Large homes, spacious open spaces, functional rooms that can easily change their purpose. These, according to experts, are the new trends in the residential real estate sector. After the boom in the trade in small, cheap apartments, the housing market is taking a new direction. One of the reasons is that customers no longer want to pay for boxes with a large percentage of common parts, and the second is the coronavirus pandemic, which has locked hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians in their homes. The new reality requires new solutions. Are they offered in homes in Plovdiv? Yes, although their number is very limited.

A newly built boutique complex meters from the Rowing Canal with an impressive view of the largest water facility in Plovdiv, combines an energy efficient building with luxurious common areas, a courtyard with a playground, underground parking. REGATTA PARK WEST is the first investment of one of the largest construction holdings in Lebanon - Platinum Invest Holding. The company has dozens of completed projects of residential buildings of the highest class. The project is implemented jointly with the renowned architectural firms RT Consult and Bureau International. The company's interest in Bulgaria is not by accident; Platinum Invest Holding plans to invest in Europe, as the first city they choose is Plovdiv. Construction began in the fall of 2019, it is already at an advanced stage, and the commissioning date is 2021. The complex includes 3 buildings and consists of a ground floor, 4 residential floors and underground parking. There are 78 apartments in the residential sections, and the square footage of the apartments is up to 210 sq. m. The project has already received the prize for the most attractive location in the competition for investments in residential properties "REI" 2019, organized by "Construction Properties".

TrafficNews talks to the project manager of Platinum Invest Holding - Ramez Saade about the project and the new market trends.

      - The COVID pandemic coincided with the launch of the first major project of Platinum Invest Holding in Bulgaria. Is this a bad chance or an opportunity for you as an investor?

COVID 19 will certainly affect the growing strategy of any investment firm. However, we always try to catch the good things in every bad situation and build on that.

 - What are your observations on the investment environment in Plovdiv and the demand in the residential segment?

- Business after COVID 19 will definitely be different. Before, the Real estate sector in Bulgaria was in a very good shape and sales were floating high.  

I think now that the market will be different and will have more discipline and restrictions. Clients will be more cautious in choosing their apartments and more criteria will be taken into considerations from any buyer.

 - Did the restrictive measures around COVID affect the deadlines set in the Regatta project?

- No at all, all our milestones are still respected and Regatta will be delivered End of 2021. Not having a full lock down as other countries did, helped us to continue our site work, but off course more measures had been taken in order to protect our team.

 - Do you have feedback from customers who have already bought housing under construction? What are their concerns in this situation?

- We did not get any concerns from any of our current clients. I think since our project was still running as per our schedule this gave them sense of safety.

 - What guarantees do you give as an investor for the successful completion of the project?

- Platinum Invest Holding are experts in their field in the real estate business and they have financial capabilities.

We have major projects in Lebanon and we faced many crises before and we learned from them, and this gave us a lot of confidence to pursue our business in the most effective way.

In these critical moments, our know-how and our experience in the field is playing a big role.

 - Some builders have begun to make “anti-crisis prices”. Some of them at the expense of the materials used in the construction. What is your policy in this regard?

- Before launching any project, we always set a financial strategy that is capable to finish all the project without relying on the funding coming from the sales.

 In my opinion, developers who are deciding now to decrease their selling prices are compromising in the quality of the material used.

This is why any buyer should examine carefully the material selection used in any project before taking his final decision. The buyer should not accept to have a general specs sheet as an annex to his sales contract.

-Leading architects predict increased interest in multifunctional housing. What are your predictions? Are buyer criteria changing?

Due to COVID19, many business owners became more flexible with their employees in working from home. In Bulgaria, IT companies and businesses that can operate from home are many and I think that multifunctional houses or big apartments will witness an increase demand.

In addition to the multifunctional housing or big apartments, buyers also are interested in apartments with private garden or big terraces.

 -- Which of the new criteria already exist in the complex you are currently building?

- The location of Regatta Park West is one of the main attraction that buyers are interested in, being in one of the last green and calm areas in the city and few minutes away from the center is something very pleasing and interesting to the client.

Also, we still have a limited quantity of duplexes and units with their private big gardens.

The cleanliness and the maintenance of any complex is very important, therefore Regatta park West will be maintained by a reputable Facility management company that will take care of all management issues related to the project.

 - How do you as an investor imagine a family home in 10 years?

- Each individual has his own taste when it comes to choosing his family home, and this depend on his personality, his family and his financial capabilities.

I think in Bulgaria, buyers will look more for small complexes or even private houses in a gated community in calm and green areas.

 Also, they will be interested in having more amenities in their complex which doesn’t exist now in most of the current projects such as private gym, perhaps indoor pool, courts and a big common lounge….

 - What are the biggest challenges facing the construction industry now?

 - The demand will decrease due to the situation, whereas we have a lot of supply in the market.

So, the main challenge for any developer now is to choose the right area where to develop, and to have a competitive edge and something special in his project.

And I think to have a successful project every developer should also upgrade the material selection.

Buyers in Bulgaria are ready to pay more for a better product.

 - Do you forecast a change in property prices and in what direction?

We heard some rumors that prices decreased. however, we don’t think this is true.

 - Is the right time to invest?

Investing in real estate is always a right time. But normally when people feel that a recession is coming they’d rather tend to invest in real estate instead of keeping their savings in the banks.

 - What is the next project of Platinum Invest Holding in Bulgaria?

- Lately we purchased couple of plots in Plovdiv and in Sofia, and we will launch one project in January 2021.

We are very satisfied with the results we got till date in our first investment in Plovdiv. We think Bulgaria is one of the very few countries that manages the situation during this disease in a good way and it will recover earlier than many other countries.