The latest investment property headline is this: Popular and well trodden markets such as France and Spain are out, Bansko is in.
Bansko, Bulgaria. Fast becoming one of Europe's hottest ski resorts and showing no signs of slowing down for beginners, Bansko is where smart money is being invested. From as little as £30,000 (US$52,594) you can own a 1 bedroom apartment in heart of Bulgaria's trendiest ski resort, at base of imposing Pirin Mountain range. It sounds impressive but is it just a flash in pan or a serious investment opportunity promising high rental yields and real capital growth?
The skiing is first class, that much is not in doubt. The high peaks offer powder white snow for up to 5 months of year and summer season continues for a further 2, providing a wonderful holiday home for ski enthusiasts and great returns for buy-to-let investors. Plenty of money has been pumped into facilities and ski school ensures that beginners and experts alike are catered for. There are plans to double length of runs at Bansko over next 10 years so whilst this is a relatively new ski resort; it is certainly a progressive and well maintained one.
A very old town full of character, situated just 150km south of Sofia, Bansko is about 2 hours from nearest Bulgarian airport. It lies at base of Vihren, highest mountain in Pirin range at almost 3000m. Bansko is interestingly placed geographically, close to border with Greece and Macedonia and there is planned Greek-Thessalonic Highway that will connect Bansko to Greece by road. It is said that on a fine day you can see all way to Aegean from Pirin Mountains. In theory, when you finish skiing in Bansko in April you could drive to Greece for a dip in Aegean.
The cobbled streets of town itself are clean and well lit. Amongst obligatory 'après ski' styled bars and night-clubs are mehanas, underground taverns offering local cuisine and live music. Currently town is representative of a building site with scaffolding and cement mixers a plenty. Looking beyond production equipment, one can quite quickly see that ends will justify means. Bansko has clearly been subject of considerable investment into an improved infrastructure. Certainly more so than competing, better known towns such as Borovets or Pamporovo.
Non-skiers are catered for with beautiful walks, historic Roman ruins, volcanic mineral spring water public baths, equestrian activities and plans for at least one 18 hole golf course. The environment itself is protected by UNESCO and is Bulgaria's largest national park, ensuring that overdevelopment should not rear its ugly head, or at least, limit it's impact.