EU expansion to benefit investors

Homebuyers and investors looking for the next top investment spots should look overseas to Bulgaria and Romania which are both set to join the EU on 1 January 2007. Two years on from the last EU expansion, Cyprus, Hungary and the Czech Republic are all benefiting from increased investment in property and expanding economies which bodes well for newcomers Bulgaria and Romania.

However, potential investors should do their homework to ensure they know more about the country they are thinking of investing in. A recent survey commissioned by The Property Investor and Homebuyer Show North revealed that only 63 per cent of potential investors in Bulgaria knew the name of its capital city Sofia.

Bulgarian Hopes

Bulgaria is already enjoying a booming property market. Canny investors are purchasing beachside villas, ski-chalets and city centre apartments in an attempt to be first in the queue for seeing high capital growth after Bulgaria joins the EU. Many financial institutions have already set up offices in Sofia, including Deutsche Bank, GE Capital and PriceWaterhouse Coopers sparking a strong corporate lettings market in the city, in turn fuelling the building of many apartment blocks, making it an ideal destination for buy-to-let investors.

Nick Clark, managing director of The Property Investor and Homebuyer Show North, commented: “Bulgaria currently ranks as one of the best investment opportunities, with many investors choosing to invest there rather than any other emerging market. However a recent survey carried out by The Property Investor and Homebuyer Show North highlighted the fact that only 63 per cent of people are aware that Sofia is the Bulgarian capital, with 21 per cent believing it is Tallinn and 15 per cent choosing Krakow.

"As it is one of the more popular areas for overseas investors, anyone considering buying an investment property or a holiday home should really carry out thorough research in advance to ensure they know everything about the market they are investing in. This should include basics such as the capital city, currency, interest rates, legal procedures and researching who the target rental markets are. In Sofia this would be corporate tenants, whereas in Sunny Beach it would be holiday makers and in Bansko skiers.”

Steve Andrews, director of Bulgarian Home Loans, commented: “Located in South Eastern Europe, Bulgaria is one of the success stories of the Balkans, a politically stable democracy on the threshold of EU membership. With an incredibly beautiful and varied landscape, 220km of sandy beaches with 1,700 hours of sunshine from May to October and fast developing ski resorts, Bulgaria has something for everyone. Last year, property prices saw inflation of about 30 per cent and as the properties are amongst the cheapest in Europe anyone who chooses to buy there stands to gain considerably in the long run.”