For sellers

Bansko struggles as the market is hit by bizarrely warm weather

20 February 14

The ski resorts of Bulgaria have been suffering economically since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, however this season the popularity of the Bulgarian ski slopes and their continued efforts to recover tourist numbers has been hit by a lack of snow and oddly warm conditions.

 

2014 winter Olympics at Sohci is on the same latitude as Varna on the opposite side of the Black Sea, wide media coverage has shown the lack of snow and the need for artificial canons to keep the lower slopes operating. Of course in the town itself it has felt like Spring, much closer to the desired conditions of a seaside rather than a ski resort. This week in Sofia saw temperatures of 22 degrees, unprecedented as typical conditions would see it at -10 to -15 during this coldest month of the year. No Bulgarian slopes have reported fresh snowfall for the past 26 days, even then the largest resort of Bansko saw just 5cm, none have powder and all report ‘freeze thaw’ causing icy and slushy conditions, everything a skier doesn’t want to experience. Naturally nothing can be done to influence this, but when the Alps and Pyrenees have seen record snowfalls and near ideal ski conditions, it does not help encourage the popularity and true value of Bansko, Pamporovo, Vitosha and Borovets.

 

Image of Bansko - peak season 19.2.14

 

For property owners in the resorts it will mean that local businesses and local government will have less to re-invest next year: a successful season will always determine the volume of services, employment, choice, quality and raw value offered by a resort such as Bansko. Without good snowfall booked tourists are proven to spend less in the resort, visit alternative all-weather locations such as Sofia and are overall much less likely to return.

Whilst Bansko is widely acknowledged as being in a better position than a few years ago with more completed roads, improved municipal management, greater choice of open and functioning services and facilities, it still remains with a greater number of uninhabited, unfinished or unfurnished properties than it does with those actually in use peak season. The volume of visitors is still a long way from that necessary to properly populate, maintain and sustain the existing number of complexes, properties and private businesses, that is before we consider how many more are needed to progress and achieve growth. The previous two seasons provided excellent ski conditions with a highly acclaimed men’s World Championship held in February 2012, we all hope for next winter to bring much needed snowfall for this relatively low altitude resort.

 

Property prices in Bansko remain constant with just 20-30 sales in the whole district each month (collective notary estimates), average prices achieved are 250-300 Euros /sqm and almost no sales take place above 30,000 Euros for any size or quality property. The market remains firmly in favour of the buyers and without greater hope for vendors in the short to medium term.