Bulgarian property market

The Bulgarian property market is still buoyant and looks set to grow even further. It seems there is no better time than now to invest in the country, because of the good offers that can be found now.

Despite this positive forecast, many first time buyers remain reluctant to actually put down roots in Bulgaria. This could be due to preconceptions about the country which include, fear of the language barrier, its reputation for being a haven for senior citizens and worries about employment prospects. However, before writing off the possibility, younger and first time buyers should consider that there are infinite options open to them in Bulgaria and it is still the cheapest place to buy a property in the European Union, which in the last two years brings a lot of buyers from countries outside the EU to have their place in Bulgaria and from here can travel everywhere very easy in Europe.

Those regions with the best transport links offer a compromise between buying for pure investment and full-scale relocation. It is financially possible to live and work between two countries. Working like example in London and then spending your weekends in properties around Sofia or Varna is now perfectly possible. With high-speed internet connections available in Bulgaria, employees can take the opportunity to work from their Balkan home. This vision can now become reality with the arrival of flights direct from London to Bulgaria at just 70 pounds return and 3h long flight one way.

The brave may want to relocate entirely, which may entail finding gainful employment in Bulgaria. This is easier said than done if you don’t have the necessary language skills, but with the lowest taxes in the European Union, more and more big foreign companies are opening offices or factories in Bulgaria and are looking for well trained workers for high positions . However, you can always solve that problem by buying an established business, or a property with business potential. It is possible to buy a ready-made business and it’s not as expensive as you might expect. There are countless properties with potential to convert to bed and breakfasts or self-catering units. Projects can start as low as £10,000 for renovation projects with the opportunity to market your accommodation facilities to foreign citizens from all over the world.  Until now the higher-spending independent travellers who would use small b and b’s in Bulgaria have been just a dream. By comparison, Bulgaria is packed with potentially lucrative properties, from ready-made holiday apartments to serious building projects.

Bulgaria has great location within the southeast of Europe – many gorgeous mountains, great Black Sea coast, huge flat territories in the Danube lowland, etc. Most of the beautiful countryside of Bulgaria remains unexplored for the foreign buyers. Those living in the highly developed Western European countries will be surprised to find rural territories of Bulgaria untouched by the modern urban life, pure nature and unspoiled hard working and friendly people who do not speak foreign languages and who will be more than happy to become your friends and help you with all they can. A good advantage though is the fact that almost 100 % of the countryside properties in Bulgaria have electricity and running water. All the villages have telephone lines, mobile phone coverage, TV and radio broadcastings, many of them have cable TV with international channels. Even with undeveloped infrastructure, all rural areas have tarmac roads, post offices, regular bus transport to the bigger towns, local food and other shops, bars/restaurants, petrol stations, local authorities. Even rural most of the villages are easily accessible (except those in very high mountain areas). Most of them are close to bigger or regional towns with wider range of amenities – Internet cafes, Cinemas, Theatres, train stations, hospitals, school, cultural activities, etc. However, in the deep countryside don’t expect to find high class schools for your children, designer clothing shops, large supermarkets or snobbish neighbours. It is not tradition in Bulgaria to live in the countryside, but work in the big cities. Just the opposite, people working in the towns and cities try to live close to their working places and the most of the businesses employing lot of people are currently located in the towns.

Many foreign buyers are asking us why the prices of the rural property in Bulgaria are so low comparing to Sofia or the resort areas.  One of the reasons are the changes that took part in Bulgaria in 1989, when the communism was over. First years of democracy and market economy featured many social problems in Bulgaria, many people lost their jobs, other young people could not see their bright future in Bulgaria and decided to leave the country and find their better living in the Western Europe or America. Since 1989, more than 800,000 people (mostly young) left Bulgaria. Other moved in the biggest Bulgarian cities where the new private businesses offered jobs. The only thing that people could work in the rural areas was agriculture and farming. Wrong or lack of any social policy of few consecutive Bulgarian governments caused lot of troubles in these areas. Nothing was done to encourage the local people to start their own businesses. As result many villages remain undeveloped, with big percent of unemployment. The people who still live there are trying to sell their properties and move in the near-by towns, closer to the available jobs.

Why invest in real estate property in the rural area of Bulgaria? Prices levels at these areas are at their bottom levels at the moment. They simply can’t be lower. At the price of 10 years old car, can own a solid, big and relatively well maintained property with good piece of land/garden of 1000-2000 sq. m. The usual price for such property is 4000-8000 ˆ Euros (2780 £ GBP – 5560 £ GBP ). In most of the cases such properties will require little or much additional money for refurbishment and modernisation. In most  cases the rural houses have no shower and WC installed inside and people have their toilets in a separate building near the house. We have  a building company also, so  in all over Bulgaria we can renovate that kind of properties and bring them to high standarts on low costs.  There are few ways to benefit from purchasing rural properties in Bulgaria: 1) use them as summer houses 2) Live there permanently at very low costs 3) Rent them out to tourists 4) Just buy as an investment and sell with profit later 5) Develop own rural, eco, mountain, water sports or other type of tourism.

In conclusion the Bulgarian countryside is presenting very quiet places, no stress and no pollution, virgin nature and nice people. Come open-minded and you will fall in love with it. Don’t expect too much as rental income, as the rural tourism is not yet developed in all areas of Bulgaria.

Article supplied by VRATZATA Real Estate Agency, Bulgaria.

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