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Natural Potential - Investing in Velingrad

The municipality of Velingrad lies in the Western Rhodope Mountains on the Chepino Plateau and covers an area of 8,180 hectares. Velingrad town lies in the scenic Chepinska River Valley at an altitude of 750 m. Its total population is 43,655 people, of which 25,777 live in Velingrad town and the remaining 17,878 live in the neighbouring villages. Velingrad is blessed with over 80 mineral springs, with strong healing properties. Considered Bulgaria’s number one mineral spa town, the area has a capacity of 143 liters per second. The town’s lower altitude combined with its mountain location creates a moderate, pleasant climate making it perfect for the treatment of a diverse range of lung diseases and ailments.



The Local Economy

The timber industry plays a major role in the Velingrad municipality with particular focus on the traditional manufacture of office equipment and furniture. Expansion and privatization in this area has lead to growth in the production of toys and souvenirs.
The municipality places great emphasis on ecologically clean methods of production and allege gaps in the market for light industry such as the production of household items like detergents and cosmetics. Agriculture also plays a leading role in the local economy and target areas in this field revolve around increasing the potential for production and new businesses involved in the processing and canning of farm products

Stimulating Economic Growth

Much is being done to promote and support business by local crafts people and a number of workshops which no longer operate are scheduled to re-open. Velingrad Municipality is also involved with a number of projects designed to stimulate the business environment and increase the number of jobs available to the local population. Known as the JOBS project, this nationwide initiative focuses on encouraging and helping small businesses. A more targeted initiative in Velingrad is the "Jobs in Herbs" project, which draws on the areas natural resources to develop and produce businesses using local herbs and spices. The key initiative of this project is to generate more employment for the Roma and Turkish populations in the area. The “Mountain Eco Kiss Project” is another employment scheme designed to improve job prospects for women from ethnic and religious minorities as well as local Bulgarian women experiencing economic hardship. This project encourages businesses to use the areas abundance of top quality wild berries and mushrooms. Anyone wishing to set up a small ecologically friendly business in this area will receive much in the way of help and support from the municipality and there may be funds available from the EU to support your business.

The Property Market

When the Bulgarian property boom commenced several years ago, Bulgaria's spa resorts went undiscovered and with new measures to protect the environment, spa towns like Velingrad have avoided large-scale construction.
Property in Velingard is in demand but sadly hard to come by and as a consequence with the advent of spa tourism prices have risen quite dramatically. One of the best areas for property here is around Batak Lake, but again they are few and far between. Property prices are similar to those in the leading ski and sea resorts, with villas costing from 700 to 1,000 Euros per sq m. Those with the potential to convert to small hotels and guest houses are usually snapped up immediately. Apartments attract even higher price tags in the region of 1,200 to 2,600 Euros per sq m. Land prices are also similar to those on the coast with starting prices for prime regulated land commencing from 50 to 170 Euros a sq m and around 15 Euros a sq m for agricultural land. Out of town, prices vary from 1,190 to 1,245 Euros a sq m. for property within holiday complexes around the Radonova Banya mineral spring – only 700m from Kleptuza Lake.

The potential for good and regular rental yields is low. The increase in the volume of new hotels has increased the towns bed capacity to 3, 500 making vacancies frequent. Real estate and tourism experts maintain that improvements to the town's infrastructure will allow it to pull in more tourists over the next five years.  This should have a positive effect on rental incomes boosting them to around 10% per annum. Prices in other segments of the real estate market here are also expected to increase with some by as much as 40%.  The municipality expects the areas future growth to expand outwards to the urban areas of Pazardjik and Dragnovo. Plans are also afoot to construct an 18-hole golf course near the Batak dam. The future for this area certainly looks healthy.