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Bulgarian Property and Financial Snippets

A pleasant surprise for buy-to-let homeowners in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. A reported monthly rise in property rentals of up to 5% was announced by the leading real estate agent, Address.

Address analysis of the market showed that most property buyers are currently looking for small accommodation with low maintenance and studios are in highest demand, with 36% market share of property transactions. Several agents have recently reported some movement on the real estate market during the latter part of 2009 and banks are similarly saying there is an increase in loans approved.

The had an interesting article giving an overview of the economic and property market across the EU. They stated that all of the EU countries are anticipating budget deficits over 3% of GDP - with the exception of Bulgaria!

Buy Association recommends Bulgaria as a 'top real estate opportunity for investors' with prices to start rising again as early as next year. The investor magazine concludes that with property prices in the country falling some 40% since the beginning of the global crisis, property is cheap and values are expected to rise. The site also says that the exchange rate is affecting buyers' decisions, with Bulgaria outside the eurozone. Property Abroad also says there is evidence that the market is coming out of the slump, with the country being among the cheapest property market. Recommended locations are for buyers to look at long-established towns and villages rather than resorts on the coast.

No more cash! In a bid to increase transparency in property, the government has passed legislation enforcing all real estate transactions to be conducted by bank to bank transfer, similar to the French system (much of which, Bulgarian law is based upon). From the start of the new year, all monetary transactions for buying and selling of property must be done via a bank. This move will not only encourage transparency but will enable the government to ensure that taxes on property sales/buys are paid, bringing much needed money out of the grey economy.

The Wall Street Journal reports on Bulgaria's rating with S&P, commenting, 'Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lifted its outlook on Bulgaria to stable from negative, citing the Eastern European nation's strong track record of prudent fiscal policy and low gross debt. The ratings agency also noted solid growth prospects over the medium term and the country's European Union membership as positive factors. Additionally, S&P said it believes the nation's banking system appears to be well capitalized'.

Surprisingly, there are already 5% more foreign tourists booking into the Bulgarian winter ski resorts this year compared with last. This is despite the relatively high costs of some ski holiday packages in Bulgaria, which can make it almost as costly as its counterparts in the rest of the EU. Most of the holidaymakers are heading for the main resorts of Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo. Tour operators are saying that the best-selling destinations for this winter are Romania, Austria and Bulgaria.