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Baltic and Eastern European property markets showing slight improvement

Last month apartments prices in Vilnius increased by 0.7% and the average price has now rise to €1,200 per square meter, according to the Ober-Haus Baltic Apartment Price Index.

It also shows that the annual price change in Vilnius has increased to 3.6% but since the peak of the market in December 2007 apartment prices in the city have dropped by 39.5%.
A slight fall in prices was recorded in April in other cities in Lithuania. Kaunas, Klaipėda, and Šiauliai saw price drops of 0.4%, 1.0%, and 1.2% respectively. No changes were recorded in Panevėžys. The annual apartment price changes in these cities remains negative with Kaunas down 4%, Klaipėda down 3.3%, Šiauliai down 2.3% and a fall of 2% in Panevėžys.

The average apartment transaction value in Tallinn increased 11.1% in April 2011 after decreasing 0.5% in March 2011 and the report points out that such variability in the monthly price change was due to more transactions in the more expensive apartment segment. Compared to a year earlier, the average apartment price per square meter increased 14% to €1,041. While the number of transactions between January and April 2011 decreased by 9% comparing with the same period in 2010.
In April apartment prices in Riga remained stable with average price of €937 per square meter, the index also shows, and in the last 12 months prices have increased by 4.8%. But prices have fallen 59.7% since the peak of the market in May 2007.

Overall the index concludes that while there are signs that prices are rising the real estate markets in the Baltic have some way to go before they get back to where they were in 2007.

Meanwhile in Bulgaria builders and developers are returning to the market with the number of new properties being built increasing 16.7% in the first quarter of 2011. But the figures show that the numbers of new developments are still way below what they were a year ago. New houses are down 5.3% year on year.

The largest numbers of residential building permits were granted in the Black Sea cities of Varna and Bourgas, followed by Sofia.

The average usable area per unit went up to 77.8 square meter compared with 76.4 square meters in the same period in 2010. The largest flats and houses were built in Gabrovo, Sofia, Yambol and Razgrad, while the smallest homes were in Vidin and Plovdiv.