Credit Crunch Crisis? Bulgaria Still Booming

By: Elisha Burberry

The effects of the sub-prime mortgage fallout which hit the USA towards the end of 2007 and led to the so called 'credit crunch' have done little to quash the desire of most Brits to own their own property, and although the uncertainty of these recent events has led to a slowing of the housing market, prices still remain very high, making it difficult for first time buyers to make the break into home ownership.

This has caused many to look for new ways to get on the property ladder; some are looking to buy with friends or family, some are opting for mortgages worth five times their salary, and others are looking further a field to make their first purchase.

One country that has proved particularly popular with British buyers is the Eastern European nation of Bulgaria. The country joined the EU in Jan 2007 (along with neighbouring country Romania) and has plenty going for it as a holiday destination, with beaches, ski resorts and vibrant cities, but then so do many countries in Europe, so what makes Bulgaria such an attractive proposition for British buyers? Well, the number one factor that attracts British buyers to Bulgaria is the price.

In established holiday favourites such as France and Spain, property has long since risen beyond the reach of the average Joe, but in Bulgaria, it's still possible to buy , apartments and villas extremely cheaply; a quick Google search reveals property in rural areas that can be found for as little as ?15000 - a sum that would get you little more than a garden shed in Western Europe. For around ?30,000 - it's possible to pick up a ski apartment in Bansko or Borovets, Bulgaria's premier ski destinations.

UK lenders have been quick to get in on the Bulgarian boom - creating special mortgages for Bulgaria property purchases, and according to one British lender, Bulgaria will account for 25% of all overseas mortgages by the year 2020, suggesting that Bulgaria's charms won't be wearing off any time soon.

Other Eastern Bloc countries are also proving popular with British buyers - Slovakia's ski resorts, and medieval cities have tempted many looking for a bricks and mortgage bargain there, and Romania is being touted as the best investment in Europe, with expected property price rises of 400% over the next decade.

However - it's not always easy to buy abroad, with the language barriers, differences in local law and currency fluctuations all creating hurdles for foreigners. Property experts say the best thing that buyers looking to purchase outside of their home country can do, is find a reputable, trustworthy local agent... unfortunately, something that is often easier said then done.

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