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Xpat Forum_

Are the Brits Gone?

# 1
Dear expats, visitors, and friends of Bulgaria,

In the years prior to 2008, Bulgaria saw some several dozens of thousands of Brits and Irish moving in, mostly are property buyers, investors, and/or founders of small local businesses. 4-5 years later it is a general understanding that the 2008 crisis and the ensuing collapse of the Bulgarian real estate market have wiped out the British owners of Bulgarian properties, and many of those have sold their recently acquired properties at a loss, and left Bulgaria for good.

Are you a Brit who has lived or is still living in Bulgaria? What are your reasons for staying/leaving? Please share with the other expats and readers of Expats.bg your experience with the “Bulgarian property bubble”, should you have any.

Is there a large-scale British expat community across Bulgaria in 2012?

Please note that all of the contents of Expats.bg is USER-GENERATED, and the web portal is COMMUNITY-BASED, i.e. it has been designed in a way so that it can be RUN BY THE USERS, thus seeking to be for the benefit of all expatriates, visitors, and friends of Bulgaria!
24 July 2012 02:10:06 Reply Quote
# 2
John Dixon
It will also be interesting to discuss how many Americans there are actually residing in Bulgaria.. The same refers to the other expat communities. I tried once finding more information about the various expat groups but couldn't find anything comprehensive.
24 July 2012 15:19:10 Reply Quote
# 3
cath taylor
We have lived here since 2005.It hasnt been to bad for us as we both have pensions.
if we were to return to the uk we know we would make a loss when selling the house but we are enjoying living in the house so we try not to think about it.
The cost of living here has gone up since we arrived here but on the whole it is still cheaper to live here than the uk and also the weather is much better.
25 July 2012 00:29:39 Reply Quote
# 4
Susan OCarolan
In the years prior to 2008, Bulgaria saw some several dozens of thousands of Brits and Irish moving in

Is there a large-scale British expat community across Bulgaria in 2012?

Admittedly “moving in” has several different connotations but at the census in early 2011, there were only 2605 residents from the U.K.* so I doubt if many more actually did ever “move in”.

It is doubtful that we will ever recover the, in retrospect, exorbitant amount of monies spent on property but at least it is costing us far less to live than in the U.K. and the exchange rate for pensions has been improving over the last few months.

* @John Dixon, 524 from the U.S. and 64 from Canada
25 July 2012 10:18:23 Reply Quote
# 5
I am American and live in Sofia. I only know a few other Americans because I don't run with the embassy crowd. It would be nice to meet more.
25 July 2012 11:50:46 Reply Quote
# 6
As a Real Estate Agent for the last five years I have seen the boom and the decline of the property market in Bulgaria. In my opinion and from expereince there were three main groups of people that bought in the boom time, either were looking for a holiday home (heavily promoted by tv programmes of buying and living abroad). The second group were looking to invest their savings into something concrete and the third group wanted to change their lives and so researched Bulgaria and a lot of people bought their properties for any one of the three groups above by releasing equity in the properties they had in the UK.
I was confused why it seemed that after 5 years of living here or holidaying here people were leaving BG and going back to UK, however it appears that the same happens to ex pats from any country and in the first five years of emigrating to Australia 30% of ex pats return.
25 July 2012 11:52:28 Reply Quote
# 7
Kevin Owen
the Brit's are not gone nut are greatly reduced. in my view there are several reasons for this the first being age and health related. First being age. many "Brit's" came here to make the most of their pensions, however the economic crisis has reduced their income dramatically in some cases. Next there is health in old age. Recent moves by the government has effectively betrayed Ex Pat's and even though we have spent all our lives paying into the NHS we are no longer able to use its services. This is despicable especially as we live in a fellow EU country. That leaves us with the expensive option of Private Health insurance. I must say that Bulgarian Health Service is hardly welcoming even though we are able to pay into the system. that also goes for much of the national and local bureaucracy which gets ever more "inventive" about extracting money from us! There is only so much of this that a "Brit" will take before removing their investment from Bulgaria altogether!
25 July 2012 12:50:16 Reply Quote
# 8
interesting I agree with most of what you say, we have been here 6 years, when we first came we came across people who were buying 4/5/6 houses thinking they would make a property killing, then realsised doing up 1 house would be a massive task!!! I believe some of those have had their fingers burnt and just left Bulgaria and left their property's. We are retired and have paid into the health system since being here, we have used it seriously a couple of times and have NO complaints our village Dr is very caring. We also have quite a few Bulgarian friends who we are proud to share time and food with, something we find certain ex-pats recoil at!!!
Ce la vie!
25 July 2012 15:39:44 Reply Quote
# 9
I agree with everything you have written, we have been here for 6 years and love it, we live in a small village, not far from Sliven, we are the only Brits here.
When my husband had two heart attacks and was taken to Podiv hospital for a quadrouple bypass, the villagers offered blood for him including our Doctor, as I was on my own, so many people came to see me all bearing food etc, we had only been here a few months and their kindness was amazing, like yourself we have mostly Bulgarian friends. Nothing would make us go back to the U.K. plus we could not afford to, we are pensioners.
25 July 2012 17:54:56 Reply Quote
# 10
Kevin Owen
There are many reasons for Brit's leaving Bulgaria and I have only focused on a very few of them. However , no matter how welcoming ordinary villagers are there are several layers of government that does not conform to the wishes of the central Bulgarian governments wishes and are still firmly entrenched in the old communist model, and are upon occasion outright racist when dealing with anyone other than Bulgarian. I like Bulgaria and there are many health for myself, but sadly the UK are very belligerent to ex pat's and are making matters very difficult for us whenever we return to the UK.
26 July 2012 10:32:10 Reply Quote
# 11
Poppet Im so pleased you feel comfortable here and hope your both managing well especially health wise, Kevin I also agree about the B word both here and in Uk.
We have on occasion had to deal with the "ex party member types you mention" we simply had to prove we have paid our way here with every stustonki! and on occasion reminded them we are now all new europeans??? I think!!!
Any way apart from the intense heat at the moment we still count ourselves very fortunate to be living here, after watching a little world news seeing the daily torture of so many we know we are blessed
26 July 2012 12:18:49 Reply Quote
# 12
Kevin Owen
The heat is very VERY good for my arthritis, so I am content with that on its own merit.lol Anyone want to buy an obsolete walking stick.....
26 July 2012 23:28:24 Reply Quote
# 13
having been here for several years now we have seen people come and people go. Most have either run ut of money had problems with the teenage children or missed family. We retired early decided to get out of the rat race and just be doing the things we want to do. There are not any other English in our little town but we have a mix of Bulgarian and Roma of course and German Greek Italian and Turkish.
I believe i am correct in saying that we all live a Bulgarian life and that is as i see it the key to living in any country live to way the people live in that country and it does work. We love it but we do miss the London shows and the country fairs and various things like that but we do have a theatre in our little town and their are more country things going on now. We do need a list on the site of various activities going on all over Bulgaria so that we all know in advance like the Razgrad show. Only new about that on the second day of it's 3 day event. If postings like that can be put on here i would be thrilled. So to sum up there are no brits in my home town but they are in the outskirted villages
1 August 2012 17:34:32 Reply Quote
# 14
I undersatnd that things ain't what they used to be.Let's be realistic, why would someone living in Bulgaria leave here only to be faced with a bigger problem in the UK. At least here it is cheaper to live . If I went back to the UK and move back into my house I would have to get a job again and grit my teeth whilst being ripped off! No I think the only people that have gone back are those in the Real Estate sector due to the property market collapse. The odinary Joe soap such as me has no intention of going back.
28 August 2012 09:58:12 Reply Quote
# 15
In my experience, many of the Brits living in Bulgaria are happy to have a foot in both camps - and to complain about being ripped-off here while carefully not mentioning that they are busily ripping-off both Bulgaria and the UK.

How many of them under-declared the price of their property on the Notary Act? How many pay the taxes due on their incomes? How many accept the gifts of produce or help from their village neighbours but do nothing in return - except slag them off on other forums? How many are permanent residents but "forget" to tell the UK authorities so they can run back "home" to sponge off the NHS when it suits them? How many like the "simple life" here but are happy to moan about the parts which in their eyes are "primitive" or which are against their "Human Rights"? How many bother to learn the language properly - often while complaining about immigrants to the UK?

Many of the ignorant, uneducated, uncivilised Brits who came here over the years looking to buy a life-style which was beyond both their means and aspirations in the UK have over recent times packed up and gone back, and who can honestly say that they are any loss to Bulgaria - or any gain to the UK?
28 August 2012 10:35:02 Reply Quote