ARTICLES 
Bulgaria tempts British property investors
Today 999, Article by Nick Gibbens, 25th January 2006

British investors are flocking to Bulgaria's ski resorts, keen to cash in on their growing appeal to the international and domestic holidaymaker while prices remain low, reports Assetz.

The property investment specialist has seen a 40 per cent increase in enquiries for property in Bulgarian ski resorts since September 2005.

Bulgarian ski resorts such as Bansko and Bovorets offer affordable property and good long-term growth potential, with prices for off-plan studio or one-bedroom apartments costing around EUR 40,000.
Ski facilities are developing fast, meaning Bulgaria is now providing healthy competition to not just the French ski markets but also Austria and Switzerland, the company added.

Figures show the number of UK visitors to Bulgaria increased by 36 per cent in 2005, demonstrating the high level of growth taking place in the tourism industry which has been boosted by the country's bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics. As a result, there has been an influx of travel companies starting to operate in the Bulgarian resorts, many of which are offering investors guaranteed rental schemes similar to those in France.
However, there is limited information on some of these resorts and Assetz advise potential investors to research the history and reputation of the holiday companies involved.

Assetz say healthy yields of about 9 per cent are available with such schemes and those investors letting independently in Bulgaria are often hitting yields of 12 per cent.

"The fact that the Bulgarian ski resorts thrive through the summer months with activities such as hiking, fishing and mountain biking helps keep rental returns high," said Stuart Law, managing director of Assetz.
"Yields are essential for any Bulgarian investor, since capital gains of 20-25 per cent in the popular cities and investor hotspots last year are probably not sustainable, and the resale market is not as well established as other countries due to Bulgaria's status as an emerging economy and the large number of new developments being continuously released.

"Bulgaria is quickly establishing itself as a more mainstream destination, but it remains an emerging economy. Ultimately investors must decide if they are prepared to take on the risks associated with a new destination in an immature market, or a more established destination that is low-risk but more expensive to invest in, therefore offering lower yields. With Bulgaria's membership to the EU looking ever more likely, many investors are considering it to be a risk worth taking."

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