Skiing Brits Find Eastern Property Promise in Bulgaria

By: Elisha Burberry

Bulgaria is cementing its lead as an investment property hotspot for skiers and snowboarders looking to own a slice of the slopes. The country's recent accession in the EU, together with the low prices and plentiful property facilitated by the building boom, are leading many British skiers and snowboarders to leapfrog their traditional favourite ski spots in France, Switzerland and Austria, in favour of Bulgaria's more modestly priced mountains.

The boom in property development in Bulgaria's best resorts have meant that brand new ski apartments can be snapped up for less than ?30K. These low prices, combined with the preventive costs of getting on to the British property ladder, means that many young buyers are choosing Bulgaria for either investment property, a holiday home or a way of generating some extra income through rental returns.

As Bulgaria's premier ski resort, with the best snow record and longest ski season (mid December to mid may), Bansko has become the most popular location for British property investors to purchase. Previously perceived by some as being a budget ski destination, the $40 million investment in Bansko mean that in terms of size and facilities, the resort is now competing with other more established favourites in Western Europe.

However, it's not just Bansko that's big with the Brits; other prominent ski areas such as Borovetz and Pamporovo are also attracting interest. Borovets is Bulgaria's oldest ski resort which dates back to 1896 and offers pistes up to 2600m above sea level. Pamporovo's claim to fame comes in the form of its weather, and it's said to be the sunniest ski resort in Bulgaria.

There are also around a dozen other less well known ski areas in the country, such as Vitosha, Semkovo and Uzana, which are currently more geared towards local weekend skiers rather than the international snow sports market, but these are likely to grow in size in the coming years. The new development around Razlog is getting property investors excited as it will be combining a ski area with an 18 hole PGA golf course just 4km from Bansko, and is likely to attract a lot of interest from British buyers.

Though other European nationals have showed interest in buying property in Bulgaria, the British are leading the charge with an estimated 40,000 Britons now owning property in the country. And it's not just snow seekers who are looking to buy; the Black Sea beach resorts are also attracting adventurous Brits searching for a Bulgarian property investment with a healthy dose of sun and sea; the most popular places to buy are around the Varna area, in towns such as Kavarna and Albena Beach.

As Bulgaria's economy and infrastructure continues to develop, it's likely that it will grow even more popular with the property buying Brits - after all, when you can buy a plush ski apartment, town penthouse or beach villa in Bulgaria for the same price as a conservatory in Britain, it's not surprising that many are heading to the country in search of eastern property promise.

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