Demand for properties across Europe has increased dramatically according to the latest stats from UK property search websites.
With the recent strength of sterling it makes it a good time to buy property in euro currency countries. Bulgaria which has its currency fixed to the euro is also benefiting from this trend. Just last year a €100,000 property in Bulgaria would have cost around £91,000, but today the exact same property can be purchased for just £80,000, resulting in a substantial saving for buyers using sterling.
Of course this phenomenon is not reserved just from Bulgarian properties. It is also the case that property in Spain and France are now cheaper for UK buyers due to the weakness in the euro zone. One needs to thread carefully however as not all European markets are at the same stage of the property price life cycle.
Bulgarian property prices for example have dropped over 50% in many areas since 2008 and in some places drops as high as 70% have been seen. However the drops stopped in 2011 as prices reached fair value. In many cases properties in Bulgaria are selling below the cost of replacement. This makes it an ideal time to invest in Bulgarian properties. The price drops have leveled out and properties cannot be constructed at these price levels. This means as soon as the current supply of properties has been sold prices will have to start rising again to accommodate the increased construction costs.
The situation is not the same in France and Spain however. On the French market there has been limited price drops over the last 3-4 years. Prices have held up well but are now looking very overpriced. Recent research form the Economist indicates that French property prices are now overvalued by almost 50%.
In Spain priced have indeed decreased over the last 2-3 years but are still over valued by up to 30% according to the Economist’s report. This means it is still not the time to buy property in Spain as there is a high chance of further price drops over the coming years.
It seems if you are looking for a stable market where price drops have already occurred and property prices have reached fair value levels then you need to strongly consider buying property in Bulgaria. Look to purchase at prices close to the cost of construction as this will give you the best chances of future property price growth. With the current strength of sterling if you are buying with pounds then you will get an even better deal.