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Mortgages Support the Banking Industry

Recent news from the Bulgarian banking sector confirms what many property investors have known for a while – investment potential in Bulgarian property is one of the best in the world. Not only does capital growth top global rankings, but the Bulgarian mortgage sector is booming. There is no doubt that the Bulgarian banking industry is growing at a rapid pace on the back of rising housing and property mortgage loans and a strong real estate sector. RNCOS, a leading market research company has released a new research report on the Bulgarian banking sector, which says that increase in mortgage loans is one the fastest growing markets for the Bulgarian banking industry. Indeed, the industry is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) rate of around 88% over the next three to four years.

 


According to the report, the Bulgarian housing mortgage loans experienced high growth in recent years at a CAGR of nearly 87% from 2004 to 2006 due to liberalisation of the mortgage market, coupled with lower interest rates that made mortgage loans hugely popular in the country. Bulgarian National Bank figures report that Bulgarians took out over €2.5 billion in mortgages over the last year and home loans now account for almost half the loan total (a rise of nearly 25% over the last 3 years).

 

Not only has mortgage lending seen a massive hike, but Bulgaria has also experienced a huge increase in mortgage products. Ken Thorkildsen, Director of Obelisk Private Finance, comments “Being able to choose from a variety of products is very important for the property investor and the choice in Bulgaria has improved almost beyond recognition in the last few years.”

Moreover, the property sector in Bulgaria has been growing at a rapid pace for last few years; as a result, the demand for mortgages and other property loans is growing in the country. The research analyses the volume of housing and property loans, which accounted for more than one-third of the total lending in the country in 2006. And the level of investment in the Bulgarian real estate sector has escalated so high that it accounted for 40% of total foreign investment in the country during the first quarter of 2007.

Of particular interest to property investors are products for remortgaging and equity release. Equity release amounts have increased by up to 75% of the appraised value, which allows property investors leverage for other products, therefore providing the opportunity to expand their property portfolio.

Interest-only mortgages are also a vital tool in property investment and while these were previously for a maximum of 2 years, Bulgarian banks are now offering interest-only home loans for up to 10 years. “This is a real bonus to the Bulgarian property market,” says Ken. Furthermore, banks have recently reduced mortgage tie-in periods meaning investors who sell their property soon after purchase have less to pay in redemption charges. Some banks have cut tie-in periods to just 3 years.

With increased choice in Bulgarian mortgage options, independent financial advice is more important than ever before. “The investor’s maxim should be to minimise borrowing costs and, at the same time, ensure returns are maximised,” says Ken. “Only a professional financial adviser with up-to-date information can guide you through the myriad of new products available in the Bulgarian sector.”

A Senior Research Analyst at RNCOS said that the Bulgarian real estate sector emerged as the world’s strongest property market in 2007 with 26.22% jump in property investment compared to 2006, and the momentum is likely to continue in 2008.

For more information visit www.rncos.com/Report/IM587.htm and www.obeliskfinance.eu or read Quest Bulgaria’s report on Bulgarian Mortgages for foreigners in our finance section.