Category Archives: Property Market Reviews

Bulgarian property market reviews.

Rustic Properties around Rousse – Hoping for Revival

If the current market can be described in a few words they would be: enormous supply of properties, unpredictable negotiation conditions, and the strength in the hands of the buyers.

The negative effects of the world crisis that started long time ago are still felt on the property market in the Rousse region. The number of people asking about properties is pretty low in comparison to previous years. The number of inquiries has fallen more than 5 fold in comparison to 2007-2008.

The big difference now is the type of properties for sale. Part of the properties on the market are owned by British vendors who had invested a lot of money for renovation during the past 5-6 years and who are forced to sell due to one of the following reasons: they don’t have enough time to come regularly to Bulgaria and there is no sense in keeping the house; they need money because of their financial situation in England has changed; or changes in their circumstances such as separation, divorce, etc.

Generally Brits are much more flexible than Bulgarians when it comes to buying and selling property (unlike Bulgarians who often consider a purchase of real estate to be for life). At the moment there are many properties for sale at excellent prices. Of course prices may still decline and it is debatable whether buying in Bulgaria represents such a good investment since prices are unlikely to bounce back for sometime. But what Bulgaria now offers is an opportunity to buy something that is not obtainable in other buying destinations. In many ways it reflects what the market was like 7-8 years ago and what makes Bulgaria unique. For less than 15,000 euros you can now buy something reasonable and that probably the equivalent of half a dozen family holidays and its with you for life.

Potential buyers know that they are in a strong position and use that to reduce the prices and negotiate very good conditions of sale such as staged payments within several months or even a year. The sellers are not in a position to say “no”.

In the last few years it has been noticed that Bulgarians are more active in the market for the rural properties compared to ten years ago. Many, especially families with young children and retired people, wish to move their home from the cities to the villages not far from the cities. The reasons for that are: the stress, the need to relax and their desire to grow their own vegetables and fruit that are clean and tasty. This makes another growing group of potential buyers. The desired houses must be close to Rousse (not more than 30-35 km) and in livable condition. In comparison to English clients who doesn’t mind longer distances and prefer to buy cheap and make renovations themselves Bulgarians prefer to be close to town (where they probably work) and to have less work to do on the house.

Romanian buyers in the Rousse region are very much similar to Bulgarians in terms of their mentality and what they are looking for. They want houses in good condition, close to Rousse which gives good access to Romania as well. They are ready to increase their budget in order to buy a really good property. And as we wrote above good offers are not missing on the market now such as properties that would have sold for about 70,000 EUR 7 years ago (solid, very well-maintained, entirely renovated and luxuriously furnished) and now cost only about 30,000 EUR, such as this beautiful house and even can reach prices up to 14 000-16 000 EUR.

In 2013 the properties of interest are of higher standard than the previous years. Most of the buyers are looking for renovated properties which are really good value for money. Such deals happen due to the fact that many sellers can not wait long to sell their houses and they are forced to sell at a lower price than they expected.

In Rousse region it starts to be seen how the villages become more alive because people start to return there. This is good for everybody in the region. The other positive fact that makes us sure in the good future of the Bulgarian countryside is that the Government invests a lot through different European programs in agriculture and rural regions. People, not only here, but in the whole Europe start to understand how important it is to keep close to the earth. This gives us confidence that people will continue to move back to the villages.

Prices of city properties in Rousse are showing a little increase in comparison to the last two years. There is large number of offers on the market and the number of deals are very small because the buyer are still quite unsure. Currently average prices of city apartments are 400- 500 EUR/sq m for flats in old buildings and 450-600 EUR for properties in newly built blocks in the center of Rousse. At the market peak in 2008 prices reached 1,200 EUR/sq m. On the other hand the rental market is much more active. Many people who planned to purchase a property have to rent instead as they have no access to affordable bank loans. The rents are reduced as well and there are good quality furnished properties as well as many tenants looking for better quality.

All the above has good effect on the market in long-term because there are many people that restrain from buying now but life continues and they can not stop themselves forever. Sooner or later all they will come to the market willing to buy what they need. The desire is now kept in stock, like the savings of the Bulgarians which according to the Statistic continue to grow. This gives us hope that there is a certain amount of money waiting to be invested in the sector.

EU Citizens Are Allowed To Buy Land for Residential Purposes in Bulgaria in Their Name

The regime of ownership of land plots for residential purposes was changed in Bulgaria in the beginning of 2012. Now citizens and companies of all EU and EEA countries are allowed to own residential land in their name without the need to register a Bulgarian company. The change happened after the expiration of the 5-year moratorium which was allowed by the Treaty of Accession of Bulgaria to the EU.

The change of the legislation applies to plots of land which fall into the settlement borders – towns, villages and hamlets – and which are often referred to as regulated plots of land. The regime for ownership of land with different status such as agricultural plots and forests is not changed and foreign individuals and companies will not have the right to possess such plots until the end of 2013.

For all other foreign persons, who are not citizens of EU or EEA countries, the overall restrictions to buy land in Bulgaria are still valid, which means that they need to register companies.

As this is a new regulation of the market, there are some differences in the procedures in the various regions of the country.

If you own property in Bulgaria through a company and would like to understand the particulars, please contact us to discuss your situation and advise you about your options.