In recent years, before the eyes of the Bulgarians, Dubai has turned from a tourist destination into a place where some people escape justice or find refuge for investments, the origin of which is not always known. That’s the likely reason why nearly two dozen property owners there were investigated last year by the National Revenue Agency, and specifically about the origin of the money with which they were acquired.
At the beginning of May, an international journalistic investigation established that more than 240 Bulgarian citizens and residents of the country own properties worth more than 160 million dollars in Dubai. This is also the place that turns out to be the new home of the Russian millionaires’ money.
It turns out that in the last year Dubai, along with Turkey, has become an object of great interest from Bulgarians who want to invest their savings in real estate. A Google search shows that there are quite a few offers.
“Actually, over the years, we have had clients who made inquiries about properties in Dubai, but we did not have a suitable partner on the ground to offer this,” Nevena Stoyanova, managing director of Luximmo, told “Dnevnik”. Since the beginning of the year, the agency has been offering its services to those wishing to buy a home in the emirate. It indicates that interest in this has increased sharply.
Why is this interest
Stoyanova finds more than one reason for this interest in buying a property in Dubai. It starts with the most romantic one, which is that this is the sea closest to Bulgaria during the winter months, and unlike other destinations that became popular especially during the winter of the pandemic, such as the Maldives and Bali, the time zone does not change here. This, combined with the easy access there from Bulgaria, makes the place a desirable destination for families with children.
In addition, no taxes are paid on the spot – neither for owning a property nor a notary fee when acquiring it. Stoyanova points out that there is complete documentary transparency there – all documents are in a register, every transaction is completed within 3 days, “there are no complications from lawyers, notaries, everyone can see the documentation of the property“, she points out.
As another reason for interest, she adds the “five-star service of every property“, which is standard in the country, regardless of whether it is a house or an apartment in a building. The locals are very business-oriented and along with the development of tourism, they keep this high quality, she explains.
How much does it cost
Contrary to the impression that in the emirate we are talking about properties that cost millions, Stoyanova assures that there are at such prices, comparable to those in Sofia. With the clarification that in the luxury segment the variety is far greater and can cost “many millions“. According to her, the purchase of a home for 200,000 euros is completely realistic – as much as a two-room apartment in Sofia.
The demand from Bulgarians is divided into two directions – apartments and detached houses. For the second, the compromise that lowers the price quite a bit is that the property is not on the first line after the beach, for which the supply is limited.
Regardless of which property is bought, a maintenance fee is paid, which is expected to be much higher than in Bulgaria and which Bulgarians buying holiday properties set as a condition for whether to acquire the property or not. “There is a maintenance fee everywhere in the civilized world. Its size depends on what it includes. It is something that Bulgarians have to get used to – that when they buy properties, they have to look at them long-term, because from how a building is maintained, it depends on how the owner protects his money over time. If it ages beautifully, it is protected,” Stoyanova illustrates. Her observation is that when Bulgarians buy property abroad, they do not complain about the maintenance fee, which is not the case if the deal is for a property in Bulgaria.
Real estate brokers testify that inflation takes a lot of savings out of banks and puts them into the purchase of homes, which are practically the only alternative to deposits in Bulgaria that is affordable and understandable for most people.
It turns out that the desire for property in Dubai is partly driven by the same desire to protect money from depreciation. Stoyanova says that so far they have not had any customers to buy using a bank loan. Some of the buyers are people building property portfolios in different countries.
In the time when the property is not used personally, it is usual to rent it out, as is the practice in Bulgaria. The same agencies that broker the deal also offer management. The yield, depending on the property, is between 4 and 8%, says Stoyanova, and there are many people from all over the world who wish to rent short-term housing.
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