ARTICLES 
Further optimism for Bulgarian property market
Assetz News, 27th January 2006

Property investment throughout Europe remained strong last year, with the likes of Bulgaria and Cyprus continuing to offer viable alternatives to traditional investment options in Spain and France.

The recent reports confirm that Bulgaria's stature in the European property market is continuing to rise, referring to findings by the Bulgarian National Statistical Institute that the average house price rose by 36.6 per cent last year. One of the most important and perhaps underestimated factors in a country's potential as an investment hotspot is its capacity to attract tourists and this is something that Bulgaria has rapidly addressed in the last ten years.
With a thriving ski season and the Black Sea region growing more popular each year, money is currently pouring into the Bulgarian economy and the effect on the housing market has been pointed. The marketing of Sofia has been particularly impressive, with tourists now exploring the previously underappreciated capital city. A travel report in the Times has acknowledged the importance of building a solid tourist industry.

"As Bulgaria approaches full membership of the European Union (scheduled for next year), many of the restrictions that have so far held back Sofia's potential as a weekend-break location will be eased. There are, for example, no low-cost airlines operating directly between Britain and Sofia. Once an 'open skies' market exists, it is hard to believe that others will not explore this virgin territory."
With annual house price increases of 70 per cent in some of Bulgaria's smaller cities, the progress has clearly already begun, but prime minister Sergey Stanishev has reaffirmed today that every effort will be made to update the country's infrastructure to ensure there is nothing to deny EU accession next year.

It is generally agreed that a successful bid for the 2014 Olympics will also have a huge influence on property prices in Bulgaria, with ski resorts such as Bansko benefiting from increased exposure and the country as a whole reaping the rewards of unprecedented media coverage. According to GamesBids.com, Mr Stanishev has confirmed his commitment to bringing the Games to Bulgaria in a letter to the International Olympic Committee.
"Bulgaria's government will support the initiative and the institutions in the country will do their best for the organisation of the Olympic Games and the preservation of the Olympic movement values," he said.

Novelty and originality is certainly playing a much greater role in the decisions made by property investors than it did five or ten years ago, with investors much more likely this year to explore the less predictable property markets. Better and cheaper access is unquestionably a factor, although there is also a discernible culture of adventure that is persuading many people to look more closely at Europe's developing and relatively undiscovered markets.

BULGARIA PROPERTY ARTICLES
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