ECONOMY

Property firms investing in Balkans

Real estate companies are less and less interested in the domestic market, opting instead to invest in properties abroad. Barring a few isolated moves, the majority of deals concern acquisitions primarily in the Balkans. The maturation of the local market has compressed returns, while abroad there are still some significant opportunities. EFG Eurobank Properties, for instance, signed an agreement in early September for the acquisition of an office building in Sofia for 90.7 million euros, after completing the buyout of another office block in Bucharest for 20.35 million euros. The two European Union newcomers, Bulgaria and Romania, have attracted many Greek real estate firms. Panhol, of the Panayiotidis group in northern Greece, is promoting an investment program of 70 million euros in Romania. Its objective is the construction of 760 flats covering a total of 130,000 square meters, to be completed in 2011. Listed constructor GEK is proceeding with the development of a mountain housing complex at the Borovec ski resort in Bulgaria. Seven housing complexes with a total of 235 studios and flats will be built on a plot of 20,000 sq.m., along with 15 luxury mansions. They will be surrounded by green spaces, sports and recreation areas as well as restaurants, shops and underground parking garages. The cost of the investment totals 26 million euros.