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The extent of the decline in residential property prices in Bulgaria are shown in the latest figures which reveal they are 5 to 10% lower in 2011 than in 2010.

Initial predictions for 2012 are that prices are largely expected to be unchanged as real estate markets around the country remain at a standstill.

Average prices in the capital city Sofia were around €920 per square meter, down from €1,100 in 2010, according to brokers.

Prices in Bourgas on the Black Sea fell to an average €860 per square meter and in Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city, they were €770 per square meter. Bansko, which has been v very popular with overseas buyers, saw prices fall by 25%.

‘At the moment, sales have fallen hugely. It is almost tragic,’ one hotel manag...

Estate agent fees in the UK often lack transparency and there is great variation in the levels of fees that estate agencies across London charge, according to a new survey.

The varied picture of estate agent fees across London shows it is not necessarily the most expensive postcodes that have the highest charges, according to the research by property agent comparison website ipostcode.

Some of the highest average commissions are charged in the SE1 (Bermondsey), NW11 (Golders Green) and W6 (Hammersmith) postcodes, where as agents in E8 (Dalston), N8 (Crouch End) and SE28 (Thamesmead) offer some of the lowest commission rates.

The majority of estate agencies surveyed quoted 1.5% commission, but 15% of agents quoted the lowest fee of 1%. The highest commission level quoted w...

Estate agents in the UK have issued a reminder that there is only two months to go until the stamp duty exemption for first time buyers ends.

The government's holiday on stamp duty land tax will come to an end on Saturday 24 March 2012. After that first time buyers will face a tax of 1% on house purchases between £125,000 and £250,000, and a 3% tax on purchases over £250,000.

‘With only two months remaining, first time buyers must act quickly to avoid paying stamp duty on their first home purchase. If you're currently in a chain and waiting to complete your purchase then make sure that others in the chain know about the end of the tax holiday too. Good communication with your solicitor can help move the process forward, helping you beat the cut date,&...

Residential property rents in central London fell back in the fourth quarter of 2011 after a period of consistent growth, according to the latest market report from Cluttons.

The company says that after a remarkable period of consistent growth of nearly 9% between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2011 rents reached a level 10.3% above the market peak in 2008.

But then in the last three months of last year rents fell by 0.4% and further falls are expected into the spring as the spike in prices was a result of a serious shortage of supply and that is now readjusting.

Also a lack of promotion and nervousness over job prospects in the City has lead to increased price sensitivity among tenants and, consequently, greater flexibility from landlords, who are keen t...

HSBC has committed itself to lending at least £15 billion to borrowers this year, of which £3 billion will be for first time buyers.

It says that 150,000 home buyers and 27,000 first time buyers are set to benefit as it expects 2012 to see it with its largest ever share of the UK mortgage market.

Of the £15 billion HSBC will be making available for 2012, the majority will be new money into the mortgage market, it added.

‘In 2011 we offered UK borrowers some of the most competitive rates around and we plan to continue this in 2012. While some estimates suggest mortgage lending in the UK will fall this year, HSBC has no intention of closing its doors to customers, nor will we compromise our reputation for responsible lending,’ said Martijn van ...

An easing in the demand for rental property and a rise in the numbers of tenants struggling to meet their monthly rent payments signals that the rental market may be softening, according to new research published today (Friday 20 January).

While demand is still robust there are signs that there are more tenants than properties in some locations, the research from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has found.

In the fourth quarter of 2011 just over half, 55%, of ARLA members reported more tenants than properties available. While this indicates that demand is still robust, the figure is sharply down on the third quarter when three quarters, 74%, of members noted that trend.

The number of consumers actually signing a new tenancy was consistent with the third quar...

While 2011 was clearly a challenging year for the residential property market in the United States, there is a lot to be positive about looking ahead to 2012.

Mark Fleming, chief economist at date company CoreLogic points out that while economically the nation was buffeted by natural disasters and fiscal policy indecisiveness at home as well as the European sovereign debt crisis abroad, the US economy was able to stave off economic stagnation in 2011 and is likely to continue to do so in 2012.

‘Housing statistics and the duration of the housing downturn to date indicate that 2012 may be the year we begin to turn the corner,’ he said.

He pointed out that in the summer of 2011 economic concerns peaked as the economy appeared to be on the brink of stagnation. ‘Si...

The lettings market for residential property in the Elgin and Moray area is booming according to Scotland’s leading independent property consultancy, CKD Galbraith.

In the last Quarter of 2011, the firm’s Elgin office doubled the number of rental properties let in comparison to the previous three quarters combined, with the majority of properties being let out by young professionals.

‘Over the past three months we have let out a significant number of properties from our portfolio and are now letting cottages before they are even put on the open market. This has been achieved through our extensive knowledge of landlords with empty, or soon to be empty properties and matching them with potential tenants who have registered with us,’ said Fiona Samson, o...

New Zealand residential property values continued to gradually increase in 2011, rising 2.4% over the past twelve months, according to the latest QV index.

Values in Auckland were 4.3% better than a year earlier and underpinned the nationwide gains as a lack of new listings and good housing for sale stoking demand for quality properties, the valuations company said.

‘Despite national values moving upwards during the year, the property market continued to be characterised by lower than-normal sales volumes,’ said research director Jonno Ingerson.

‘First home buyers came back into the market in 2011, encouraged by low interest rates, while investors were largely on the sidelines,’ he added.

Overall the property market spent much of last year in decli...

Commercial property investment volumes rose by a better than expected 17.7% in the final quarter of 2011 to reach €36.8 billion, taking volumes for the year to €126.2 billion, 7.8% up on 2010, new figures show.

Foreign investors were the main driver of this, increasing activity by 16.2% over the year versus a 3.6% rise for domestic buyers, and raising their market share to 35.8% from 33.2% in 2010, the latest market report from consultants Cushman & Wakefield shows.

Investors have continued to show a strong interest in core markets, with the UK, Germany and France by far the most in demand, taking 61.4% of all investment for the year.

The best growth in activity was in emerging markets. Seven of last year's top 10 growth markets were in Central and Eastern Eur...

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