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Bulgaria real estate prices increased by 2.2 per cent in real terms in 2008

Bulgaria is one of a handful of countries across the globe to see its property prices rise amid the economic meltdown last year, according to the annual report by Global Property Guide, which gauges 32 property markets in the world.

Real estate prices in Bulgaria increased by a nominal 11.72 per cent, or 2.2 per cent adjusted to the annual inflation rate, ranking the country fourth after the UAE, China and Switzerland.

But the modest increase pales in comparison with figures from the previous year, when prices surged 11.7 per cent.

The downtrend held in the final months of the year, with prices falling 5.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter in October to December, according to the research.

Property prices crumbled a record 37 per cent in Latvia and more than 20 per cent in Lithuania and the US. The United Kingdom, Iceland, Ukraine and Ireland saw prices slide by more than 12 per cent year-on-year. Only Germany and Switzerland managed to curb the slowdown.

Global Property Guide is downbeat about 2009 as well, citing concerns that mortgage lending will continue to thin out and economies will slow further all over the world. Yet another bottleneck are decisions by some governments to devaluate their currencies, which increases the cost of payment of properties sold mostly in euro and US dollars.

Forecasts that the global economy is headed for a 60-year low at 0.5 per cent in 2009 are another nail in the property market’s coffin, according to the analysts.