact you cannot build at the price property is being sold. The reason for the low prices is that there were developers with large bank loans which were forced to sell to pay the bank rate. There are also resale property from owners who want to move on or release equity tied up in the property and so they sell at a lower price for a quick sell.
4) An extra one – just for you… Which building is the best to buy?
This depends on each buyer’s individual circumstances, budget and motivation for buying property. We usually spend a good amount of time with our buyers to better understand what they are looking for and offering comprehensive market and area insights. We can then offer them the most suitable properties for them and help them make a knowledgeable decision.
For example, if it is for rent, you could buy close to the Ski Lift in a Complex with Spa Facilities and Good Management. If the buyer is looking for a bargain, simply buy at a low price per square metre. If it is for living, or relocation, look at a residential building/complex with minimal facilities, close to the park, centre and shops. Of course if the buyer is looking for Golfing holidays then they could consider the Golf area.
Q: What are three hard-to-spot pitfalls that are critical to avoid when buying Bansko property?
1) Make sure the building has electrical connection and ACT 16 (habitation permit).
2) Buy from aReal Estate Company that checks the properties they sell. Even better, hire your own lawyer to check the property on your behalf.
3) If you want peace and quiet and are buying to relocate and live in Bansko then don’t buy in a resort complex which will be busy and noisy with tourists. Some buildings are quiet in summer, but can be full with tourists for four months in the winter.
Q: What tips can you recommend to a Bansko property seller that you’d only share with a close friend (and everyone reading Bansko Blog)?
1) There is no reason, and no restriction, to prevent you from advertising with two or three agencies at the same time. In fact we suggest our sellers do just that. Most property agents in Bansko, including us, do not charge a fee to do that. It will increase your chances to sell your apartment quickly.
2) See at what price your property type sells for. Resist property agents pressuring you to sell at a very low price; start advertising at the going selling price – you can always come down. If a buyer is interested, usually they will make you an offer. Property buyers are happy to pay few thousand Euro more for a good property; rather than buying the cheapest one, which, most often, is not the best. Check that your property price is correct on all the agent’s websites and marketing.
My thanks to Cristian for this interview and for giving us an insight into his world. ====================================================
If you like this post, then please share it. Why not subscribe (for free) for more articles on Bansko and receive my E-Guide The Essential Guide to Bansko (it’s free too)? Saving you both time and money. No catches and no spam, guaranteed. Best off all, stay connected for the Bansko news by downloading the Bansko App for iphone and android mobile devices (it’s also free).
What do you think? Is Cristian right to be positive on the long term outlook on Bansko’s real estate prospects? Your comments matter. Have your say on the property market’s direction — its past, the future and your buying and selling and ownership experiences.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Plus property advertise and sponsor in Bansko Blog and Bansko App. In this case, all the texts, with the exception of minor editing changes, are the words and views of Cristian. But bear this in mind. No responsibility or liability may be taken by Cristian, Plus Property and related companies or Bansko Blog for any actions that may be taken after reading this post. Always take professional advice when investing in property.
Tip of the day
WiFi internet is about to get better. To find out more contact me at www.banskowifi.com