Why Bulgaria is back for international property

Bulgaria is back – or should we say black? – among international property demand, says top consumer website, theMoveChannel.com.

Its Black Sea beachfront resorts were among most popular destinations on the overseas property portal in September 2016.

They entered the monthly Top of the Props listing for the first time in 18 months, rising 10 places to take the sixth spot with enquiries up 177% month-on-month.

The spike in demand has been underpinned by a steadier rise in interest, with enquiries for Bulgarian property across the three months to September 2016 up 70% compared to Quarter 2 2016. In the first nine months of the year, Bulgaria has only been outside the Top of the Props Top 15 two times.

While investors in the past focused on the mountain resorts of Borovets and Bansko, ranked by the Post Office Travel Money as Europe’s most affordable ski hotspot, investors are now turning to the Black Sea coast.

Another factor is the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. The fallout of the EU referendum has seen the pound weaken against other major currencies, causing buyers to turn to more affordable opportunities, including those in Bulgaria.

Dan Johnson, Chief Executive of TheMoveChannel.com, told Delian Petrishki in an interview with BloombergTV Bulgaria, “With the sharp decline in Sterling versus the Euro, buyers are looking towards value destinations, as traditional markets feel more expensive.

“There are some investors who want to buy property because they work in Bulgaria, and there are some commercial investors, but the majority of people who are interested in Bulgaria looking for an affordable second home for their own vacations.”

In the first three quarters of 2016, the province of Burgas, home to Sunny Beach, was responsible for 30% of inquiries and Varna 13%, says theMoveChannel.com. Together, the country’s two main beach hotspots almost accounted for half of house-hunting activity.

Blagoevgrad, home to Bansko generated 14% and Sofia, home to Borovets, 7%.

Bulgaria’s relative affordability is certainly attracting a growing number of tourists from overseas: international arrivals in the country climbed 12.9% year-on-year in September 2016, with the number of visitors for holiday or recreational purposes rising 15.5% and the total number of nights spent in all types of accommodation up 13.1%.

At the same time, optimism is starting to spread through Bulgaria’s recovering property market, with property prices up 6.4% year-on-year in Quarter 2 2016, according to Bulgaria’s National Statistics Institute, following 4.6% growth in Quarter 1 2016 and 4% in Quarter 4 2015.

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