Property in Bulgaria (part 1)
For many years, Bulgaria has been a regional summer resort for residents of all Eastern Europe. But Bulgaria today is not only an affordable vacation destination, it is also a country with tremendous investment potential, offering a wide range of opportunities for foreigners to live and do business.
Bulgaria seems to Ukraine to be not a neighbor, but there are not so many holidaymakers who have not visited this country and do not know about its attractiveness. It is known to most tourists as a summer seaside resort, beckoning with the warm sun and quality service at moderate prices. Far fewer travelers visited Bulgaria’s winter ski slopes, the total length of which is about 600 km (the length of sandy beaches is 120 km with a coastline of 390 km). In addition to these types of tourism, Bulgaria is increasingly popularizing activities related to the sea and mountains: diving, windsurfing, yachting, eco-tourism, mountaineering, horse riding, as well as SPA services, introduces the country’s rich history and cuisine.
In the presence of such terms, any country becomes a very popular center of international tourism, which entails an active surge in investment flows. Bulgaria was no exception. The last few years, the investment activity of foreigners, in particular, in relation to real estate, has increased several times. Despite the not very wide popularity of Bulgaria as a country for profitable investment in real estate, local realtors have also long noted the high activity of the local real estate market.
“Today, Ukrainians do not know that there is such a wonderful place as Bulgaria, where you can invest your money. Compared to other destinations, housing and life are much cheaper here. Anyone can buy a house and rent it out or wait for the right moment when it rises in price. After all, there are objects that rise in price by 50-70% per year, ”Rumen Spasov, director of the Bulgarian Real Estate Academy of Sciences, praises the country.
Among the other attractive features of Bulgaria, realtors distinguish a continental climate close to us with four seasons, 300 sunny days a year, dry, hot summers and real snowy winters. The country is also rich in traditions and antiquities that diversify life in any of the resorts.
Of course, its entry into NATO in 2004 had a positive effect on the country, and experts consider joining the European Union the next as a powerful catalyst for price increases. If in 2004 real estate prices rose by an average of 25%, then in 2005 the growth was more than 30%, which is 10-20% more than in many European countries. At the same time, quality housing in Bulgaria can still be purchased at affordable prices.
The location of the investment-profitable areas of Bulgaria approximately coincides with the tourist map of the country. This is understandable, because in the case of the purchase of housing for living, and if you want to make investments, the choice falls, most often, in the most popular regions.
Svetlana Novak, leading specialist in foreign real estate at San Realty Group (TM “House by the Sea”) comments on the choice of the region by Ukrainians as follows: “How many people, so many opinions about choosing a place. For investment, such areas as Golden Coast, Varna, Nessebar, Burgas, Sozopol are very popular. The geographical location of these regions coincides with the famous resorts that people remember from the time of the USSR, when Bulgaria was considered to be “accessible abroad”.
She confirms her words about the coincidence of tourist and investment interests Tatyana Lyashchenko, director of Oxford Group. She also notes the growing popularity of small resort towns such as Stari Vlas, Kiten, Sinemorets, Shabla. “However, the cost of real estate in new residential complexes of tourist destination in these areas of the country, of course, is significantly lower. Fans of skiing holidays prefer to purchase property in the mountain resorts of Borovets, Pamporovo and Bansko, ”she explains.
Rumen Spasov calls Bansko a ski hit of the last season, due to which the construction of new residential complexes is more active there than ever, therefore the land and finished houses have risen in price very significantly. The construction wave, he said, swept over other regions of Bulgaria, as a result, the country is constantly changing.
So far, the British are the leaders in the pace and quantity of housing purchases in Bulgaria. They were the first to discover this country, the first to pay attention to its Black Sea coast and the first to “go to the mountains.” The Irish are their neighbors, and our neighbors, the Russians, are one or two steps behind. If today British citizens switched to investing in ski resorts, then the Russians are still more mastering the seashore. Ukrainians, according to Rumen Spasov, are less active.
But the inhabitants of the Scandinavian countries began to take the initiative – they are looking for an affordable and warm resort, which, moreover, can bring them profit.
Tatyana Lyashchenko believes that many Russians perceive housing in Bulgaria more as a summer residence because of the simplicity of applying for a visa, the lack of a serious language barrier (the alphabet is based on the Cyrillic alphabet in Bulgaria) and the similarity of climate with the Black Sea coast of Crimea or Sochi. “The Russians have quite a steady foothold in the Bulgarian real estate market and are massively buying apartments, villas, houses both in the sea and mountain resorts of the country. Ukrainian real estate investors have not yet sufficiently discovered the attractiveness of the Bulgarian market, and those who invest, choose places that are familiar with spending their holidays, ”she shares her experience.
Specialists also note an interest in real estate in the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia – and in large financial and industrial cities of the country, such as Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas. In this case, investing in real estate is mainly associated with doing business.
Preferences of Ukrainians
The real estate market in Bulgaria is diverse not only geographically, but also in terms of quality and prices, the range of which is very wide: from EUR 5 thousand to 10 thousand for a rural house in need of repair to several hundred thousand for a villa on the beach. It all depends on the specific object, according to practice.
Ukrainians are not yet very original in their preferences and often do not require something beyond. Most often, they prefer to buy apartments in new residential complexes, which cost them, according to Rumen Spasov, EUR 80 thousand – 120 thousand. At the same time, customers require high quality, remoteness from the sea no more than 300 m and the presence of the necessary entertainment and service infrastructure that may well get for the indicated amounts. Such apartments are purchased mainly for personal recreation, but it can be combined with a successful investment. The realtor recalls the case when a client bought apartments last year, spent the whole summer relaxing there and giving all his relatives an opportunity to relax, and now that the price of his apartment has increased significantly, he is going to sell it and get 30-40% profit. Private houses are less popular because they require more thorough and regular care, which is difficult to do without living there permanently.
“The middle class, namely they most often consider Bulgaria as an object of investment, are ready to invest EUR 60 thousand – 150 thousand in real estate. This budget is enough to buy a small villa by the sea or comfortable 1-3-room apartments in a modern residential complex. Such complexes have a closed guarded territory, all amenities (pool, restaurant, shops, gym, medical room, 4-5 elevators, etc.), are built in attractive resort areas and are in steady demand among tourists, since accommodation in them is usually , cheaper than in a hotel, with an equal level of service. The management of the complex and the delivery, if necessary, of apartments for rent, is managed by the management company. Renting your apartment in Bulgaria is very profitable – a small one-room apartment in Sunny Beach is rented for at least EUR 50 per day, the upper level depends only on the level of housing. The services of the management company make up 10-15% of the amount of rent paid. This scheme satisfies the requests, first of all, of foreign investors, who relieve themselves of all worries about renting, ”Tatyana Lyashchenko assures. She considers the objects of new construction more attractive, since the standards for housing construction in the recent past in Bulgaria were more modest, so old objects are less popular, albeit cheaper.