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Buying Golf Property

Five years ago most of us would never have been able to contemplate buying a property on a Bulgarian golf course, the main reason then being that there were no Bulgarian golf courses! Back then the choice was simple, but close to Bulgaria’s sandy beaches and enjoy the sun, good food and cheap booze or buy in the mountains and spend every winter on the piste! Nowadays, all of this has changed, Bulgaria’s property market has become much more diverse and is now appealing to larger numbers of visitors who have nothing but golf on their minds.

Challenging Golfing Hotspots

Traditionally, Portugal and Spain have been Europe’s golfing hotspots, but continued development and construction of courses across Bulgaria is aiming to change this by poaching customers who usually golf on the Med as well as encouraging its indigenous population to take up this ever growing sport. Additionally it is only a short flight from the UK and the construction of first class courses with more in the pipeline means that golf really will be the next big thing in Bulgaria. Today’s developers are offering large, well-serviced courses alongside great beaches and mountain ranges and one thing that is assured is the quality of the property on offer on the courses.
Despite Bulgaria’s popularity as a holiday destination, its tourism industry is still in its infancy compared to more established markets and the golf industry is even more immature despite the addition of three signature courses on the coast, two close to the capital and several in the mountain areas. Bulgaria hopes to mimic the success of the Algarve and Costa del Sol with virtually every new course being celebrity-designed by top golf names like Nicklaus and  Woosnam. All of the courses offer residential property along the course boundaries with prices arranging from 40,000 Euros to over 250,000 Euros. Are these prices too steep for Bulgaria? I doubt it. Golf property in neighbouring Turkey, also an immature golf market has risen to over a million Euros over the last 10 years.

Keen Golfers Beware

If golf is your passion and you want to build your Bulgarian investment portfolio around it, then beware where you buy. Many real estate agents advertise properties close to golf courses leading the inexperienced investor into believing that he will be able to drop in at the neighbouring golf course for a quick round, whilst the wife lazes close to the newly built pool. Not true! Many of the golf courses intend to operate an “exclusive to owner’s” policy, once all of the property located on the course has been sold. Potential investors need to check this policy out in detail. At the moment courses like BlackSeaRama near Balchik are operating a “pay and play policy allowing locals to turn up and play for around 80 lv. a round. However all this is set to change once the course is better established and all of the properties are sold. Then only owners, their guests and those renting the properties on the course or booked into the onsite hotel will be eligible to platy.

The cost of building courses and property has been much cheaper in Bulgaria than other golfing markets, which are why golf property is available at such low prices, however as environmentalists pressure the authorities to stop the construction of more courses and thus prevent the extensive environmental damage caused in the process, golf property will increase rapidly in value. The World Wide Fund For Nature estimates that each golf course will use as much water as a town with 12,000 inhabitants. Any investor looking for a solid long-term investment strategy would do well to choose a golfing property with a view to targeting the rental market in the short-term and in the long-term cashing in on the capital appreciation.
Another benefit to buying golf based properties is the fact that panoramic views and lush green landscapes are guaranteed to remain, whereas this can not be the case outside of a the golf course. Many properties, which have seas views today may not have them tomorrow, as was the case in Spain where continued construction over decades blocked the view of many village and resort based homes, which once boasted sea views.

Bulgaria and Worldwide Golf Tourism

There are around four million golfers in the UK and Ireland alone and approximately 60 million golfers worldwide. Naturally the Bulgarian government is keen to tap into this huge market as part of its plans to diversify the country's rapidly expanding tourist industry. Moreover, Bulgaria can offer a golfing season spanning a minimum of nine months of the year thanks to its warm climate. Even during winter some of the coastal courses still offer good weather for a round of golf especially when compared to the cold, wet Northern European climate. Even during the hottest months of July and August early-risers can get a round in before enjoying the rest of the day lounging around the onsite pool.