If the Bulgarian construction sector was to keep its first-quarter development pace, the industry would see a 25 per cent drop in the number of new construction projects to come to the market in 2009 compared to the year before, estimates from Arco Real Estate, the local office of Estonian real estate group Arco Vara, said.
Sofia was headed for a 32 per cent year-on-year drop, whereas Varna and Bourgas faced declines of 32 and 14 per cent, respectively, the agency said.
The forecast was based on data from the National Statistical Institute (NS) , which showed that 3897 new housing units had come to market in the first quarter of 2009, against 20924 for all of 2008, Bulgarian daily Dnevnik said.
The number of new building permits reflected the trend, with the number of permits issued halving in the first quarter, compared to the same period of 2007, when the property sector was at its peak, Dnevnik said.
Companies that have secured building permits held off on breaking ground on projects for fear that planned returns were no longer feasible in a slumping market.
Arco Real Estate warned that this could create a vacuum with no finished new housing units appearing on the market in 2010.