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Could this impact investment in the Black Sea in the future? The firm has been hard hit by the global real estate downturn. There are also questions being asked about the environmental impact of the massive resort. Environmentalists are raising concerns despite the fact that the design is described as eco-friendly and aims to be carbon neutral. The residential clusters are tightly packed and integrated into the contours of the landscape, preserving the majority of the site as virgin terrain. But according to the Bulgarian environmental partnership, For the Nature, the area is under threat from over development. The group claims that the area s seaside habitat including dunes, rocks, estuaries, lagoons and forests could be harmed by such a large development. Currently the Bulgarian government completely ignores its obligation to the nature conservation directives for these protected sites. Consequently many of the supposedly safeguarded zones are on their way to being destroyed by thousands of small and large construction projects, a spokesman said.
Authorities seem unconcerned that public opinion polls show an overwhelming concern for preserving these areas, he added. Madara is now seeking investment partners but the real estate outlook in Bulgaria is gloomy. But a look at the analysis in more detail reveals the full extent of the property crisis in a country that was once very popular with foreign property investors. Vassilev told a news conference that the outlook is exceptionally gloomy and even bargain prices are not attracting buyers. No matter how much property prices fall, some would remain unsold for years, the conference was told. However, Valetin Suikov, a member of the board of unsecured personal loans the International Real Estate Federation of Bulgaria, said that the market had reached break-even point and prices would not change much in the next two years but added that prices of quality real estate would not fall further. Bulgaria has lost a large number of foreign buyers, particularly those from the UK and Ireland. But according to Vesselina Ivanova of Five Star Investments Russians and Ukrainians are still buying and a particularly interested in Black Sea property and in golf course developments. Major problems facing the market include the complicated procedure for Russians to get Bulgarian visas and that fact that there are no direct flights from Moscow to Bulgaria s Black Sea cities of Varna and Bourgas outside the summer season. But there is some optimism with the number of building permits issued in the second quarter of 2009 increasing but the trend is for smaller units. The number of luxury property owners putting their houses on the market has doubled, says a report from real estate agency Unique Estates. But buyers are no longer interested in real estate priced at the top of the market.
At the start of the year the volume of deals was similar to last year s but after March the trend drastically changed.
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The foreign investment sector has been particularly badly hit and people are also being put off buying due to lack of transparency and unscrupulous companies operating in the industry. A third of all complaints filed with the Bulgarian section of the European Consumer Centre (ECC) by foreigners concerned real estate, most of them from British and Irish property owners. The number of tourists to the country have dropped off. Tourism officials have admitted that the number of bookings for the winter season, especially from Russians, are down.
According to agencies such as Foros, Colliers, Address and Bulgarian Properties, real estate values will continue to fall in the next few months. The more optimistic hope they will low interest loan low interest loan start stabilising in the summer months but others think that no recovery is likely until well into 2011. According to Tsvetelina Tasseva, chief executive of Address, real estate prices could suffer another collapse if banks start putting repossessed properties onto the market. There is growing concern about anecdotal evidence that some buyers are opting for off plan apartments that do not have full permission as they are being sold extremely cheap.
But if they don t get full permission the new owners risks having a property that could be demolished for being built illegally. Some authorities are becoming stricter in terms of planning but there is growing concern about the demolition of illegal properties along the Black Sea coast as some believe that decisions are not being made fairly. While the bulldozing of some properties such as illegal permanent sheds attached to condominiums in the town of Nessebar are welcomed, others such as a pair of two storey houses built without appropriate paperwork on the south beach in Obzor should be legalized instead.
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Campaigners also think that four single storey buildings in the Kladeri region near the village of Emona, and a swimming pool at the Delta Hotel on Sunny Beach, should also be re-considered. There is a big difference between illegal huts and a house where the paperwork low interest loan is not straight. Rather than spending money demolishing perfectly good buildings there should be further discussion to see if the planning issues can be regularised, said a spokesman for one group in Obzor. There is also growing concern that new laws introduced this year to outlaw cash payments which were widely believed to be linked to corruption in the industry, are not making the market more transparent.
The property industry has also suffered from a severe fall in the number of foreign buyers. Since then it has been severely loan american loans with bad credit online restricted by the global economic downturn. Bulgaria is poor in locally generated capital, and most major projects here were financed by foreign capital investment. Readily available cash on the Bulgarian market continues private loans for bad credit to shrink and while this continues there will be little opportunity for flexibility on the market, said Luchezar Bogdanov, managing partner in Industry Watch. Bulgaria is poor in locally generated capital and most major projects here have been financed by foreign capital investments, Luchezar Bogdanov, managing partner in Industry Watch. Readily available cash on the Bulgarian market continues to shrink and while this continues there will be little opportunity for flexibility in the market, he added. There are some tentative signs of the market moving, according to Colliers International.
The Sofia office is reporting that banking transactions have become more frequent.
There are more inquiries being made as well as more deals being completed, said Tatyana Emilova. Inquiries though are not coming from foreign investors. Tsvetelina Tasseva from Address Real Estate said that some bargain hunters are aggressively pursuing deals but this is not the kind of activity that is going to result in a rebound in the real estate market. About 21 000 residential units were completed and made available on the market in 2008, twice the number of new flats and houses built in 2004. Another 15 000 new units were constructed and floated on the market in emergency personal loans 2009, according to the NSI.
The latest global property price report from international consultants Knight Frank published a few days ago put Bulgaria in the top four countries in the world in terms of falling prices for the third quarter of 2009. Real estate prices in parts of Bulgaria are still falling but there is some hope that Russian buyers are starting to come back to buy property in the once popular Black Sea coastal locations.
Tatyana Emilova, manager at Colliers International Bulgaria, said the main factors defining the current environment were the affluent choice of supply along with alluring price tags. Overall, Colliers believes prices are beginning to stabilise but not everyone agrees.
The Russians though are starting to buy properties again in Bulgaria, most notably along the Black Sea coast, according to a report on Bulgarian television channel bTV. According to Yuri Salovyov, Russian general secretary to the Russian embassy in Varna, more than 300,000 Russians regularly spend their holidays in the country and they are the most likely to buy a property.
Russians generally tend to choose property along large resorts on the coast, or the Bulgarian mountains, but they also settle occasionally for a quiet, rural way of life in small villages, the report said. The great demand for real estate, which initially came from the UK and other English speaking countries, is being steadily replaced by Russian speakers, said municipal mayor Avren Todorov. Many Russians are seeking to buy single family homes facing the seafront or flats in the cities, as many of them have decided to outsource their business to Bulgaria and move here permanently, said real estate agent Stefan Atanassov.
Bulgarian authorities have promised a formal investigation into allegations by British real estate investors who claim they have been conned out of their properties in the ski resort of Bansko. They have been caught up in a dispute after estate agency Rockarch which sold them the properties became the victim of a fraud. The London based agency claims it has been defrauded by a Bulgarian business partner who apparently transferred ownership of some of the apartments to a Bulgarian company for a fraction of their real value.
Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Bulgaria s Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, said that the deputy director of the Chief Directorate of the Criminal Police and the appellate prosecutor of Sofia, Vicho Vichev, would go to Blagoevgrad to examine the records and go on to cheapest personal loan rate Bansko if required.
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