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International Healthcare News: Sofia's rental market 'changed by expat exodus'

Expatriates have been leaving the Bulgarian capital Sofia in droves, leaving the city’s apartment rental market in the throes of transition, according to an industry expert.

Vesey Crichton of Cleves estate agency told Novinite.com that the global financial crisis has reduced Sofia’s expatriate population from 12,000 in 2008 to an estimated 7,500.

The agent told the website that occupancy is still healthy, with 87 per cent of his company’s units taken by higher-income expatriates including bankers, diplomats and multinationals.

"Expatriates from Greece, UK and Germany still feature strongly. But the big change over the past 18 months has been a rise in the number of Bulgarians choosing to rent," he noted, adding that property location, price, parking and security still topped customers’ list of priorities.

However, Mr Crichton commented that expats were now more likely to consider an apartment’s design and layout when looking for rental properties and demand professional support, such as a landlord able to provide services.

Sofia is the 12th largest European city by population, with 1.2 million residents.

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