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General country information

Bulgaria is situated in the eastern Balkans at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

A small country, it has a varied and picturesque landscape that embraces mountains and a Black sea coastline stretching approximately 200 miles between Romania and Turkey.

It has land borders with Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Turkey. The climate is temperate with cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers. Because of this there are both winter ski resorts such as Bansko which has previously held legs of the European Ski Championships and summer resorts such as Sunny Beach on the Black sea.

Bulgaria now has a free market economy. Largely agricultural, the country is an exporter of wine, vegetables, fruits, and tobacco. It is also known for its yogurt.

Politically Bulgaria appears to be fairly unstable and inconclusive elections in May 2013 resulted in the formation of a government of technocrats.

In early 2007 Bulgaria was granted membership into the EU, since when the economy received a significant boost. Since then however they have suffered decline along with the rest of Europe.

Property prices in Bulgaria have fallen 38% since their 2008 peak, but the decline in prices has slowed to 2.2% in 2012 and the economy is improving which implies that prices are bottoming out and could once again be ripe for investment.

European Union citizens can now purchase properties in Bulgaria, including land.  The 5-year moratorium on land purchases, set as a condition in the Accession Treaty between Republic of Bulgaria and The European Union, was lifted in January 1, 2012. Previously, foreigners could purchase land only in the name of a legal entity and were not allowed to own a property. The lifting of the ban now gives European citizens the right to own property as individuals.

Gross rent earned by non-residents is taxed at a flat rate of 10%, withheld at source. Deductions are not allowed for non-residents.

The net amount may be repatriated by overseas property owners, subject to presentation of a certificate confirming taxes have been paid. Realised capital gains on property sales are treated as income.

Inheritance of direct descendants is not taxed. For all other beneficiaries, the inheritance tax rates vary, depending on the relationship between the donor and the heir.

Property purchase transaction costs are around 5.30% to 10.30% of the property value. The buyer pays for transfer tax (0.10% to 3%), notary fee (0.10% to 1.50%) and 0.10% registration fee.

Bulgarian law seems to be pro-landlord. There are no rent controls, so rents and terms and conditions can be freely negotiated between the parties. Any method of rent increase can be agreed upon, including indexation, and periodic progressive increases.

Country stats:

Area: 110,910 sq km
Population: 7.48m
Principal cities: Sofia, Varna, Burgas, Plovdiv
Median age of population: Total: 40.5
Male: 38.4
Female: 42.4
Language: Bulgarian
Employment rate: 85.7%
Flying time from UK: 2.36 hours
Currency: 1 Lev =100 Stotinki
Time difference from UK: +3 hours Rate of inflation: 3.9%
International dialling code: +359
GDP per person: £7,158
Climate: Temperate
House price inflation: 13%

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