Bulgaria Property Investment, it Does Pay to Shop Around

In Bulgaria, every Ivan, Dimitar and Georgi wants to be an estate agent. Doesn’t leave much room for a Nottingham boy with a knack for spotting good land. But with a new avalanche of English property buyers about to hit the market and most of the cash destined for the Black Sea Coast, it’s all business for the agents, but are the buyers getting the most from their Bulgaria property investment?

Why here? It’s not just the good value of the land. Take a walk through a blizzard in Sofia, the capital city, like I did last winter. The snow is falling thick and fast and cars fly past me down the boulevard seemingly trying to break the world land speed record. Realising that I have a free afternoon I turn my head and through the falling snow and over the rooftops I can make out the looming white shape of Vitosha mountain. Let’s time this. Forty-nine minutes later I am looking down on the city with a snowboard attached to my feet flying down the mountain at death defying speed. What a place to live; work in the morning, snowboard in the afternoon. A lazy countryside, yet more rugged mountains and quaint villages lie a few kilometres beyond. Beaches stretch along the coast further out.

Of course there is more to Bulgaria than a few mountains and beaches. The countryside is varied and spectacular, littered with pretty villages. The people are warm and friendly and will invite you to drink a rakya with them, not caring that you don’t speak a word of each others language. On semi-major roads it is not uncommon to see a top of the range BMW overtaking a horse and cart. Eating out in a fresh seafood restaurant is cheap and the fresh fruit you find at road side stalls along the highway is some of the most delicious I have ever tasted. The country is also a major exporter of quality wine.

This mix has become a magnet for discount holiday seekers, and the Bulgarian property dealers – like myself – that follow. The Bulgarians have risen to the occasion, dropping what they’re doing and setting out their stalls to sell any property that they can.

Of course it wasn’t just the hot Bulgarian properties that put me in competition with the locals. On my way back from a reconnaissance in June 2004, I arrived early to the airport to be in plenty of time to reserve my favourite window seat. To my utter dismay there was no window on my aisle and I was lumbered with a ‘wall seat.’ The Bulgarian girl next to me found it amusing, commenting “nice view!” Within 3 months we were living together in Sofia. Three more months and we were married. Daniel Brailsford was born 5 months after that. Fast work.

So I went online with everyone else and found many punters would prefer a cheap little cottage set in beautiful mountains or seaside areas. However, due to decrepit properties that often are worth nothing more than the land they are built on, money may be spent better elsewhere. Many of these rural Bulgarian properties have ownership complications hanging over them to boot not to mention being nigh on impossible to get to during some of the most brutal winter months. It became apparent that new-built developments are a far more sensible Bulgaria property investment.

The capital is one destination many foreign investors are missing. While the coastal market has grown at an unnatural rate, and this may be of concern to the speculator, a capital city is the fairest measure of the true nature of a property market. Bulgaria will join the European Union in 2007. This will further cement stability and lead to further investment on all levels. All this combined and you have the perfect ingredients for steady and sustained urban market growth. It isn’t a bad investment for those willing to up the stakes and gamble on an apartment in the capital, especially new construction.

All things considered, in a foreign country with different laws and language it’s foolish to embark on anything without a good lawyer. English nationals can register a Ltd. company in Bulgaria when purchasing the equivalent to an ‘English freehold’ of land, or property with land attached. The law will change in this respect to bring property ownership in line with other European countries. When land is not part of the parcel – for example when purchasing an apartment – company registration is not necessary to gain freehold of the property. The daring are not finding these things to be much of a barrier.

The tricky thing is finding a trustworthy agent among the crowd, and that is where new investors in the region are stumbling. With my father as a former estate agent now specializing in surveying and having worked for him within the constraints of professional rules and ethics, with a civil engineering degree under my belt and construction experience, I was more than a little shocked at what I found in the Bulgarian property market. Enforcement and good professional associations have not cleaned up the mess that high demand is spurring.

I spent a few months working with a Bulgarian estate agency of questionable ethics and following a failed coalition with some other wannabe estate agents, I discovered anyone can be an estate agent here and have heard various stories of people being considerably mislead. That’s not to say that all agents are sharks, but it does pay to shop around.

Unfortunately there are no numbers, nor a professional watchdog to say how much of this money might find its way into dubious transactions, but English investors might do well to check out their potential agents before leaping into the market. If regulation of the Bulgarian estate profession can be implemented, perhaps through EU accession everyone will be better off. If it all works out, more Britons will be flying the flag in the balmy Balkans, broadening the pool of pub-goers, and just maybe walking with a Bulgarian wife hanging off their arm. The Bulgarian property I can find for you; a wife you have to find yourself.

Bulgaria – The Best Property Investment In The EU

Investing in real estate is regarded as probably the safest and most consistent way to increase your capital. Worldwide property investment is no longer the preserve of the super rich or readily connected but with the event of the internet and a simplified banking system, is open to all of us.

Massive fortunes are built and grown through property investment and the sheer size of the global market offers the chance to build a property portfolio with even if you have the smallest budget.

Emerging markets and the ready availability of cheap investments, can be you’re your pension plan and a source of regular income. The key is identifying the fastest appreciating areas with affordable property that will offer consistent growth and huge capital returns.

Currently, in the European market, Bulgaria is the current hotspot with an average growth rate of 30% with the cheapest property prices in the EU. There are several other countries in the EU, which attract foreign investment for a variety of reasons. None, however, can rival the sheer number of factors, which makes Bulgaria an irresistible, safe and compelling location for your investment capital:

  • The cheapest cost of living in the EU– 50p for a beer and less than £5 for a three course dinner are prime examples of why more and more holidaymakers and repeat visitors are flocking to the country
  • The cheapest real estate in Europe– you can buy a detached house in the country with land for less than £10,000!
  • Outstanding natural beauty– where else can you find 220km of sandy beaches, 1700 hours of sunshine a year and the longest ski season in Europe?
  • Ease of Access– Bulgaria is approximately three hours from the UK by plane with all the low cost airlines now scheduled to fly there
  • Increasing exposure– All the major tour operators now offer packages to Bulgaria at roughly 30-40% the cost of the Spanish or Portuguese equivalent
  • Rapidly growing marketplace– Visitor numbers and potential buyers are growing at over 20% per annum
  • Sustained economic growth– Bulgaria is experiencing one of the best GDP growth rates in Europe at 4.7% per annum
  • Stable currency– the Bulgarian Lev is pegged to the Euro
  • Stable political and religious communities– Bulgaria is a full member of NATO has no history of civil upheaval and no questions over land ownership
  • Booming house prices– 30% growth rates are the norm, your money would have appreciated by over 50% in key areas in the last year
  • Full membership of the EU– Bulgaria will become a full member of the EU in 2007. This international acceptance will promote massive government investment and expansion, accelerate the growth of the country and ensure the highest capital growth and rental yields for your Bulgarian property

Property prices are continually rising and will surge with full membership of the European Union. You can invest now in either off-plan developments or existing resale properties at bargain prices that are approximately 25% of Spanish, French, Italian or Portuguese alternatives. The next few years will increase the value of your property to fantastic heights.

Bulgaria Property – Still A Good Investment?

Bulgaria property is known for being affordable, and the country still remains one of the hottest places for property investment today, offering low prices, excellent natural resources and a vibrant and exciting culture.

Bulgaria has a number of property hotspots in beach, mountain and city areas. Depending on what type of investment or lifestyle you are after, Bulgaria caters for everyone. Mortgages are now available in Bulgaria at competitive prices to the UK which is appealing to many UK buyers, especially those who find the UK property market out of their budget.

There has never been a better time to invest in Bulgaria property, especially since its accession to the EU promises to push prices higher. For those looking for affordable second home or a buy-to-let property Bulgaria still offers many of exciting opportunities.

There are many factors which make Bulgaria property the first choice destination for many investors and second-home buyers.

A booming and stable economy

Bulgaria’s currency is strongly linked to the Euro, and in 2010 the country will accept the Euro as the currency. Bulgaria has experienced a consistent increase in GDP growth over a sustained period and economists of UniCredit Group expect a 6.2% real GDP growth in 2007 combined with a 13% increase in GDP per capita.

Tourism industry

Bulgaria’s tourism sector has increased rapidly in recent years as a result of the influx of UK and Irish investing in Bulgaria. Bulgaria has one of the fastest growing tourist sectors in all of Europe.

Low cost of living

Bulgaria offers modern luxuries at yesterday’s prices. The cost of living is much lower compared to the UK making the perfect holiday destination for families or those looking for an affordable weekend getaway.

Climate

Bulgaria has the ideal climate for those who like outdoor activities. In the summer there are high temperatures often touching 40 degrees, while the winter months is perfect in the mountains for those who enjoy snow sports.

Excellent airport and airline networks

Bulgaria is approximately three hours flying time from most UK airports, Low-cost airline easyJet has now launched flights to Sofia making the journey even cheaper.

World Class Ski Resorts

Bankso is the most developed of Bulgaria’s ski resorts and over the last few years this mountain town has seen a massive amount of building and investment from 130million Euro. It is set to become one of Europe’s major ski resorts.

Summer Hotspot

Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast has beautiful beaches with crystal clear water and long sandy beaches. The combination of warm sea, pristine beaches and long dry summers at affordable prices will ensure excellent future prospects for property along the 236 miles of spectacular coastline.

Thriving Capital Sofia

Bulgaria’s cosmopolitan capital is fast becoming the investment capital of Europe which means the demand for rental properties is increasing with more and more professionals coming into Sofia on a regular basis.

Bulgaria remains one of the hottest investment spots today despite being ‘discovered’ a few years ago. There are still new and exciting investment opportunities for those looking for a buy buy-to-let property, and those seeking the dream second home.

Bulgaria property is only going to increase in price, so for those looking to secure a good value property now is the time to act.