Property News

Russians Take an Option on Bulgarian Property

Russians Take an Option on Bulgarian Property
On February 11-12 the eyes of all Muscovites were turned to one of the key events of the year – the Bulgarian Home property show staged at SC Tishinka. More than 111 corporate participants were privileged to offer their properties and services to about 6,370 visitants.

To say that the show was a success is to say nothing. This was a true festival which drew the attention of thousands of Muscovites and people of Russia in general, thanks to competent marketing by the event organizer aigroup. It took a painstaking effort to crowd through the rows between the pavilions as potential buyers queued up at the stands. Senior and line managers of the participating companies catering to clients immediately caught the eye. And people kept coming… Tishinka was buzzing and bustling. The show vividly demonstrated that the interest of Russians in Bulgaria was not just keen: it was actually inexhaustible. This is what sales manager of Harmony Estate Dmitry Penov said to the occasion: “I have an impression that all Russians have suddenly decided to leave for Bulgaria en masse. Compared to the second half of last year, the interest has heightened by 200%. Our company has long been participating in similar shows, I’ve already lost count. But each time more people show up and many visitors do not only seek relevant information but have a firm intention to buy property.”’

The participating companies were prone to relate a dramatic increase in attendance to excellent preparations made by aigroup. This regards both the advertising campaign and the selection of best Bulgarian real estate companies as the show participants. “I’ve already been involved in about a dozen of similar shows, – says Irina Sokolova, regional cooperation director of DreamHome. – including some expositions organized by other firms. Aigroup stands head and shoulders above other specialized organizers and this is why we always come here. This is a superb show. In my opinion, Bulgarian Home is the most representative and successful exposition in Moscow visited by numerous potential investors and buyers who strike a rapidly increasing amount of real deals. But we already feel cramped and next time we plan to rent one more pavilion.”

Vanya Dincheva, sales manager at ElitStroy, also mentioned excellent organization: “I’d note quality preparations for the Bulgarian Home show in Tishinka. I’ve participated in various similar shows organized by other companies in different places but the shows organized by aigroup at Tishinka shopping center are definitely the best. This company should be rendered homage as a top-class organizer.”

“This show is the best of all I’ve ever attended, – adds Elizaveta Fuchiji, sales director of Galeria Homes. – Tishinka is always overcrowded and there are very many specific requests, for people coming here have already decided on a property purchase.”

Assiduous preparations and invitation of solid firms, good-reputed real estate developers and agencies having rich experience in the real estate market, bring forth abundant fruit. People know that the firms from which they buy property are professional market operators respecting the law. “We sign a contract with each buyer whereby our firm guarantees a clean title to property, – underscored Marina Petrovskaya, managing director of Coastline LTD. – Our Bulgarian barrister counsels on a particular property that it has no encumbrances and that no laws were breached in the course of its development. The buyer is given a document suite before the payment is made and we organize on-the-spot visits for all comers. We are interested in this show because it attracts real buyers who trust us. And this is very important.”

People come to Tishinka because they are assured of getting professional help and finding what they need here. “Each person and each deal is unique to us, – noted Irina Sokolova. – We always try to use an individual approach. Our managers inquire about the aims of the purchase and, proceeding from this information, they help the client choose what suits him or her best depending on the age, temper, budget… Some seek wild parties and disco music all nights through while others would appreciate privacy and tranquility – we take all wishes of our clients into consideration. And some are eager to make a gift for their loved ones. Yesterday we were approached by a middle-aged Russian couple who wanted to make a real lifetime gift to their grandson. What can be better than real estate? We selected an excellent apartment for the toddler – when he grows up he’ll certainly cherish grateful memoirs about his grandparents. We see a rising tide of requests from entrepreneurs for whom we select a suitable residence and at the same time help them buy commercial real estate and legalize their business. A certain businessman asked us to help him file essential documents for opening a shop in Bulgaria.”

The show exposed the predilections of Russian buyers. As estimated by Dmitry Penov, most contracts (30-35%) are signed for property in the southern part of the Black Sea coast, another 20-25% – for property in the northern part of the Black Sea coast, 20% – for property at ski resorts, followed by the rest of Bulgarian regions. Very many visitors are retired fellows who want to invest their savings in the country with a mild climate and friendly people where they’d be able to live in quietude. Tsanka Ilieva, senior sales manager for Kutuzoff, in her turn pointed to keener interest in rustic homes. Such requests mainly come from elderly people who would like to live in the lap of nature in their homestead with a garden and enjoy the mild Bulgarian climate. Pensioners have no problems with a residence permit in Bulgaria. The firm’s lawyers quickly formalize all necessary papers for them and they can live as long as they want in Bulgaria.

Pancho Andonov, sales manager with Galaxy Property Group, pointed out that Russians were mostly interested to buy some 55-65 sq m of real estate at the price of 50,000-60,000 euro. He has also been observing a growing number of people seeking permanent residence in Bulgaria in the recent one year and a half.

Managers of the participating companies also noted that while prior to the crisis Bulgarian property was mainly purchased by residents of UK, Ireland, Norway and other “cold” European nations, now the market has almost totally been “seized” by Russians. Managing director of Mountain Paradise curiously remarked that while the English would most often engage in leveraged buy-to-let deals, Russians pay in cash and normally buy housing for their own use.

Affordable Bulgarian prices are certainly important for the Russian buyers. “We can offer our clients Bulgarian properties with price tags ranging from 10,000 to 300,000 euro per apartment and higher, – said Pavel Yakov, sales manager with VMG Partners. – We offer a variety of residences to high net worth individuals, middle-class buyers, and common people.” Generally, the participating companies have huge portfolios. Thus Galeria Homes has more than 4,000 various objects on offer, including those on the Black Sea coast, ski and spa resorts, the capital city Sofia, and out-of-the-way rustic idyll at the prices varying between 350 and 4,000 euro/sqm.

One of the most important factors attracting potential buyers is that real estate experts assume all cares related to visa formalities, familiarization trips, and money transfers right at the show, providing full-cycle services.

And finally it should be noted that people who make their first appearance at Tishinka often get lost in the ocean of tempting offers. This time newcomers were spellbound as well as the Bulgarian splendour made them dizzy. Indeed it’s hard to choose between seaside and mountainside residences, Sofia apartments, tranquil rustic riverside homes, and property beside a healing spring. No worries: those who were at a loss for the choice this time would be able to do it at the next Moscow International Investment Show to be held on March 11-12, 2011.