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Demand for rural properties to rise

Photo: BTA

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the agenda and lifestyles of millions of Bulgarians in recent months. It has made us more humble and caring for our loved ones and friends, but also made us search for places away from the daily dose of anxiety we receive from news on the topic. Places where one could escape from the negative reality and be closer to nature and to ourselves. Thus, the image of the Bulgarian village has emerged in a new light, as more and more properties are being renovated.

A poll with people from the picturesque Rhodope village of Gela shows that it has the potential to be much more populated, but currently it comes to life only in the summer. "It is ideal for rest and escape from the city, but in the winter it is absolutely impossible to stay here," a woman from the village told BNR.

"The road to Gela is cleaned regularly. There used to be a bus, but since last year there has been no transportation to the village.”

“People have cars, but not all of them,” another resident of the mountain village says. “There are also tourists who come. There is just one small shop, as there are few people. It is a good place for rest, but not for living permanently. It's great for isolation."

At the same time real estate experts say they expect an increase in interest in suburban properties. As a positive consequence of Covid-19 is considered the fact that people have been searching for a new way of life that fits them and they gradually turn their attention to properties that are not located in big cities.

"Living 50 or 100 kilometers away from the city has its charm,” says broker Georgi Pavlov. "These people will show an alternative to all of us when we choose our way of life."

The real estate expert predicts dramatic changes in tourism, caused by what has happened in recent months and the fact that many Bulgarians will probably spend their summer vacation in the Bulgarian countryside.

"The psychological effect is very important," Mr. Pavlov explains. “We are all used to living social lives. When we were put in a situation of limited social contacts for two months, some people found out that they actually like this. They will keep these habits and will look for a way to have rest in places that are more isolated from the big city and noise. I think that the demand for houses for living in suburban areas and in the villages – for tourism, will increase. However, there must be an adequate product to offer at the market.”

The number of vacant homes will not decrease, because the population decreases every year by 50 thousand people, Pavlov adds.

There is a revival of interest in rural real estates and it is definitely related to the pandemic situation,  the chairwoman of the National Real Estate Association for Plovdiv and the region, Dafina Gudova, says. Young families turn their attention to areas close to urban areas. There is also interest in villa properties, which are located in resorts, she added.

In some cases, however, owners want too much money to sell properties far away from administrative centers and with poor infrastructure. It is completely explainable, says Georgi Pavlov. Here is why:

"One of the reasons is the low taxes in Bulgaria, which lead to the fact that housing is used as a way to accumulate wealth that can be preserved. This is not the case in the rest of the world. Everywhere property taxes are relatively high and this makes their owners really use them. Only very rich people can afford unused property. We do not use resources totaling about 10-20 billion euros invested in housing. Honestly, I don't expect that to change."

Editor: Yoan Kolev /based on interviews by Tanya Milusheva - Horizon Program/

English: Alexander Markov

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