Housing property prices in Bulgaria are expected to hit rock bottom in 2011, recovering after that point, estate agencies said.
"Housing prices in 2011 will remain at historically low levels, but they are expected to stabilise in large regional cities and the overall decline to slow down countrywide," Teodora Dimitrova, head of the local unit of international firm ERA Real Estate, said.
According to Elta Consult, property prices are already near their optimal levels and further abrupt changes are unlikely.
"Even if the market has not reached absolute bottom, it is certainly close to it," said Polina Stoikova, chief operating officer of Bulgarian Properties.
In 2010, average housing property prices returned to the levels of three years ago, statistics show.
According to the National Statistical Institute (NSI), the average home price was 960 euro a sq m in the third quarter of 2010. In Q3 2007, it was 988 euro a sq m.
After Bulgaria joined the EU at the beginning of 2007, home prices increased, surging to 1418 euro a sq m in Q3 2008. But since then prices have declined.
Home prices have decreased by about 10 per cent in 2010, according to Bulgarian Properties figures.
The higher number of transactions was a positive sign, but it was too early to say whether the property market has started to recover from the crisis, Stoikova said.
According to Dimitrova, demand for homes will mainly hinge on employment, wages and access to loans.