A Shortage Of Quality Commercial Premises In Sofia, Experts Say

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There is a lack of quality commercial properties in Bulgaria, Rosen Plevenliev, Lindner regional manager for Bulgaria, said in his presentation during a forum held yesterday.

In his opinion the segment is very likely to witness significant growth over the next 3-5 years, since at the moment it is lagging behind the average for Central Europe proportion of commercial areas per 1,000 people.

In Central Europe the proportion is 180 sqm to every 1,000 people, while in Bulgaria it is 64 sqm per 1,000 residents. The total area available at malls throughout the country stands at 130,000 square meters, which is also equal to the total area of commercial streets. The average rent in Bulgarian malls is between 30 – 50 euros per square meter.

The segment has been following an upward trend over the past couple of years. The number of permissions for construction of administrative buildings neared 1 mln in June 2005, while in June 2007 it stood at 1.4 mln. The number of permits for construction of such buildings on the territory of Sofia rose by 20,000 between 2006 H1 and 2007 H1.

According to Plevenliev by 2007 office space in Sofia will total 600,000 sqm, of which just 350,000 will be in use and of quality. New office space this year will total 100,000 sqm.

Rents are rising, and will continue to do so, according to statistics. Currently prices have settled at 12- 26 euros per sqm for class A offices, versus 10-12 euros/sqm in 2006.

75% of new construction in Sofia will soon be situated outside central city areas, according to prognoses.

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