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Much of the media has been concerned with foreign buyers of Bulgarian homes who feel they have been “ripped off” with property purchases or found the whole buying process in Bulgaria a nightmare. Many readers will well remember the same stories tagged “Costa del Crime” years ago about Spanish property.

Often it is a case of he who shouts loudest - and generally anyone who feels they have been cheated or found the buying process terrible will shout much louder than those whose purchase went without a hitch.

To try and establish how many purchases go horribly wrong Quest Bulgaria ran an opinion poll asking readers how their Bulgarian property purchase panned out.

Here’s the findings:



Less than 4% had a terrible experience, with a whopping 81.5% having a very good or excellent experience of buying Bulgarian property.

This certainly appears to put laid to rest the image being presented that nearly all foreigners buying in Bulgaria are having a rotten time of it.

The next latest thing hitting the headines is "the boom is over"... well, for the time being! Reading the local papers and international property press releases a good part of it is given over to how the Bulgarian property boom has come to an end.


But mixed messages are coming from the estate agents, some of whom report good results and others reporting a downturn.


Anyone who has bought a property overseas, will have been here before. One moment a country is flavour of the month, the next it’s all news of foreign buyers deserting it.


Certainly though, right now the Bulgarian property market is much calmer and prices are more stable for the first time in years.


30% per annum

The stats from Bulgaria show that there has been an average price increase of around 30% per annum for the last five years.


This is excellent news for the foreigners (and the Bulgarians) who bought before 2003 - although not such good news for anyone who sold their Bulgarian property in time to miss out on this period of rapid and high growth.

We all know though that averages are not really a good way of determining the truth.


Recently we’ve seen prices for some properties which are less than they would have been a year ago. On the other hand, there are plenty for sale with some extremely optimistic asking prices!


prices all over the place

Much of the fascination with property in Bulgaria is that there is not the sharp precision in assessing the real worth of a property. In most western European countries, any half competent agent can tell you what a house will fetch to within a few hundred euros.


Over here in Bulgaria, things are totally different. Many vendors just seem to put on any price that they want. Because of this the market is all over the place. So, whilst some vendors are asking a sensible price, many others are seriously having a laugh.

As far as we can tell, this is not because they’ve been encouraged to do so by an estate agent but because they are over-estimating what their own property is really worth on an open market. Sometimes it is also because they just took the price that Mrs X down the road got for her house which some silly foreigner paid.

Right now, this is creating a very interesting situation. Looking at the property market over this year, we’re seeing some strange patterns. Houses in poor locations, and some of them pretty grim houses too, being priced at much more than others which appear to be better properties in lovelier locations.


seriously priced to sell

The other interesting thing to note is that there are now many properties on the market which are seriously priced to sell.


Perhaps this is due to the vendor being more keen to sell now that the market has calmed or perhaps the vendors are learning to accept a more realistic figure. Maybe even due to foreigners who are being pushed by the credit crunch and endeavouring to get some capital or reduce mortgage payments as they are being forced to carefully prioritise.


Properties for sale at realistic prices are selling quickly, some even within two days.




good time to buy or sell

Katya Tsenova, Managing Partner and Executive Director of Address Real Estate told us "The year 2008 started with the usual for the winter period property activity. In March and April the demand went up. Based on the increased inflation and rising interest rates as a result of the world mortgage crisis, vendors started to push up the sales prices. This is how the highest sales prices have been reached. Very quickly the buyers started to reject the exceptionaly high prices and the market saw the so called “maximum accepted prices”.

According to Address analyses such prices appear in some Sofia Quarters with extreme high prices and significant supply. Regardless of the high number of planned residential projects the demand for plots by investors is very high. The mortgage crunch that started in the US and affected some European countries, brought to Bulgaria experienced and well funded investors that are looking for new prospects for their property purchase. This increased the number of large projects and the small companies with insufficient funding are having tough times.

We’re expecting the market to be calm during the summer months with regard to price increases and the average price rise to be in the previously forecasted 10-15% on a year basis”.


Whichever way you look at it, this is a good time now to buy or sell Bulgarian property. Prices are definitely not so inflamed and offers are being accepted. The market is much more stable. There will likely be another surge in the Bulgarian property market as EU funds reach the country, construction slows and infrastructure continues to improve.