The Republic of Bulgaria
Bulgaria is located in south-eastern Europe. It’s situated in the east-central portion of the Balkan peninsula bordering the Black Sea. It covers an area of 42,823 square miles/110,910 km² and is almost rectangular in shape. Its position makes it a natural crossroads between Europe and Asia.
It became a communist country at the end of World War II but a new democratic constitution was adopted in 1991. Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and became a member of the European Union on 1 January 2007.
Foreign interest in Bulgarian property
Foreigners, especially the British, have shown a special interest in Bulgarian property. There are two main reasons for this ever increasing interest. The first reason is the country’s climate and natural surroundings. The second reason is, more obviously, the low cost of living in comparison to Western Europe.
Overseas buyers can generally be classified into three groups: those looking to purchase a second or permanent home; those looking for a holiday home with the option of renting it out (buy to let); and those purchasing for purely business purposes for renovation and resale (speculative purchase). Purchase trends show that most buyers are interested in Bulgarian property for sale in the rural areas or apartments situated in popular beach or mountain resorts.
The Bulgarian property market
Bulgarian property is extremely good value and foreign investors may stand to profit substantially. In recent years, foreign capital has been a major component in the Bulgarian real estate boom. Although there are admittedly other factors causing the boom, such as the low interest rates, the continuous and intensifying flow of capital deserves the bulk of the credit.
The interest in property in Bulgaria is steadily increasing, more so with the acceptance of Bulgaria into the European Union. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Bulgaria registered the highest rise in its real estate prices (more than in any other country) with a staggering jump of 48 per cent.
Property developers believe that the peak is yet to come as there are still many undiscovered places of beauty in Bulgaria as well as untouched property ready to make its first entrance into the property market.
Buying Bulgarian property
Certain constitutional restrictions on foreign investment in Bulgarian property presented some impediments for inward investment. The Bulgarian Property Law was amended in July 2000 to remove such restrictions. The only requirement left was the registration of the investor or investing company in Bulgaria.
Essentially, the process of purchasing a property in Bulgaria necessitates the incorporation of a limited company which can be set up through a solicitor. There is a requirement to own the land on which the property is situated, before it can be purchased by a foreign national. Property checks can be done by a reputable Bulgarian solicitor. The buyer will receive an initial contract of sale which would require a deposit and the contract of purchase should then be signed before a Bulgarian notary. An independent translator must be provided by the buyer for this transaction.
Notwithstanding tales of complicated legal battles and claims of long-lost relatives as highlighted in the UK media, developers are quick to defend Bulgaria as having very strict land registry laws thereby making chances of such claims very rare. Potential buyers of homes in Bulgaria are encouraged to at least visit the country first and make the final decision themselves. A checklist of possible pitfalls is provided by the developers to ensure complete satisfaction on the property purchased.
In conclusion, Bulgaria is proving to be the hotspot for European property and it is advised to make your moves while the prices attract. If you do so you will certainly realise how wise your investment will have been.