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25 Sep, 2007 03:42

Russian homebuyers flock to Bulgaria

With house prices at home going through the roof, many Russians are looking abroad to get a foot on the property ladder. And Bulgaria is increasingly becoming the destination of choice. Its culturally similar to Russia and, most importantly, its affordabl

For many Russians, the dream of owning a home is just that – a dream.  In recent years, the price of property in the country's major towns and cities has shot up.  It’s no wonder then that people are looking abroad now, says Ekaterina Thain, Residential Director at Knight Frank real estate agency: “If you look what you can buy for this money in France or 5-6 km outside of Moscow – and compare the quality of living – you can see that there are lots of points and advantages in the European markets,” she explains.

And the property is purchased not only as a holiday home, but as an investment.

Traditionally the wealthy have followed tourist trends and bought property in the United Kingdom and the Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy.

But in recent years Russians have become increasingly inclined to buy in Bulgaria. The country is similar to Russia in language and culture, particularly affordable, and familiar as a holiday destination since the Soviet era.

But in addition to buying for holidays and status, an increasing number of Russians are following their European counterparts in buying property as an investment. The returns and contracts are often seen as superior to those in Russia.

For the last two years real estate prices in Bulgaria have risen by 100% – and though this rate is now about 27%, experts believe it will continue growing, adding that there is no place in Europe more attractive for investment than Bulgaria at the moment.

An investment in real estate is now seen in Russia as a more reliable and flexible investment than any bank deposit. And no matter whether it is for a holiday house by the sea or for an investment potential, analysts are expecting more international realtors to be welcoming Russian buyers for some time to come.