A Different B2B – British to Bulgaria – Property Market
Before 2009, it was estimated that more than 58,000 expats were living permanently in Bulgaria. The number was expected to increase dramatically in 2009, and virtually every village has a group of expats, mostly British. With a temperate climate, mountains and beaches, there is certainly ample reason to enjoy the relaxed lifestyle and all of the natural beauty. Beginning with the introduction of the currency board in 1997, Bulgaria began a course of improvement to become a politically stable country with an economy improving and developing quickly. British expats say that some prices are comparable or even higher than in Britain, but the cost of living is lower on average, as food, clothing, furniture and other staples are as much as 65% lower in cost than in Britain. Low property taxes are also a draw.
While there is a lifestyle for most everyone, from urban chic to rustic rural homes, virtually everyone in Bulgaria has access to telephone services, mobile phone coverage, high speed Internet and cable TV. There are train and bus services to transport people from the smaller villages to the more urban centers with more amenities like shopping centers, hospitals and schools. Investment in Bulgarian real estate is growing, as there are preferential conditions and guarantees offered to foreign investors. Bulgarian property prices are still lower than most other European tourism destinations as well. The Bulgarian Constitution and legislation guarantee that either foreign persons or companies can invest in Bulgarian real estate personally or as a local legal entity.
While a person can purchase a home, villa or flat, including limited ownership rights, they cannot own land. However, setting up a company based in Bulgaria to own the property allows the ownership of the land as well. Using a Bulgarian attorney, setting up a company is not expensive and quite easy to do. There are other ways, such as a joint venture with a local company, or acquiring an existing company.
The Bulgarian government has taken the stance that foreign investment is good for the future of the country. In trying to attract foreign investment in the economy, the rules for real estate investment have been made quite favorable. With more expat residents every year, it would seem to be worth an investigation into the merits of investment in the Bulgarian economy, and in Bulgarian real estate especially.