One country more than any other, took it’s moment to step out of the shadow from the iron curtain during the last property boom and regain it’s own identity. Bulgaria offers rich character fused by thousands of years of both east and west influences, combined with a new found confidence in it’s own value as a beautiful country that can offer skiing, climbing, countryside and horse riding, alongside first class beach holidays, great food, wine and a rich seasonal climate, all helping to ensure this country became the European runaway hit of the last decade.
It’s true that most tourists holidaying in Bulgaria are attracted to the Black Sea coast, which now boasts a similar allure that Spain once had during it’s initial days of growth, attracting tourists back in the 1970’s. There has been an infectious energy along the Bulgarian coastline due to a new found feeling of prosperity caused by the free market and like the Spanish, the commercial undertaking of catering to tourism is something that the Bulgarians do so naturally and very well indeed.
The property boom on the coast has been staggering, the expanse of building developments and construction work went from a standing start to the kind of speed of progress that has not been seen anywhere else in Europe for a long time. Managing to attract tourists and property buyers from all over Europe, due to the country’s proximity to both east and west, Bulgaria has now become a package holiday Mecca, as there are many huge purpose built resorts that cater for the one stop solution summer vacation.
The city of Varna is the maritime capital of Bulgaria and is unofficially also considered to be the capital of the south. Varna has undergone somewhat of a transformation over the last ten years, as much of the money made along the coastline has it’s business roots in this city. As such, this is one of the fastest growing cities in Bulgaria, offering both holiday resorts and a working port alongside much culture and nightlife.
For those travelers wishing to combine their sun and sea with more cultural leanings, there are many beautiful small beaches and bays, with idyllic guest houses off the beaten track. Also popular with the more discerning tourist are the Burgas Lakes, an attraction for bird lovers due to the many rare birds that are found there. There are many historic towns in Bulgaria, including the well loved towns of Nesebar and Sozopol. These old towns feel like stepping back into the past with their olde worlde charm and character. Here you will find wonderful traditional home made foods consisting of some tasty meat and vegetable stews such as Kavarma and Kyuvech. Kyufteta is Bulgaria’s answer to meatballs and hamburgers, also a Bulgarian spicy sausage kebab known as Kebapcheta. As you can imagine, there are many good beers to choose from and Bulgarian wine is now well respected around the world.
When going slightly inland, thankfully much of the country is still largely untouched and unvisited. There are some wonderful hiking trails and horse riding is very popular as a way to relax and discover the beautiful countryside and wildlife, including rare birds, lynx and bears. For those on a budget, thankfully Bulgaria has very good and affordable public transport to help travelers move between cities and into the countryside.
Also for those less interested in beaches, there is Sofia, the official capital of Bulgaria. Sofia is a wonderful city characterized by it’s various architectural roots, both classic European and communist style buildings. Well known for it’s beautiful scenery, Sofia boasts at least thirteen main museums, four major art galleries, plus many other historic buildings and ancient churches all open to the public. Sofia is a friendly city that feels somewhat more relaxed than Varna in the south. Yet still youthful and vibrant, Sofia is a more laid back cultural café society, where coffee can be enjoyed on the many sunny café patios and the hours can be whiled away with that ever popular pastime of people watching. Sofia is a city reinventing itself after many oppressive years of communist rule and makes for a superb city break destination.
Just 10km from Sofia is Vitosha mountain ski resort, the highest in Bulgaria at 1800m above sea level. Bulgaria is a popular European destination for skiing offering many various resorts for the discerning ski fan such as Borovets, Pamporovo, Bansko, Chepelare and Malyovitsa to name a few, with future planning for more developments along the Balkan mountain range.
Although Bulgaria has experienced an incredible ascent as a major tourist destination for both holiday makers and those looking to purchase property and stay in the country long term, that current rate of growth has lately been forced to slow down due to the worldwide recession. However, Bulgaria has no plans to rest on it’s laurels and development is continuing throughout the country. The combined forces of a country with both ski and sun, good infrastructure, central European location and very cheap property, are the elements that brought Bulgaria to everyone’s attention.
Although prices have raised in some parts, on the whole Bulgaria is still very competitive for property prices. All across the country, rural houses can be bought for as little as €5,000 however, most of these properties are in serious need of renovation. On a more key ready level, a 2 bed rural property, outside of the main cities can be purchased for as little as €25,000. For the same price of €25,000 new build coastal apartments can be found in Varna. There has been an effort to try and raise the prices of Bulgarian developments, however, due to the current stiff competition in the global property market, it’s the cheaper properties that are still attracting international property buyers.
Before looking for your perfect property it’s worth bearing in mind the following tips.
• When purchasing property in Bulgaria, it is the buyer who must pay the agents commission, which can vary from between 3% and 5% of the property value.
• It is important to clarify with the agent if there is a daily charge rate for their services, as is often common practice in Bulgaria. An agent’s daily charge rate can be between €50 and €100 euros a day, however, it is standard that this fee is deducted from the agents commission, should you purchase a property from them.
• If the property also has land, the buyer will need to form a limited company within Bulgaria as sole owner/director, as it is not permitted for individuals outside of the country to own land. This will cost €1,800 for a deposit and a base level of €2,500 into the companies bank account. Once the company has been set up, monies deposited can then be withdrawn.
• Lawyers fees usually cost approximately 1% depending on how much they are needed, but drawing up contracts and registering new ownership usually falls within this price.
• Notary fees for the witnessing of the exchange of title is approximately €300.
• Land Registry or Property Tax is 0.15% of the property value.
• State or local tax will be between 2% and 4% of the value, depending on the properties location.
• Other costs are to be considered, such as surveyors fees and translation fees. Having said this, a good reputable agent will normally speak at least English as well, so considering their daily charges, it is to be expected that they should help as much as possible.
• Property agents are not required to be licensed in Bulgaria, so it is paramount that agents should be researched well before being hired. Enquire as to their qualifications and respectable trading history. During the last 10 years many fly by night agents have cropped up, but with a little common sense and due diligence, it is easy to distinguish a professional.
Although prices have risen since the original boom (their currency is pegged to the Euro) Bulgaria is still an affordable place to find a great holiday apartment or second home. As with anywhere, when purchasing property it is really important to go at your own pace and ensure you have a trusted team around you. The hiring of a good lawyer and estate agent is vital and can be the difference between a wonderful experience or a disastrous one.
Bulgaria is a fantastic country with rich history and geography, offering both sun and snow, incredible nightlife, cultured cities, beautiful countryside and rare wildlife. Truly a destination offering something for everyone and with such great value, Bulgaria is still a number one place to invest.
By www.holprop.com (May 30, 2011)
Bulgaria Property sales | Bulgaria Holiday rentals | Bulgaria Monthly lettings
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