There are more than 1.2 million uninhabited dwellings in Bulgaria, according to the Regional Development Ministry.
In the cities, about one in four homes are empty, while in villages, the figure is close to 43 per cent, mainly because of depopulation.
The percentage of empty dwellings in the Sofia district is very high, at 48.2 per cent, while in Pernik the figure is 44.9 per cent and in the Bourgas district, 43.7 per cent.
Speaking in a television interview on August 24, Deputy Regional Development Minister Malina Kroumeva said that there were several reasons why homes were empty.
One was that there were disputes about inherited property, and while these disputes were continuing, the dwelling remained empty. Another reason was that Bulgarians who went abroad did not sell or rent out their homes.
Kroumeva said that in regard to the Bourgas district, there may be a distortion, because many of the properties were used as holiday accommodation and were occupied during a certain part of the year.
She said that, at the same time, about 40 per cent of households in Bulgaria were overcrowded.
She said that the state provides for tax incentives for the letting or selling of empty apartments, but this can only be done after an adequate consideration of the housing problem.
Figures for the year 2011 said that Bulgaria had a population then of 7.3 million, living in about 3.3 million dwellings.
(Photo: Sami C)