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Property Focus - Blagoevgrad

Blagoevgrad benefits from an auspicious natural location only 100 km from the capital and close to some of the country’s leading tourist attractions including Bansko ski resort. A great place for buying Bulgarian property. Foreign investment is flowing into this town improving its infrastructure and facilities; even the old town market was redesigned turning it into a modern business centre but retaining all of the old character and charm. Overall, the encouraging business environment and stable economy coupled with the cities perfect location is driving up property prices and providing good returns for those who invest here.


A lively student community increases rents and residential property prices

Blagoevgrad has a bustling student community; it is home to the Southwestern University Neofit Rilski and the American University in Bulgaria as well as the Sts. Cyril and Methodius National Humanitarian High School, which has created a strong demand for rental property with good average rental yields.
There has been a boom over the past few years in the construction of residential homes in the city and prices have rapidly increased. Popular locations are Osvobojdenie and Balarbashi, where many apartments have been constructed and are commanding prices from 600 Euros a sq m. The mayor, Kostadin Paskalev implemented a zoning scheme for development in the city, which will enhance its look and layout and included renovations, which have occurred with many of the town’s old buildings and pre-fabs in residential districts.

Growth in tourism drives up property prices

Its recognition as a growing centre for tourism has also pushed up property prices. The cities idyllic natural location makes rural property and land, both regulated and agricultural, popular choices for investment and prices in some of the nearby villages like Gotse Delchev are on the increase. Average property prices within the city currently stand at 61,000 Euros, but in nearby spa town Sandanski average prices remain relatively low at 31, 500 Euros.

Since Bulgaria joined the European Union, the town has seen a dramatic increase in the number of holidaymakers and day-trippers from neighbouring Greece and the rise in niche tourism in areas like wine and spa tours has brought visitors flooding back to surrounding towns like Melnik and Sandanski. There are several golf courses under construction in nearby Razlog and this coupled with the delights of Bansko are turning the area into a year round tourist hub.
The Greek owned construction company FIA Bulgaria has received planning permission to build a 56,000 sq. m. holiday complex in the municipality of Hadjidimovo close to Blagoevgrad. The complex will include luxury villas and apartments, a church parks and a medical centre. Around 27 million Leva will be invested in the project, which will commence construction later this year creating around 200 local jobs. FIA’s interest in the site grew after the border point was opened at Ilinden-Exohi making access from Greece to Bulgaria much easier.

Many Bulgarians have made the surrounding villages into holiday retreats because they are a quick ten-minute drive from the town and provide a perfect weekend escape that offers panoramic scenery and clean, fresh mountain air. In some villages, it is still possible to buy property for as little as 20,000 Euros, but villages like Riltsi, dubbed as Millionaires' Village is commanding much higher prices. Many investors have taken advantage of the once low land prices with the idea of building their own home. Land prices around Izgrev, which lies within walking distance of Blagoevgrad centre have increased to 26 Euros a sq. m.

A favourable economic location causes demand for commercial real estate

The economy throughout this region is based around a diverse range of industries; agriculture, tourism, transport, communications, timber, furniture, iron processing, machinery, construction materials, as well as pharmaceuticals, plastics, paper and shoes, but it is the food and tobacco industries, which have the leading presence here receiving world acclaim for their Pirin beer and Blagoevgrad-BT tobacco.
Blagoevgrad’s favourable location close to Sofia and on the main international routes to Greece and Macedonia has also increased demand for commercial premises with hotels, restaurants, shops and petrol stations in great demand. Many Greek nationals visit in search of cheaper goods and services like dentistry and optical services. Several Greek manufacturers have also relocated industry to nearby Petrich, where labour and construction costs are cheaper.
The retail structure has seen great advancements with the opening of branches of popular supermarkets, Metro Cash and Carry and Europa, electrical retailers Technopolis and Technomarket and DIY store Mr. Bricolage. The city’s first mall, the Mall of Blagoevgrad, opened this year bringing a new selection of boutiques and eateries to the town. The opening of a new Kaufland store is imminent and will bring more jobs and further choice to the local population. There are a number of commercial office buildings under construction selling off plan at around 900 Euros a sq. m.
Commercial land prices are on the increase with prices ranging from 22 Euros per sq. m. for land on the new industrial estate on the main Pokrovnik road and prime land close to outlets like Metro selling at 40 Euros a sq.m.


Improvements to the infrastructure continue

EU funding is pouring into this region with future improvements to road and rail communications likely in the near future. The Struma motorway, which is already under construction, will connect Sofia with the Greek border and the city and port of Thessaloniki. Another major project, designed to have a positive effect on the areas fortune is the 30 million Euro construction of an airport at Bansko.
Locally architects believe that the town will expand outwards in the direction of Balarbashi and Elenovo. Development could also extend out towards the Rila Mountain where intensive development is already in progress with the Plazha district. Some foresighted investors are already snapping up land in these areas many with the expectation of a new ski centre Kartala and the development of a tourist resort at Bodrodst, which lies 30 km east of Blagoevgrad and is the entry point to the Rila National Park.