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November 2007, 02/11/2007

Property in Bulgaria - where to buy?

People have different approaches to this question and many have focused on a particular location when they first enquire to us but quite a few have not decided on the area. Below we try to give information on several of the most popular regions. Please follow the links to read further information and see some pictures of them.

Nowadays there is plenty of information available through the Internet so it is not a difficult job to study the country’s territory. Choosing where to go for your property search is however a different matter as it depends more on the reasons to buy. The most important distinguish is between those whose main purpose is investment and those who are looking for a place to relocate or spend time on holiday. The first group obviously have to focus on the predictions for the growth of prices and popularity of the area and the second group need to consider their personal preferences and the facilities they may need to access (such as schools, medical care, local transport, shops and restaurants).

Bulgaria has a rich variety of landscapes and first time visitors are often amazed with the beauty of the countryside. Each area of the country has its appeal and beauty. The cultural differences are not as obvious and as varied as in other countries such as UK or Italy. Other factors like accessibility, demographic and economic situation and facilities vary considerably between the regions and these are factors to be considered when buying.

One important thing to understand is that the contrast between rural/urban areas in Bulgaria is much greater than in the UK or indeed in any other Western European country. Income levels are considerably lower in rural Bulgaria compared to urban areas. The population tends to be much older, people are living off the land, few speak English and facilities such as medical, shopping and transport are limited. Some of these differences are infact what appeal to many of our clients.

What are the areas of Bulgaria?

The capital Sofia (http://www.stara-planina.com/property_in_sofia.asp ) is located in the foothills of Vitosha Mountain in the Western Bulgaria. Its population has grown by more than 50% in the last 15 years reaching nearly 2 million. Large portion of the administration and economic activities are concentrated in Sofia. As a result Sofia attracts the interest of investors but also concentrates a number of problems with infrastructure due to the disproportion and lack of planning for the growth.

Property in Sofia is considered sound investment due to the fast development, large population and the considerably lower property prices than those in other Central and Eastern European capitals.

The Black Sea coast includes the entire 350 km Black Sea coast running from the Romanian border in the north to the Turkish Border in the south. The major cities on the coast are Varna to the north and Bourgas to the south. The coast was the first area to attract foreign property buyers as well as most popular tourist destination of Bulgaria. Albena and Golden Sands north of Varna and Sunny Beach in the south are the most popular coastal resorts but there are a number of smaller towns along the coast which have been popular between Bulgarians and recently attracted foreign holiday makers and buyers. Sozopol and Nessebar are the most popular resort towns in the south but towns like Primorsko, Lozenets, and Kavarna are increasingly popular. Read more about Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast (http://www.stara-planina.com/property_black_sea_coast.asp).

The inland areas around Varna and Bourgas are also of interest as they benefit from excellent access to the beaches and to the coastal airports which both operate international flights throughout the year.

Large part of Bulgaria’s territory is mountainous. The highest mountain chains are Rila and Pirin in the South-West with altitude reaching 2,900 m. The most popular and highest ski resorts of Bansko (http://www.stara-planina.com/property_in_bansko_ski_resort.asp ) and Borovets (http://www.stara-planina.com/property_in_borovets_ski_resort.asp ) are located there. The wide Rhodopi Mountains stretch in the South Bulgaria with higher western part and much lower eastern part. The ski resort of Pamporovo (http://www.stara-planina.com/property_in_pamporovo.asp ) is in the Western Rhodopi Mountains.

The area north of the mountain is taken by the Trakia lowland with the second biggest city of Plovdiv located there. Plovdiv is a major industrial city, centre of Bulgaria’s wine production as well as city with roots dating back several millenniums to the Roman times.

It should be noted that many people now think both the coastal strip and the main ski resorts have been over developed and that the prospects for future price growth in the short term are limited.

To the north is the fourth major mountain chain – Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) with highest altitude of 2,376 m. It crosses Bulgaria from west to the east and has given the name of the whole peninsula. The landscapes of Stara Planina and its foothills are some of the most beautiful and diverse with small towns and villages in the foothills both on the northern and southern slopes. Along the mountains there are several spa resorts such as the popular Chiflika and Shipkovo near Troyan. Some of the best walking trails follow the mountain chain and attract many lovers of mountain walks. Veliko Turnovo (http://www.stara-planina.com/property_in_veliko_tarnovo.asp ) in the foothills of central Stara Planina Mountains is Bulgaria’s most historic city. It is in the heart of every Bulgarian for its history and amazing landscapes.

North of Stara Planina Mountains is the hilly Danube Plain reaching the Black Sea to the east and Danube River to the North. Rousse (http://www.stara-planina.com/property_in_rousse.asp ) is the major Bulgarian city on Danube. It was the first city influenced by the architecture and culture of the Central European cities in the 19th century. South of Rousse is located the nature park of Roussenski Lom with amazing rock formations, forests, river gorges and historical landmarks.

It is always recommended to spend time in the region you focus on prior to buying. This is even more valid for those people who are choosing a place to live. Of course many people who travel from abroad are restricted to a week or even less and would not have the time to do so. Then it is important to do your homework and study the areas prior to travelling. We are always ready to give you further information on the areas of interest and supply details of amenities and transport links.

Whatever are your reasons to purchase property in Bulgaria our first advice is to visit the country before you make a decision to buy as buying through the Internet involves a number of risks.

Further information about Bulgaria can be found at the official site of the State Tourism Agency http://www.bulgariatravel.org and the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgaria .

BULGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER ELECTED EUROPEAN FINANCE MINISTER OF THE YEAR

Bulgarian finance minister Plamen Oresharski was rated the best finance minister of the year of the developing economies in Europe by the Emerging Markets magazine. He was awarded for his severe fiscal policy guaranteeing macroeconomic stability of the country and improvement of business climate and labour market. He has also managed to decrease unemployment to about seven per cent and increase economic activity by low percentage of GDP redistribution.

According to the international ratings agency Fitch Ratings Oresharski supports severe fiscal policy compared to his European counterparts which is always very difficult to defend.

BULGARIAN KRASSIMIRA STOYANOVA SINGS AT POPE?S 80TH ANNIVERSARY

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his 80the anniversary in Munich with the performance of the renowned Bavarische Radio Orchestra conducted by Maris Iansons. The world No 1 conductor for 2005 had invited as soloist the Bulgarian soprano Krassimira Stoyanova. This year the singer had great success in Baden-Baden, Salzburg, London and Amsterdam. Her last role as Luisa Miller was announced as discovery by German critics. In 2008 the soprano will be a soloist of the Bavarische Radio Orchestra in Munich and at the festival in Lucerne.

BULGARIA'S HIGH JUMP QUEEN READY TO PASS ON THE CROWN AFTER 20 YEARS

Bulgaria's high jump queen Stefka Kostadinova, whose high jump world record has been unbroken for 20 years, said it was time to relinquish her crown as announced by The Sofia Echo. Her record of 2.09 m was set in 1987 in Rome and since then no one has been able to beat it. However Kostadinova thinks that next year Blanka Vlasic has to break it. This year the Croatian jumped 2.05 m and won gold medal at the World Championships in Osaka.

Stefka Kostadinova retired from the athletics in 1998. In 2005 she was elected a president of the Bulgarian Olympic Commettee. She has also been involved in organising sports events for orphaned children in Bulgaria for the past couple of years and selebrated the 20-year anniversery of her record together with young sport tallents.

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