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News and articles on worldwide property and real estate investment


Relocation to Faro in Portugal

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 11:32:09 GMT

When house-buyers look to the Algarve as a potential destination to relocate to they often overlook Faro, viewing it merely as the gateway to the region because that's were the international airport happens to be. However, Faro is a delightful historic city that has plenty of shopping, excellent dining, a surprisingly vibrant nightlife and a great social life to offer. From its ancient fortified walls to the pedestrianised shopping streets lined with interesting boutiques in the city centre to the hidden, quiet plazas where old men still play dominoes at outdoor cafes just as they did one hundred years ago, Faro is worth considering as a retirement or relocation destination. Things to do locally Among the highlights in Faro's immediate surroundings are the deserted island, Ilha Deserta, which is just a short ferry ride from the city, and Ria Formosa Natural Reserve, which comprises a series of saltwater lagoons sheltered from the ocean by various small islets. Here thousands of migratory birds come to rest for a while in the mudflats. It takes a boat tour to fully appreciate the wildlife and vegetation of these wetlands. Located about 3 km or 2 miles east of the neighbouring town of Olhão, the Centro de Educação Ambiental de Marim is an environmental education centre which is part of the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve. It sits in its own stunning 60ha-grounds (148 acres) of sand dunes and pinewoods. The grounds contain a centre for injured birds, temporary and permanent exhibitions on the flora and fauna of the area, a restored farmhouse, tidal mill and several aquariums. It was from this centre that the web-footed Portuguese water-dog, once used by fishermen to help bring in the daily catch, was bred back from near-extinction. Beyond the nature reserve are three sandbar islands that offer day trippers pristine beaches for a picnic and a day out by the sea. Also close at hand for a day's excursion is the small fishing community on the Ilha da Culatra, a charming place to come for an authentic seafood meal. Within Faro itself there are numerous cultural attractions to explore, such as the richly decorated parish church, São Pedro, or the beautiful Baroque Igreja do Carmo at Largo do Carmo, a church simply dripping with Brazilian gold leaf. Also located in Faro is the Museu Regional do Algarve, the Ethnographic Museum of the Algarve, which takes a nostalgic look at how things used to be in Portugal's southern-most region. For more modern entertainments, there's always the bustling beach resort of Praia de Faro, just a short drive away. Faro Property The eastern Algarve offers a wide range of property types, from farmhouses needing restoration to key-ready luxury duplexes or penthouses with sea views. Renting somewhere can be as cheap as 300 euros a month for a one bedroomed apartment, provided one chooses long-term rental over holiday lets. A local retirement village, located a 20-minute drive from Faro Airport, offers retirees full facilities onsite. Here property prices start from £79,000. Choosing such a location means joining a ready-made community of older residents, but not everybody is keen on such an "exclusive" social life on their doorstep. Faro itself has a lively expat community, as each year many people choose to retire to the area due to the mild year-round climate, healthy outdoor lifestyle and great local amenities. Buying a property in the eastern Algarve is therefore marginally more expensive than buying in the central part or in the Western Algarve, which tends to be less densely populated. However, generally speaking Portuguese property prices are still lower than in other EU countries, even lower than Spain's. In the Algarve, a budget of £490,000 to £500,000 (roughly EUR 550,000) will buy a large three-bedroom, two-bathroom villa with stunning sea views, set in a large plot of land with mature gardens. At the Costa del Sol, a similar property could well cost twice that much. For around £200,000 or EUR 220,000 it is [...]

Egyptian Real Estate sees strong Resurgence as Country's moneyed Elite is buying again

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 09:09:45 GMT

Economic and political turbulences saw Egypt's real estate market first take a nose-dive, then descend into a maelstrom of erratic house prices that shot up one quarter only to plunge down the next. The residential market is still dominated by traditional tourist hot spots, such as the Red Sea Riviera resorts El Gouna, Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh, and Luxor in the evocative Valley of the Kings and Queens.

While Luxor is ideal for those who love nothing better than a Nile cruise - the ships start from there - the Red Sea coast is increasingly popular as a water sports paradise where scuba diving in some of the world's most stunning underwater terrain is just one of many beach activities tourists can enjoy. Prices vary hugely. The purpose-built resorts on the coast, where Hurghada is the most popular, still offer fairly cheap Egyptian apartments.

However, Cairo, which is the country's centre for commerce, has a thriving market were domestic, rather than international buyers dominate. The Global Property Guide reported this autumn that moneyed Egyptian families where buying real estate at a rate not seen before.

Since the election of President El-Sisi three years ago, Egypt has changed considerably in social, political and economic terms. Although formally still a democracy, the country now has a tightly controlled and censored press, and there are a growing number of political prisoners. When Egypt floated the Egyptian pound last year, this caused a dramatic depreciation against major currencies.

This devaluation of the country's currency prompted a period of very high inflation. In May this year, Egypt's headline inflation reached 29.7%, while core inflation stood at a staggering 30.6%, tripling the 10.2% seen in 2016.

For this reason it seems astonishing that the country's residential real estate market is gaining momentum, with a booming construction sector to boot. But seen from an Egyptian point of view, it makes sense to invest in real estate: those who live and work abroad can buy cheaply due to the depreciation of the Egyptian pound - and those living in Egypt can't rely on savings that plummet in value by an annual 30%. So even if real estate depreciated by 14% year-on-year to May 2017, it didn't fall at the same rate as cash.

Both Cairo and Luxor have a thriving rental apartment market, where high rental yields are still the norm. Luxor has begun to interest investors, and newly designated land sitting south of the ancient city has been allocated for high-end development - while at Sharm el Sheikh the opposite will drive up prices in years to come, as here development was halted in an effort not to spoil the remaining coastline.

This year the Egyptian government implemented several reforms that were in line with the three-year IMF reform programme. This included introducing a value-added tax (VAT), amendments to the country's Investment Law to attract more foreign investors, an extension of business hours during which banks are permitted to carry out foreign currency exchanges, and a sharp increase for fuel and electricity prices that are eventually going to be phased out. This should help also to bring inflation down.

Last year, the country's economy saw strong economic growth with 4.3%, up from 4.4% in 2015. In the first quarter of this year, Egypt's economy expanded again by 3.9%, compared to the same quarter in 2016, according the Ministry of Planning. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) expects Egypt's economy to grow by 3.5% in 2017 and by another 4.5% next year. Further improvements to the Investment Law should help to attract foreign investors and drive Egyptian house prices up further.

Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of

Education System at the Costa del Sol & Spain

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 10:38:25 GMT

If you and your family are thinking of relocating to the Costa del Sol or other parts of Spain, your children's education will be a major consideration. Here is an overview of the education system in Spain: The Spanish Education System From ages 6 to 16, education is compulsory in Spain. Schools in the country are actually believed to be of a better educational standard than those found in many other European countries, including Britain, with far fewer discipline problems and better attendance statistics. International schools are the most obvious, and popular, choice for expats. There are several to choose from in Andalucia. Some of them teach exclusively in English, others in Spanish and English to provide a bilingual education. Most of these international schools are members of the National Association of British Schools in Spain, or NABSS. As British schools they typically follow the UK's curriculum, offering GCSEs, A/S and A-levels, and some even offer the internationally-accepted International Baccalaureate diploma as an alternative to traditional A levels. All international schools are fee-paying institutions, with fees varying from school to school. However, class sizes are smaller than in the UK, and teaching takes place in a relaxed atmosphere. Spanish schools offering state education are open to all EU citizens. State education is free from pre-school age to age 18. However, parents will be expected to pay for stationery and books as well as extra-curricular activities such as excursions. Around 30% of Spain's school children attend a private school, which are fee-paying, but offer a lower student to teacher ratio than state schools due to smaller class sizes. If you are choosing to send your child to a state school, just like in the UK, the catchment area is all-important, which means concentrating one's property search on the right area from day one of the house-hunt. Villages and city suburbs offer their own nursery and primary schools, but secondary schools in Spain have larger catchment areas, so your house-search should cover a large area. Pre-school Education (0-6 years), Educación Infantil) If your children are still small, it is a good idea to enrol them into pre-school education, called Educación Infantil. Doing so can help to integrate your family into the Spanish-speaking community much more quickly. Pre-school education is divided into two 3-year segments, those covering ages 0-3 years and 3-6 years. It is not compulsory to enrol your child in pre-school education, but it is free during the second stage, ages 3-6, in state-funded schools, and helps your child to integrate too. In addition, the Spanish education system provides a wide range of nurseries, state-funded and private fee-paying ones, some run by expats themselves. How to apply for Nursery Places Applications for nursery places now fall under the Junta de Andalucia's Consejeria de Educacion (Department of Education). Applications are made in April for the following September. A provisional list of children who have been offered nursery places ( called the guarde) is then published. A time of 10 days is then allowed for anyone to voice potential objections, and the final list of children to be admitted to the nursery appears towards the end of June. Parents then have to formally enrol (matricular) their child at the end of June/beginning of July. If parents have chosen a private place (see below), they will have to pay a matricula (enrolment fee), before being given their child's matriculacion (enrolment document). Subsidised Places Some private nurseries (guarderias) have places subsidised by the Junta de Andalucia, usually offered to children of working mothers. The system can seem a bit complicated when applying for the first time: parents are awarded points according how near to the nursery they live and work; whether they are single or married; how much money the parent/s earns; how many children their [...]

Top Ten Algarve Destinations

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 09:51:53 GMT

Portugal's beautiful Algarve has a climate, culture and scenery quite different from the rest of the country and is a favourite destination for those in search of a quiet life in retirement. Enclosed by ranges of hills to the north, the Algarve boasts a stunning coastline and year-round mild weather thanks to warm air and sea currents from neighbouring Africa. Easily accessible via Faro Airport, which is served by several budget airlines, the Algarve has long been one of southern Europe's most popular holiday destinations. Here are the top ten Algarve destinations to visit: 1. Faro Faro has been the capital of the Algarve since 1756. Originally a prehistoric fishing village, Faro today is a vibrant city that still has some of its medieval walled fortifications, but also boasts many fine18th- and 19th-century buildings as well as elegant 18th-century palaces, churches and squares. The historic city centre is easily explored on foot, fanning out from the small harbour to the Old City in the south-east, which is reached via the Arco da Villa, an arch built on the site of a medieval castle gate in the 19th century for the then bishop, Dom Francisco Gomes do Avelar, who had decided to resign Faro, which was then in decline. 2. Silves Lying further inland, Silves is accessible via the A22 motorway. Encircled by valleys of orange groves and guarded by a red sandstone castle perched high above the city, Silves was a cultural centre during the Algarve's Arab occupation and home to orators and poets until the Knights of Santiago reconquered the city in 1242. Castelo de Silves, the castle and its Cistern of the Enchanted Moorish Girl, are open daily and a must-see, as the views from the polygonal ramparts are spectacular. Also noteworthy is Solves' beautiful cathedral, which dates from the 13th century. Largo da Sé is open daily, except on public holidays. 3. Olhão If you love seafood, you'll want to visit an authentic, traditional fish market. The best one of these is found in Olhão, which lies on the eastern side of the Algarve and has been famous for its seafood produce since the Middle Ages and today is one of the largest fishing ports and tuna and sardine canning centres in the Algarve. Boasting more than 80 stalls, the covered market sells the morning's catch during the week, while on Saturdays exterior stalls line the quay, which offer a wide range of locally made products, from basket-ware to live chickens. East of Olhão and accessible via the N125 coastal road lies the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. This stunning nature reserve stretches from Praia de Faro to Cacela Velha, following about 60 km of coastline. Comprising of a lagoon area of marshes, islets, salt-pans and channels that are sheltered from the open sea by a chain of barrier islands and sand dunes, the nature reserve is home to a wide range of wildlife, including cattle egrets, the dark purple gallinule (a relative of the moor-hen) and the red-crested pochard, a brightly coloured duck that originates from central Europe. In short, it's a birdwatcher's paradise and a great place to spend a whole day exploring. 4. Portimão There are numerous world-class golf courses in the Algarve, and the town's Penina Hotel & Golf Resort is an ideal base from which to explore some of them. Sir Henry Cotton Championship course has 18 holes, par 73, and was the first course to be built in the region ( ). Portimão is one of the largest towns in the Algarve. With its large natural harbour on the estuary of the Rio Arade and sizeable marina, the 18th century town centre offers excellent shopping, a bustling sprawling market and good smattering of nightlife. The mainly pedestrianized town centre also offers such architectural gems as the 14th century church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição. To the south lies the famous Praia da Rocha, a beach with a series of sandy coves, and to the east stands [...]

Starting a Business in Portugal

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 10:33:58 GMT

If you're considering starting a business in Portugal or becoming self-employed as a foreign resident, you'll need to understand what types of registered company you can set up and what the process is for becoming a self-employed entrepreneur. Despite the much talked about start-up scene in Lisbon, the level of entrepreneurship in Portugal is still quite low compared to other European countries. Most businesses are small and self-employed, which limits the amount of money you can hope to make. This means in order to set up in business, you must produce a robust, confident business plan, especially if you're hoping to secure start-up capital from a lender. As a foreign resident wishing to set up a business, you'll need to follow these steps: Check that you are allowed to legally set up a business in Portugal In order to trade as a self-employed foreigner in Portugal, you need a Portuguese residency card and a tax number from the Portuguese Tax Office ( Portuguese Tax Office) . You will also need a social security number from the Portuguese Social Security Office ( Portuguese Social Security ). Check you have a viable business idea You will need to do detailed, comprehensive market research to check if you have a viable business idea and also to develop a robust business plan that should map out the first three years of your future business in terms of profit & loss and expected cash flow. If you live in the UK, various banks allow you to download business plan templates, such as Lloyds Bank and Barclays for example, and you should also look at sample business plans from various related industries. There are websites like this one , which allow you to compare. Make a decision about the legal structure of your future business Portugal allows you to set up in several different types of business. First you need to decide on a name and find a business address, as you'll need to register them as part of your set-up process. There are three methods of setting up a Portuguese company, two of which are simplified, immediate and possible to do online, and one that is the traditional way. Setting up online (Empresa Online) – this allows certain types of businesses to be set up in Portugal and registered over the Internet with one to two days for a cost of EUR 360.00 (price as per 2017). An electronic certificate is required. You can find the Portal de Empresa website for doing here . Setting up on-the-spot (Empresa de Hora) – sole traders and limited companies can be created in an hour for EUR 360.00 (price as of 2017) via this Portuguese government scheme. All partners should be present along with all necessary documentation and any legal representatives. How to set up using Empresa de Hora can be found here . If you are unable or unwilling to start up your Portuguese business using these two methods, you can set up using the traditional way (Criacao da Empresa) by following these steps: Obtain a Certificate of Admissibility to formally identify your Portuguese company name. You can do this via the Institute of Registries and Notaries (IRN); You need to apply for a Company Card and a Collective Card (the main business ID) from the IRN; You must open a business bank account and deposit the initial capital; You must declare commencement of activity at the local Tax Office ; And register your Portuguese business at a Commercial Registry Office; Register as an employer at the local Social Security office. It should take no more than ca.15 days to complete all these steps, and then you can start running your Portuguese business. However, you should check if your particular business activity requires you to fulfil any additional requirements, such as obtaining a licence or certain professional qualifications. It is illegal for some types of business to start activity in Portugal, before having been granted an[...]

Top Ten Florida Destinations for Families

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 09:26:11 GMT

Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Florida offers families amazing tourist attractions, fabulous beaches, great snorkelling and diving and, of course, Walt Disney World in Orlando. Here are ten suggestions of where to take your family for a Florida holiday: 1. Sanibel Island: Guarded by 98-foot Sanibel Lighthouse, this Gulf Coast barrier island is not just a paradise for families with kids, but also one for eco-travellers. Among the many thrills must surely rank the local dolphins, which leap out of the surf whenever the Sanibel Thriller high-speed catamaran ( sets sail. This is a great adventure for young adults. Thanks to hiking and cycling paths provided throughout the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge ( along the Sanibel-Captiva Road, young explorers can catch a glimpse of bobcats, marsh rabbits, raccoons, red-bellied woodpeckers, roseate spoonbills and gators. Further south on the island there's the Gulfside City Park, some 47 acres of palm forest and wetlands and a small strip of sandy beach ideal for enjoying a picnic. Sitting along the Periwinkle Way towards Tarpon Bay Road is the 100-acre Bailey Tract, a freshwater marsh that is part of the Wildlife Refuge mentioned before. Smaller children will enjoy a visit to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum (, which is bristling with shells in all colours and sizes that once housed molluscs from around the world. Best Beach: Bowman's Beach in the west of the island is Sanibel's loveliest, and therefore most popular beach, accessible via Bowman's Beach Road off Sanibel-Captiva just before Blind Pass. It attracts shell hunters from around the globe and offers sunseekers showers, a shady picnic spot and spectacular sunsets. Nightlife for parents: Not a lot, but what there is can be found at Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach, 2. Orlando British visitors will probably be heading straight to Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter with their kids aged 8 and over, but there's more to Orlando these days than just Hogwarts or Disney's Hollywood Studios. Next door to Hogwarts the Universal Studios 3-D Despicable Me attraction is about to open ( Little visitors will appreciate being taken to Legoland Florida (, whereas nature fans might quite like to try out the Cypress Canopy Cycle through the treetops adventure, a Florida Eco Safari adventure ( A must-see for anyone keen on marine life is, of course, SeaWorld (, which also offers thrill-seekers the chance to brave the third of the park's stomach-turning coaster ride. As for you'll have a hard time getting your teens to leave The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the American Idol Experience! Best Beach: Still Daytona Beach, where all ages can parasail, surf, try jet skiing or visit the famous speedway. Nightlife for parents: You'll find a smattering of nightlife in Downtown Orlando's Orange Avenue and along International Drive or in Universal Orlando's own CityWalk ( ) 3. St Petersburg St Petersburg can be accessed via St Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. Located on the eastern rim of the Pinellas Peninsula, a stretch of land between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, St Petersburg offers families many beautiful, secluded beaches. Fort De Soto Park ( was named America's best family beach thanks to its fabulous snorkelling, kayaking, swimming, cycling and waterfront camping facilities, not to mention wonderful walking trails through untamed vegetation that's interspersed with picnic tables every so often. A great place to go shell-hunting, the three miles of beaches in the park are also a good place to come for dolphin watching, [...]

Can a holiday home ever be a good investment?

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 11:00:15 GMT

Second homes, holiday homes, vacation villas – they are a mark of status, a reward for reaching certain financial milestones, a familiar place to hang your hat (or your swimsuit) and relax when enjoying some respite from the grind of daily life… and for some, they can also be a very smart investment. Just a few short years ago, when the world was suffering a recession, holiday homes couldn’t have been farther from anyone’s mind and resort areas popular with holiday home purchasers around the world were struggling to attract buyers as everyone suffered through several years with little to no available financing and cash flow issues that tightened everyone’s belt. The reality of having passed through such a challenging time in a popular resort area that appeals to vacationers from around the world is that we can now see with some added perspective of time, that even the areas hardest hit have essentially bounced back to pre-recession pricing and many have bounded far beyond. Let’s pause for a moment to contemplate the reasons that people make luxury purchases such as holiday villas as we are not discussing a pure investment purchases like commercial centers, gas stations, or the like. We are looking at a home that is being purchased with discretionary funds (with or without a mortgage) for the purpose of enjoying it with friends and family. The difference between purchasing a holiday or vacation property and a luxury car for example, is that that both are purchased because of an emotional connection but unlike the car, the home can be justified with logic and backed up with numbers. This is where additional research becomes important as the purchase can really span the best of both worlds if done wisely. If we look at Orlando, Florida as a prime example, Orlando has been the number 1 family destination for several years attracting over 68 million visitors in 2016. Ensuring this number continues to increase year on year and that the region remains the top vacation destination in the world is a job that the entire State takes very seriously and therefore, we can assume that barring any acts of God, this number should reasonably continue to grow each year. After all, it’s big business! Then if you look at the overall population growth in the region, you can see that that this is no longer the Orlando of just Mickey ears. Yes it is that, but it is rapidly growing into an area of diversified industry with high tech, simulation and life sciences being at the front of this booming region. It now boasts major league sports, arts, theatre, and is seeing a population growth that continues to fuel housing needs. Interestingly, the cost of living still hasn’t caught up with many larger cities through-out the USA and while Forbes recently stated that Orlando was the number 1 city to purchase real estate in the USA, the prices are still incredibly affordable with a luxury condo in the resort area ranging from $150,000 to $200,000 in a smaller 3-4 star type resort community to $300,000 -$400,000 (in a full service, five star resort such as The Grove Resort & Spa). Townhouses or attached row houses are in the range of $250,000 to $400,000 and detached villas with 4 to 13 bedrooms, gorgeous private pools and all the modcons any discerning buyer could ever ask for including game rooms and gated communities range from $350,000 to $600,000. All of which can be rented to vacationers or holiday makers when not in use. So while a holiday or vacation home is undoubtedly a luxury purchase made for the use and enjoyment of the owner, family, and friends. When purchasing in an area that has all of the signs of sustainable growth, both as the top vacation destination in the world and now also as a booming local and international business metropolis, it is certainly a good bet that it is money well placed. Justine Assal https[...]

Guide to retiring to Thailand

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 09:18:10 GMT

Amazing food, pristine beaches and low cost of living, what’s not to love about Thailand? Retirees from the US, Australia and the UK flock to Thailand because their pensions stretch that much further there. A vibrant expatriates community makes it possible to settle in quickly and make new friends without feeling too homesick. Here is a quick guide for all those considering retiring to Thailand: Cost of Living Thailand's currency is called the Thai baht, which is subdivided into 100 satang. One euro is about 37.8 THB, one US dollar is about 34 THB, and one GBP equates to around 25.6 THB. Having a beer in a bar costs around 100 THB, while eating out at a fast food chain restaurant costs around 170 THB for one person or 600 THB for a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant. Renting a one-bedroom apartment starts from around 13,800 THB, while renting a three-bed apartment costs around 29,000 THB per month, according to web portal Transwise, which publishes a use list of day-to-day expenses one might incur in Thailand. In other words, a couple can live quite comfortably on a modest salary or pension of $2,000 a month or with a $25,000 nest egg in the bank, because Thailand's cost of living is so cheap. The average Thai resident gets by on just $1,000 or less a month. If you cut out eating in restaurants and use public transport rather than keeping your own car, you can cut down living expenses even further. Retirees with a generous retirement package of ca. $5,000 a month can expect to live like a king in Thailand. You'll have money to pay for cooks and maids, and will own a condo by the beach or in a premium downtown location. Climate The prevailing climate is hot and tropical, making Thailand an ideal place for all those who want to retire in warmer climes. April is the warmest month, with an average temperature of 31C or 87F. December is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 26C or 79F. What to do and see in Thailand There are more temples and palaces in ancient Bangkok than one could possible see in a lifetime! In addition, the warm climate means one can enjoy hiking and fishing and water sports all year round. Thai people also enjoy spa treatments and a wellness-related lifestyle, so there are plenty of places where one can indulge in such treatments. Top Destinations for Retirees Bangkok Chiang Mai Hua Hin Phuket Chiang Rai If you love city life and a wide range of cultural thrills, Bangkok is the best place for you to retire to in Thailand. It is simply brimming with art museums, shops, restaurants, temples and canals. It also has the widest range of expat groups and English-speaking book shops available. Chiang Mai is also a popular choice for expats to retire to. Considered the centre of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is ideal for active retirees who enjoy outdoor activities like white-water rafting, kayaking, hiking and mountain biking. History buffs also have their work cut out: there are more than 300 Buddhist temples in the area that one can visit. Tens of thousands of expats have made the city their home, so there's a good smattering of nightlife too. Renown for its party scene and lively nightlife, Phuket is Thailand's largest island paradise, simply bristling with world-class beaches, seafood restaurants serving international as well as Thai cuisine and plenty of beach parties, surf clubs and water sports amenities. Chiang Rai is perhaps the most budget-friendly choice for retirees. Located in the north of the country, it is far more peaceful and tranquil than Bangkok or Phuket. Here you'll find the Thailand of yesterday, where bright green rice paddies stretch for miles and miles and waterfalls tumble down from mystical mountains whose peaks are permanently shrouded in mists. But you'll still find a local hospital, numerous restaurants and [...]

Annual Global Retirement Index names Costa Rica Top Destination for 2018

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 10:52:48 GMT

Costa Rica was voted the world's top destination to retire to internationally by International Living Magazine, which looks at a wide range of criteria to determine the planet's best retirement destinations for its Annual Global Retirement Index. The Index uses the ease and cost of buying or renting property, the cost of living as a retiree, visa and residence options on offer, the ease of fitting in and enjoying a healthy lifestyle in a pleasant climate as some of the most important benchmarks in its annual survey. Also deemed important are infrastructure in terms of transport and internet connectivity as well as the freedom available to residence under local governance. Although Costa Rica is no longer the cheapest of retirement options, the country scores well in all categories of the Index, offering retirees a healthy lifestyle underpinned by an excellent health system open to expatriates for a low cost contribution averaging around $95 per couple a month. With a low crime rate, Costa Rica is also a safe place to retire to. The country's economy has been steadily growing, it is one of the world's most stable countries politically and one of the most environmentally friendly. Costa Rica is a small country compared to some of its South American neighbours, but it offers a wide range of climates and exceptionally beautiful landscapes. Residents have a choice of where to live: rain-forests, mountains or sandy beaches. Renting a home is low with two- and three-bedroomed homes in good locations and with views starting at $800 per month. A small home costs from $300 to $600 per month, while a luxury condo or large house with yard or garden might cost between $1,200 and $2,000 a month. Much will depend on where you choose to live, urban areas and ocean-front are always more expensive than rural areas. Buying a home is also comparatively cheap. A Central Valley home with a view of mountains costs around $100,000 to $120,000. Long a favourite with US and Canadian citizens, who live in Costa Rica either full or part-time, the country is only now being discovered by Europeans. Costa Rica offers a wealth of things to do, ranging from fishing, surfing, rain-forest treks and canopy scaling to living it up in beach resorts or in the capital, San Juan. For most retirees, the cost of living in Costa Rica is much lower than it is in Europe, Canada or the United States. A single, thrifty retired person can live quite comfortably for about $1,300 to $1,600 a month, while a couple can cut costs even further by sharing household expenses. What are the Residency Requirements? Tourist visas are valid for 90 days, but many people get around the restrictions by travelling across the border into Panama for 72 hours, after which a renewal tourist visa provides them with another 90 days of legal stay. Depending on how often you plan to visit your holiday home or for how long you envisage living in a permanent home, it can become necessary to establish legal residency. This falls into two categories. Many owners with second homes in Costa Rica select either Pensionado or Rentista status. To qualify for Pensionado status, one must provide proof of monthly income from a qualifying pension plan or Social Security benefits amounting to a minimum of $1,000. To qualify for Rentista status, one must provide proof of a minimum of $2,500 monthly unearned income, which means it cannot be earned income gained via employment, but should be from savings, interest on investments or from dividends. Proof must cover at least two years prior to arriving in Costa Rica or must be via a $60,000 deposit made in a Costa Rican bank approved by immigration authorities. What are the main areas Retirees choose to live in? Cost Rica's Central Valley is where many retirees choose to live. It is the region surrounding the capi[...]

Demand for Berlin Property is surging

Fri, 9 Mar 2018 09:58:11 GMT

At the end of last year, The Financial Times reported that the surge of prices in central Berlin was now spreading to rural areas, as buyers were forced to move further out of the capital in search of cheaper property prices.

Last year the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, warned in its 2017 financial stability report that residential real estate prices were rapidly out of touch with reality. According to the report, flats and houses in 127 German cities in 2016 were some 15 to 30% more expensive than basic factors such as rents justified. In 2015, this over-valuation stood at 10 to 20%. As house- and flat prices are rising at an unprecedented rate, homelessness in urban areas has gone up sharply. Driven by a booming economy, cheap credit and low interest rates, the market is beginning to overheat, according to the Bank. The report showed, so The Financial Times stated, that flats and houses were 5.6% more expensive in the first nine months of last year than they were in the same period in 2016.

With a large English-speaking expat community and diverse culture, world-class museums and galleries, attractions like Berlin Zoo and a vibrant nightclub and bar scene, Berlin is one of Europe's leading start-up hubs. But all is not well on the start-up horizon. Recently, foreign companies complained that Germany is slow in recognising overseas qualifications, which makes recruitment a difficult issue for budding companies, who must compete on a global stage for the best talent. When the likes of SoundCloud falter, and the company is not the only tech-shooting star to stumble financially last year, there is a risk that the housing bubble could deflate as quickly as it has arisen.

What has been dogging Berlin so far is not only the sluggishness with which German authorities are prepared to accept overseas qualifications, but also a lack of venture capital, and a domestic market that is simply too small. The German culture also permits innovation only in small steps rather than big steps, unlike Silicon Valley's. Tech start-ups must thus concentrate on gradual improvement of their existing products and workforce rather than seek radical innovations in leaps and bounds, something totally alien to their American counterparts. Failure to adapt legislation and cultural mind-set to the speed with which technology is changing will have serious consequences for Germany's - and with that Berlin's - capacity to remain competitive on a global stage.

For now, Berlin's still regarded as a start-up haven, but a serious shortage of software programmers - Germany's home grown talent tends to go to the US to work - is already making itself felt. Nervous real estate investors may already be eyeing Frankfurt as a safer alternative as a result.

Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of

Web Summit 2018: How Portugal pins its hopes on Lisbon

Thu, 8 Mar 2018 09:24:05 GMT

Last year around 50,000 people turned up for the world's largest tech conference, when it was held in Portugal's capital. This year Lisbon expects to welcome more than 70,000 attendees, when the conference takes place from 5th to 8th November. Among them will be more than 1,200 speakers, over 2,600 journalists and most of the world's Fortune 500 companies. Around 68% of the attendees will be senior management, decision-makers who say where and when an investment will be made. No small wonder then that Portugal is looking to Lisbon with regard to a national resurgence. Holding the conference has already born fruit: as far as tech startups are concerned, Lisbon is being hailed as the new San Francisco. Countless new firms and international young talent has moved to the Portuguese capital, which has had a huge affect on the local housing market. Prices have rocketed and prime properties are getting scarce, as even pop royalty Madonna discovered last year. When the world-wide financial crisis hit Europe, Portugal had to go cap in hand to the EU and ask to be bailed out. Francisco Mendes, co-founder of, which makes small, budget desktop 3D printers, was unemployed during the fiscal crisis, but now he's cautiously optimistic about his country's future. With the right support he believes Portugal could be on the verge of an amazing transformation from a nation dependant on tourism to a country rivalling California and Silicon Valley. "We are quite small but there’s energy and new thinking and new technology here and it’s really happening," Francisco said in an interview with The Guardian in October last year. "We are not Silicon Valley in size, but maybe in dynamism we’re like it was 20 or 30 years ago." Already there's renewed optimism everywhere, with the construction sector picking up too and new apartments being built. Much of Lisbon may still look a little shabby, but the cranes that are springing up like mushrooms over night are a sign that things are getting better. And it's easy to see why Lisbon is so appealing to young tech entrepreneurs. A great climate, lower property prices than in London or Paris, a fantastic nightlife and great cultural attractions on one's doorstep, not to mention fabulous food and easy-as-pie company set up rules make Lisbon a perfect choice to relocate. For entrepreneurs with young families there are also plenty of international schools to choose from: Carlucci American International School of Lisbon CornerStone Academy Deutsche Schule Lissabon International Preparatory School Lyceé Français Charles Lepierre St.Dominic's International School St. Julian's International British School are just some of the choices available. The cost of living is also considerably lower than in Paris or London. Buying an espresso in Lisbon costs between 60 cents and one euro. Try offering that in central London and be prepared to hear abuse. And there's the quality of life after work: it takes just a 15-minute train ride to reach Cascais where several wide sandy beaches await one's pleasure. A little further up the coast there's world-class surfers' paradise Ericeira, which hosts the annual international surf competition ASP World Surf Tour. For startups and micro companies there are also plenty of co-working spaces available, such as Village Underground in the heart of Lisbon, or Liberdade 229 for example, which is home to entrepreneurs from many different backgrounds, not just the technology sector. Numerous networking events such as Entrepreneurs Break or Product Tank are also at hand to provide those who relocate to Lisbon to start their own business with valuable advice and networking opportunities among like-minded people. For investor[...]

International Living Magazine names the Top Ten Best Countries for Retirement for 2018

Wed, 7 Mar 2018 10:19:35 GMT

According to the latest guide published by expat title "International Living Magazine", the world's best places for retirement in 2018 are Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Malaysia, Colombia, Portugal, Nicaragua, Spain and Peru. The magazine publishes its Annual Global Retirement Index in spring every year, looking at criteria such as the ease and cost of buying or renting a property, visa and residence options on offer, cost of living as a retired person, the ease of settling in and enjoying a healthy lifestyle in a pleasant climate. Other criteria include amenities such as entertainment and eating out, public transport (cost and availability) and Internet connectivity and what degree of freedom is available under local governance. Almost predictably, the Annual Global Retirement Index , identified Costa Rica once again as the best places to retire in the world for 2018. It has consistently made the top ten list for the past few years, even though it is not the cheapest of the countries listed. However, according to International Living Magazine, Costa Rica still scores well in all categories, especially as the country provides all citizens with a healthy, environmentally friendly lifestyle that is underpinned by an excellent national health system open to expatriate citizens for a low cost at an average of about $95 per couple a month. Watch out for Property Showrooms' own Guide to retiring to Costa Rica coming up shortly! According to the Annual Index, renting a home with two or three bedrooms in a good location with views starts at just $800 per month, however, it is possible to live even more cheaply in Costa Rica, if you look in the less expat-frequented parts of this small, but utterly beautiful country, where renting is far less a month. Buying a home with stunning mountain views in the Central Valley is possible with a budget of less than $100,000. On average, a monthly income of $2,000 can provide you with a healthy, comfortable lifestyle, but for residency purposes, only $1,500 a month are needed to qualify. Mexico came in second place thanks to the "vibrant life and culture" the country offers expats retiring there. Blessed with a sunny and temperate climate all year, Mexico is still something of an outsider as far as European retirees are concerned. For Americans, the low cost of living is one of the main reasons why Mexico is so appealing. According to the Annual Index, a" couple can live here for anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 a month, depending on location—and that includes rent and healthcare." Portugal was the highest rated European destination in the Annual Index, scraping in in seventh place thanks to its tax incentives, friendly people, agreeable climate and excellent private and public healthcare system that is low cost. Anywhere outside Lisbon and Porto, the two preferred destinations for start-ups and relocating families, is still quite cheap to rent or buy. Renting a four-bed home outside those two cities is possible for $1,000 a month or less. Please see Property Showrooms' own Guide to retiring to Portugal for further details. Spain managed to sneak in in ninth place. Long a favourite holiday destination with Europeans, it is also one of the favoured retirement destinations for Brits and Scandinavians. However, increasingly Americans are also looking for retirement homes along the Costa del Sol and other Spanish locations. Blessed with a lovely sunny climate for most of the year, laid back lifestyle, excellent cuisine and healthy Mediterranean lifestyle, Spain has a lot to offer, not least of all cheap cost of living, cheaper housing and excellent amenities in seaside resorts and cities. International Living Magazine's own estimate of how much is needed to[...]

Guide to retiring to France

Tue, 6 Mar 2018 09:12:32 GMT

France still offers retirees some amazing property bargains, if you're prepared to spend a little time and money to do up an old farm house or historic town-house. From mountainous landscapes to rolling green hills, from the City of Light to the beaches of the French Riviera, France has a huge amount to offer, despite the country's reputation as a high tax jurisdiction that targets foreigners in particular. French President Macron's reforms to the tax legislation will eventually benefit everyone, including expats, provided his reforms make it past the protesters. With Brexit looming for British retirees and the City of London's financial sector workers especially, Paris has seen unprecedented demand for apartments and town houses of late, something that has been reflected in surging house prices for the French capital. However, elsewhere in rural France it is still possible to find a dream retirement home for under £300,000. Taxation France can be a tax-efficient place to live during one's retirement, providing you understand the tax implications of your situation and obtain tax advice from a specialist lawyer who understands both taxation and legislation of your home country as well as those of France. The French taxman will consider you a tax resident if your main home (called foyer) is in France if you spend 183 days and more in France during the French tax year (which corresponds to the calendar year), or if you spend more time in France than in any other country, or if your principal activity is based in France, or if France is home to your most substantial assets. Although many French taxes carry a similar name as the ones in Britain, they are calculated in a totally different way. Some do not even exist in the UK, such as wealth tax for example, or for some people, healthcare charges. Cost of living in France For Britons retiring to France, there will be exchange rate implications due to the weakness of the Pound against the Euro. Your UK pension will be paid in Sterling, and will thus be reduced or enhanced by whatever the exchange rate of the day is going to be. This means if Brexit affects the value of Sterling further in a negative way, your pension won't stretch as far as you might have hoped and buying a French home will be more expensive. Over the past ten years the cost of living in France has risen considerably. But this should be seen in relation to where you live. Buying a home in Paris has gone up by between 70% and 95%, compared to purchasing a home in the south of France, such as Marseille, Nice or Perpignan. Similarly, things like renting, food, public transport and going out are far more expensive in Paris than they are in other parts of the country. This is also true for utility costs, which are mostly cheaper than they are in the rest of the European Union, except for water, which is among the most expensive utilities in the world and can vary considerably from French region to region. However, food, beer and wine, public transport, entertainment and property tend to be cheaper than they are in the UK and some of the original EU countries. French Healthcare France's healthcare system is regarded as one of the best in the world. Good news for anyone hoping to retire to France: the country's public and private hospitals offer a similarly high standard of care and there are no significant waiting lists for operations and no struggle to find hospital beds for patients either. Until the UK leaves the European Union for good, British citizens and retirees in receipt of a state pension from another EU country are entitled to a contribution from the French government of 70% of the cost of treatment. You can get cheap and mandatory top-up insu[...]

Foreign Demand for Spanish Real Estate surged in Q4 2017, with Brits back in greater Numbers too

Mon, 5 Mar 2018 09:24:59 GMT

According to the latest figures available from the Spanish Land Registrar's Association for the final quarter of last year, foreign demand for Spanish residential real estate grew sharply, as British buyers returned in considerable numbers. Spain's overall housing market expanded by 19.8% in the last quarter of 2014, with 111,921 home sales, which was the highest fourth quarter level since the recovery of the housing market began in 2015. Foreign buyers completed 15,266 purchases, the highest level in a Q4 scenario since the housing market in Spain last peaked in 2007. Increased demand came from a 19.7% surge in domestic demand and a 20.4% rise in foreign demand, compared to the same quarter in 2016. The surge in foreign demand meant that it was actually representing 13.6% of the overall Spanish housing market, a high last seen in record-breaking 2007. Purchases made by foreigners were led by British buyers with 2,384 registered property purchases in the quarter, followed by the French with 1,242 and German buyers with 1,198. This means British buyers still commanded a 16% share of the foreign demand, while the French represented just 8% and the Germans also 8%. Apart from these key sources, Spain's housing market found buyers around the world, and foreign demand represented 42% of the overall market. While German demand grew by a relatively modest 3.4%, Swiss demand actually went down by 16.1%, which can perhaps be explained by the exceptional rise in property prices in Switzerland itself. Germany also saw its own property prices soar, perhaps a reason why Germans preferred to invest in their own housing market rather than invest abroad last year. Paris home prices are also soaring thanks to international investment flooding in - another reason why perhaps French buyers are buying at home rather than in Spain at present. Another reason for a decline in Swiss buyer numbers is that the France fell by 10% compared to the Euro in the second part of last year. Demand from Belgium, Britain and Sweden, however, rose sharply, especially as Britons are currently scrambling to retain a foothold in an EU country so they can qualify for "free movement" and living in the EU country of their choice. The Registrar's Association also revealed that house prices in Spain grew by 7.6% last year, according to their index and repeat sale methodology. The final quarter of the year saw a robust performance of Spanish homes and with no threats other than the Catalonia one brewing on the horizon, Spain's housing market should continue with its meteoric recovery this year, for the market has certainly consolidated and is showing signs of expansion too. Land Registry figures also showed that overall sales were up by 16% last year, the fourth and largest consecutive year of growth, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), which bases its data on the figures collected by the Land Registry. In Total, there were 418,915 Spanish home sales recorded by the Land Registry in 2017 (or 464,423 if you include homes subsidised by the Government, known as VPO). It was the first time that sales rose well above the 400,000 mark since 2008, when the property boom in Spain came to an abrupt end. By region where foreigners tend to buy, sales rose the most in Andalusia's Granada province, which offers homes at the Costa Tropical, in Granada city and in the Sierra Nevada ski resorts. In Granada province, sales were up by 27%, while in Malaga province, also in Andalusia, sales were up 15% in December 2017. At the Costa Blanca in Alicante province sales shot up by 17%, and in the Balearics, a favourite destination for German buyers, sales rose by 14%. Only Almeria prov[...]

Guide to retiring to Cyprus

Fri, 2 Mar 2018 12:00:59 GMT

The island of Cyprus has long been a popular holiday and retirement destination for Britons in search of sun, beach and a Mediterranean lifestyle - not to mention potential tax advantages and cheaper cost of living! Although Cyprus residential real estate is not as cheap as Spain or Portugal are at present, buying an apartment or Cyprus villa is still cheaper than it is in the UK. Taxation Issues Moving to Cyprus does, however, throw up various tax issues. It is essential to seek specialist advice from a taxation lawyer who understands both jurisdictions, that of your home country and that of Cyprus. You need somebody who can make your money, your rainy day fund or nest egg, work for you and protect it from the taxman back home and the one in Cyprus, as well as making the most of any opportunities that might present themselves once you've moved to your new location. Although some Cypriot taxes are the same as in the UK, some are calculated differently. What may be tax-free in the UK, for example, may not be tax-free in Cyprus and tax allowances granted in the UK may also not apply to such an extend in Cyprus and vice versa. It is also important to make a will that protects both your UK and Cypriot assets. Exchange Rates matter With the UK leaving the European Union in March 2019 the Pound has performed less well compared to other currencies, which means it is now far more expensive for British people to buy a home in Cyprus and to live there. Therefore it is even more important than before to use a currency exchange broker when transferring sums of money over to a Cyprus bank account - and it's not just the money needed to purchase a Cyprus apartment or villa either. If you are retiring to Cyprus, your pension can be transferred to your UK bank account or the one in Cyprus, but it will be paid out in Pound Sterling, which is no longer quite so strong against the euro and thus buys less these days. To protect yourself from exchange rate currency fluctuations that work not in your favour, use a reputable company that can deal with your monthly or quarterly pension transfers. Banks usually don't give the best rates! Cost of living in Cyprus Although the cost of living is no longer as low as it was when Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, some services, goods and commodities are still noticeably cheaper than in Britain. Among these are fruit and vegetables, wine and beer and local spirits, rent and utilities These include fruit and vegetables, beer, wine and local spirits, utilities, long term rentals (excluding holiday lets), and public transport and taxis-the latter can be less than half the cost in Britain. Some things are considerably more expansive, often surprisingly so, but if you consider that there's a distinct lack of dairy cattle on the island you'll understand why dairy products are so dear. According to portal Numbeo, living in Cyprus is ca. 24% cheaper than in the UK (excluding rent for holiday lets). Renting a home in Cyprus is on average 61% cheaper than renting in Britain, while buying a Cyprus property is around 65% cheaper. Healthcare Most doctors, nurses and support staff in Cyprus speak English, but you should be prepared that difficulties in communication can still arise, especially when a complicated procedure is being explained. If in doubt, patients should ask for an interpreter who can help make things clear. For those considering private healthcare, AXA International quote 6,100 euros per person per annum for a comprehensive cover policy with no excess and inclusive of taxes. This quote is based on a couple who are aged 65 and both in good health. Emergency medical care is free to[...]

Recommended Lawyers in Marbella

Thu, 1 Mar 2018 09:30:19 GMT

Finding the right property at the Costa del Sol is just half the battle - before you can move into your dream retirement home, you'll need to find a law firm that can deal with the purchase of your Marbella property in not just one, but two languages. If you've selected a well-established estate agency, they should be able to put you in touch with a multi-lingual law firm, or at least one where it is easy to arrange for all important documents to be translated so you know what you're signing! However, if you'd rather get a few quotes of how much the whole process is going to cost from a list of recommended lawyers, here are a few suggestions who to contact. Each of these lawyers is a specialist in real estate, but can also advise you on taxation issues, residency permits and requirements, making a will to protect your assets abroad, and other issues involved in buying, selling and owning a property in Spain: Lawbird Legal Services SLP Antonio Flores (Founder) Gary Newsham (Business Development) Edificio Alfil Floor 4 Ricardo Soriano, 19 – 4 29601 Marbella Tel: 34 952 861 890 Fax: 34 952 861 695 Mob: 34 622 421 166 Web: Email: Pérez de Vargas Abogados Ignacio Perez de Vargas (Urbanistic and Real Estate law) Angeles Contreras (Real Estate specialist) C/ Mª Auxiliadora, 2 Edificio Pata-Pata, 5º 29600 Marbella Tel: 34 952 77 88 48 Fax: 34 952 82 51 59 Web: Email: C/Real, 97-99 Edificio Don Vicente, 3º 29680 Estepona Tel: 34 952 801 431 Fax: 34 952 803 994 Web: Email: Cruz-Conde & Asociados Mauro Cruz-Conde Lleó, Lawyer (Real Estate specialist) Blvd. Príncipe Alfonso von Hohenlohe s/n Hotel Marbella Club Of. 7 – 8 29602 Marbella Tel: 34 952 768 976 Fax: 34 952 864 996 Web: Email: Sanchez-Stewart Abogados Nielson Sanchez-Stewart, Lorenzo Sanchez-Stewart, Sebastian Sanchez-Stewart C/Nuestra. Señora de Gracia, 1-1º 29602 Marbella Tel 34 95 277 07 04 Fax 34 95 277 87 46 Web: Email: Plazas Abogados Carlos Llanos Francisco Dópico Tva. Carlos Mackintosh Edificio Puerta del Mar Oficina B-1 29600 Marbella Tel 34 952 82 80 51 Fax 34 952 82 95 13 Web: Email: Palancos Bührlen Abogados José Luis Palanco Bührlen Avda. Ricardo Soriano, 22 Edificio Sabadell 2-6 29601 Marbella Tel 34 952 766 055 Fax 34 952 857 376 Web: Email: Fontán Zubizarreta Abogados Rafael Fontán Hernán de Zubizarreta C/Jacinto Benavente, S/N Edificio Mendisol, 3º C 29600 Marbella Tel 34 952 821 728 Fax 34 952 824 571 Web: Email: When you have made an offer for a property and your agent has agreed between the two parties the commercial elements of the house-buying process, any one of the above-mentioned law firms will represent the interests of their clients in a way that will make the process as "risk free" as possible. They will perform a "due diligence" of all the various elements involved concerning the legality, past and future ownership of the property. Only when the due diligence process has been completed will they prepare, together with the lawyer acting for the other party, a contract that will fairly set out the co[...]

Guide to retiring to Malta

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 09:49:07 GMT

Malta has long been one of the most popular retirement destinations in the world, especially for Britons who have a centuries-old historic link with the five islands that make up this island state. Abundant sunshine, fabulous cuisine and amazing cultural heritage, dual official languages and a convenient location make Malta a favourite holiday and retirement location with expats from around the globe. The Island of Malta is the largest of this small archipelago, the second largest being Gonzo. Most Maltese live on these two islands, which are also the first port of call for house hunters looking for a retirement home in Malta and a Mediterranean lifestyle. Before you pack your bags, there are a few things to consider: Residency The first thing to consider is a residency permit. If you are a citizens on the European Economic Area (EEA), or a family member of a citizen belonging to an EEA country or Switzerland, you should have no problems with entering and living in Malta for as long as you wish - or in the case of Britons, for as long as your home country remains a member of the EEA community. Residency status is important for the purpose of taxation, so understanding whether or not you are a tax resident is important, for it is usually the country of residence (meaning the country you reside in for 183 days or more of the year) that taxes you on your worldwide income and gains. Malta has the advantage that there is no specific legislation that defines the term "tax residence", which means technically you could stay less than 183 days in Malta and be still a tax resident for the purpose of paying taxes in Malta rather than your own home country. However, the Maltese tax authorities seem to use the six month physical presence as the benchmark of whether or not you are a tax resident of their country. They also use a concept of "ordinary residence" to assess your status, which in this case indicates a regular presence with a degree of continuity, even though you may not spend the whole six months of a specific tax year in Malta. It is best to consult a specialist lawyer who understands both tax regimes before you make a decision to retire to Malta. Any specialist in taxation and jurisdiction where you are currently tax resident will be able to help you make the most of any tax-advantages that will save you money, when you change your residency status. Broadly speaking, there are no wealth taxes, rates or council taxes in Malta. The country does have various residence schemes for non-Maltese nationals, which include a maximum tax rate of 15%. Non-Maltese nationals may also be able to benefit from Malta’s own "remittance basis" of taxation – where you only pay tax on non-Maltese income if it is brought into Malta. Overseas income is not taxable, provided it is not brought into Malta. Overseas capital gains are not taxable even if remitted to a Maltese bank account. It is possible to apply for a long residency permit via a route called High Net Worth Individuals, similar to the Golden Visa scheme in Portugal and Spain. To be eligible, you need to have a qualifying property holding in Malta. For more information about this special permit, you can read more here: . It is important to note that your pension payments from foreign sources will be taxable in Malta, if such pension incomes are transferred to a bank account in Malta. However, if you receive a pension from another country, you may apply for a special flat rate of 15% on your pension income remitted to Malta, if you meet certain requirements[...]

Guide to retiring to Spain

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 12:18:53 GMT

International Living Magazine has just released its Annual Global Retirement Index, which identifies the best places to retire to in the world. It comes as no surprise to fans of the Costa del Sol that Spain is in ninth place among the top ten retirement destinations. Proof that Spain is one of the best countries in the world to retire to comes also in form of statistics published by the Spanish Land Registrar's Association, whose figures for the final quarter of 2017 show that foreign demand for Spanish property rose sharply, with British demand returning to strong growth, too. In Q4 of 2017 the overall residential real estate market in Spain expanded by 19.8% to 111,921 home sales, the highest fourth quarter level since the Spanish housing market began its recovery in 2015. High British demand is partly due to the fear that moving to an EU country like Spain will become more difficult once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in March 2019. This means that prices are going up - and potential buyers who have until now hesitated to make a decision should think carefully about delaying further, or their budgets will have to go up. Every year International Living Magazine looks at various factors that make it desirable to retire to a specific country. Among the criteria investigated are the ease and cost of buying or renting a property, the cost of living as a retiree, visa and residence options on offer, the ease of fitting in and enjoying a healthy and varied lifestyle. Climate, infrastructure, Internet connectivity, amenities and available entertainment are also factors the magazine considered important in its survey. Spain was one of only two European countries to make it into the top ten, after Portugal. Spain has long been a popular holiday as well as retirement destination for Europeans, especially Brits and Scandinavians, the latter favouring Fuengirola and Estepona, the former Marbella, Torremolinos and Nerja. Increasingly, Americans are also looking to stretch ever-shrinking pension pots a little further, and in their global search they are also heading to countries like Portugal and Spain. Both Spain and Portugal offer non-EU citizens a "Golden Visa" option, meaning for a specified amount of investment people buying real estate in Portugal or Spain can obtain a residency permit. Blessed with a temperate climate and some 300 days of sunshine, areas like the Costa del Sol with its miles upon miles of sandy beaches and wide range of cultural amenities are hard to ignore, when it comes to choosing a retirement destination. Spain offers a laid-back, outdoor lifestyle, excellent cuisine, lower cost of living for a European country and some of the world's best golf courses for fans of the sport. Cost of Living According to International Living Magazine it is possible to enjoy a great lifestyle on around USD 2,100 a month. There's less need for heating, thus costs are lower in winter than they are in the UK or Scandinavia for example. Travel is also far cheaper, including the cost of train and bus tickets and petrol. Eating out and drinking is also cheaper - there are many places in Spain where a glass of wine or small glass of beer costs just one euro and the "menu del dia" (menu of the day) is widely available across Spain, costing on average just 10.00 euros for a two- or even three-course meal. Taxation Although Spain has a reputation for high taxation, there are ways around this with the advice of a good taxation lawyer. With the right taxation advice it is possible to legally avoid paying the full rate of tax and certa[...]

A Guide to Retiring to Portugal

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 11:29:22 GMT

Sun, beach, the azure Algarve - who wouldn't want to retire to Portugal, when their home country is in cold and rainy Northern Europe? Blessed with a fantastic climate, brimming with culture and heritage, not to mention a fabulous cuisine, Portugal is one of the most popular retirement countries in Europe, especially since living costs are lower than many places in Spain, as are purchase costs of real estate. Whilst people relocating for work purposes tend to buy in property hot spots like Porto and Lisbon, retirees can take their pick and usually choose the sunny Algarve. Widely regarded as a less hectic environment and blessed with a gentler, less developed coastline than Spain's Costa del Sol, the Algarve offers many attractions and amenities. From world-class golf resorts and other sports facilities to family amusement parks, water parks and zoos to stunning historic architecture and world-class marinas, the Algarve has it all. Before booking your flight and packing your suitcase though, there are a few considerations to be made on transferring UK pensions and receiving healthcare, not to mention wills and taxation. Transferring your UK pension to Portugal Brits retiring to live in Portugal, who are in receipt of a UK State Pension, can choose to receive it into their UK bank or their Portuguese account. Be sure to apply for non habitual residency status, as this can make your pension exempt from taxation in Portugal, if you qualify for the scheme. Before you leave, claim your UK state pension by contacting the International Pension Centre in the UK. There are different ways to receive it, either in the UK or directly in Portugal. For non-EU countries it will depend if there is an agreement in place between your country and Portugal and for British expats it remains to be negotiated what that agreement is going to be in a post-Brexit world. An important factor to consider is the value of your pension, once exchange rate variances have been applied. If you decide to have your pension paid into your UK bank account in Sterling, the rate received when you transfer it into euros will obviously vary, depending on the exchange rate of the Pound versus the Euro. However, if you use a currency transfer (or FX company) to send euros into your Portuguese account, they can set up a regular payments plan for transfers that will help you budget every month. Again, it remains to be seen how this will be affected by Brexit for UK retirees, as Britain's financial institutions are likely to lose their passporting rights under which such transfers are currently being made within EU member states. Using a broker means usually getting a better exchange rate than one gets with one's bank. This is also true when transferring money to make the initial purchase of a retirement villa or apartment in Portugal. It typically works out more advantageous to use a broker when making any larger transfers, regular or one-off lump sums. Whatever you, it is imperative to seek taxation advice from a specialist law firm, as Portugal's tax system differentiates between State Retirement and Occupational Pensions, Government Service Pensions and Personal Pensions. Given that many people have more than one source of pension income these days, taxation payable on pensions can turn out to be a complex issue. Healthcare Matters As an EU citizen should be treated in the same way a Portuguese citizen would, but although state-provided healthcare in Portugal is generally free of charge via the National Health Service - Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS)[...]

Non-habitual Residency in Portugal

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 09:07:03 GMT

Portugal introduced the Non Habitual Resident (NHR) regime in 2009 and become fully operational in 2010. One of the principal aims of this regime was to attract individuals and their families to Portugal by making it beneficial from a tax perspective to become tax resident in Portugal. Although there were rumours at the end of 2017 that this regime was to end, at the time of writing the NHR programme remains unchanged and in place. Portugal's NHR programme represents a major step forward in making the country a tax free jurisdiction for individuals in receipt of qualifying non-resident income. Qualifying income includes pension, dividend, royalty and interest income. This attractive Non-habitual Residency scheme also covers professional income from high value-added activities, which benefit from a special flat tax rate of 20%. Applicants can already benefit from the NHR status in 2018 by applying now, provided they meet the residency requirements. Successful non-habitual residents will have access to all the benefits of an ordinary Portuguese tax resident including healthcare. What are the benefits of NHR? Portuguese NHRs are able to grow their wealth in a white listed jurisdiction and earn income in a tax friendly environment. They can dispose of their assets and benefit from tax exemptions, s well as pass on their wealth without inheritance or gift taxes, namely for children or spouse. They can also enjoy their retirement without tax on their pensions, something that will particularly affect Brits retiring to Portugal in post-Brexit, when Pound Sterling may be worth still less against the Euro as it is now. In short, Portuguese NHR status enables those who become tax resident in Portugal, and are accepted as NHR, to receive qualifying income tax free both in Portugal and in the country of source of the income. As NHR one can accrue wealth in a white listed friendly tax environment, dispose of one's assets while benefiting from tax exemptions, pass on one's wealth or estate without paying inheritance tax or gift taxes either and / or enjoy retirement without tax leakage on pensions. Personal Income Tax (PIT) for People relocating to work or run a Business in Portugal In 2009 Portugal introduced a beneficial voluntary Personal Income Tax (PIT) regime for non habitual residents aiming to attract talent in high value added activities and Ultra and High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI’s) and their families to Portugal. This regime aims to boost Portuguese competitiveness both in R&D and new technologies and other listed high value added sectors. UHNWI’s and their families may also benefit, as it is often more advantageous than other similar regimes. This new regime became available to all individuals becoming tax resident in Portugal (if they were not Portuguese tax residents in the previous 5 years), and the status is granted for a period of 10 consecutive years. To qualify as a tax resident, a person should stay for more than 183 days in Portugal during the relevant fiscal year or have a dwelling in Portugal at 31 December of that year with the intention to hold it as his or her habitual residence. Non habitual residents will be subject to a reduced 20% PIT rate both on salaries and business and professional income of a Portuguese source arising from high added value activities of a scientific, artistic or technical nature. Non habitual residents will be exempt from PIT on salaries of a non Portuguese source if such salaries were subject to tax in the country of source under an[...]

President Xi vows to grow rental Market amid Outcry on Chinese Home Prices

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:01:33 GMT

Everybody seems intent on wanting a piece of the property action: developers, local governments and banks all surge to the real estate business. As a result, property prices have soared. Now the president has entered into the world's biggest property gamble - an experiment that aims to tame runaway real estate prices. His new housing model was announced in a milestone Communist Party Congress speech in October last year, in which he emphasized renting rather than individual home ownership. Traditionally, families still help first-born sons to get on the housing ladder so they can marry and start a family of their own. His speech was intended to put people off buying...but ended up encouraging a flurry of activity among developers, local governments and banks - even the world's biggest stock exchange. It was seen as the first step in a package of programs that includes a long-awaited property tax and will be rolled out over several years to get to grips with one of the world's most untamed real estate markets. Speaking to Bloomberg, Shen Jianguang, chief Asia economist at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong said: "China’s property market is on the brink of tremendous change. The push for rental properties shows a new model is starting to emerge." Many critics have said the country's property boom is fuelling inequality. Xi Jinping is now using his power to find a solution to a problem that has been plaguing policy makers around the world, namely that of spiralling housing prices in major urban areas that have fuelled increases in inequality and discontent. He seems to aim at a new market model, something between the capitalist feeding frenzy that caused residential real estate prices in Beijing and Shanghai to rise ever higher, and the Communist system where homes were allocated to employees by work units. Deng Yongheng, of the University of Wisconsin, said that establishing a lively rental market will help to lessen the risks from "irrational" housing prices. The university was involved in carrying out a study that revealed a 1,538 percent gain in land prices in Beijing from 2004 to 2016. Across China, large rental complexes are currently being completed, are under construction or in planning. Funding is being made available without problem. These changes may well alter developers' businesses, consolidate the industry, "shake up government revenue" and aid more Chinese citizens to find a decent home. Many may become, like their German counterparts, renters for life. At least in theory, a lively rental market adds to housing stock supply and prevents prices from going even higher after a 13-year boom. The old residential real estate model in which home ownership was at the forefront encouraged "a lot of speculation and crazy price gains - and that model is coming to an end," explained Rosealea Yao, an analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics in Beijing, when speaking to Bloomberg in January this year. Government backing could drive annual rental payments in the size of China's rental market to 4.2 trillion Yuan or $658 billion by 2030, nearly half of total home sales in 2017, according to estimates from Orient Securities Co. The Chinese government has tried practically everything else to tame the wild housing market. Unfortunately, housing has been responsible for some of the country's biggest boom and bust stories. Many local investors do not trust the Chinese stock markets and as they are not allowed by Beijing to move their wealth to other countries, they[...]

Japanese Housing Market remains upbeat despite sluggish Economy

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 09:53:10 GMT

Speaking in an interview with the publication in Tokyo, chief executive officer Karsent Kallevig of Norges Bank Real Estate Management said his institution had the capacity to complete "a couple of 100bn Yen ($912mn) deals in Japan each year if the right opportunities come along." He added that the fund hoped to own property in Japan "for a very, very long time". The Oslo-based fund began investing in property in 2010 and since then has accumulated at least $25bn in real estate holdings by starting out firstly in Europe, then the United States and most recently in Japan. Japan's real estate market has seen a lot of foreign investment of late, as it currently offers higher yield spreads over domestic government funds than other global cities such as London or New York City, a spokesperson of Deutsche Asset Management said. Kallevig said that coming to Tokyo was "an obvious choice" as part of setting up a global portfolio. He pointed out that, unlike Japan as a whole, the capital city's population is still increasing. Last year Japan recorded for the first time more deaths than births. "You still have a lot of economic activity, you still have supply constraints that we typically like in most of our markets," he said. The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund stated in December 2017 that it had bought a 70% share of a retail and office portfolio at a cost of 92.8 bn Yen. This deal was part of a joint venture with Tokyu Land Corporation, which purchased the remaining 30%. Kallevig explained that Tokyu could also be involved in future deals of this nature, without ruling out other new joint venture partners. Kallevig said: "We’d love to do more with Tokyu Land, but we would also be very happy to do more with others. It’s hard to find one partner who has the same, let’s call it ambition, as we have." Norges Bank opened its Tokyo real estate investment branch in 2015 but has had to be patient about finding suitable deals. "It always takes a bit of an extra effort to do a first transaction in a new market. It took a couple of years, but I was fairly relaxed about that,” Kallevig explained. Foreign investors contributed 1.1 tn Yen to Japanese property investment last year, three times more than in 2016, according to a report by Urban Research Institute Corp. According to Japan Property Central, who have just published their annual report into Japanese real estate, said that transactions "hit new highs", while prices continued to rise at the same time. "The luxury residential market in Tokyo has been a star performer and developers are starting to increase their offerings of high-end apartments to cater to demand." Japan's real estate market was supported by record numbers of foreign tourists arriving, and low office vacancy rates, improving economic conditions and low unemployment figures as well as a surging market share, the organisation reported in its annual findings for 2017. Tokyo isn't Osaka... According to the Global Property Guide for 2016/2017, in Tokyo, 11% more new condos came on the market in the first quarter of 2017 than in 2016. In contrast, in Osaka the market saw a 7% decline in the number of new condos coming on the market. The Guide concluded that Japan's shrinking population was producing a "surplus of housing units". Current estimates say that the country will lose a third of its population over the next five decades. In addition, so the Global Property Guide said, about 40% of the Japanese popu[...]

Switzerland's House Prices are soaring

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:31:55 GMT

In April 2017 the New York Times reported that the majority of aspiring house buyers found Swiss housing prices were out of reach. Worse, a month before Credit Suisse described home-ownership in Swiss urban centres as a "fata morgana", a mirage for most buyers on average earnings. And this is despite very low interest rates and high employment. Buying cheap Swiss apartments is unheard of, even if prices around Bern and Geneva have stabilized of late. By the beginning of August last year Bloomberg had warned that UBS believed that the Swiss property market remained at risk of a housing bubble. The USB Group's quarterly index then showed investment demand for residential real estate had remained high in the period to June 2017, but "a dampening effect was created by the relatively moderate growth in outstanding household mortgages against the backdrop of slightly brighter economic conditions,” UBS said. By the end of the month it was certain that Zurich would remain the dearest location for Swiss property at CHF12,250 ($13000) per square metre. Due to continued exceptionally strong rental apartment construction the net increase altogether remains at a very high level with an estimated 47,500 residential units, UBS stated. And this was born out by the Credit Suisse reports on 2017 as a whole. Tenants are still looking for a new home but in fewer numbers due to the high number of new developments - but rental yields are still high. With few alternatives on the horizon for investors, it is easy to see where the bubble effect is likely to occur: the lower end of the rental market, where too much new housing stock could cause a price crash. The search for tenants would then be far more difficult, too, for the wider spectrum of the rental market. Credit Suisse warned that after a 14-year run of price growth in the residential real estate sector the end is nigh. Homeowner ship has for many remained a dream, but not it is an unobtainable one due to high prices. " The low mortgage interest rates are in this sense merely an optical illusion for many households. Demand in the current year will therefore continue to concentrate more on regions with prices that are still affordable as well as the low and mid-priced segments. While we expect a continued rise in prices in these regions, prices in the high-price regions and the high-price segment in general are expected to fall further – although at a lower speed. Altogether we expect a downturn in 2017 not exceeding 0.5%," Credit Suisse said in their mid-year report. This assessment is still valid for 2018's outlook. No immediate risk of a boom and bust situation then, but caution is indicated, whether you manage to find a converted historic Swiss home in Bern's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or a modern apartment in Basel on the Rhine or Winterthur. Making a loss or profit on rentals or capital gains will depend very much on the type of property purchased and the location. Swiss ski chalets in the Valais or farmhouses in the lush vineyards overlooking Lake Neuch�tel at the Swiss Riviera are also as popular as ever with investors, so not likely to go down in price any time soon. Nor will property prices in Luzern, one of Europe's most scenic cities, collapse over night. The Italian-speaking Ticino region with lakes Lugano and Maggiore is still one of the most sought-after retirement destinations for those with larger budgets, thanks to the mild climate the Ticin[...]

Stability is returning to the Italian residential Real Estate Market

Thu, 8 Feb 2018 09:40:45 GMT

What sets Italy apart - never mind its enormous cultural stock of stunning monuments and 53 UNESCO World Heritage Sites - is its prime sector, where for once there is plenty of stock available. This means the sector is a buyer's market, where luxury properties are in high demand. As one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, Italy enjoys year-round tourism for most of the country, but especially in Rome. High quality of life means that many people want to relocate here, not just purchase a holiday apartment in Rome or a villa in Tuscany. Despite the evident recovery, the number of transactions remains around 39% below their 2006 peak and prime prices are still 30% below their 2008 high. This means vendors have had to offer their prime properties at sensible prices to make them stand out. The international buyer base is widening, with Americans now becoming a force to be reckoned with. Investors interested in the short-terms rental market will find that greater demand for city breaks in Rome - fuelled by the likes of - means better yields can be expected and generally there is higher demand for city breaks and short term rentals in Italy's major urban centres. Prices may stabilise further over this year, as transaction levels go up and new buyer markets open up - China is increasingly looking to buy property in Europe. It is still possible to buy a penthouse just steps away from the Vatican for under 2 million euros. The view of St Peter's Basilica is free and St Peter's Square itself is within a 5-minute walk. Rome is one of the easiest city centres to reach. Fiumicino Airport is only a 30-minute drive away, while Roma Termini train station is a mere 10-minute walk from St Peter's Square. It connects with most major European cities via railway lines. In 2016, Italy saw around 500,000 transactions across the county, up from 400,000 in 2013, the worst year of the slump, but nowhere near the 845,000 sales transactions recorded in peak year 2008. What are the most popular areas in Rome to buy prime real estate? Together with the historic centre, the most desirable areas include Via Veneto, Pinciano, Villa Borghese and Gianicolo, Parioli and Monti as well as the areas surrounding Villa Torlonia and Villa Ada. Where do Buyers in Rome come from? The lower end of the prime market attracts around 20% of foreign buyers. Where prices are higher, the share of foreign buyers goes up too. Around 80% of buyers are from the United States of America, as US citizens are taking advantage of the strong dollar versus euro exchange rate at present and Italy has also lowered prices. The next line of buyers comes from France, the UK and Switzerland. With mortgages now more easily available again, more people are taking the plunge and are buying and investing again. Increased supply of new housing is also helping first time buyers. However, the Brexit referendum and recent terrorist attacks, coupled with problems over banking problems and political crises, are still holding back a more robust recovery. This may well be the year to buy Italian real estate. Rome is the country's second most expensive market after Florence, yet prices are nowhere near as high as Lisbon's or prices for Paris property. Second homes in Italy are not highly taxed, as about 80% of Italians are homeowners and taxes are raised on primary residences instead. Luxury property prices ranged from [...]

Uncertain Planning Situation still restricting Housing Market in Marbella Municipality

Mon, 5 Feb 2018 10:45:03 GMT

Although in many parts of the Costa del Sol there is still an oversupply of homes - both resale and key ready - this is not the case in prime markets of Marbella, where a lack of high-end property is putting vendors in the enviable position that they can hold out for higher bidders. For the lesser "exulted" segment of the market the picture looks rather differently. Where housing permits had been granted previously, development has been proceeding nicely, but these developments tend not to be in the prime locations. Still, those marketing these properties are confident that the lack of housing in prime parts of town will eventually send buyers their way, because the Marbella name is too glamorous to resist for long. At an average rate per square metre of 3,067 recorded for the final quarter of the year 2017, Marbella is considerably more expensive than, say Granada, Alicante or Murcia, but the average rate had actually fallen a little, compared to Q3 of last year, an indication that the high-end segment of the market had been driving up prices, and now the lack of available luxury housing is making its presence felt. Resale properties with clear legal planning permits and in prime locations are still in high demand, which means prices will go up gradually in the near future and provide investors with good capital returns in the medium to long-term. By Area: Costa del Sol East and "Inland Andalucia" Here estate agents are always warning that issues over planning might arise and also problems with ground conditions. Building surveys have shown above-average problems for rural and inland parts of Southern Spain and the Eastern Costa del Sol. As a result, valuations tend to be lower than for properties in the West of the Costa del Sol, and "also the differential between asking price and actual sale price can be significant", according to Survey Spain, an organisation of surveyors working across Spain. Demand in rural areas continues to be high though, as scenic whitewashed hill towns are still very much the dream of living in "the real Spain". Prices are also lower than at the coast, which tends to drive buyers with limited budgets into rural areas. "Gradually, properties there are being regularised, which effectively brings them within planning approval, but does not make them fully legal. As that happens, values are likely to increase, always assuming, of course, that the property is in good physical condition", stated Survey Spain in their most recent report. Manilva, Estepona and Benahavís Planning problems in Marbella make these three areas the beneficiaries. Here developers are able to carry out projects on the land that is available rather than the best plots available along the Costa del Sol, which tends to be in Marbella. However, Estepona is rapidly becoming the "new Marbella", as a result, and prices have been rising sharply. The rate per square metre of asking price in Benahavís stood at 3,235€ euro per square metre at the end of Q4 2017, and the average difference between that and the actual selling price is approximately 10.22%. The average valuation within Estepona and Manilva stands at around 1,843€ per square metre at the present time. Mijas, Fuengirola and Benalmádena Favoured especially by Scandinavians, these areas have seen continued high demand, according to local estate agents and it is [...]

How and Why to Invest in Overseas Property

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 12:10:41 GMT

Why Should You Invest in Overseas Property? There’s less uncertainty

The UK property market is currently undergoing some uncertainty at present, especially with Brexit negotiations looming large. As such, some investors are looking further afield for investment opportunities, and there are several appealing options abroad.

It’s a chance to diversify

As any savvy investor will testify, it’s not a good idea to ‘put all your eggs into one basket’. Investing in property abroad is an excellent way to broaden your portfolio and cover yourself financially in the future.

It offers great returns

There are many upcoming areas abroad, which are currently cheap to invest in, and look set to enjoy solid capital growth over the next few years. Buy in a place like this, and you’ll enjoy excellent ROI as a result.

How to Invest

Here’s a brief run-through of what you’ll need to consider before investing abroad.

Research the market

Some locations will be more lucrative than others, and it’s important to have a good grasp of the local market before you commit. Find out how much property prices have risen in the last few years, and whether or not this trend looks set to continue. It’s also worthwhile discovering what the average rental yields are like.

Know the law

Legalities differ from country to country; and regulations are likely to be different than in the UK, not to mention tax systems. It’s imperative to know how much you’ll be charged if you invest there, plus what laws you need to abide by.

Who are you targeting?

Know your target demographic before you start searching the market. For example, if you’re planning to rent out to British holidaymakers, what sort of property appeals to them? Which locations are they most likely to want to visit, and can they reach the home easily from the airport? Alternatively, if you want to rent to a local resident, you’ll need to search for properties that are near towns or cities, and not too far from transport links and local amenities.

Will you be using a letting agent?

It’s a wise move to hire a local letting agent to manage your property; unless you plan on visiting the country on a regular basis. Although a letting agent will eat into your profits, they usually offer value for money; dealing with any problems if they arise, plus helping you to find tenants and holidaymakers for your property.

Do you want to use the house yourself?

If you’re planning to use the property as a holiday home, you’ll need to strike a balance between what is rentable, and what appeals to you personally. Remember, if you’re relying on the house to generate an income, it’s important to consider the tenant first and foremost, or risk investing in a property that no-one wants to stay in but you.

With great thanks to Daniel Nicolas, Marketing Manager at FJP Investments .

Article by on behalf of

Is this the Paris Property Market's Rebirth?

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 11:19:27 GMT

By November 2017, Paris property prices had reached a new record high: house buyers now had to find a record-breaking 9,000 euros per square metre on average, if they wanted to become the owner of a Paris property. According to the LPI-Se Loger barometer for October 2017, properties in twelve of the French capital's arrondissements or districts cost 9,165 per square metre.

Indeed, all of Paris' twenty arrondissements recorded significant price increases with an average annual rise of at least 8%.

Brexit, so both Bloomberg and The Financial Times reported, was also helping "to push Paris property prices towards record levels". Britons desperate to gain a permanent foothold in an EU country applied in record numbers for French passports - and sought a home in Paris. A recent report by French notaries showed that British buyers were especially looking in some of the city's most exclusive districts.

"The number of buyers is rising unstoppably," stated Paris notary Thierry Delesalle, adding that demand was outstripping supply, especially for the best properties in prime areas, "and perhaps because of Brexit."

Britons accounted for 10% of all foreign buyers, making them the second most enthusiastic group of buyers after Italians (17%).

According to industry experts, sales increased by 7% in just one year in Paris and with the French capital set to host the 2024 Olympics, there's no telling how high prices will go for the capital's residential real estate. Demand and sales activity will only increase.

INSEE, the country's official body of notaries, said that the number of sales in France as a whole also reached a record high of 952,000 in the twelve months to end-September and there has been no let up since.

Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of

Madrid & Mallorca to regulate Holiday Rentals with Suitability Certificates & Zoning

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 11:05:17 GMT

The new certificates will oblige owners to state clearly where they advertise and to inform the police who stays in their property. In Mallorca, landlords whose properties are part of multi-occupancy apartment blocks will now be able to let for at least 60 days in any one year. Zoning and limits on duration are two of the most notable measures the Balearics are introducing to eliminate unsuitable holiday accommodation.

In Madrid, changes to the current law dating from 2014 were outlined by Jaime de los Santos, regional minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, at a recent parliamentary session. "The current law doesn’t provide all the solutions to the new requirements in the sector," the regional minister said.

The new legislation kicks off with the creation of a suitability certificate for holiday lets and the definition of holiday accommodation advertising channels. They will now become subject to tourism regulations introduced in 1999 that allow for fines of between €3,000 and €300,000 for landlords advertising their properties without a permit.

Owners of holiday lets are now also subject to new obligations that aim to improve quality in tourism and national security, such as giving the police information about people staying in holiday apartments and villas.

"The Constitutional Court has allowed for regional authorities to impose this obligation even though national security is the responsibility of the central government," explained De los Santos. He added that "owners must also take out public liability insurance, have complaint forms available to guests and provide heating in the property that works. There’s also a set ratio of people per square metre to avoid overcrowding in a small space."

Owners must also equip their holiday lets with welcome packs that contain information on emergency telephone numbers, a procedure put in place for evacuation both from the property itself and the apartment complex or block of flats. The regional minster also stressed that guests should be aware of their civic obligations, such as keeping the noise down and not littering the environment.

Investors looking to buy Mallorca real estate with a view to letting their properties to tourists should bear in mind that from now on local councils will start to "zone" their areas. What does that mean? Broadly speaking, Palma de Mallorca and coastal areas such as Palmanova and Magaluf for example, where already a sufficient number of beds is being provided by hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs, will be zoned for 60-day lets in any one year only. In town and village centres inland this will also be the case.

In areas where few other options exist for tourists, owners of holiday accommodation will be able to let 365 days of the year, provided they obtain a permit to do so and adhere to similar rules as outlined by the regional minister for Madrid.

Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of

Investors after great Value for Money, Capital Gains and good Yields should head to Portugal...but stay clear of Lisbon's overheated Market

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 12:04:48 GMT

According the 2018 Global Property Guide, "Portugal’s housing prices continue to rise strongly, fuelled by surging demand as well as improved economic conditions. Property prices in Portugal rose by 4.84% (3.26% in real terms) in November 2017 from a year earlier, to an average price of €1,144 (US$1,373) per square metre (sq. m.), based on figures released by Statistics Portugal (INE)." Portugal's house prices began their recovery in 2014, after more than three years of gut-wrenching depression. "In Lisbon metropolitan area, property prices were up by 4.9% (3.3% in real terms) y-o-y in November 2017, to an average of €1,386 (US$1,664) per sq. m.," the latest Global Property Guide states, but house prices increased across all of Portugal's 24 urban areas, with the highest increase being recorded in Amadora, where house prices rose by 12.88% during the year to end of November 2017. Coimbra fell just slightly short off this with a rise of 12.82% in the same period, followed by Odivelas (12.62%), Oeiras (12%), Cascais (11.65%), Matosinhos (9.84%), Leiria (9.83%), Loures (9.17%), Sintra (9.01%), and Funchal (8.41%), as well as Vila Franca de Xira (7.75%), Santa Maria de Feira (7.72%), Maia (7.59%), Vila Nova de Famalicão (7.5%), Almada (7.47%), Seixal (7.22%), Gondomar (7.02%), Setúbal (6.79%), and Braga (6.75%). According to the latest statistics, other urban areas saw only modest increases in prices: Guimarães (5.67%), Lisboa (5.51%), Porto (5.28%), Barcelos (3.74%), and Vila Nova de Gaia (3.54%). However, at the end of November 2017 Bloomberg reported that Lisbon's hot property market left buyers struggling to find a home; with some buyers offering above the asking price and even Madonna struggling to close a deal. In central Lisbon’s property market, the news organisation reported, "sellers are kings" due to a shortage of prime property. "There’s a big gap between supply and demand," said Luis Tilli, a real estate agent at Lisbon-based HomeLovers. Back then they were trying to sell a three-bedroom, 236 square meter (2,540 square feet) refurbished duplex in the historic quarter of Chiado for 2 million euros ($2.38 million). "It’s reached a point where some investors offer to pay above the asking price just so they can close a deal." By property type the picture shows that apartments are still more popular investment vehicles than villas: Flats prices rose by 5% (3.4% in real terms) year-on-year in November 2017 Villa prices rose by 4.9% (3.3% in real terms) year-on-year in November 2017 Demand is rising sharply. In Q3 2017, the total number of housing transactions grew by 23% to 38,783 units from a year earlier, while transactions values surged 34.4% year-on-year to €4.86 billion (US$5.83 billion), according to INE. "Portugal’s property market is booming once more," enthused Chris White of real estate firm Ideal Homes Portugal. "Sales have increased hugely this year and we’ve seen a significant shift in buyer profile as increasing numbers of investors realize the potential of the Portuguese real estate sector," he added, when speaking to Global Property Guide. With the available housing stock along Lisbon&#[...]

UK's Property Market braces for Fall Out from Landmark Leasehold Case

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:45:12 GMT

This week an appeal court ruling could result in the cost of extending leases being halved and buying freeholds for 2.1 million households in Wales and England could also become considerably cheaper. One thing first time buyers often overlook in their calculations if they can afford a UK apartment, house or flat in Britain is how much ground rent is payable and what monthly or annual maintenance charges are being applied. When householders feel they are being held to ransom by freeholders over the application of unreasonable maintenance charges, they often decide buying the freehold might be cheaper than continuing to pay maintenance. At this point, they discover that landlords apply totally archaic methods to calculate just how much the freehold is worth. The Duke of Westminster is one of the nation's richest men. If the landmark legal challenge should prove successful, he could see the value of his estates drop sharply. The court of appeal was going to rule on 16th January 2018 in the case of Mundy v. the Sloane Stanley Estate in a long-running legal battle over the calculation basis for extending a lease. So far nothing has been published about what the court has decided, but if the decision goes against rich freeholders like the Duke, then he could see a significant fall in the value of his assets, while 2.1 million households across England and Wales could buy their freehold for some 31% less than before. This number of households reflects the leases with less than 80 years remaining, of which there are 490,000 in London alone. Extending leases back to 99 or 125 years could cost on average 31% less if the legal challenge is successful. The Sloane Estate v Mundy case involves a small flat in Chelsea where the lease has fallen to less than 23 years - the freeholder is looking for £420,000 to agree an extension. In the background of the case is surveyor James Wyatt, who is challenging a system of lease valuation commissioned on behalf of the Duke of Westminster more than 20 years ago. His Grosvenor estate in central London includes the freeholds to some of the most expensive real estate in the world, making the current Duke of Westminster, 26-year-old Hugh Grosvenor, one of the richest men in the UK with a fortune estimated at £9.5bn. Hugh Grosvenor owns 300 acres of prime central London land in Mayfair and Belgravia, including Grosvenor Square named after his ancestors. At the heart of the case are the so-called "relativity graphs" used by real estate experts that set the value of short leases relative to the freehold. James Wyatt said: "In 1996 the Grosvenor estate commissioned (the surveying firms) Gerald Eve and John D Wood to draw up graphs of relativity to set the price for lease extensions and buying freeholds. No one has had the time, effort or money to challenge them since. It’s a much bigger scandal than the ground rents issue, and a real David and Goliath battle." Wyatt was formerly head of valuations at John D Wood. He left to set up his own consultancy, Parthenia Valuation, and argues that the mathematical models currently in use wrongly award too much to the freeholder. "The big London estates will be particularly hit, but it’s not just about the London market. I hear from lot[...]

German Star-Architects are transforming Singapore

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 12:01:57 GMT

The process began just over three years ago, when the tropical paradise began to invite overseas architects. The first wave of international talent included Daniel Libeskind, Moshe Safdie, Zaha Hadid, Toyo Ito and Norman Foster, but the second wave comes from German talent. This is made possible by plenty of money, a will to build the unusual and a political system that is focused to "doing" not just talking about it. Singapore's government has invited the best architects from around the world to create some of the most amazing architecture seen anywhere, including what has become the country's landmark building and most photographed buildings of all time: the hotel complex Marina Bay Sands. The infinity pool on the roof is one of the most "snapped" images in the world, appearing in countless selfies. The "three-legged" Marina Bay Sands was created by Harvard Professor of Architecture Moshe Safdie. Although it promotes itself as a resort with luxury shops and hotels, it is actually a huge casino. Safdie exploits a few cultural myths: the roof construction reminds western onlookers of a surfboard or even an ironing board, while Chinese visitors see the construction as a symbol for good fortune and success. Singapore's spectacular Face-Lift It began with the Theater Centre Esplanade, a symbol for modern Singapore. It was designed by the Singapore office of DP Architects and Wilford & Partners, a German outfit. That was in 2002, then in 2006 Norman Foster arrived and created a dome for the High Court, nothing to raise eyebrows over in Britain or Germany, but in Singapore this was quite a daring thing to do at that time. In the same year, the Japanese architect Ito created the stunning shopping centre Vivo City, which rises like a soap bubble out of the harbour. After that, there seemed no end to the ingenuity of world-wide talent: Libeskind created his poetic residential towers along the seafront, which seem to sway with the wind like so many silvery stems of bamboo. By 2009 Norman Foster had left aside his endless similar domes and created an amazing combination of old and new: his generous extension of the Capella Hotel on Sentosa, a much-loved colonial building. Six years later he designed the new South Beach complex opposite the old Raffles Hotel in the heart of the city. German Architects are on their Way City-state Singapore makes it easy for star architects to open an office and begin working. Fast-tracking decisions, professional development partners, reliable financing sources and will to create something amazing make the lives of architects far easier than elsewhere. And so German architects are daring to leave their footprints in the exotic locations of Singapore, such as team Dreiseitl from Lake Constance, who created the Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park, an eco-park where the team re-naturalised a stream for example, created wonderful play areas for children and generated the first real interest in sustainability and ecological projects. Today, the park is a landmark and symbol for the city-state's commitment to "green" living. Ole Scheeren tries to tell stories with the buildings he creates. In 2013 he created the condominium The Interlace, which was named a World Building in 2015. The d[...]

New Zealand bans foreign Property Buyers

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 09:58:34 GMT

Phil Twyford, New Zealand's Housing Minister, said that first time buyers and families were at the moment "forced out of the housing market" because of these price hikes and shortage of available housing stock. The country is to introduce new legislation that could well become a test-case for other countries around the world suffering the same residential real estate shortages as New Zealand. From early next year onwards, the country will only permit people who hold a residential visa to buy existing homes. It is hoped that this will force overseas developers and private individuals to build new homes if they want to own residential real estate rather than buy second-hand properties that then sit empty for part or all of the year and is thus not available to New Zealanders in need of a home. Housing Minister Twyford and Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage explained that "purchases of homes by offshore speculators push first home buyers and families out of the housing market." Ms Sage added: "It will mean, for practical purposes, that foreign buyers will not be able to buy residential property unless they are either increasing the number of residences and then selling them or converting the land to another use. They will need to be able to show that this will have wider benefits to the country." New Zealand's new housing legislation is designed to get to grips with surging property prices, which have caused such a housing crisis that homelessness rates are now the highest in the developed world. Some 40,000 people, that's one per cent of New Zealand's population, are currently homeless, living on the streets or in emergency accommodation, according to data published by Yale University in July 2017. It was the single-most debated issue that dominated elections held in October of this year, when Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was voted in to end nine years of conservative National Party rule that many blamed for the housing crisis. New Zealand has become an increasingly attractive destination for the world's super-rich and Chinese investors. According to The New Zealand Herald, Twyford said that although the housing market was cooling, "when the cycle returns" the ban on foreign real estate buyers would help to keep price rises in check. Under new Overseas Investment Act (OIO) screening rules, a residency visa holder would be able to purchase land designated for residential use under certain conditions. Residency visas are given to skilled migrants for example and refugees granted asylum. People who only hold a temporary visa will not be permitted to buy residential land. Resident visa holders who can demonstrate that their purchase will increase New Zealand's housing stock, and those who can demonstrate that they intend to live long-term or permanently in the country, will be permitted to buy residential land. If people falling into either or both of those categories later decide to leave the country, they must sell on the property they built and lived in. Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage that there were 47,000 residency class visa holders in 2016, but no data was available on how active these residency visa holders were in the real estate market. From earl[...]

Panama City's middle-range & lower-end Residential Real Estate continues to enjoy strong Growth

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:24:47 GMT

In Panama city, homes of the middle to lower-end variety, are doing well though, showing strong signs of growth. Unlike downgraded Brexit Britain, Panama enjoyed a 5% GDP growth in the first quarter of 2017, according to the World Bank. The country's economic boom is partly driven by government-led infrastructure projects, but also fuelled by a recovery of the logistics industry, the World Bank's report stated. What has affected the markets negatively is a downturn in tourist numbers, but new campaigns to attract tourists from Europe and the US should begin to show results by the end of the fourth quarter. Most residential property sold in Panama city was in the below $120,000 segment. On average, the pre-construction market sees around 1,300 sales per month. Of these 65% are for the lower end of the property market. At the other end of the scale, the $600,000 plus market segment saw an average of 50 properties a month sold in the first quarter of 2017 and this trend was forecast to continue. Compared to the same quarter in 2016, this was a 29% increase. According to developers, most of these properties were purchased by affluent young Panamanian families, with a reassuring return of buyers from Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela adding the the upward trend. Most luxury sales happened in Panama city's most popular districts, Santa Maria and Costa del Este, where numerous housing projects were under way this year. Up-and-coming areas outside Panama city include Pedasi. In an article run by the New York Times in August 2017, luxury properties such as 6-bed beach houses can easily costs $4.5 million in Pedasi, which lies on the south-eastern tip of the Azuero Peninsula of Panama. The former fishing village attracts wealthy buyers because the Peninsula is becoming very popular as a holiday destination. Pedasi is now a town with around 4,000 permanent residents. Famous for its pristine beaches, fantastic surfing, sport fishing and diving, Pedasi is also a favourite with retirees, because it is close to several national parks and nature reserves such as the Isla Iguana Wildlife Refuge. This means they can run a lucrative tourism business in their "retirement". New homes and hotels have been built along the coast in recent years to attract more tourism. Tocumen International Airport, which is not only a regional hub but also one of Central America's busiest airports, is ca. 225 miles away, but the smaller Pedasi Airport lies just outside the town. Real estate agents Sotheby's predicted sales would rise by ca. 6% this year, as buyers, especially overseas house buyers, were returning in greater numbers and with more confidence. Luxury properties near Pedasi Beach start at around $800,00, according to Sotheby's, but further inland it gets a lot cheaper. Here two-bedroom, two-bathroom houses can be found for less than $200,000. Who buys Panamanian residential real estate? Mainly overseas buyers from the USA, Canada, Europe and Latin America. There are no restrictions to buy real estate in Panama as a foreigner. The Panamanian government has introduced various incentives such as property tax exemptions to stimulate investment an[...]

Florida welcomes record-breaking Number of Tourists in first Half of 2017

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 09:54:23 GMT

Speaking at a news conference held at the Florida Aquarium on 15th August in Tampa Bay, Governor Scott said these figures broke down to 53.2 million domestic visitors, 5.3 million foreign tourists and 2.2 million visitors from Canada. Despite the Trump-Effect, Florida has remained a favourite with tourists, both in the home-grown market and overseas. However, there was a 1% drop in Canadian tourists, and a 0.4% decline of overseas visitors, and all the increase in visitor numbers came from domestic tourism this year. Scott said: "I worked hard this session to continue to fund Visit Florida, and it's paying off. Our goal is to have 120 million visitors this year." Last year was already a new historic record, where 112 million visitors flocked the multiple attractions of the Sunshine State. Tourism plays a huge part for the State's economy. For every dollar the Sunshine State invests in Visit Florida, its Tourism Board, USD 3.20 in tax revenue is generated, according to figures published by Visit Florida. The Tourism Board's most recent economic impact study estimated that tourist expenditure amounted to around USD 108.8 bn annually, supporting around 1.4 million jobs and bagging USD 11.3 bn for the state in local and state taxes. Take any average day and you'll see 2.2 million visitors arriving, who spend on average USD 300 million a day, Visit Florida's study revealed. And they need to stay somewhere - even Hurricane Irma couldn't bring the real estate market to its knees, although it is still too early to tell just how big the damage caused actually is in terms of funds needed for rebuilding. Living with Natural Disaster Developers and estate agents seem immune to concerns over climate change and coastal erosion that saw streets in Miami-Dade under water, when Irma struck. Florida has seen a steady rise in house prices, especially so in Miami-Dade County, where the asking price for a single-family home rose by 12.5% in August this year, compared to the same month in 2016, increasing from USD 300,000 in July 2017 to USD 337,500 the following month. Prices had, in fact, risen for the past 69 months. Prices for second-hand condos increased from USD 215,000 to USD 225,000 this August, continuing an upward trend seen over a 72-month period. It seems people involved in the real estate business have short memories when it comes to natural disasters like hurricanes. Florida has a fairly transient population, which means that in a decade or even half a decade a whole new population of young professionals goes in search of a home. People who have never experienced the devastated brought by a hurricane like Irma and are thus happy to move into a condo in downtown Miami or a single-family home close to the water's edge. And tourists only ever stay for a week or so... Florida's key tourism markets include New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. and the State's developers pander to just that market, as well as to Canadians escaping the cold winter months. Speaking to Miami Herald in September this year, Stan Cox, a senior scientist at The Land Institute, explained that the "fatalistic logic [...]

Will State Intervention deflate Denmark's House Price Boom?

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 09:58:09 GMT

Yet, even if real estate economists warn of a drastic impact on house prices as authorities tackle bank loans to deflate the bubble, the fact remains that Denmark's economy is booming - so much so that a leading Danish politician wrote a full-page article for a British quality newspaper in November 2017, inviting EU citizens fleeing Brexit Britain to live and work in Denmark, where their skills and input would be appreciated and they'd be made to feel welcome. An influx of EU buyers would certainly put a stop to any measures taken by the government to curb house price rises so far. Negative Interest Rates prompted unprecedented House Price Rises in Aarhus & Copenhagen Danish house buyers have enjoyed half a decade of negative interest rates, which saw house prices go up and up. With inflation at 1.1% reported in April this year and short-term home loans offered at negative interest rates, the property market made a robust comeback after its spectacular crash in 2008. Seen from peak to trough, Danish home values slumped by over 30%, when the economic crisis occurred. House prices are now close to what they were before the world-wide economic crisis hit, with apartment prices in Copenhagen up by 12% annually reported in April this year and a general increase of ca. 10% above peak prices reported for apartment values across the country. Some properties in Copenhagen have risen five-fold over the last five years. The sharp increase in Denmark's home values drew the attention of the International Monetary Fund, which viewed the situation with "concern" in the light of high household debt. The organisation advised that a reduction of tax deductibility of mortgage interest payment might be a good way to cool off the market. Introduction of stringent Lending Criteria At the end of September 2017, CPH Post reported that Denmark's real estate market might see a dramatic change in the coming months, as tens of thousands of homeowners in Copenhagen and Aarhus municipalities would face higher monthly repayments. Hoping to avoid a repeat of a toxic housing bubble, Denmark's Business Ministry, together with the country's financial supervisory authority Finanstilsynet moved in to severely restrict banks and other lenders. The new measures will prevent lenders from offering the types of home mortgages that come without fixed interest rates and monthly instalments. From now on, banks and other credit institutes will only be permitted to hold a lending portfolio that contains no more than 15% of "high-risk interest rate" and repayment-free mortgages, a move by the state that lenders view with concern. In an interview with newspaper Politiken, Lise Nytoft Bergmann, a real estate economist working for Nordea Bank, said: "I don’t think people are aware that these changes are on the way, and that they can have quite significant consequences for very many homeowners." Many mortgage customers hadn't quite realised how the rule changes would impact on them. Bergmann added that it wasn't just the central districts of Aarhus and Copenhagen that would be affected, but "a long line of other Capital Regio[...]

Cape Verde Tourism on the Rise in 2017

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 10:15:09 GMT

Most tourists come to stay on the less populated, flatter islands of Boa, Maio, Sal and Vista, but some of the islands now also attract ecotourism thanks to their imposing mountain ranges and stunning scenery, such as on the island of Fogo, where the volcano Pico del Fogo beckons climbers and nature enthusiasts alike. The main leisure activities in the archipelago revolve around windsurfing, diving, sailing and trekking. Sal welcomes the largest intake of tourists with around 45.6% of the total hotel entries, followed by Boa Vista with 31.6%. The friendly, welcoming and laid-back Cape Verdean culture of Creole Portuguese-African origin is one of the many reasons why thousands of tourists choose these islands off the north west coast of Africa as their holiday destination every year. Santiago is the largest island, and it is here where the current capital, Praia, and the historic capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cidade Velha, attract the greatest numbers of visitors. A fierce clifftop fortress, Forte Real de São Felipe, protects the coast and both towns. The official language spoken by the 540,000 or so Cape Verdean residents is Portuguese, and the official currency is the Cape Verdean escudo. The islands' fledgling tourism industry took a terrible knock, when it was discovered a couple of years ago that a stay in Cape Verde bore the risk of Zika virus transmission. There are still occasional outbreaks of the virus now. Before travelling, check your own government's travel advice online for the latest updates on Cape Verde. Cheap Apartments and Villas in Cape Verde For around 100,000 euros frequent visitors can buy a two-bedroomed apartments in one of the major resorts in Santa Maria and look forward to years of unrivalled holiday bliss. But while most visits to the archipelago are totally trouble-free and highly enjoyable, buying a property in Cape Verde is not entirely risk-free. It is essential to seek independent and highly qualified legal advice and have all documents pertaining to a property purchase translated into one's own language, before signing anything binding, especially if you're buying to let to tourists, a rapidly growing segment of the local housing sector. Tourism as a major source of revenue has grown fast over the last ten years. Tourists are mainly from the UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Portugal and Italy, but a small percentage of US holidaymakers is also part of the overall tourism scene. According to the Global Property Guide reporting in April of this year, Cape Verde's tourism sector is finally recovering from the Zika-affect. Tourism has been instrumental in the archipelago's economic growth, contributing ca. 44.5% of GDP last year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council's 2017 report. forecasts are optimistic for the coming years, especially as cultural tourism has yet to be exploited. Last year, the main islands welcomed 644,000 tourists, an increase of 13.2% from 2016, according to INE, the National Statistics Institute. It's a phenomenal increase, given that in 2003 the islands welcomed just[...]

Vienna's Prices are slowing, but elsewhere Austrian Real Estate's Prices are soaring

Tue, 7 Nov 2017 13:28:05 GMT

Austria is a year-round destination, its alpine slopes attracting winter sports enthusiasts from November to March, and hikers and mountain bikers in spring and summer. In March this year, the Global Property Guide reported that outside of Vienna house prices were soaring, while Vienna itself had seen a cooling off of the market, as prices had simply become too expensive. However, Vienna remains one of the best places to live in the world, and as such, there will always be high demand for a property located in Vienna's First District, the Inner City of the Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site simply bristling with stunning Baroque architecture and home to Austria's Imperial Palace. Here investors will find the most expensive luxury real estate, where a square metre can easily cost between 6,000 and 16,000 euros, according to Alex Koch de Goorevnd, head of Knight Frank Austria. The very finest properties can even command prices of 30,000 euros per square metres. But even outside of this exclusive circle, Vienna is very expensive. Look at a fairly average apartment in the 13th District and you might still be asked to pay between 10,000 and 15,000 euros per square metre. Away from the Baroque pomp and circumstance, however, prices become much more reasonable. An apartment in the beautiful city of Graz costs on average 3,500 to 4,300 euros per square metre. Mozart's home town, Salzburg, is overrun with tourists all year round, and this is reflected in the average price of between 4,600 to 5,500 euros per square metre. With the exception of Vienna, cheap Austrian properties are generally found in the east of the country, for example in Lower Austria, or the Burgenland or Steiermark regions. Vienna's house prices are at least five times higher than those found in Burgenland and K�rnten, and rental prices are three times as high in the Austrian capital and touristy places like Salzburg. Steiermark is a particularly good place to look for apartments and single-family houses if you're looking for a holiday or second home, as this is one of the cheapest real estate markets in Austria. Austrian Rental Yields If you are looking for an investment with good rental yields, then Vienna should not be your first choice. Compared to other upmarket areas of Vienna, rental yields in Old Town Vienna, the First District, are actually quite poor. And compared to other parts of the country, they simply don't pass muster, given the high purchase price of a property. Outside of Vienna, however, rental yields can be very lucrative. Buy a new ski apartment in the Tirol for example, and you may get juicy 8% return on your investment (Kristall Spaces Development for example in St. Anton, completion scheduled for December 2017).Winter tourism to St Anton rose by 3% last year, and by 10% in summer. According to UBS, prices in St Anton have risen by 8.2%, which means that rental yields based purely on winter income lie at an average of 3.6% return, and that's before summer income is taken into account. In Vienna, the average is just around 1.82%. Most sk[...]

Has Brazilian Property Bubble ended after a Decade of Growth?

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 10:09:02 GMT

2016 ended with residential property prices down nationally by 5.5%, compared to 2015. This year, it has been a buyer's market, with plenty of distressed property around. And the market is still deflating, at least according to date released by the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE). A weak economy, high interest rates and news that many of the country's biggest developers are in difficulties have taken their toll on investors' confidence. Demand for housing is as high as ever though. Indeed, average values for residential property rose by 0.13% in December 2016, compared to the previous month, and judging by how quickly property sells in hot spots like Fortaleza for example, there are signs that both domestic and international demand is as strong as ever, despite a downward adjustment of home values. Rio de Janeiro continues to be Brazil's most expensive city, despite price falls of 2% recorded in 2016. All twenty of Brazil's largest cities have seen prices for real estate fall sharply. The capital Brasilia for example saw house prices drop by 1.2% year-on-year in 2016 and there has been no indication so far that they will go up again any time soon. Yet, compared to other world class cities, the average price per square metre in commercial hub São Paulo for example is rather low. At the end of last year, it stood at US$ 2,675 or R$8,641 (one Brazilian Real equals US $ 0.31 or £0.23). In Rio de Janeiro, the average square metre cost US $3,191 or R$ 10,214 at the end of 2016. A fairly average 5 bedroom duplex apartment on the top floor of an apartment block with resident caretaker and located along Avenida Atlantica near the seafront costs around £2,225,000, and a 4-bedroom flat in a less favoured location would be around £960,000. "Cheap as chips", as house hunters in London, Paris or New York might say! By contrast, a 2-bed luxury apartment in Fortaleza starts from just £72,000 at the Catu Residence Development. Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, which lies in the north east of the country, along Brazil's Atlantic Ocean coast, some 1,420 miles distance from Brasilia. Here international investors and people in search of cheap holiday apartments near the beach can still find bargains with good capital gains potential. Boasting some of the finest beaches in the state, Fortaleza is seeing a mini boom, recording the second highest price rise in Brazil in the second quarter of 2017, with June a particularly busy month for home sales. Prices shot up by 6.42% in the period January to June 2017. Here the average price per metre now stands at around R$ 4,702, although in some parts of the city prices went up by 11.3% (district of Cidades dos Funci�narios for example). According to VivaReal statistics, Fortaleza's house prices saw the second highest increase among the 30 cities that are covered by the study. Fortaleza Holiday Rental Yields are rising, too This sector saw high demand in the first six months of this year. Although the long-term rent[...]

Croatian Property Market continues high Investment Trend in Hotel & Retail Sector

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 09:20:54 GMT

Croatia's luxury residential real estate market is also thriving, fuelled by high demand, tax reforms and strong economic growth. Luxury properties in Croatia are mostly located in Dubrovnik, Istria (such as luxury real estate in the Skiper resort for example), Opatija and on the islands, including Krk, Hvar and Brač, and in well-known seaside resorts. Prices for a Croatian holiday home start at around 220,000 euros in Dubrovnik and 350,000 euros in Split for a modern, luxury apartment with two bedrooms and good views. Projects still to be completed include Arqaam Capital and Four Seasons' luxury mixed-use resort located on a prime waterfront stretch of Brizenica Bay on the Island of Hvar, and Dogus Group's Maraska project, which involves the conversion of a brownfield site in Zadar. Here the development includes 115 luxury apartments, as well as an upmarket hotel and retail centre. Pre-sale of these off-plan properties is already under way. The Brizenica Bay resort project will feature a 120-key Four Seasons hotel and 60 luxurious residences. The project is scheduled for completion in 2019. Foreign demand for luxury residences in Istria tends to come from Austria, Germany and Slovenia, while investors from Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden seem to favour Dalmatia instead. Demand, especially for luxury Croatian seaside properties, continues to outstrip available housing stock, despite several large building projects currently in the pipeline. Prices, therefore, continue a robust upwards trend, especially as Croatia's tourism sector is growing rapidly. Hotel and Retail Investment The upward trend for this segment of the Croatian real estate market began in 2015, and has seen continued growth through high investment volumes ever since. Yield opportunities, coupled with greater investor confidence and strong economic performance, have seen the hotel and retail sector doing very well indeed. Croatia benefits from the EU's Cohesion & Competitiveness Programme, which enables the country to spend 6.8 billion euros on projects that aim to reduce differences with other, more developed EU member states during the period 2014 to 2020. With more funding from the EU still to come forward, there is every chance that Croatia will continue to grow economically, especially since a number of tax reforms, introduced at the end of 2016, will begin to create wealth among lower earners and smaller companies, thus pushing up disposable incomes and personal consumption. A number of large scale, mix-usage projects across the country also provides investors with excellent opportunities. In Split, the first tower houses in Westgate have provided office space suitable for tenants such as Societe Generale. Tower B's construction began promptly in January this year and is scheduled for completion around Easter 2018. The mixed-use Tower B will become headquarter office space for several IT companies, who between them will eventually employ around 300 people. Tower B is the tallest hotel complex [...]

Still no Takers for Land on Pitcairn Island?

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 09:18:07 GMT

Although there are plenty of suitable plots to build on and building a home is relatively cheap, the idea of moving to a place where a ferry delivers post, news, tourists, and comestibles only every three months is apparently far too daunting for the average migrant, for Pitcairn Islanders have so far not been inundated with requests. Currently, there are no existing properties for sale, so it's not exactly an investor's haven or house hunters' paradise either. Even Christies International, specialists in "desert island" sales, haven't got a listing for Pitcairn Islands real estate. Yet, there are quite a few advantages to moving to such a remote spot. For a start, land is free, so there's just the NZ$500 cost for the settlement application to consider, the cost of building a home, plus proof that one has NZ$30,000 of funds in the bank to support one self for the foreseeable future. Pensioners have a distinct advantage here, as they have a regular income. There are no taxes to pay on the island, which is another plus. The cost of building a house is around NZ$150,000 for a home with ca. 160 sqm floor space, according to the Pitcairns' immigration website. This comparatively low, when considering what building from scratch would cost in the UK. This estimate, by the way, includes paying local contractors and importing all building materials and furnishings. If you want fancy building works done though, you may have to "import" your own architect and workforce, which would add considerably to the overall building costs. Where are the Pitcairn Islands? The Pitcairn Islands are a small archipelago of four volcanic islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. Ducie, Henderson, Oeno and Pitcairn are about as remote as it gets. Pitcairn Island is the second largest of the group, and the only inhabited island. By default, as it is the only settlement, Adamstown is Pitcairn's capital. What about Immigration Limits? At present, there are just 50 inhabitants, so it's not exactly a crowded metropolis, in case you were planning opening a nightclub... Plans for population growth currently foresee an increase of up to 80 residents over the next five years, but expansion beyond this number "has not been ruled out" in the current Strategic Development Plan. So there's still hope for you to become the Pitcairn's next great entrepreneur selling to a "mass audience". If you're one of the 3 million much-maligned EU citizens currently living in Britain, don't expect to be handed a UK passport after moving to Pitcairn Island - the immigration website may allow just about anyone from anywhere to apply for a plot of land in Adamstown, but when asked if that would entitle immigrants to a British passport, the answer is a resounding "NO". However, short-term visas for stays of up to six months are available, even for work purposes. What's Pitcairn Island Climate like? Average temperatures in summer range from 20 to 30 degrees centigrade, while winter temperatures can ea[...]

Drop in London House Prices begins to slow down UK Housing Market

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:27:26 GMT

Speaking to British newspaper The Guardian, Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, said that there were two distinct factors why the country's housing market is cooling off. Firstly, lack of affordability: with an average house price of £470,000, more than double the UK's national average, London and South East properties are simply too expensive. Secondly, inflation: reputedly heading for 3% this month, rising inflation is forcing the Bank of England to contemplate raising interest rates in the foreseeable future. Borrowers are understandably nervous, with many putting off moving home. RICS said in their report that the price gauge for London property remained "firmly negative". In the South East, so the report, there were also signs that prices were no longer rising, with potential house buyers and industry experts alike saying that prices are simply far too expensive across the board of available residential real estate. North-South Divide is emerging As younger buyers can often work from home thanks to the digital age - at least for part of the week - they are no longer quite so location dependant. Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North West of England all experienced modest price rises (on average 1.1%) in September 2017, as high prices for residential real estate in the South are putting buyers off. RICS warned, however, that house prices across the nation were expected to drop over the final quarter and growth over the coming year is predicted to be the weakest since UK voters decided in June 2016 the country should leave EU membership. The Financial Times meanwhile reported on the UK's house price situation on 29th September and concluded that London house prices had seen the sharpest fall for the first time since 2009, basing their findings on year-on-year comparisons published by lender Nationwide. House prices, so the Nationwide said, declined by 0.6% overall, as estate agents and buyers alike are worried about a decline in economic growth and the UK government's failure to get a grip on Brexit negotiations. Conservative newspaper The Telegraph also spread a little Brexit gloom, reporting on 12th October 2017 that buyer confidence and sales activity were at their lowest level since the 2016 referendum. According to the news organisation, a single room in London now costs more than a whole house in the north east of the country, making it utterly impossible for young professionals - many already saddled with £50k student loan debts - to get on the housing ladder in London and the South East. RICS' monthly survey among its members showed that September was the sixth consecutive month were house prices had declined across the UK. Property portal Rightmove, however, reported that cheaper housing stock in the North of England was selling quite well, or at least far better than houses in the South. Rightmove stated that homes in the South of England were more difficult to sell, with sales prices [...]

Romanian Real Estate Market saw fastest Growth for 7 Years in 2016

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:53:28 GMT

Ilinca Paun, Managing Director of real estate agents Colliers International, commented at the time: "If I want to develop residential, it is a safe bet. The good news is that banks are financing such developments with good terms, so I might have quite a high return on my investment." In the first nine months of 2016, the average sales price of an apartment increased by 8.4 per cent to 1,045 euros per square metre, according to property portal All major cities in Romania saw house values rise significantly last year, with the capital Bucharest recording an increase of 5.34 per cent for average selling prices of apartments or 1,144 euros per square metre. In fact, 2016 saw the fastest growth rate of selling prices for the Romanian real estate market for nearly seven years. So where is Romania's residential real estate market in 2017? Last year, the residential market recorded growth of 11 per cent, according to data compiled by property portal Active Property Services ( Judging by how little land and residential property is currently listed on international websites like, this trend has continued and properties, both commercial and residential, are still selling fast, with selling prices continuing to be robust. Increases in new supply and sales activity, with average price increases of 3 to 10 per cent recorded in all major cities, were seen across the country last year. Improved salaries, low interest rates and growing domestic as well as foreign demand meant developers became more active in 2016, and have continued to be so in 2017. Throughout last year, 52,206 new residential units were delivered at national level, according to official statistics of building permits. Most of these, 53%, were for new builds in urban areas, with almost all of the developments being privately funded (98 per cent). Only 1,228 units were developed with public finances provided by the State. The average Romanian buyer is between 30 and 45 years of age and comes from the professional classes. Areas, where new development has been achieved, include Brasov, Sibiu, Iasi, Cluj-Napoca and Timisora - these are cities where a young middle-class population involved in predominantly IT and engineering is demanding better housing. So what would an investment of 100,000 to 325,000 euros buy in 2017? A plot of land in a peaceful valley in Bihor, about 2 km distance from the city of Oradea, and close to the famous spa resort of Baja Felix costs around 100,000 euros. South-facing, a 12,400 square metre plot of land currently being used as an orchard with some 100 varied fruit trees could, due to its close proximity to the city, be ideal for either residential or commercial development. Local authorities favour leisure development such as guest houses and hotels, camping grounds or mountain bike centres, as this type of development brings tourists to rural commu[...]

Costa del Sol's Housing Market sees much positive Change in 2017

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 11:39:54 GMT

Part of the new development will be an artificial lake covering 1.5 hectares and boasting a shoreline of over 6 kilometres. Near Estepona, another stunning development involves the creation of futuristic, rotating homes that run purely on solar energy. Designed by Sunhouse 360, the initial four homes, all slightly different, will rotate either clockwise or counter-clockwise every 15 minutes to make the most of the available solar energy. Both prestigious developments should give house prices in the area a boost. Alcazaba Hills Project Residents of Casares will probably be relieved that the previously abandoned Alcazaba Hills project is now finally under way. Spearheaded by Chilean businessmen Óscar LerÍa and Patricio Rojas, the Osim group will add a further 340 homes to the 92 properties already constructed on the site. Osim is investing 200-million to get the project back on track. The 1.5-hectare lagoon will be turned into a water sports paradise, offering visitors and local residents facilities such as canoeing, sailing and paddle surfing. The centrepiece of the whole complex will be an artificial lake, the first of its kind in Europe, that will boast white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters which are constantly topped up and cleaned. The Alcazaba Lagoon leisure and residential complex is the first of several investments the group plans for the area. In total, an investment of 480 million euros is to be made, which will be split among several sites along the Costa del Sol, benefiting other locations such as Malaga and Marbella, Estepona and Torremolinos. According to expat newspaper SUR in English, properties at Alcazaba Lagoon development are likely to cost between 250,000 euros and 500,000 euros. Rotating Homes? Looking a little like giant mushrooms on stalks, the latest development at the Costa del Sol presents house-hunters keen to keep their environmental footprints to a minimum with a viable alternative. Running entirely on solar energy, the first four of these ultra-modern homes are already under construction at the Bel Air urbanization. Property developer SH Revolving House claimed via their designers that these homes would save owners around 70% in energy costs, reducing homeowners' overall carbon footprint by 68% thanks to innovative use of solar energy. Each of the initial four homes will comfortably accommodate a family of five. A revolving home will cost around 690,000 euros. Speaking to The Olive Press explained that "There are lots of beautiful houses in Spain but very few actually cater for sustainability in the long term. If you can give a building mobility you can enjoy so much more because it is constantly changing." He added that it was very difficult to build such homes "with all this pressure", referring to the current laws in Spain that give developers very little incentive to build "green" housin[...]

Still no cooling off for Sweden's Property Market

Thu, 5 Oct 2017 14:08:11 GMT

Back in April 2017, Bloomberg warned that the hotting up of Sweden's residential real estate market presented an investor risk, because banks like Swedbank and Dansk were overstretching their mortgage lending. However, when the world-wide recession hit hard in 2008, Sweden's housing market suffered far less than other countries' did. The severe shortage of housing stock and a swift countermeasures undertaken by Sweden's government and central bank meant that Sweden's real estate market did not see a great deal of adverse change. Olof Manner, head of research for Swedbank, a Stockholm-based financial services group, explained that prices had risen by about 50% since 2008. “I don’t think we have a bubble. But it’s very richly priced.” He added that there were signs the house price boom was slowing down. Prices rose by 15% in 2015, compared to 2014. By 2016, this growth rate had dropped to 10%, and in January 2017, house price rises were merely 7% higher than they were in the same month a year earlier. This is mostly due to tough intervention by Sveriges Riksbank, who ordered banks to apply stricter lending criteria when assessing mortgage applicants' debt-to-income ratio. Sweden's government also applied the brakes in June 2016, introducing mortgage amortization rules that force people to pay off their loans faster. Fixed mortgage rates have also gone up slightly. The government's intervention meant that, from 1st June 2016, mortgage loans exceeding 50% of the property's value have to be amortized - paid back - at 1% every year for the duration of the loan term. Loans exceeding 70% or more of the property's value have to be repaid at 2% annually. This has had a calming effect on the market, but prices are still very high. Speaking to The New York Times in June of this year, Elisabeth Hallberg, a broker and manager with Per Janson, a Stockholm-based luxury real estate agency, said how it was still a seller's market. “The problem for the real estate agent is not to find buyers; it’s to find sellers.” She estimated that around 70% of house sale transactions undertaken by her real estate agency in the last 12 months all had multiple offers, and many sellers had actually received an offer before the first "open house" event had even taken place. Stockholm's most sought-after residential area is Djurgarden, a leafy-green part of the city with lovely villas. Here a luxury apartment can easily sell for between 20 million Swedish krona (about $2,312,640 back in June 2017) and 100 million Swedish krona (ca. $11,563,200). In Ostermalm, another well-to-do part of Stockholm, luxury real estate prices range from 3 million Swedish krona or $346,896 and 10 million Swedish krona ($1,156,320) at the lower end of the residential property scale. At the higher end, Ostermalm homes can easily command prices of 70 million Swedish kroner (ca $8.1 millio[...]

Italy's Property Market hotting up for 2017

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 10:53:06 GMT

Last autumn, Italian house sales increased by nearly 17%, following on from a strong performance in the double digits in the first half of 2016. Summer 2016 saw the highest number of completed house sales for four years, a picture that could be seen across the country, not just in the hot spot Tuscany, which is still the preferred destination for foreign buyers. Northern Italy especially surprised housing experts by getting more attention than usual from investors. Both Milan and Genoa saw the biggest increases among Italy's main cities, although generally speaking, it is still villages and small rural towns that attract most foreign investors. The higher end of the market has been particularly lively. One Italian property website stated a rise of 67% in the number of searches its users made for residential property costing more than 1 million euros. But it's no longer British buyers leading the trend - Germany's investors are currently the ones showing the greatest interest in the luxury end of Italy's residential property market, followed by investors from the USA, Switzerland, UK and France, Belgium, Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden and Canada. Any type of luxury property is of interest, not just newly built luxury city apartments or high end conversions of historic properties. Palaces, mansions, villas, even castles are among the searched items, according to Italian estate agents. Rustic farmhouses with plenty of land attached as well as properties along the Italian Riviera are all of interest to high end house buyers. Tuscany, however, is still the region every foreign buyer seems to look at first. Blessed with stunning landscapes filled with verdant vineyards and olive groves set against a backdrop of mountains, Tuscany has a wide range of property to offer, from traditional farmhouses with sweeping views to palazzos, mansions and luxury apartments in Tuscany' gorgeous historic cities. Foreigners are now also looking to Puglia, Sardinia, Lombardy and Liguria for their property searches, as these regions offer more affordable Italian apartments and relatively cheap Italian farmhouses, although there is also a noteworthy luxury market in these areas. According to Luca Dondi, Nomisma's general manager, who was speaking to the Global Property Guide, "the general tendency remains positive" for 2017's house transactions. He even predicts a 7% increase year-on-year for 2017 for sales. House prices, however, have not recovered from their 2008 crash as much as expected. For eight years running, prices fell by ca. 16.9% from quarter three in 2008 to quarter four in 2016, according to the European Central Bank. In the first quarter of this year, prices for Italian resale homes fell by 5.7% year-on-year to 1,869 euros per square metre, according to data collected by real estate website European Central Bank[...]

Middle England enjoys Mini-Boom of rising House Prices

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 13:45:10 GMT

Young Londoners fed up living at home and in search of affordable housing are turning their backs on the expensive metropolis, now looking to Worcestershire and Northhants for their first step on the property ladder. As a result, any area within an hour's commute is now experiencing a mini boom of house sales. Worcester News reported that house prices in Droitwich, Worcester, Malvern and Pershore rose much faster than in other parts of the country, with Malvern emerging as a hot spot for house sales. In some parts of Middle England, house price growth is now double the national average. In Worcestershire, year-on-year (August 2016 to August 2017) house price growth currently stands at around 7%, and rising. According to property portal Rightmove, the "hottest markets" are currently those of Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Norfolk, where asking prices are going up by 7.9%, 9.1% and 7.4% respectively. Seen across England and Wales as a whole, that is more than twice the 3.1% annual increase for house prices. Rightmove's own data corresponds to that of the Land Registry, where Malvern comes out as the winner with an average house price increase of 8.9% year-on-year (June 2016 to June 2017). Malvern house hunters saw the average home price rise from £239,523 in 2016 to £260,451 in June this year. Over the same period, house values in Worcester rose by 5.5%, from £189,775 to £200,289. In Worcestershire as a whole the annual increase amounts to 6.9%, rising from £212,320 in 2016 to £226,897 this year. Land Registry figures are regarded as the UK's most reliable indicator for where the market's headed, as the Registry's figures are based on actual house sale transactions. Estate agent Colin Townsend, branch manager at John Goodwn in Malvern, believes that there are some signs that the mini-boom is slowing. House prices in his territory may have risen all year, especially for the under £500,000 end of the property market, where it is not uncommon now to get several buyers bidding for the same property. However, Mr Townsend believes it is not going to "continue indefinitely". With places like Northamptonshire being within an hour's train ride from London, it's not surprising that Londoners are fleeing high prices in the capital for more affordable housing elsewhere. According to Rightmove, asking prices in Northamptonshire rose by 2.2% this August, increasing to £256,642 for the average home. In Greater London meanwhile, house prices have fallen by 1.9% in August and by 1.6% on an annual basis, bringing the average asking price for a London home to £629,270. Across England and Wales as a whole, house price values dropped by 0.9%. Rightmove's director and housing market analyst, Miles Shipside, said: "The heat has come off much of the mar[...]

Is Hungary's Property Boom starting to slow down?

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 13:20:44 GMT

Is Hungary's Property Boom starting to slow down? Following an almost meteoric rise of property sales and house prices over the last two years, Hungary may see a slowdown of both this year. Hungary's capital Budapest is always the benchmark for what's going on in the housing market as a whole. In 2015, mortgage lending for resale homes increased by an amazing 36.% and permits for new builds increased by 38.8% in a year-on-year comparison during Q1 of 2016. According to figures collated by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH), the average price of both resale and new properties in Budapest rose by 15.53% year-on-year in Q4 of 2015, a stunning turn-around for a property market that all but collapsed in the wake of the 2008 world-wide economic crisis. However, indicators are there that the housing boom is coming to an end now. The first quarter of 2016 already showed a sharp slowdown of Hungary's GDP with a mere 0.9% growth year-on-year. That was the slowest growth rate for three years, according to KSH, with a weakening construction and industrial growth rate responsible for the slowdown. In 2017, the OECD's economic outlook for Hungary has been revised downwards from an optimistic 2.4% to a modest 1.6%. Buying Hungarian Real Estate as a foreign Investor Non-Hungarian buyers must gain the approval of the relevant Administrative Office before they are permitted to buy a property as a private individual. This process can take between two to three months, but is regulated and therefore not permitted to drag on too much. According to Hungarian property law, real estate purchases must be concluded through private contract or purchase agreement that is countersigned by a solicitor. Most Hungarian solicitors will advise foreign buyers to set up a company that is registered in Hungary to make it easier to buy a property. In such circumstances, a permit is not required, which makes the whole property purchase a lot easier and quicker. It takes only one or two days to set up a business, and all such set-up expenses can be written off. Purchases of Hungarian Real Estate by Foreigners Hungarian law requires that real estate purchases shall be concluded through private contract (purchase agreement) countersigned by a lawyer. Non-Hungarian citizens are further obliged to gain the approval of the relevant Administrative Office in order to purchase property as a private person. According to regulations most foreigners should receive a permit within 2-3 months. Most lawyers advise foreign nationals to set up a company registered in Hungary in order to purchase property. In this case, no permit is needed. This is a fairly swift and easy procedure (taking 1-2 days), and all expenses can be written off. Investors can expect modest to good rental Yields In leafy-green Buda, invest[...]

Latvia's Property Market continues to improve, with Price Rises driven by Riga Sales

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 13:14:21 GMT

Latvia's Property Market continues to improve, with Price Rises driven by Riga Sales In January 2017, Global Property Guide reported that Riga's residential real estate market had gone up by 9.75%, as foreign investors continue to purchase apartments in the country's capital at a robust pace. Supply of new builds is still weak, which has continued to plague the housing market, driving up prices. Gradually though, housing supply figures are getting better. During the first three quarters of last year, new build completions rose by 2.3% to 1,635 units, compared to the same period in 2015, according to the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia this represented an improvement of 15% in the new builds segment. An investment of 275,000 euros can provide buyers with a 2-bedroom luxury penthouse in central Riga. Taking a two-hour drive or so out of Riga and heading west to coastal town Jūrmala, buyers with a Baltic Sea retreat in mind will find fully renovated villas with 5 or 6 bedrooms for between 470,000 euros and 1,250,000 euros that come with extensive gardens. Outside of Riga house prices have been less dramatic, but in the capital sales for standard dwellings rose by 23%. Traditionally, Riga attracts house buyers from Russia and China, who are looking to buy a "Golden Visa" to gain a residence permit in an EU member state. Residence permit rules for foreign (non-EU) investors underwent several amendments in 2016. House prices and demand dropped sharply in the wake of these Golden Visa rule changes. When Russian buyers deserted Latvia's housing market in 2015, house prices nose-dived by 20% to 30%, but now they are creeping up again steadily. This is partly due to a return of Russian investors, who discovered that the changes to the rules governing foreign real estate investment and residence permits were not so drastic after all, but also comes as a result of Brexit. EU citizens fleeing migrant-unfriendly Britain in search of a better life look to beautiful Riga, and Latvians returning home from a stint in the UK are also driving demand and prices up. Last year Riga saw the highest annual house price rise for nine years, where the average apartment's asking price increased by 9.75% year-on-year in the final quarter, rising to 1,159 euros per square metre, after a growth rate of a meagre 0.28% in the same quarter a year before, according to data published by real estate agents OberHaus. Adjusted for inflation, this means Riga's apartment prices rose by 8.44% at the end of 2016. The trend was confirmed by rival real estate agents Arco, whose figures showed that Riga's apartment prices shot up by 7.66%, or 6.37% in real terms, costing on average 703.00 euros per square metre at the end of last year. Arco calculates sales transactions slightly[...]

Estonian House Prices are still robust

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 13:21:47 GMT

Estonian House Prices are still robust In April this year, Global Property Guide reported that Estonia's house prices were surging again, fuelled by low interest rates, moderate to good rental yields and rising foreign demand. Despite weaker than anticipated economic growth, last year the country's price for an average apartment in Tallinn, the capital city, grew by 12% (or 9.54% inflation-adjusted), bringing the average square metre cost to 1,744 euros, according to OverHaus. This represented a considerably increase from the price growth of 3.87% seen in 2015. The trend of rising property prices is continuing this year. In the final quarter of 2016, Tallinn's property prices for apartments shot up by 3.2% quarter-on-quarter (3% inflation-adjusted), a trend confirmed by national figures published by Statistics Estonia, the official office of statistical information. According to Statistics Estonia, the average price of a property in Tallinn purchased in 2016 rose by 8.74% to 1,692 euros per square metre, compared to a modest 4% rise in 2015, seen on a year-on-year basis. This picture was confirmed in the other main cities of Estonia, such as university city Tartu, where house prices rose by 7.54% year-on-year to 1,247 euros per square metre in 2016, and in Parnu, the country's favourite summer retreat by the sea. Here the price of an average property rose by 8.14% to 999 euros per square metre, having already shot up by 15.89% in 2015. On a national level, prices for the average home in Estonia grew by 9.85% to 676 euros per square metre last year, following on from an 8.11% increase in 2015. That means that Estonian property is still a bargain compared to markets like Spain, France, Italy or Portugal for example. Wages in Estonia have remained fairly constant over the past 12 months, but with more Europeans settling in the country, there has been huge foreign appetite for property in Tallinn, Tartu and Parnu, and anywhere within an hour's drive of these three cities. Local property experts believe that the Estonian housing market is therefore going to remain robust in 2017. Estonian Rental Yields The market is partly driven by moderate to good rental yields, ranging in Tallinn from 5.3% to 6.3% gross, according to the Global Property Guide's research data, which was confirmed by OberHaus, whose own data showed that gross rental yields for apartments in Tallinn last year ranged from 5% to 5.5%, depending on city location and quality of the apartment. OberHaus also found that smaller apartments tend to bring higher rental returns for buy-to-let landlords. An apartment with 40 square meters offers moderate to good rental yields at 6.%, but an apartment with 120 square metres only earns rental yields of 5.3%. The reason for t[...]

French House Prices continue to rise

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:01:38 GMT

French House Prices continue to rise A combination of stagnant wages, lack of labour reform, rising taxes and low economic growth meant France's property market took quite a while to recover from the world-wide economic crisis and banking crash of 2007. However, now that recovery is here at long last, many regions are seeing house prices go up in leaps and bounds. In part this is being fuelled by greater optimism, now that a new political party and president are in charge. But its demand is also rising because of Brexit. Since the UK decided to leave the European Union in March 2019, worried Brits hoping to retire to France have been bringing their plans forward to buy a home. Even Brexiteers who campaigned loudly on behalf of the LEAVE vote in 2016 are now flocking to Paris to buy an apartment - just in case it all goes horribly, horribly wrong across the Channel. Report by Notaires de France shows House Price Gains in nearly all Parts of France for Q1 2017 Almost all parts of France recorded significant house price gains in the first quarter of this year. A few, such as Toulouse and Montpellier in the south of the country, did see a slump with 4.6% and 7.3% respectively, bringing the average house price down to between 259,000 and 287,500 euros. But in Nantes house prices rose by 6.6%, now costing 260,000 euros on average. In Bordeaux, prices escalated, rising by 8.7% to 287,500 euros for the average property. Strasbourg, Nancy and Lille also saw price rises of between 5% and 10%. In Greater Paris house prices increased by 2.1% overall, now costing on average just under 300,000 euros, helped no doubt by those fleeing post-Brexit Britain well ahead of time. By category, over the twelve month period French apartment prices rose by 3.2%, and house values increased by 2.3%, compared to the same 12 month period in 2016. New builds and new housing developments head the trend, while older style apartments and houses are falling in price and demand - understandably, when demand for French property is partly driven by UK pensioners, who don't want to take on a renovation project. London-based insurers, banks and other financial service companies are also in the process of moving their European headquarters to Paris, Dublin and Frankfurt, and this has already had an impact on real estate prices in those cities. Their employees are making advance purchases of residential properties, wherever possible, while the financial service providers are taking on long-term leases or buying office blocks. According to the Global Property Guide, property prices in Paris rose for three consecutive quarters in 2016, which means they have now risen steadily for a full year. By the end of 2016, apartment prices in Pari[...]