Property in concrete apartment buildings in Bulgaria – is it to buy?
Despite the rapid pace of new living building construction, many buyers of city real estate in Bulgaria are specifically interested in buying apartments in old panel buildings. Apart Estate specialists invite you to consider all the pros and cons of such property and get acquainted with the best offers in our catalog.
Concrete panel apartment blocks in Bulgaria: history
After the end of World War II, rapid construction of living buildings began throughout Europe. It was caused by the desire of many villagers to move to cities. Bulgaria is no exception. Here, thousands of people who have lived all their lives in villages have reached out to the country's major cities in search of work and a better life.
To meet the demand for housing, the idea of fast, cheap and efficient construction was required. And it was found – the construction of residential multi-storey concrete panel buildings. Therefore, since the mid-1950s (or, more precisely, since 1956), active construction of such types of residential property began in Bulgaria.
Panel apartment buildings have become so popular that even today they make up 25% of the country's total residential real estate fund.
Many do not like such living buildings – they look gray, boring and similar. However, do not forget that such an exterior should be considered as the influence of time.
On one hand, post-war construction was budgetary. On the other hand, it was a time of minimalism, when decoration was considered superfluous. The main thing that was paid attention to was high-quality and fast construction.
We will talk later about how the exterior issue is being solved today. Right now Apart Estate analysts would like to present you the advantages of panel residential buildings, as well as their disadvantages.
Advantages of buying an apartment in Bulgaria in a concrete panel block
Each buyer of real estate in Bulgaria has his own idea of an ideal apartment. For many, it is a flat in a concrete panel living building. Here are just a few reasons:
- Good comfortable layouts. In these apartments , there are large well-shaped rooms with corridors, kitchens (though not always spacious), balconies and WC’s. Balconies have enough space to put a coffee table, and if they are glazed you can use them for a wardrobe, and even a sofa.
- Apartments have little common area. The area of apartments in old residential buildings was indicated as living, not total. Therefore, if you compare a flat in a concrete panel building with a one in a new brick block, then the area of the first will be visually much larger.
- Central heating. Despite the fact that Bulgaria is a southern country, it gets cold here in winter. Thanks to the central heating system, every room in the apartment is warm and dry. There are valves to control the temperature. And, despite the fact that heating prices are rising from year to year, central heating costs turn out to be much lower than if you use air conditioners and electric heaters.
- Lower prices. Apartments in panel blocks are usually cheaper than in new brick bricks with one exception. If rehabilitation and renovation was carried out in the building, then the prices become comparable or approximately 5-7% lower, than those for the new flats. By the way, many buyers are specifically looking for apartments in old residential buildings which were not renovated. Their target is to buy property at a 20-25% cheaper price. They realize well that after the renovation, its price will rise significantly.
- Convenient location. If you drive through the major cities of Bulgaria, it is easy to see that concrete panel buildings have a very good location. Nearby, there are always shops, clinics, schools, and parking places. The living buildings were erected in accordance with the development plan, not skimping on space. The construction was immediately supplemented with infrastructure so that people could live comfortably.
- Earthquakes’ risks. During the development and construction of concrete residential blocks, seismic activity was taken into account, so they are quite stable and of high quality.
Disadvantages of panel residential buildings in Bulgaria
Despite the huge number of advantages, the concrete panel construction has enough disadvantages.
- The main issue is the material. It is believed that the concrete used for construction is not very environmentally friendly. In addition, under the influence of atmospheric phenomena, it collapses, and as a result, the walls may lose their features and freeze through.
- Most panel blocks have flat roofs. If not properly maintained, they quickly begin to leak. As a result, not only the inhabitants of the upper floors suffer, but all the residents.
- To find an old living building with a new elevator is impossible. In most of the cases, the elevators are of outdated design, slow and quite loud. In concrete panel apartment blocks, there are many apartments, so such old elevators cause discomfort.
- Centralized heating, which was mentioned above as an advantage, can also be considered as a disadvantage. The fees are standard and do not depend on consumption, so people pay for heating even if they for not live in their apartment.
- Many concrete panel buildings are over 50 years old. They require a quality overhaul.
- Mortgage problems. Banks, considering a possibility of issuing a loan for buying property, analyze the period of its operation. For panel blocks, it is 50 years. In reality, it is much larger, but the financial institutions consider technical documentation. Therefore, you will get a loan for much worse terms than when buying a modern property.
Living building renovation program in Bulgaria
Most of the disadvantages of concrete residential panel buildings are due to the fact that they were built a long time ago, and their quality is gradually deteriorating. For the last several years, Bulgaria has been successfully implementing a program of renovation of residential buildings. What does it mean?
- As part of the rehabilitation, structural strengthening of the building is being carried out.
- The roof and facade are being renovated.
- Electrical networks are being repaired.
- To improve energy efficiency, heat and waterproofing materials are being installed.
- Windows and balcony groups are being replaced with modern plastic double-glazed frames.
- Connections to the city's heating and water supply system are being upgraded.
For example, 22 concrete panel buildings are currently being renovated in Burgas. These are multi-storey residential blocks with at least 36 apartments. They are located in the downtown and districts of Bratya Miladinovi and Meden Rudnik. The current program runs until September 2022. No decision has yet been made on how the project will continue in the future.
However, even today one thing is clear – no one will leave the old concrete panel buildings in Bulgaria to the mercy of fate. Major repairs are being carried out, thanks to which the buildings become warm, updated and beautiful. In addition to the main repairs, as part of the rehabilitation program, the facades of blocks are plastered and painted, so the city begins to play with new colors, and ceases to be gray and dull.
Prices for property in concrete panel buildings in Bulgaria
If you are in doubt where to buy an apartment, check out the information about property prices in concrete living buildings in three quarters of Burgas, the third largest Bulgarian city. The data was prepared by the experts of the Apart Estate real estate agency:
- In Lazur, one of the most beloved city districts, the average price per square meter in a renovated concrete panel block is 1,270 euros, in a non-renovated residential building it is 1,155 euros. The difference is about 9%.
- The Zornitsa district attracts those who want to buy an apartment in Burgas with excellent infrastructure around and close to the Marine park. The price of the property in a renovated building is 1,188 euros / sq. m., the apartments in old blocks cost 1,077 euros / sq. m. The difference is more than 10%.
- You can buy an apartment in the Meden Rudnik district as well. If the building is rehabilitated, the average price per square meter is 780 euros. If the building is not renovated, the apartments cost 756 euros / sq. m. m on average, which is 3% cheaper.
Buying property in a concrete panel apartment building raises many questions. If the block is renovated, the real estate will have better quality, but will be more expensive. If you buy property in a block that has not passed rehabilitation, the price will be lower, but the owners will have to work on including their apartment in the city renovation program.
Contact Apart Estate specialists, we will help you analyze all real estate options and choose the best one. We also help apartment owners to sell their property and urgently buy your real estate.