The regional office of the real estate company "Foros" in the southwestern Bulgarian city of Blagoevgrad has registered an increased interest by Greek clients in the last few months of 2010.
"In the last months we have more than five request per month. Before, we had one client every three months," said Georgi Georgiev, manager of the Blagoevgrad office of Foros.
He said that the interest comes mostly from Greek businessmen, aged 30 to 50, who already have or want to start their own business in Bulgaria.
According to Georgiev, Greeks are attracted to the country because of the cheap labor force and the lower prices of transport services and rents. In his words, the more stable economic situation, in comparison to Greece, is another reason for their interest.
"Greeks are interested in buying already existing businesses in different sectors, but mostly related to services, like restaurants and fast food. They are looking for businesses, whose owners feel economic difficulties or want to transfer to other sectors," Georgiev said.
He has explained that the price and condition of the property, where the business is running, are leading in the decision making. In his words, the buyers' logic is that they should buy and develop businesses in times of crisis because of the low prices and clear market and be ready for a new economic growth after the recession is over.
Georgiev also pointed out that Greeks are very picky and they lead the conditions during negotiations with the sellers or landlords. The reason for that is their paying in cash, which makes seller more yielding, and if they sign contract for renting, it is for a longer period of 3 to 5 years.
According to Foros, Greeks have also increased their search for residential properties. They look mostly for two or three-room apartments for rent or for sale in the central parts of Blagoevgrad, near the two universities.
The agency believes that the investments in infrastructure and administration in Blagoevgrad, as well as the relieved registration process for foreign companies, have made the city more attractive for foreign buyers and tenants.