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Is the Credit Crunch Affecting Expats?

How is the credit crunch affecting British expats living in Bulgaria? Quest Bulgaria talks with a selection of Brits about their finances and whether the current world financial crisis is impacting their lives. Jennifer, a single retired person, is living on a UK pension in north west Bulgaria. She told us,

"I get a UK state pension so the pound to euro rate is very worrying and I have a lot less money. I've not seen increase in prices of what I buy and I don't have a mortgage so no concerns there. I have had to cut back but that's just because of the exchange rate, nothing to do with Bulgaria. I don't see any fall in property prices in Bulgaria either, they are pretty stable and increasing still slightly, unlike the UK where property prices appear to be dropping like a stone. There have recently been two properties sold in my village, one to Brits and the other to Irish so it's making me wonder about all the doom and gloom in the British press. I think they're making matters worse than they really are."


Tracey, a single mum with two children based near Balchik
"I am a single mother living with my two sons (and 2 dogs) on the coast near Balchik. I am not really affected by the credit crisis because I am paid in leva and I have no mortgage. I have been living in Bulgaria for three and a half years and have noticed the price of some food stuffs rising, but nothing dramatic. Food from the UK or other Western countries is noticeably expensive so we always try to stick with Bulgarian brands."



Bev and Bob live and work in central Bulgaria, with no children
"It's not affecting us really, we own our home without any mortgage, have a business in bulgaria so are paid in local currency and are therefore not affected by exchange rates. The price of foods has been pretty constant throughout the year. Electricity has risen a little but wood is the same as last year, so we are tending to use the wood burner more. We're quite lucky really as in fact we put some extra money on deposit and are getting 10% interest rate on it as the Bulgarian banks have been very cautious about lending money and are keen on getting more deposits at the moment. We don't have any loans, credit or credit cards either, so no worries there.

It is interesting too that our bg neighbours don't seem to be affected, although I think the Bulgarians are more worried about employment than anything else.
Our only concern is for businesses who may be impacted because customers may no longer be able to afford to use them as much, particularly if they are reliant on customers from countries which have been badly hit, like the UK. This could result in some businesses closing, although haven't seen any businesses close down in our town, indeed more small shops have opened up here this year.

We've even thought of buying a property in the UK now as our euros will go miles further, we would have been looking at buying something worth 68,000 pounds not long ago, now, for the same price to us in euros, we can look at a property worth 90,000 pounds, and with the prices still going down in Britain, now could be just the moment for us to do really well."


Trevor and Liz, semi-retired couple living in the Veliko Turnovo area
"We retired to bulgaria with good pensions but run a small hotel business here; we've not seen any downturn in advance bookings for holidays for next year and our costs haven't gone up. Fortunately, we don't rely on our pensions from the UK and, at the moment, we're not even bringing the money over to Bulgaria as the pound is so low. We'll leave the money in britain until the pound improves.

The Bulgarians we know don't seem to be affected at all. Last week I was in Metro and the place was heaving and all the trolleys full - and not cheap local brands either but all the top-notch branded foreign goods."