BalRec, the largest real estate conference in Bulgaria, took place on the 9th of November 2023. The event was accompanied by the autumn edition of Residential Expo, which presented over 100 current residential projects from 30 leading companies on the Bulgarian market.
Below we have selected some highlights:
The opening presentation of the event was delivered by Gabor Borbelli, MRICS, Director, CEE Research, CBRE, who focused on the macro issues affecting the property market over the last year - the military conflicts and the post- Covid crisis - all of these factors leading to lower investment in the sector and a wait-and-see attitude when making serious purchases or sales. Fortunately, the following discussion among experts about the state of our market was rather upbeat.
Adina Welsh, Chairperson of the Bulgarian Sustainable Development Council and Executive Director of RPHI Bulgaria was the keynote speaker in the next panel : Sustainability for success: ESG as a standard. Striving for lasting and positive change - the role of the real estate sector in creating social value and environmental sustainability. Ms. Welsh presented the main initiatives and programmes of the World Green Building Council, of which BSD is a part. She emphasized the urgency of the widespread adoption of green building as a way to limit carbon emissions and the certification of green buildings as a guarantee not only for their energy and resource efficiency, but also for better living conditions for their occupants. She also underlined that the trend towards a circular economy in the sector will be a prerequisite for the opening up of many new jobs in addition to reducing construction waste.
Arch. Vessela Valtcheva-McGee, BGBC Board member and Managing Partner of Triple Green Building Group Bulgaria was among the experts in panel: Residential Market Bulgaria 2023/2024: Specialists in the sector discussed housing needs and investment prospects, as well as peculiarities in the demand and realization of the luxury residential segment. According to the participants in the discussion, the development of the high-end residential market should provide not only luxury, but also appropriate healthy living conditions and infrastructure, which should not be limited to the specific property offered, but should also extend to the surrounding urban environment as a key factor influencing demand and property value. Developers hope to have greater interaction with municipalities on building appropriate infrastructure in all areas of cities by finding the healthy the healthy cross point between sustainable municipal planning and sustainable private residential development responsibilities.
The subsequent panels looked at different aspects of the market and the factors that have a major impact on them. The key topics discussed were:
Office Market Outlook - Bulgaria 2023/2024. High quality and sustainable assets in the focus of occupier demand - transformations as an opportunity, "capex" and "opex" as a challenge.
The New Generation Office: striving for quality, sustainability and innovation - creating future-ready ecosystems. An ecological and human-centred approach as a foundation. Vibrant destinations, flexible spaces and the future of hybrid working.
Flex space and Co-working: Rethinking the working environment - next generation services and flexibility. Prospects for expansion and effective operating models - synergy, communities, environment.
Residential and Mixed-use concepts: creating attractive and vibrant living environments. Lifestyle trends, social specifics, functional mix and placemaking patterns for better residential projects. Better living environment as a key demand driver.
Hotels and Hospitality: delivering a unique customer experience in the context of high tourism activity - challenges, prospects and opportunities in different hotel submarkets. Inflation, operating costs and price adjustment models.
Retail: perspectives for the real estate sector in the context of current consumption patterns and behaviour. Expansion trends and expected investment activity in 2023/2024 - new physical store concepts, retail park trends and new elements in omni-channel strategies.
Industrial and Logistics market Bulgaria 2023/2024: outlook and investment challenges, potential rental growth and demand drivers. Green, energy efficient and sustainable practices as a key part of business strategy.