Despite the uptick, the figure remains two to three times smaller than in other Central and East European countries. According to CB Richard Ellis, in the next three years Bulgaria will successfully catch up with CEE peers as international investors enter the country.
Last year, Bulgaria witnessed 40 large deals, 15 of which referred to office buildings and 10 to commercial buildings.
One of the most important deals were the management buyout of Landmark, the Sofia Airport Centre development of Tishman International and GE Real Estate, as well as the mixed-purpose project of Urbas Guadahermosa on a site near Sofia's central rail station.
Investors expanded the geographical scope of their interest in 2007. A year earlier, Sofia attracted 82 per cent of total investment, but in 2007 it accounted for only 42 per cent of all spending, or 358 million euro. Varna made solid advances with 21 per cent of total investment and projects worth 182 million euro, up from five per cent in 2006. Plovdiv ranked third with 22 per cent of the total and projects worth 147 million euro.
Office and retail projects remained the most attractive option for investors, scooping 80 per cent of total business property spending in 2007. Office projects accounted for 44 per cent of total investment, up from 25 per cent a year earlier, and retail projects for 36 per cent, compared with 32 per cent in 2006.
Foreign investors remained the key driver of growth on the commercial property investment market, with a share of 94 per cent of total investment, up from 89 per cent in 2006. The most active players were from the US, Britain, Germany, Austria, Spain, Greece, the Middle East and Israel.