Why buy property in Bulgaria?
Until just over a decade ago, Bulgaria was just beginning to recover from the drawbacks of being a communist state. Although the property market was growing, it was uncertain how long this period of prosperity would last. Nowadays, its mountainous landscape and low cost of living make it an excellent place to live for ski enthusiasts. But if slaloming down fluffy piste is not your thing, don't worry – Bulgaria also features miles of sandy beaches and a great watersports culture ideal for families. Popularity with tourists also makes it a great investment, as you could rent out your property when not using it yourself.
What's Bulgaria's property market like?
Prior to the recession, the Bulgarian economy had been steadily growing. However, like most places, the country suffered during the economic crisis, entering a recession at the beginning of 2009 and continuing to decline throughout the first two quarters of 2010.
This brought the price of a lot of Bulgarian property down, which will undoubtedly prove attractive to investors. On the other hand, oversupply – which is highly unattractive to prospective buyers – was already a huge problem before the recession. As such, it's important to do your research before committing to a local purchase.
Popular areas in Bulgaria in which to invest
The Bulgarian capital of Sofia is popular with both tourists and investors alike. As with most capital cities, it is where the majority of business and administration is done, and also features major museums. If you're an avid skier, the mountain region in southwest Bulgaria is a good option. Borovets is the oldest and largest ski resort in the country while Bankso, at the foot of the Pinn mountains, is popular for its national park.
Bulgaria's Black Sea coast was the area that originally boomed in the country's first wave of major tourism. The modern Sunny Beach resort is a favourite with those simply seeking sun, sea and sand while the old towns of Varna and Bourgas offer some cultural attractions to enjoy in the local area.
The property-buying process in Bulgaria
The buying process is fairly straightforward, albeit different to that in the UK. To begin with, as either the buyer or the vendor, you may have to pay the estate agent for their assistance, which can sometimes be as much as three per cent of the purchase price for each property.
Once the buyer has chosen their property, their solicitor will draw up a preliminary contract at which point the buyer must pay the ten per cent deposit. After checks by the solicitor, the purchase price balance, land tax and notary fees will all be due, after which the new homeowner will receive their legal papers.