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The Other Side of the Coin

"The end is nigh". How everyone seems to love to proclaim this at the moment. With all the media negativity about Bulgaria and Bulgaria property, it's all too easy to adopt a negative approach but there are good sides to a bad economic climate, if only we would look for them. The wind of change is in full flow, bringing about an alteration in values and a rethink about money and credit.


The screaming headlines are not helping, spreading panic everywhere about bankruptcies, soaring prices and huge lay-offs.

For many, this is a difficult time but is it really that bad? This is not to gloss over the current financial situation and a recession is absolutely inherently a bad thing - but we've been here before and come throught it.

Things are tight and we may not like it but if we were all in really severe financial difficulties, there would not be that 'non-essential' in your shopping trolley. I don't see a lack of non-essentials in my shopping basket, nor that of my neighbours.

Everyone knows it is a cycle of up and down. The savvy Bulgaria property buyers understand this very well and they will be using the down time to plan for when the up comes and get ahead of the game.

We should look at the reasons for being optimistic and be on the watch for opportunities. Mind over matter, won't resolve this current financial situation - but certainly, taking a 'glass half full' rather than 'glass half empty' attitude will be a great deal easier on the nerves.

We can find the good news if we look for it and not take on a self-fulfilling "we are doomed" philosophy. Here's just a few of the good points on Bulgaria right now:

- gdp forecast to be 2% up this year
- new housing complex started this week in sofia
- jobs in health care and education are readily available
- piccadilly food chain expects a 40% increase in 2009
- holidays are still being booked
- savers in bulgaria can get 10% interest on deposits
- a 2 million leva revamp of a major boulevard in Sofia
- low mortgage interest rates in the UK (and EU)

The current situation is also making all businesses, including estate agents, work harder, tighten their belts and become leaner, weeding out the bad apples and the good estate agents will stand the test of time. Their 'sales puff' will have to start to disappear. This can only be good for the Bulgaria property buyer in the long run.

Those with some disposable money are using the situation to their advantage and snapping up bargain bulgarian property. Good for them.

People will probably go for cheaper properties on the whole. Lack of mortgages means buyers will need to reduce their budgets - and for sure, they won't want to be caught out as others have in the past with overborrowing.

Interest rates are at an all time low meaning much reduced mortgage payments. Property prices have dropped out of the upper stratosphere and are also low.  Many will downsize and buy a smaller house. This reduces all their bills and will leave them in a much better situation where they can afford to live well.

The banks will have to start to ease lending soon, their business depends upon this; when this happens - and it will - the property market will move again, albeit it more slowly than in previous years and lending will be more responsible - and a good thing at that.

Right now, first time buyers are the biggest beneficiaries and the number of purchases by first timers is already on the increase. You might have lost theoretical equity in your home but your children probably stand a good chance of buying their own now.

For far too long many have let their finances control them with a constant credit card balance, an overdraft, loans and big mortgages - all debt. If the lesson at the end of the current crisis is : spend less than you earn, save a little every month, don't become an over-borrower, choose your property carefully and do not fall into an ever increasing spiral of debt, then it won't have been so very bad after all.


what's out and what's in for Bulgarian property 2009

OUT : new builds and off plan in ski and on the coast

IN : the good old stand bys of quality property in good locations; even in bad times, good homes sell

Shop around and don't keep waiting and waiting in the belief that property will keep on falling. You usually only ever find out exactly when it hits rock bottom afterwards, because it has already started to go up.