Bansko is one of the premier resorts in Eastern Europe and with cheap flights to Sofia and transfers to the resort, buying a holiday home here can be a good investment. One of the main problems in Bansko is that during the period around 2007, many hotels and apartment buildings were built, much more than needed. This has made the real estate market in Bansko interesting, as you can now buy a two room apartment for as low as 15 000 EUR. But there are some important things to keep in mind when looking for your perfect holiday getaway.
Location & Infrastructure
The first thing to think about is location. You can find an apartment for sale in almost every single apartment building in the resort. The best ones are closest to the gondola, but they are also the most expensive. The price for a studio in the same building as our rental shop (150m from the gondola) is around 30 000 EUR for 40m², while on the opposite side of town, you can find a 50m², two-room apartment, for around half that price. The downside is that you will need to walk 30-40 minutes to get to the gondola, as there is no public transportation in Bansko. If you live in the Balkans and come by car to Bansko, this isn’t such a problem. When looking for an apartment, you should also ask about the building’s infrastructure and take note of the surrounding area. Is it connected to the central canalization, are there streets and parking lots around the building, does the basement flood and so on. One of the main problems of buildings in the southern part of town (closest to the gondola) is the total lack of asphalted roads in some of the new neighborhoods. This isn’t a problem until it starts snowing or raining, then you can pray for the roads to be cleared but not much else can be done. The rain is also a problem, as the dirt roads connecting your new building become a mudbath. It also a good idea to check out the basement of the building and try to smell if there is any mold. This is often a sign of bad hydro isolation, or if the basement has been flooded in the past. Parking, if you come by car, can also be a hassle around some buildings. Many investors decided to solve this problem by building underground car parks, often times never finished and used. But there are many nice complexes to choose from, which are a good price at the time of writing this article.
You can also take a look at the apartments in the Pirin Golf Complex. Prices there are even cheaper, but it’s outside of Bansko and you will need a car to get to the slopes. One apartment we saw was on sale for just over 10 000 EUR (48sq.m²), but has a yearly tax of 480 EUR. If you’re a golfer, being a property owner in Pirin Golf gets you a discount on individual games.
The yearly tax you pay for upkeep varies from building to building and can range from nothing, up to thousands of leva a year. The rule of thumb is that the higher your yearly tax, the lower the cost of the apartment, but the more you’ll pay in the long run. Many buildings set their yearly tax based on fully sold buildings and working facilities, but these calculations can sometimes be inadequate. In the end, a tax of 400 EUR may include access to a swimming pool, which hasn’t seen water in years. Often times you’ll be left wondering where all this money goes, but some buildings are worth the higher tax. Always make sure to see what facilities are working on a random day. The highest taxes are for apartments that are part of an aparthotel complex, as the facilities in these buildings are actually working throughout the season. Some of these complexes also offer a service to rent out your apartment and the money goes to cover a tax of around 500-750 EUR, and often you’ll be left with a small profit. The highest yearly tax we’ve heard of is 1000 EUR for an apartment in the Green Life complex. Many buildings have taxes around 100-150 EUR, which will include a housekeeper to wash the floors and keep an eye out for intruders. You can also find buildings without any tax, but the conditions of the shared spaces are often very bad.
Buying as an Investment
Any real estate you buy should be considered an investment and the good news is that prices in Bansko can’t drop any lower than they already are. They’ve literally hit rock-bottom and can only go up from here on out (unless there is a global cataclysm or something, aliens maybe). This means that any money you spend now isn’t completely lost and down the road, you might be able to sell it for more than you paid. In these cases, it’s best to get something with a lower yearly tax, as 750 EUR for 10 years is almost a third of the price you’ll pay for the apartment. To make money off your investment, you can also rent out the apartment to seasonal workers for around 200-300 EUR/month. For this, it’s best to get something as close as possible to the gondola, as you’ll make around 1000-1500 EUR per season, in 10 years you’ll have paid off most of the initial investment.
Many of the buildings in Bansko were built in a hurry and this shows in the details. You should never buy any real estate in Bansko without first seeing it with your own eyes. Pictures can give you a general idea, but they won’t show that bit of mold on the wall, which is a big red flag not to buy the apartment. Most of the time it’s just small things that can be easily fixed, but some apartment buildings have problems the brokers don’t want you to know. It’s always good to get an apartment with thicker insulation, but some developers decided to skip adding enough of it to save money. Most apartments are heated by electric radiators installed in the walls or air conditioning, but a few buildings also have natural gas. Not all apartments have a fully functioning kitchen and may be lacking a kitchen hood and stove for example.
As we said earlier, due to supply being higher than demand, prices in Bansko are very low, some of the lowest in any European ski resort. A small studio 20min drive outside of Bansko can cost less than 10K EUR, while the same sized studio next to the gondola will go for 2.5-3 times more than that. Also, you could invest in an amazing luxury house for 200K EUR. If you’re looking for a nice, fully furnished apartment in Bansko, you’ll be looking at around 300-400 EUR/m².
There are many local real estate agencies in Bansko with offices all over town. Some worth checking out online are Bulgarian Properties, Bower Properties and Plus Property, but there are many more options. If you don’t want to work through an agent, many buildings with apartments for sale have the contact of the investor and you can buy directly from them. But your best choice would be to use a broker, as they often know the best deals and will work to get you a lower price.
Ski & Board Traventuria is a leading provider of lift passes, equipment rental, airport transfers and ski school for the Bansko area. To book your next ski vacation in Bansko with us, please check our website – www.skibansko.bg