The Bulgarian government is implementing new legislation to outlaw cash purchases of real estate. This is in response to a few widely reported allegations of purchasers buying real estate only to find they have no legal recourse when it had been resold without their knowledge.
The amendment to the Notary Act means that real estate purchase must notify a new 'State Depository Bank', which guarantees completion when a deposit has been made. This gives purchasers a legal right to complete the deal. Purchases must be made by bank transfer and be supervised by a notary. Many European countries have similar systems in place already.
There has been a recent spike in real estate dealings prior to the implementation of law, although delays mean the law probably won't come into effect until May or June 2010.
Bulgaria has become a popular place for both real estate investment and as a retirement destination. Stamp duty is low; coupled with a generous taxation rate (10% for both companies and individuals) that encourages speculation. The recession has affected cheaper, less popular properties, however the market for high-end apartments and villas has held up well. The country has a stable democracy and has been part of the European Union since 2007.