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Property Focus - Balchik

Balchik’s port is Bulgaria’s third largest after Varna and Bourgas and it is used for medium-sized passenger and trade vessels. Apart from the port, the town thrives on tourist revenue and has much to attract the visitor including the royal palace and the botanical gardens, which are the largest and most diverse in the whole of the Balkans.

 

 

The town itself has seen much in the way of development including the revitalisation of its main promenade and the construction of a yacht port, yet careful planning has meant that it still maintains many of its old architectural heritage and its old world atmosphere.

Foreign buyers are now flocking to Balchik to invest in the town’s character and charm and whilst property in the area has increased substantially over the last three years, it is still low priced in comparison to other coastal towns both within Bulgaria and abroad. Jonas Backelin, property specialist from Balchik Homes explains the town’s growing popularity with property international buyers, “Balchik is one of the few places where you can buy a beach front location with breathtaking sea views and the combination of cultural heritage and a modern town.”

There are few places left in Bulgaria, which allow you to combine seafront living outside of a resort. Sea view properties can still be bought for around a third of the price of other European markets.

Whilst Balchik is not a purpose-built resort like Golden Sands or Sunny Beach, its reliance on tourism has turned it into a buzzing town with a host of bars, restaurants and nightclubs all designed to attract the tourist.

The best thing is that the arrival of three golf courses in the area means that these places stay open year round providing plenty of entertainment for its permanent residents.

Where to Buy

Many view Balchik as a mini version of the French Riviera and the town’s old architecture adds to this image. The addition of water sports, golf, the yacht port, spa facilities in Tuzlata and a proposed EU-funded extension of the promenade to link it to Albena beach resort mean that it is set to grow and there is no better time to invest than the present. The area between Balchik’s royal palace and Albena is set to grow with the construction of frontline apartments and hotels.

Balchik has greatly benefitted from EU investment and good management in the town means that new developments and improvements to the infrastructure have been conducted in an environmentally friendly way. More improvements are scheduled for the near future including a new water treatment plant capable of supplying water to a population of 60,000 to 80,000 people – this represents quite an increase from Balchik’s current population of around 13,500 people.

Many old buildings have retained their original charm and the town’s proximity to huge limestone cliffs mean that it will not become over-developed.

Residential property in the town is a mix of old and new, but the town’s proximity to the sea means that it comes at a price. Town houses in the centre are full of original features including wrought iron balconies, grand wooden doors and ornamental architrave, but they command prices in excess of 200,000 Euros. The stylish and newly built apartment blocks along the promenade particularly in the newly built Marina City complex cost around 2,300 Euros per square metre for frontline, sea view property and 1,300 Euros for second line.

The neighbouring villa districts of Fish-Fish and Golden Fish with their impressive views out across the sea are relatively hard to come by but cost in the region of 200,000 Euros for a four-bedroom house and 100,000 Euros for a small property in need of some renovation. Land in this area is not only scarce but also commands high prices with around 500 sq. m. costing 90,000 Euros.


 

Up and Coming

Whilst some areas of Balchik have achieved some high increases in prices, there are still areas where land and property are cheap. The Levski suburb, which stands at the top of the town and is dominated by Communist apartment blocks, however, Balchik Municipality has earmarked money to rejuvenate this area with the construction of an enormous sports complex, hotels and apartment blocks.

There are also rumours that the Municipality will support a plan to build a large water park there. At the moment older apartments in this area cost between 40,000 and 60,000 Euros, whilst new builds are fetching prices around 70,000 to 100,000 Euros depending on size. Renovation projects in this area start at 60,000 Euros before any work has been done and new builds command 100,000 Euros. Land in the Levski suburb is remarkably cheap at only 20 – 25 Euros per sq. m. the municipality has currently invested in some large tracts of land here.

Rumours abound about leading Bulgarian investor Krasimir Stanev investing in large parcels of land close to the newly constructed Balchik hill sign. The reason for this interest is the likely re construction of the old military airport, which currently handles private flights. The Municipality will receive EU funding to enable it to develop a commercial airport able to handle charter planes and land in this area will increase in price to accommodate yet more hotels, residential property and businesses.

 

Balchik Bargains

According to Balchik Homes, renovating an existing building is the easiest and in the most cases the cheapest option for families or developers.

Buying a rundown house can be a profitable business and the most common strategy is to buy a property cheap, renovate it and sell it for profit. In inland areas close to the town, you should expect to pay between 45,000 to 80,000 Euros for a fully renovated property, depending on size and location.

As Jonas Backelin from Balchik Homes explains, “Cheap isn't always cheerful and obviously some houses may first appear to be a bargain but will actually require a great deal of structural work, increasing the amount of time and money you spend on the renovation.” It’s better to get an experienced building manager to ensure that your Bulgarian property is going to be a good investment in the future.

He maintains that buying and renovating old houses inland from Balchik but still within the Dobrich region will become a stronger trend in 2008, and explains, “This year we have seen villages transformed along the home from home approach, with gated communities including private gardens and communal pools all completed by the developer.

When buying and renovating you own rundown property you can afford to create a truly individual home, custom-built for leisure and personal interests. It could be a studio for a painter or a large modern kitchen where you can express your culinary skills.”

 

Booming Balchik

Balchik’s future is certainly bright and with so much foreign investment and EU aid coming into this already pleasant town, property prices even at the top end are set to grow for some time to come.