According to statistics, arable agricultural land in Bulgaria is 3 million and 49 thousand hectares. Until 2004 the agricultural land market was unattractive, while the prices were very low. After Bulgaria went on the path to EU membership and opportunities for financing grew, the market became more active and demand much bigger. Still, the prices were lower than those in the EU. Special Investment Companies were created to buy land and consolidate it before reselling it. With Bulgaria joining the EU in 2007 the market of agricultural land become very active. The trend continued until 2008 when the average prize of land reached 140 euro per decare. The economic crisis of 2009, however, reversed the trend once more. It caused a number of owners to sell land in order to cover expenses. Buyers mostly look for large fields, while prices remain much lower than the EU average. Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Svetla Boyanova, told us more about the land market during the past year.
“110,000 contracts for the sale and lease of 1 million decares of land were signed in 2009, as this was a decrease of 15%. The average price of agricultural land was about 150 euro per decare, which is a 5 % decrease in comparison to 2008.”
Statistical data show that the market of land is most active in the fertile regions of Northern Bulgaria. In 2009, 28 thousand hectares were sold there. However, prices were 34% lower than in 2008. In the northeastern regions of the country, the market is most stable. The price there reaches 170 euro per decare. The market in Northwestern Bulgaria is not very active, although the number of sales is on the rise. Demand in the southeastern regions of the country, close to the Black Sea coast is also growing. The market of agricultural land in Southwestern Bulgaria is the least developed due to the mountainous region. The rent there is the lowest in Bulgaria – about 40 euro per decare.
Expectations about the land market in 2011 are optimistic as the trend is land consolidation. The interest is also spurred by the Bulgarian strategy for agricultural development in accordance to the Common Policy of the EU in the period 2013-2020. According to Borislav Petkov, chairman of the Association of Land Owners in Bulgaria, the land market has become more active this year. Here what he said for Radio Bulgaria.
“Traditionally the period August-December is the time when the most land is sold. We have observed an increased interest, as demand for lease has grown by 25% in comparison to the previous year.”
Law changes that are to alleviate consolidation of land, required by modern agriculture, are also forthcoming in Bulgaria.
English: Alexander Markov