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News and articles on worldwide property and real estate investment


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 it 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 Paris stood at an average of 8,100 euros per square metre, according to La Chambre des Notaires de Paris, the Chamber of Notaries of Paris. Now may be a good time to buy, because post-Brexit prices for Greater Paris apartments and houses may well be significantly higher than they are now.

Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of

Bulgaria's House Prices continue to rise sharply thanks to falling Interest Rates and stable Economy

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 10:41:11 GMT

Bulgaria's House Prices continue to rise sharply thanks to falling Interest Rates and stable Economy So far most countries in the euro-zone have performed far better economically than expected. Among them is Bulgaria, where residential real estate prices continue to rise sharply thanks to strong performance of the country's economy, rising international demand and falling interest rates. Bulgarian apartments and villas, even in sought-after Sofia, are surprisingly cheap, starting from as little as £39,200 in some destinations. According to the Global Property Guide, Bulgaria's real estate market suffered five years of stagnation, only to see it replaced by a rapid recovery in 2016. This recovery is being led by Bulgarian capital Sofia, where house prices are now in the double-digit, putting a broad smile on the faces of some early-bird investors. Here a one-bedroom apartment on Saborna Street near the National Bank, National Theatre and Presidency will now cost around £197,000. Interest rates have continued to hover at almost Zero per cent on bank deposits, which is why more people began to invest in Bulgaria's real estate market in 2016. The growth in demand for cheap Bulgarian apartments and villas encouraged developers, and the continued rise in completed off-plan and pre-construction residential property transactions is most encouraging. Polina Stoykova, the Executive Director of Bulgarian Properties, a leading estate agency, said that 2016 had been a very "dynamic year for the Bulgarian real estate market and for the first time in many years the trend has been entirely positive. Of course, there is always a risk when making a purchase in early stages of construction, but people are more willing to take this risk because currently demand is higher than the supply." The fact that European citizens are now able to buy real estate, including land, has had a huge impact on the overall property market in Bulgaria, which is expected to remain strong throughout 2017, with demand in major cities, especially in the capital Sofia, to continue to grow. Supply is increasingly limited by fairly low levels of new construction projects. However, with the Bulgarian economy continued expansion, the construction sector should gain confidence and see better annual growth rates, too. According to the IMF, Bulgaria's economy is forecast to expand by a further 2.8% this year, having seen annual growth rates of around 1.5% since 2014. Bulgaria's nationwide house price index grew by 8.82% during the year to Quarter 3 in 2016, according to the National Statistics Institute (NSI), and house prices increased by 1.59% during that same quarter (1.29% inflation-adjusted). Before January 2012, foreigners were only able to purchase land in the name of a legal entity and could not own a Bulgarian property themselves. The lifting of this ban has enabled EU citizens to own a property as a private individual in their own name. Location, Location, Location In Sofia house prices rose by 14.4% during the third quarter of 2016, and have continued to rise sharply this year. By contrast, house hunters in Varna saw an overall increase in house prices of 5.9% in that same quarter, and similar figures for the first six months of this year. The most sought-after locations demand the highest prices, both in terms of asking prices for property purchases and in terms of rental values. In the city centre of Sofia and Lozenets district for example, demand for rental objects continues to be high, despite seeing the greatest increase in purchase prices in Bulgaria. Here prices now range from 1,200 to 1,500 euros per square metre. However, in the districts of Druzhba, Suhata reka, and Levski buyers could find apartments at an average price of 580 euros per square metre. Head into rural Bulgaria, or to the Black Sea coast, and it's still a veritable buyers' paradise for those with small budgets. A one-bedroom apartment in Elenite, Burgas, typically costs around £40,000, while the same budget will buy[...]

EXCLUSIVE: Real Estate Entrepreneur Alfie Best Shares Property Investment Insights

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 09:43:27 GMT

Alfie Best is a success story and-a-half, having risen from humble beginnings as part of a Romany Gypsy family living in Leicester to have a net worth in excess of £250m. Alfie found his niche early in his career. Looking to provide high-quality homes for people on ordinary incomes was his mission. His belief is that there is absolutely no reason why someone shouldn't expect a great lifestyle even if they don't have a millionaire's bank balance. With this belief as his motivation, Alfie Best went on to seriously upgrade the former static home market to deliver five-star park homes set in beautiful surroundings, with stacks of community services designed to allow a fantastic lifestyle at a more affordable price. He struck gold and where the 2008 financial crisis decimated most developers in the UK, demand for more affordable housing kept on rising as people looked for cheaper alternatives to bricks and mortar. Since buying his first mobile home park in Romford, Essex, in 2001 - the Lakeview Residential Park, Wyldecrest Parks is one of the largest park home operators in the UK, with nationwide parks across England, Scotland and Wales. Propertyshowrooms was delighted to be able to speak in-depth with Alfie Best to find out more about how the entrepreneur has navigated his way to a £250m real estate fortune. Has loving what you do always been your secret to success? I think it's the secret to any good business. Any good sportsman is only any good because of his practice. He might have ability and be brilliant. He might be the most talented sportsman on earth but it always comes down to how much practice he's prepared to put in. And he'll only put in enough practice if he loves his sport - he's got to love what he does to be able to put the effort in to succeed in it. When you started making property acquisitions, did you leverage with mortgages or purchase outright? The first mobile home park we bought, we didn't have a mortgage. It was paid for outright and that was because I had done other property deals that allowed me to earn the money to buy the first park. After that, because I wanted to grow as quickly as possible, I leveraged that with mortgages on the parks and we still do that to this day. For instance we bought a small park for £11.5m and we leveraged 50% on that with HSBC. On the other hand, we've just bought two other parks and we've paid for them outright. It depends on the value and whether or not we have the funds at the time. We use a mixture of both our own funds and mortgage finance. The company is self-funding at this moment in time. So you've got quite a flexible business model from a financial point of view? I would actually say it's quite rigid. We make sure that the capital expense that we have has a core income stream that can support any borrowings that it makes. If it doesn't need to borrow the money, whether or not it can support it, we'll borrow the money anyway. We'll only borrow the money if we've only got a certain amount that's readily available to us from our own funds. How about factoring in FOREX volatility right now, particularly when dealing in the states? At the current time, it's not worth introducing capital into the US because of the pound being below value. Due to that fact, we'll be borrowing the money to buy the parks in the US. How would you say the Trump administration is going to support foreign investment going forward? He's a businessman so he knows the one thing that you can never beat is imported wealth. We live in a global world now and the more currency that you can import - in other words 'take' from another country and bring into yours is a massive, massive benefit to that country's economy. That's because that country hasn't had to earn it. Do you think we'll see investors pulling out of London in the future because of Brexit or currency weakness? I believe that the UK will actually see increasing income being brought into London and that's predominant[...]

Propertyshowrooms Pure FX Currency Update 10 August 2017

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:50:21 GMT

Euro hits multi-month highs versus pound and dollar, as Eurozone booms 10.08.2017 Peter Lavelle Welcome to Pure FX's fortnightly update of the interbank foreign exchange rates. This tells you when the exchange rate is favourable, to buy your property overseas. Euro to pound The common currency continues to rocket against sterling! The euro to pound interbank exchange rate has hit 0.9049 today, its highest since October 11th 2016, or 10 months. This is great news if you intend to transfer money from the Eurozone to the UK to buy a property, as you'll receive a much higher pound total than any time in almost a year. Why has sterling weakened? Well, it's because the UK's trade deficit ballooned to - £4.56 billion in June, an 8-month high, while the UK has been "a bit absent" from recent Brexit talks, says former Foreign Office chief Sir Simon Fraser. Pound to US dollar Sterling stays strong versus the greenback! The pound has touched 1.30 against the US dollar this week, 7 cents higher than at the start of 2017, and close to its highest since September last year. The buck has lost out, because US President Donald Trump has warned that he'll launch "fire and fury" against North Korea, causing financial markets to question Mr. Trump's judgement. If you plan to exchange currencies to buy a property in the USA, this is excellent news, as it means you'll receive a far higher US dollar total than if you'd made you transfer at the start of this year! Euro to US dollar The euro to US dollar interbank exchange rate remains favourable! The common currency has reached 1.17 against the greenback this week, very close its highest in 20 months, or since January 2nd 2015. If you plan to transfer money from the Eurozone to the USA to buy a property in America, this is highly advantageous for you, as you'll receive a much higher US dollar total. Why has the dollar declined? Well, it's because special prosecutor Robert Mueller has appointed a Grand Jury to investigate President Trump's connections with Russia, putting Mr. Trump under pressure. Euro to United Arab Emirates dirham The euro continues to stand tall versus the United Arab Emirates dirham! The Eurozone's common currency touched 4.29 against the dirham this week, just a whisker below its highest since early January 2015. Why has the euro triumphed against the dirham? Well, it's because the United Arab Emirates currency is pegged to the US dollar, so when the euro jumps against the greenback, the euro soars versus the dirham too. This is excellent news if you intend to transfer money from the Eurozone to the UAE to buy a property, as you'll currently receive a higher higher dirham total! Euro to Turkish lira The euro to Turkish lira interbank exchange rate continues to fly! The common currency has hit 4.14 against the lira this week, just below its highest in at least 12 years, or since 2005. This is highly advantageous to you if you intend to transfer money from the Eurozone to buy a Turkish property, as you'll receive far more liras, thereby significantly cutting your costs! The lira has sunk, first because Turkey's industrial production rose just 3.5% in May compared to a year ago, below forecasts. What's more, Turkish inflation fell to a 6-month low of just 9.79% in May too. Euro to Thai baht The euro flexes its muscles versus the Thai baht! The euro to baht interbank exchange rate reached 38.94 this week, just a touch below its highest in 14 months, or since June 16th 2016. The common currency has spread its wings, because German exporters are "euphoric" and "in high spirits", according to economics watchdog Ifo, as business booms. With this in mind, it's a brilliant time to transfer money from the Eurozone to Thailand, to buy a property, as you'll receive a far higher baht total in your Thai bank account. In turn, this will cut your costs for your Thai property! [...]

Portugal's House Prices continue to improve

Wed, 9 Aug 2017 10:38:44 GMT

News that pop star Madonna went house-hunting in Portugal in June this year seems to have inspired other foreign buyers to go house-hunting in the country again. Great variety of properties on the market, great-value-for-money, good rental yields for holiday lettings and capital gains in areas where prices are going up mean that Portugal is once again a popular destination for foreign investors and people looking for a Portuguese holiday home. The recovery of Portugal's residential real estate market began in 2014. Portuguese house prices continue to rise, as the country's economy continues to recover from the worst recession in living memory. According to data published by Statistics Portugal (INE), the country saw house prices rise by 3.84% (or 2.97% in real terms) in October 2016, compared to 2015. At the close of the year the average square metre cost 1,081 euros or US $1,130. Seen by property type, prices for Portuguese villas increased by 4.77% or 3.89% in real terms, and Portugal's apartment prices increased by 3.31% or 2.44% in real terms in October 2016, seen in a year-on-year comparison with 2015. Lisbon has become the European destination of choice for tech entrepreneurs and digital nomads. Property prices in Lisbon grew by 2.59% or 1.72% in real terms year-on-year in October 2016, now costing on average 1,308 euros or US $1,367 per square metre. Indeed, house prices improved in all of Portugal's 24 urban areas, with Santa Maria da Feira seeing the highest growth rate of all with 12.2% during that period. Demand has also increased steadily. Total transactions recorded increased by 15.8% to 31,535 year-on-year in October 2016, according to INE data. Speaking to the Global Property Guide, Chris White of real estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal, enthused that "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." Good Value for Money As far as foreign buyers are concerned, Portuguese property is excellent value for money, even when buying in the Algarve or in Lisbon city centre. While a 120 square metre apartment in the beautiful Algarve may come with an average price per metre of 1,786 euros (October 2016), and a 120 square metre Lisbon apartment costs 2,543 euros per square metre on average (same period), in Madeira the square metre costs just 1,205 euros on average for a similar-sized apartment. Given how much such a Mediterranean property would cost on the Italian coastline or at the Costa del Sol in Spain, Portugal is remarkably good value for money. Good Rental Yields for Lisbon's Apartments While gross rental yields from Algarve-based apartments are quite moderate, ranging from 3.5% to 3.8% (Global Property Guide data from September 2016), Lisbon's apartments saw gross rental yields ranging from 5.4% to 6.2% last autumn. The country's economy has continued to improve since then, and rental yields have followed suit. Perhaps surprisingly, smaller apartments remain the most profitable in the rental sector. An average one bedroom, one bathroom apartment with just 50 square metres of floor space in Lisbon sees rental yields of ca. 6.32%. By contrast, according to Global Property Guide research, a 250 square metre apartment returns merely 4.5% in rental yields. Lisbon villas are also a good investment for buy-to-let landlords. Here rental yields ranging from 5.45% to 6.05% were recorded in September 2016, and have steadily gone up as entrepreneurs and digital nomads are relocating to the Portuguese city. Again, larger villas have smaller rental yields. In Lisbon, the average apartment can be rented from ca. 12 euros to 14 euros per square metre per month, which means the average 120-square metre apartment can be rented for ca. 1,434 euros per month, while the average villa with 450 square metres rents for ca. 4,185 euros per month or between 9.00 [...]

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Multi Millionaire Alfie Best is coming to America!

Mon, 7 Aug 2017 11:04:08 GMT

Alfie Best is something of a celebrity in the UK, following high-profile TV performances including BBC's Britain's Spending Secrets, Channel 5's How the Other Half Lives with Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford and most recently, an interview with formidable broadcaster Ann Robinson. Alfie's rags to riches backstory is now legendary and has boosted his profile further as being someone millions of ordinary Brits can relate to and identify with. Born in Leicester in 1970 and growing up in a poor Romany Gypsy family, Alfie started on his road to riches as a penniless youngster. At the age of just 14 he launched his own business buying and selling cars and vans and a decade later, was the owner of several mobile phone shops across London. Alfie Best bought his first mobile home park in Romford, Essex, in 2001 - the Lakeview Residential Park. Fourteen years later, Wyldecrest Parks is one of the largest park home operators in the country, with nationwide parks across England, Scotland and Wales. Wyldecrest Park Homes have become synonymous with five-star luxury, set in beautiful locations with a wealth of on-site services and a welcoming community of homeowners. Propertyshowrooms was delighted to have the chance to speak to Alfie Best, who generously gave up his time last Sunday to talk to us about his latest venture; taking his luxury brand of park homes to America. Where in the states have you been looking and what kind of real estate projects have you been looking at? We're currently negotiating to purchase five what they call manufactured park homes in America. We've agreed the deal and it's now in the hands of solicitors to get the purchases finalized and closed. They've been signed over and we're just in the hands of their attorneys to get everything closed. The parks are located in a place called Ocala, which is mid-Florida. Is this your first foray into the States? We started our investigations in America last year and we finally made the transition this year, getting it underway. We also started negotiating with people that had park homes over here that wanted to move to America for 2 or 3 years and still have the opportunity to come back to the UK. This allows us to provide a great lifestyle opportunity for owners in the UK and at the same time, a good source of occupants for the new parks in the US. Would you say that your demographic is people approaching retirement age? We don't discriminate against anybody, although the clientele we tend to deal with are mostly retired or semi-retired. Are park homes the equivalent of trailer parks in the US? Yes that's exactly what they are. In America the model is really very low cost housing and it's at the bottom rung of the ladder where housing is concerned, whereas here in the UK it really isn't like that. If anything park homes are rivaling the value of a traditional house. They compare well for what they sell for too. What are the main reasons people want to live in park homes? In the UK, from the naked eye it's impossible to tell the difference from a park home and a bungalow. They are virtually the same. BUT to buy a like-for-like property, then you're talking about 50% more of the value of a park home. So when people buy a park home in one of your developments, they also getting the benefit of location and other community services provided on site? Yes, and they're also freeing up capital by moving into a more affordable park home. In America, we're going to do the same as we've done here which is to deliver - as far as I'm concerned - five star homes and move away from the perception of being on the bottom rung of the housing ladder. I'm not saying that the standard trailer home doesn't fill the hole in the market in the States, but that's not the model that we're going to be going after. Do you think that there's been a rise in demand for this kind of housing since the finan[...]

How to obtain a NIE Number in or outside of Spain

Mon, 7 Aug 2017 09:07:05 GMT

Why do you need a Spanish NIE number? If you're planning to become a permanent resident or want to buy a Spanish property, you will need an NIE number. Unfortunately, the rules as to what exactly you need the NIE for, such as work or residency for example, change according to where in Spain you apply for them and when. This can therefore only be temporary overview to give you an idea of what the Spanish NIE is for and how to obtain it, whether you already reside in Spain or are still living in your home country. What is the Spanish NIE? The NIE is your all-purpose tax and identification number for all things official in Spain. NIE stands for Número de Identidad de Extranjero, which translates as Identification Number for Foreigners. You will need it to buy a car, a home in Marbella or Mallorca, pay your taxes, even to get connected to utilities such as electricity or telephone. If you do not possess an NIE, Spain's tax authorities cannot process or even assess your annual tax payments such as IRPF (income tax), and the much-debated and despised Patrimonio (annual wealth tax). Both of these taxes must be declared by non-resident and resident property owners alike. If you are an EU citizen and intend to spend longer than 3 months in Spain after getting your NIE number, you are required to register as a non-resident or apply for residency and get a government certificate that shows your NIE number. Since mid-2016 NIE numbers are supposed to be valid indefinitely, but because it takes Spanish bureaucrats a long time to get round to changing their ways and processes, you may find that regulations concerning the NIE rules are not uniformly understood or applied. In practice, this might mean that some notaries won't accept a certificate that is older than 3 months. This can might present problems for home buyers who want to sign deeds more than 3 months after obtaining their NIE certificate. Although technically one can get an NIE anytime before a property purchase, it is best to leave applying for an NIE until the final trip to Spain, when one has found one's dream home and is ready to complete the home buying transaction within 3 months of making an offer. Who must apply for a Spanish NIE? Any foreigner planning to become a Spanish resident for tax purposes must obtain an NIE number Any foreigner who purchases a property in Spain, even if they don't intend to live in it as a permanent resident. If you're buying the property as a couple, and both your names will be stated on the deeds, then both of you must get an NIE number in Spain Anyone who wants to start a business in Spain or wants to work in the country When do you need to have a Spanish NIE number? If you apply for your NIE in Spain, it takes at least one month before it arrives in time for you to sign the deeds of your property purchase in the presence of a notary, a transaction known in Spanish property law as the Escritura. If you are applying for an NIE from abroad via a Spanish consulate or embassy, it will take at least 2 months for your NIE number to come through. How long this will take in reality depends on where you apply and what time of the year you apply. At the busiest times it can take several weeks to come through, while sometimes it's ready within a couple of days for those applying directly in Spain. It's best to allow plenty of time for the NIE to arrive, if you are hoping to complete a property purchase in Spain. How to apply for an NIE number? Any dealings with Spanish authorities are hugely frustrating and, more often than not, utterly baffling. Regulations perfectly valid and easy to apply in Catalonia, may well be interpreted totally differently in Andalusia and vice versa. In some places, such as Barcelona for example, you must make an appointment online well in advance to apply for your NIE number, before you can stand in a queue fo[...]

Malta's Real Estate Sector still booming

Wed, 2 Aug 2017 10:50:05 GMT

Malta's Real Estate Sector still booming Both Malta's residential and commercial real estate markets are seeing unprecedented demand in 2017. According to The Malta Times, over 500 participants are expected at Malta-based Start-up Gathering this September, a clear sign that Malta is not just a hot tip among holiday home hunters, but also of increasing interest to entrepreneurs looking for a base in the EU. This year's edition of "ZEST", the predominant gathering for Malta-based start-ups, will take place on 19th and 20th September. A brain-child of the Malta Communications Authority, the innovation event will be hosted by the Radisson Blu Golden Sands Resort & Spa. The 500 plus participants will include CEOs and start-up founders, influencers, investors, support professionals and entrepreneurial talent in a cosmopolitan gathering. Some of these participants are already local residents (expats and Maltese-born), but quite a few people are expected to fly in specially for the event. ZEST is regarded as a great networking opportunity, where participants can discover Malta-based opportunities as well as build business relationships. Over the past few years, Malta's government has worked hard to create an entrepreneur-friendly habitat, aiming to turn Malta into one of the first countries to embrace certain disruptive technologies such as block-chain, one of several initiatives pursued by tech start-ups. Attracting cutting edge technology start-ups to Malta brings not only many economic advantages in terms of new jobs and corporate investment, but also private investment, as entrepreneurs need offices, housing ect. Malta's residential and commercial real estate sector has been booming as a result. ZEST gatherings are held in a very informal format, where discussions and talks are short, but to the point. Topics under review include investment and business foresight, organisational culture, scaling strategies and the impact emerging technologies have on established verticals such as content, finance and hospitality for example. Some of the speakers already confirmed for this year include Dr Ulrich Bez, credited with turning around the fortunes of luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin; Paul Teng, who is the co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at SIXCAP; Jenn Hirsch, who is Global Technology Tend Scout for accountancy firm Ernst & Young; and Samer Karam, who is Creator and Organiser of BDL Accelerate in Lebanon. SIXCAP is one of this year's sponsors of the ZEST event, as are Sherpa and Go Beyond Investing. There are still a limited number of early bird tickets available until 13th August – please contact organisers MCA for more information via e-mail . Malta's Economy is expected to grow by 3.7% in 2017 Such a growth rate would mean Malta would see the third-highest expansion of economy within the EU, after Romania and Luxembourg. Favourable labour market conditions and continued positive development, coupled with increased private consumption, are cited as driving factors. Malta also saw the third lowest unemployment rate in Europe at around 4.1% in 2016, that's next only to Germany and the Czech Republic, and just half the Euro-zones (EA19) average unemployment rate of 9.5%. All of the above makes Malta one of the EU's fastest growing economies, and that attracts many entrepreneurs and house hunters to the islands. Unlike Spain, Malta has very few empty properties, according to Malta's Developer Association. In 2016, the association's president Sandro Chetcuti said at a conference organised by audit firm EY that only half of the 55,000 residential properties on the market were listed as vacant, and these were second homes or holiday homes. The Maltese government had encouraged use of vacant properties by cutting stamp duty on transfers of properties within urban conservation areas[...]

37 Per Cent of all US Homes sold in 2016 went to Investors

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 10:42:35 GMT

37 Per Cent of all US Homes sold in 2016 went to Investors Home ownership in 2016 was the lowest for five decades, as people sought to rent rather than buy in the USA. While the USA's residential real estate market is not so favourable to private individuals looking to buy a home, there is plenty of scope for buy-to-let landlords and investors hoping to let holiday homes. Among foreign buyers, Florida is still a preferred destination. Like all of the USA's twenty major cities, Miami saw a spectacular increase in house prices before the world-wide economic crisis hit in 2008. During the boom, which began in 1996 and began to cool off by 2006, Miami saw house values rise by 213.1 per cent - almost a moderate rise, when compared with Los Angeles though, which saw house prices rise by a staggering 265.5 per cent during that time. Since a disastrous crash in 2008, Florida has experienced a nice upturn, but as with all other residential property markets, "location, location, location" is the all important factor for capital gains and rental yields. If you're looking to buy an investment property, then it's not just a question of sunshine and accessibility of beaches. To attract short- and long-term tenants, your Florida property must be near shops, schools and cultural amenities. These factors will not only determine the asking price you pay, but also the rental values you can ask for and the resale price you'll eventually get. A budget of between US $500,000 and US $600,000 still buys quite a lot of residential real estate in Florida. For example, house hunt in Windermere, Orange County with a budget of US $550,000, and you should easily find a lovely 5-bed house with spacious grounds. For US $499,000 it's not unheard of to find a 4-bedroom house in the same location. Head out to Miami-Dade County, however, and a similar sized house will cost in the region of US $13,900,000. Here investors and holiday home buyers pay for luxury and exclusivity, when they buy turnkey houses in the 24-hour police-guarded, gated Bay Point community, a typical example of Miami's top-end properties. These are Italian villa style houses with five to six bedrooms and large grounds that contain at least one swimming pool and usually also tennis courts and a private jetty for berthing a yacht or motor launch. The homes come complete with spa and sauna, steam room and gym, heated indoor and outdoor pool, summer house, servants' quarters and state-of-the-art technological integration throughout. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. national home price index, regional markets, in particular Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami and California, were hit with huge price corrections, ranging from losses between 40% to 65% in the years between 2006 and 2012. Construction activity in these areas was equally hit, with numbers for new builds falling from 1.49 million a month in March 2007 to below 0.5 million a month in the first quarter of 2009. However, seen over a longer period of time, the US housing market has remained surprisingly robust, and the last five years have seen a remarkable recovery in most parts of the US. According to the Global Property Guide for North America, demand over the last five years has continued to strengthen, and residential construction activity is growing. Last year the Standard & Poor/Case-Shiller seasonally-adjusted national home price index saw a 5.83 per cent rise (3.71 per cent in real terms), following year-on-year rises of 5.27 per cent in 2015, 4.52 per cent in 2014, 10.74 per cent in 2013 and 6.47 per cent in 2012. This compares to a 6.2 per cent rise in the seasonally-adjusted purchase-only US house price index published by the Federal Housing Finance Agency for 2016 (4.07 per cent in real terms). In fact, last year saw large house price increases in all twenty major cities, with Mia[...]

Euro Jumps Versus Pound and US Dollar, as Eurozone Economy Heats Up

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:21:52 GMT

Euro Jumps Versus Pound and US Dollar, as Eurozone Economy Heats Up 27.07.2017 Peter Lavelle Welcome to Pure FX's fortnightly update of the interbank foreign exchange rates. This tells you when the exchange rate is favourable, to buy your property overseas. Euro to pound The common currency triumphs against sterling! The euro to pound interbank exchange rate has reached 0.8953 today, extremely close to its highest since November 2nd last year, or 9 months. When you transfer money from the Eurozone to the UK, you'll hence receive a far larger pound total, making buying your UK property more affordable for you. Why has sterling lost out? Well, it's because the UK economy expanded just 0.3% between April and June, a sharp slowdown compared to 2016. This has cut the odds that the Bank of England will lift interest rates above 0.25%. Pound to US dollar Sterling struts its stuff against the greenback! The pound to US dollar interbank exchange rate has shot up to 1.3153 today, its strongest in 10 months, or since September 15th 2016. Hence, you'll get a far higher US dollar total, when you transfer money from the UK to the USA, to buy your foreign property. The dollar has lost out, because America's central bank, the Federal Reserve, has suggested that US inflation will stay below the Fed's 2.0% target for a while to come. This puts less pressure on the Fed to lift interest rates above their current 1.00-1.25%, weighing on the buck. Euro to US dollar The common currency stands tall versus the buck! The euro to US dollar interbank exchange rate has reached its highest in 30 months today, or since January 9th 2015, at 1.1769. With this in mind, it's an excellent time to transfer money from the Eurozone to the USA to buy your foreign property, as you'll receive a much larger US dollar total. The greenback is on its knees, because US special prosecutor Robert Mueller has expanded his investigation of President Donald Trump's connections with Russia, to include Mr. Trump's businesses. This will then distract the White House. Euro to Turkish lira The euro flies high versus the lira! The euro to Turkish lira interbank exchange rate has reached 4.1618 this week, its strongest in at least 12 years. Given this, if you intend to buy a property in Turkey, it's an outstanding time to transfer money from the Eurozone to Turkey, as you'll receive the highest euro total since at least 2005. Why has the euro strengthened? Well, it's because the Eurozone economy is flexing its muscles. For instance, Spain's unemployment rate fell -0.58% in June, to 17.22%, while German consumer confidence rose this month, thereby boosting the euro. Euro to United Arab Emirates dirham The euro shoots for the moon versus the dirham! The euro to UAE dirham interbank exchange rate has touched 4.3084 today, its strongest in more than 30 months, or since January 9th 2015. This is because the dirham is pegged to the US dollar. Hence, as the euro strengthens against the greenback, the euro jumps versus the dirham too! With this in mind, if you intend to buy a property in the United Arab Emirates, it's the ideal time to do so, as you'll receive a much higher dirham total, thus cutting your costs. Euro to Thai baht The common currency lays down four aces versus the baht! The euro to Thai baht interbank exchange rate has reached its highest in more than 9 months today, or since October 12th 2016, at 39.12. Why? Well, because Thailand's GDP is forecast to grow just 3% this year, far slower than Thailand's South-East Asian regional neighbours, as Thailand struggles to shift its economy away from lower-value manufacturing. With this in mind, it's the ideal time to transfer money from the Eurozone to Thailand, as you'll receive a much larger baht total[...]

Buying Resale Property in Dubai

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:41:25 GMT

Since legislation was changed in 2002, it has been far easier for foreigners to rent and buy property in Dubai. It is, however, still necessary to present a valid passport to prove your identity, but you are not required to have any type of residency permit before you are permitted to buy property. If you do wish to live in the Dubai apartment you purchase, you will need to apply for a visa and residence permit though. A six month visa designed for property investors, the "Property Holders Visa" allows potential buyers to stay in Dubai for a full six months to explore investment opportunities at leisure. In order to qualify, the selected property must have a value exceeding one million Dirham (approximately US $272,000) and the property must be bought by a private individual, not a company. The majority of foreign property buyers will probably be looking to buy off-plan, but with many prestigious developments now completed, there are actually quite a few resale opportunities in Dubai that should be of interest to both buy-to-let landlords and relocators starting a new job in Dubai. In order to buy a Dubai resale property, you must agree terms with the vendor and these terms must be recorded in a Memorandum of Understanding. This basic documents states the terms and conditions agreed between the two parties, including the date of the final purchase or completion date of the sale. Although not a legally binding document, it is a necessary first step towards buying resale property in Dubai. As soon as the Memorandum of Understanding is signed by both parties, the purchaser must pay the deposit, usually ca. 10 per cent of the total purchase price. Buyer beware: the deposit you pay is typically non-refundable, unless there is a valid reason why the vendor cannot progress with the sale. Changing your mind about the property selected could therefore be an expensive error! The payment of a deposit is also the point when commission payable to the real estate agent becomes due. This tends to be somewhere between 2 per cent and 5 per cent of the total purchase price. As soon as both agreement and financing your purchase are in place, the next phase, completion, can be undertaken. Foreign buyers must pay 100 per cent of the purchase price BEFORE the deeds can be transferred, the same as with off-plan purchases. The best way to do this is to make an appointment at the Land Department, where all relevant paperwork must be presented. This Land Department meeting will typically consist of the real estate agent, the buyer and a representative from the bank financing the purchase. Be sure to select only Dubai properties that were built by approved developers. The UEA government publishes a list of these, and they include for example Diamond Developers Co. Ltd, K M Properties LLC, Falcon City of Wonders LLC, Remah Holding Limited and JAD24 Investment Ltd, who all have a track record for producing stunning developments that sell well. The latter, JAD24, were responsible for the Celestial Heights development in Dubai's Jebel Ali district, a popular mixed development typical for modern downtown Dubai. The imposing triple tower complex boasts contemporary architecture that provides commercial and residential tenants with cleverly designed spaces for comfortable working, living, shopping and entertainment. The apartments are equally suited for long- and short-term lettings. Located in the up-and-coming new centre of Dubai, next to Dubai waterfront and Dubai World Central Airport, the triple tower development comprises of Polaris, a 22-floor commercial tower with free zone business license and Orion, a 20-floor residential tower, and the much smaller Capella, a 10-floor residential block on Sheikh Za[...]

Cyprus increasingly Popular with foreign Buyers

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 15:11:34 GMT

Spain may still be the preferred location for Brits to look for a holiday home, but Cyprus is catching up nicely in the affection of foreign buyers, and not just for holiday properties either. Increasingly, places like Cyprus and Malta are seeing foreign investment and new business arrive at their shores.

Blessed with beautiful Mediterranean beaches, ancient Greek monuments and legends, and a wide range of property styles, Cyprus has a long history with British buyers. A vibrant nightlife, wide range of leisure activities suitable for all ages, and a strong expat community make Cyprus a fabulous place to buy a second home.

The island did not escape unscathed from the world-wide financial crisis of 2008. Between 2010 and 2015, Cyprus saw property prices fall by as much as 50 per cent, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. However, recent demand has seen prices rise again, albeit slowly. It is, therefore, still possible to find a nice resale apartment with two bedrooms and one bathroom for just under £50,000 around Famagusta, and a 3 bedroom villa with swimming pool and sun terrace near Paphos for around £360,000.

Spanning just 240 kilometres in length and a mere 100 kilometres in width, Cyprus is small enough for relocators to settle in quickly, but large enough for holidaymakers to have plenty to explore during repeated visits year after year. From the Troodos Mountains in the heart of the island, to the verdant forests of pine, cypress and oak between those mountains and the shore, there are many wonderful things to discover and be continuously amazed at the natural beauty of the island and the friendliness of its people.

And it's still an affordable holiday destination in which to buy, a fact German, Swiss and Scandinavian buyers are beginning to appreciate more and more: a typical two bedroom/two bathroom apartment in a desirable area like the village of Germasogeia for example will cost around £131,000, and have its own outdoor terrace and come with stunning sea and mountain views.

Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of

How to get a Mortgage in Spain

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 13:14:39 GMT

In some areas of Spain, such as Mallorca for example, it's almost impossible these days to rent long-term, at least not at a reasonable rental rate. It makes sense, given that Spanish property prices are still comparatively low, to buy a holiday home. However, Spain has been plagued by manifold property scandals, and it's therefore imperative to do as much research as possible before taking the decision to buy. Make sure you appoint a good, reputable lawyer, never leave anything that could become costly in the hands of developers or estate agents, and above all, ensure that every document you sign is translated, if you're not fluent in Spanish! Unless you have already sold your primary residence and freed up a large amount of cash - or have won the lottery - you are likely to be looking to buy with a mortgage. Since Spain encourages foreign investment, non-residents can obtain a mortgage for residential property in Spain, but there are not as many of such mortgage products open to non-residents as there are for residents, and some restrictions apply. In principal, getting a mortgage is like this: Find out how much you can borrow - a deposit of up to 30% is typical, but your mortgage adviser can help you find the right type of mortgage for the deposit you have. You must provide the requested documentation to apply for your Spanish mortgage. The bank will usually give usually if you have the required deposit and can prove you can service the mortgage payments thereafter for the required length of the mortgage. You must apply for your NIE number at the local immigration office, usually part of a designated police station. It is a required Spanish identification number. You sign all the pre-contractual documents requested by the bank, for example Banco de España (Bank of Spain), to confirm that you understand and agree to all the conditions. Watch out for Spanish small print, which often hides interest rate hikes in vaguely worded sub-clauses! You sign the mortgage deeds at the notary along with the house purchase deeds. You move into your dream holiday or retirement home! Because there are various restrictions to the type of mortgages non-residents can obtain, it is usually best to determine beforehand what your most likely residential status will be, before choosing a product. Are you likely to retire soon or relocate for work purposes and become a permanent resident? This may well open up a better range of mortgage options. Lenders view a second mortgage as far more risky than the mortgage you may have on your primary residence. This means such mortgages are offered at worse interest rate ranges than homes where you will live all year round. Lenders assume that anyone in danger of defaulting on payments, will do so on a holiday home rather than their main home. For this reason, lenders in Spain are more likely to look for a 30 to 40 per cent deposit, before they will allow your mortgage application to go forward. Some banks in Spain, however, allow 80 per cent mortgages, so you will only need a 20 per cent deposit in that case. On top of that come costs, which include legal costs for your notary and any translator you might need, and various mortgage fees and taxes. This can all mount up quickly, so it is best to allow for a further 12 to 15 per cent of the purchase price to pay for purchase costs. How do Spanish Lenders assess your creditworthiness? This can vary from lender to lender, but most Spanish banks will ask you to provide a list of all your monthly outgoings (you will need to provide proof of this, such as bank statements for the previous three to six months before applying for example), an[...]

German beach-front Holiday Homes

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 09:00:14 GMT

Germany's stunning Baltic and North Sea coastlines present holidaymakers with endless miles of white sandy beaches, pine-shaded promenades and plenty of water sports activities like sailing, fishing and wind-surfing - not to mention award-winning seafood restaurants. For investors, the manifold attractions of islands like Amrum, Sylt or Rügen and upmarket resorts like Travemünde and Timmendorfer-Strand in the Lübecker Bucht, just an hour's drive from Hamburg, offer good holiday rental yields and excellent capital gains potential.

The island of Sylt is one of Germany's most sought-after holiday destinations and this is reflected in the price. This is where TV celebrities meet premier league footballers over a steaming cup of Pharisäer and create headlines. Sylt is the largest of the North Frisian Islands, and lies in the far north of Schleswig-Holstein. Its main tourist resorts are Kampen, Westerland and Wenningstedt-Braderup.

The island boasts a 25-mile long (40-km long) sandy beach in the east. Sylt is accessible via flights to Hamburg and Copenhagen, and connected by train and road via the Hindenburgdamm causeway. To the east, Sylt overlooks the marshlands of the Wadden Sea, which is part of the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty, ideal for hiking, biking, bird-watching and water sports.

The average asking price per square metre currently stands at 6,700 euros, an increase of more than 7 per cent, compared to 2016. Just over 53 per cent of properties on offer in Sylt are houses, of which the most desirable are traditional red-brick built farm houses whose thatched roofs and extensive gardens represent what make Sylt such a charming, romantic place to visit.

Expect to pay at least 845,000 euros for a historic farmhouse with 96 square metres of floorspace and two bedrooms. A similar property with 125 square metres of floorspace and a total of 5 rooms, or three bedrooms, costs on average ca. 1,490,000 euros.

However, a 1990-built, fully updated, semi-detached house containing two spacious holiday apartments and sitting in a 213 square metre plot, can be found for around 749,000 euros. Sylt attracts year-round tourism, so rental yields are far better than at other island resorts, such as Binz or Prora on the island of Rügen for example, which are predominantly summer holiday destinations.

Buying via a German bank, building society or estate agency adds at least 5.95 per cent commission to the overall purchase price. This is payable right at the end, when the notary completes the transaction between vendor and buyer. Buying is very safe in Germany - and quick! Even if the buyer makes the purchase with a mortgage, the whole process can be completed in seven days, if no unforeseen problems arise.

Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of

Propertyshowrooms Pure FX Currency Update 13 July 2017

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 12:56:12 GMT

13.07.2017 Peter Lavelle Welcome to Pure FX's fortnightly update of the foreign exchange rates. This tells you when the exchange rate is favourable, to buy your property overseas. Euro to pound The common currency aims for the stars versus sterling! The euro to pound exchange rate has hit its highest in 8 months this week, or since November 2nd last year, at 0.8925. If you intend to buy a property in the UK, you'll hence receive a far higher pound total when you transfer money. Why has the euro strengthened against the pound? Well, because recently Bank of England policymaker Ben Broadbent said that he's "not ready" to make a decision about UK interest rates. This has lifted the odds that UK interest rates will stay at their all-time lows of 0.25% for longer, thus weighing on sterling! Pound to US dollar The pound takes the advantage against the US dollar! Sterling has hit 1.2945 against the greenback this week, less than -1 cent below its highest in 10 months, or since September 22nd. If you intend to buy a property in the USA, you'll hence receive a greater US dollar total if you transfer money at present. Sterling is strong against the dollar, because yesterday Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen said that the US central bank may not be able to hike interest rates by "all that much". This raised fears that US interest rates may plateau at a lower level than the past, dragging down the dollar! Euro to US dollar The common currency positively rockets against the greenback! The euro to US dollar exchange rate has hit 1.1467 this week, extremely close to its highest in 2-and-a-half years, or since January 16th 2015. This makes this a fantastic time to transfer money to the USA, if you plan to buy a property in America, as you'll receive a higher dollar total. The euro is flying high against the buck, because recently European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has become much more upbeat about the Eurozone's economic outlook, and raised the possibility of tapering the ECB's vast monetary stimulus! Euro to Turkish lira The euro shows us what it's made of versus the Turkish lira! The common currency has hit 4.14 against the lira this week, just a touch below its strongest in at least 12 years, or since January 2005. Given this, if you plan to buy a property in Turkey, it's a fantastic time to transfer money to your Turkish bank account, as you'll get a higher lira total than any time in more than a decade. The lira has weakened, because it's feared that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's increasingly dictator-like behaviour may threaten the rule of law, while Turkish industrial output is sluggish too! Euro to United Arab Emirates dirham The euro flexes its muscles versus the UAE dirham! The common currency has reached 4.18 against the dirham this week, just a whisker below its highest in 30 months, or since mid-January 2015. Why? Well, because the UAE currency is pegged to the US dollar. Hence, as the euro climbs against the dollar, the euro rises versus the dirham too. When you exchange currencies to buy a property in the United Arab Emirates, this outstanding rate will greatly lift your dirham total! Euro to Thai baht The euro hops, skips and jumps versus the Thai baht! The Eurozone's currency has hit 39.08 against the baht this week, extremely close to its strongest in 9 months, or since October 2016. Why? Well, because the Eurozone economy is on the up and up, growing at the fastest rate since before the financial crisis in early 2017. Meanwhile, the baht is on the ropes, because there are concerns that Thailand's emphasis on tourism may [...]

Is Germany's Housing Boom about to go bust?

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 08:57:03 GMT

After decades of minimal growth, Germany's residential real estate market has experienced unprecedented boom times, but is this boom about to end? It's a question that has worried economists and real estate experts for quite some time now. So have the good times come to an end for property investors? German urban Boom ends as Investors head out of Cities A recently published study by the Zentrale Immobilien Ausschuss (ZIA - Germany's Central Real Estate Association) looked at the first quarter of this year and concluded that the trend for unlimited price increases in cities like Munich, Hamburg and Cologne was decidedly at an end. Prices had reached dizzying heights - Munich saw increases of ca. 75 per cent. While prices for properties in German cities still lag far behind those of London, Paris and New York, for German investors they have risen far too much, as rents have not kept pace with house value gwains. However, prices in the German countryside and in small towns with good road and rail links to larger cities are still surprisingly cheap by comparison with other countries. For example, an older four bedroomed detached house in Traben Trabach in the beautiful Rhineland Palatinate can cost as little as 84,000 euros. A brand new house in the same region starts at around 259,000 euros. By contrast, a one bedroom ground floor flat in Berlin's Tiergarten district costs ca. 327,700 euros. In Munich a luxury two-bedroom penthouse starts at 3,540,000 euros, while an older, fairly modest two-bedroom town house starts at 660,000 euros in Bavaria's capital. There are also huge differences in price, depending on whether one buys north or south of the Elbe River. Anywhere in Schleswig Holstein ("that bit below Denmark") is expensive by comparison with, say, property in the Saarland region. This is because Germans love their seaside holidays, and one is never far away from a sandy beach in Schleswig-Holstein. A modest two-bedroom apartment in a small town like Ahrensburg will therefore cost 293,800 euros, even though there's not an awful lot of work in the region. Prices are relatively high because people can still commute to Hamburg from here. This is also true for the ancient city of Lübeck, where the entire city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has excellent road and rail links with Hamburg, making it a sought-after location at the Baltic Sea. While renting a modern apartment with four rooms and 128 square metres of living space will cost around 1,155 euros per month, buying such a property will cost at least 510,000 euros in Lübeck. Downsize to neighouring small town Bad Schwartau, a 15-minute drive down the coast from Lübeck, and an apartment with 77 square metres floor space and four rooms starts at 90,000 euros. Renting the same size property costs between 720 and 755 euros a month. Many of Germany's regional towns are now seeing far greater demand, as first-time buyers and investors are equally priced out of cities. Affordable German holiday homes and cheap apartments for sale in Germany can still be found in many rural areas though, most notably in sparsely populated Saarland and in Baden-Württemberg. Both federal states lie south of the Elbe River and are part of Germany's famous wine-producing region. As the housing market is cooling off in cities, investors could still look to good rental yields and future capital gains in Germany's hinterland.Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of[...]

Spanish rental Prices smash 2008 Boom Time Records in six regional Capitals

Fri, 7 Jul 2017 09:10:22 GMT

What is good news for investors in Spanish properties , is bad news for local renters. Led by Barcelona, six regional capitals now show record increases, with rental asking prices exceeding those charged before 2008, when the Spanish housing market collapsed due to a worldwide recession.

This depressing news for renters was revealed by Spanish property portal, one of the largest sites of its kind in Spain. The research was based on the portal's own database for rental asking prices, which in some areas are rising at ever-increasing speeds.

According to the property website, new records have been set for Barcelona, where rental prices are now more than 20 per cent above their boom-time peak. In places like Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Palma de Mallorca, Spanish families find it almost impossible to rent anywhere now, as rental prices have risen by more than 16 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

Surprisingly, Spain's capital Madrid was not in number one position. Here rental prices rose by a modest 7 per cent. At the other end of the rental market, in Girona in Catalonia, which includes the Costa Brava region, rental asking prices have gone up by just over 3  per cent, an indication that there is still a lot of vacant property on the market that is waiting for buyers. Here investors have seemingly decided to rent out their properties, rather than allow them to sit vacant.

While Marbella at the Costa del Sol is now in third position among the top three most expensive places to rent - and buy - in Spain, in Zaragoza, the regional capital of Aragon, rental asking prices are still some 41 per cent below what they were before the housing market collapsed in 2008.

In Alicante, which sits along the popular Costa Blanca, property is also far less expensive to buy or rent - here rental asking prices are still 7 per cent below what they were in 2008.

The overall outcome from Idealista's study is that, compared to the troughs of the housing market crisis, Barcelona's rental prices are now 59% above what they were at their peak, while in Murcia they stand at just 5 per cent higher than rental asking prices were during the housing market boom.

Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of

South-west of Mallorca sees Property Prices rise by 25% since 2016

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 14:47:16 GMT

The average house price in the south-west of Mallorca now stands at 2.11 million euros, after home values rose sharply since the beginning of the year. Compared to the average price recorded in 2016 (1.68 million euros), house prices in the area have actually risen by 25%, according to leading international estate agents Engel & Völkers.

Buyers are particularly interested in new-build apartments, where property prices have seen the largest increase.

Many potential buyers aim to invest more than 8 million euros in their Mallorca home, preferring locations such as Bendinat and Portals, Santa Ponsa and Puerto de Andratx. British, German and Swiss buyers, and increasingly Middle Eastern buyers, are looking to invest in high-end properties with maximum privacy and views of the Mediterranean Sea.

"Prices in the region have risen further in parallel. Compared to the previous year we have seen an increase of 25% in the average sale price in the south-west", explained Hans Lenz, Managing Director at Engel & Völkers Mallorca Southwest.

He added that they "are also seeing a rise in demand for properties over €20 million, including from new source markets such as the USA and Scandinavia."

The company expects to see continued growth in the residential property market of Mallorca's south-west. But demand currently outstrips existing housing stock that buyers actually want. International clients are far more discerning these days. The days when a fair-sized swimming pool and sun terrace would do are definitely over. Amenities such as a fitness and spa area, a home cinema and even wine cellars are increasingly in demand with buyers searching for homes with more than 1,000 square metres.

The buy-to-let market in some parts of the island, especially in the capital Palma de Mallorca, is also very buoyant. According to Spanish property portal, rental prices in Palma have gone up by more than 14%, since Spain's housing market last boomed at the end of 2007.

Article by Maria Thermann on behalf of

Brexit making people look abroad

Fri, 1 Jul 2016 08:38:13 GMT

30% increase in UK Citizens planning to move abroad after Brexit

Moments after the shock of the EU referendum result the cost of living calculator from the Expatistan site said:
“The number of people comparing UK cities and cities abroad spiked to over 50% It comes as no surprise that the correlation between how a city voted and people researching to move abroad showed positive.

The lower the percentage for those pro Brexit, the lower the interest to move out of the UK. With locations where Remain votes where higher, the interest to move abroad grew higher.”

USA and Australia where the top 2 countries people were looking to move to, with Spain coming in third.

Here at we have also noticed such an increase in property searches and notice that on our portal we find that more people have been searching for property in Spain, Cyprus and Portugal and further abroad to the UAE and Thailand.

Another notable result of Brexit is that a lot of Brits are researching how they can keep their EU passports.

The cover of a British passport reads "European Union", when the UK leaves Europe, this will no longer be the case as it will cease to be an EU passport.

A possible route to an EU passport is marriage. For example, the spouse of a citizen of Spain can become a citizen after only one year of wedded bliss.

Article by +James Roberts on behalf of

Up to 30% Decline in Russian Buyers of Overseas Property Expected

Fri, 1 Apr 2016 08:06:10 GMT

The fallout from Russian economic and political troubles is transforming the buying habits of the country's international property investors who are turning from the residential sector towards higher yielding commercial real estate deals. The reason, says leading Russian website, , is that they are searching for higher yields from buy-to-let residential property or commercial real estate, predominantly in Europe. As a result, there is set to be a significant switch in 2016 for Russian buyers of international property and a possible 30% fall in volume according to's managing partner, George Kachmazov. " The recession in Russia has forcibly transformed buyer habits and transaction volumes. Market players should expect interest in personal dwellings to dwindle but plan ahead as demand increases for income–generating property ". " The number of Russian-speaking buyers for overseas residential property will shrink by another 20-30% in 2016. We also expect to see 30-40% more Russian nationals trying to sell their foreign property as a weak ruble induces higher maintenance costs. Nevertheless, the amount of Russian-speaking investors for commercial property should grow by 20–30% in 2016 ". Tranio has just published its Russian and CIS Overseas Commercial Property Buyer Report 2015 , which features the views of 561 real estate agencies from 37 countries and 153 Russian-speaking potential and actual investors. Foreign property purchases by Russian buyers were halved following the successive Russian ruble devaluations in 2014–2015. However, the percentage of commercial property investments increased, the study discovered. Most of the top 10 destinations according to search results by Yandex – Russia's largest search engine – for commercial property in 2015 were all in Europe. The United States and Turkey were the exceptions. Germany on 22.1% of all foreign commercial property searches in 2015 was the clear winner, followed by Spain on 6.5%, the United States on 6%, the Czech Republic on 4.9% and Italy on 4.8%. User requests for foreign commercial property in 2015. Tranio survey results confirm the popularity, though not necessarily the rankings, of these countries. The top twenty destinations as reported by participants in the survey are mostly in Europe with the exception of Turkey and the USA as well as Thailand and the UAE. Wealthy Russian investors are likely to continue their foray into commercial real estate, seeking the the security of income-generating real estate assets. " Most Russian-speaking investors are successful entrepreneurs, owning and operating businesses in Russia and/or CIS countries. Due to the volatile financial situation in the region, they are looking for income-generating property with moderate yields and stable returns in a dependable currency, " explains George Kachmazov " Russian nationals frequently buy commercial property where they already own residential property. This is because they know the features of these locations well and are familiar with the local market. Usually they spend time in their homes abroad and find it more convenient to manage commercial property located nearby ". Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of[...]

Qatar's Tourism Expected to Reach $7.2bn by 2025

Thu, 31 Mar 2016 08:10:17 GMT

Qatar's tourism and hospitality industry is expected to reach $7.2bn in 2025, a new report has shown.

The industry is building momentum in the country as it enters the second half of the decade, with an ambitious target of 4 million visitors by 2020, supported by $40-45bn worth of sector investment under the country's National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 plan.

Qatar returns to Arabian Travel Market (ATM) this year to showcase its expanding hotel and tourism infrastructure pipeline following a successful 2015 with visitor numbers in the first nine months of 2014 growing to reach 2.2 million in Q3, representing a year-on-year increase of 7.7%, and booming air connectivity which saw Hamad International Airport exceed forecasted capacity of 30 million passengers last year.

According to a Q3, 2015 HVS report entitled " In Focus: Doha, Tracking Progress ", travel and tourism contributed $4.2bn – or 2% - to the GDP in 2014, with a figure of $4.6bn forecast for 2015 (a rise of 7.3%).

" Looking further ahead, this is expected to grow annually by 4.7%, to reach $7.2bn in 2025 as Qatar works towards its strategic goal of positioning itself as a 'world-class hub with deep cultural roots', by creating a high profile product that will appeal to all market segments from cultural tourists and families to sports fans and business travellers, " said Nadege Noblet-Segers, Exhibition manager, Arabian Travel Market.

Other third party officially released data revealed that, in Q3 2015, GCC residents accounted for 45.2% of total visitor numbers followed by visitors from Asia and Europe at 25.3% and 13.9% respectively.

The HVS report notes the addition of 11 new hotel properties with a total of 1,400 rooms to the market in 2015; as part of its commitment to reach 50,000 additional rooms by 2022, when it will host the FIFA World Cup.

Kempinski Marsa Malaz Hotel , Banana Island Resort by Anantara and Melia Doha Hotel were a few of the brands to enter the market last year with Qatar Tourism Authority reporting an estimated 10,000 rooms currently under construction and expected to enter the market by 2018-19.

Official statistics tally current hotel room capacity at 17,900 keys, 84% of which are four and five-star accommodation.

" As we are seeing in other GCC countries, an increasingly diversified tourism portfolio requires an equally broad hospitality offering, looking at both the luxury and mid-range categories, which is something that we are focusing on this year at ATM with midmarket travel our spotlight theme, " said Noblet-Segers.

" This is responding not only to the needs of the more budget-conscious traveller, but those for whom quality and experience-led travel doesn't necessarily have to mean a five-star price tag, " she added.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Luxury Condo Prices to Remain Flat in Malaysia

Wed, 30 Mar 2016 08:10:10 GMT

As new development projects are completed in Kuala Lumpur and fringe locations, competition in the rental market is expected to heighten amid a weak Malaysian housing market. Property prices in the high-end condominium segment will remain flat, while rental prices fall, due to increased competition between existing units and new launches, said property consultancy firm Knight Frank Malaysia. The increasingly competitive property market is also forcing developers to be more innovative, with attractive packages and creative deals being offered to boost sales, it said. In its report called Knight Frank Malaysia Real Estate Highlights 2H2015 , the firm said this may also lead to some of the projects scheduled for launch by the first half of this year, to be deferred. " There has been an increased trend of projects offering leaseback arrangements and pool management programmes with guaranteed rental returns to boost sales and attract potential buyers and investors looking for long term investment in terms of rental returns and potential capital appreciation, ". The report added that potential buyers and investors, however, would continue to adopt a " wait-and-see " approach as market sentiment remained weak. In the third quarter of last year, Kuala Lumpur recorded 1,694 transactions in the condominium and apartment segment, 6.3% less than a year earlier. For the office market segment, in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, it said there was growing pressure on rental and occupancy levels due to the high supply pipeline of existing as well as new stock, and a weaker leasing market. " The depreciation of the local currency and volatility in commodity prices coupled with economic and political uncertainties do not bode well for the office market which traditionally have been driven by the services sector and oil & gas (O&G) businesses ". " The contraction of the O&G sector, the main lifeline of the office segment following the plunge in crude oil prices, has negatively impacted the market ". " Tenants continue to be spoilt for choice with attractive rentals, incentives and tenancy terms ". The firm said rental rates could fall due to heightened competition in the tenant favoured environment. With business confidence at a low, coupled with the economic slowdown, it was inevitable that the take-up rate and overall occupancy levels would be impacted, it said. " Nonetheless, rental rates of well-located good grade, dual-compliant office space are expected to remain resilient, " said Knight Frank. In the Klang Valley retail market, Knight Frank said the weak local currency and recent toll hike were expected to further dampen consumer sentiment over the next six months as disposable income falls. " Majority of retailers are adopting a ‘wait- and-see’ approach and caution in their expansion plans amid poor sales performance and reduced profitability ". " A handful of regional and local retailers operating several brands are taking up larger lots at competitive tenancy terms with attractive rentals and incentives to improve space and cost efficiencies ". Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of[...]

Real Estate Fund Buys Dublin's Central Quay for 51m EUR

Tue, 29 Mar 2016 08:08:23 GMT

Last month, Hibernia REIT announced the €51.3m purchase of Central Quay, a modern office building in Dublin's docklands.

Only completed in 2007, the block covers 5360m² over six floors, with 26 car parking spaces and is 88% occupied. The contracted rent is €2.5m, representing a net initial yield of 4.5%.

Once fully occupied and following the re-letting of the third floor, where the current lease expires in September, the yield on cost is expected to exceed 5.5%.

The purchase price equates to a capital value of €8900/m² for the office space.

" With some vacant space and upcoming lease expiries, there is an opportunity for us to increase the yield on cost of Central Quay to above 5.5% in the next 12 months and to above 6% in due course, " said chief executive Kevin Nowlan.

Elsewhere, Green REIT yesterday reported a profit of €67.1m for the six months to the end of December, the first half of its current financial year.

While down from €74.3m for the same period last year, its net asset value nudged the €1bn mark, rising by 7% year-on-year to €961.5m.

The company's recently announced €169m asset disposal programme - being undertaken to maintain its borrowing ratio following the acquisition of the Central Park office development in south Dublin - should result in a €60m profit for the business.

" Our focus in Green REIT continues to be on the active management of our €1bn investment portfolio, where we have 99% occupancy, and the development of our five projects in Dublin, where we expect to add to our very strong list of existing tenants, " chief executive, Pat Gunne said.

Chairman Gary Kennedy added that the company's investment strategy continues to deliver shareholder returns.

Regarding the Cork office market, where Green REIT was recently active via its purchase of the One Albert Quay building, the company said that a lack of new development in the city is hampering activity.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Property Prices on the Up in Spain

Thu, 24 Mar 2016 08:03:27 GMT

According to reports from two real estate firms, the Spanish property market is showing significant signs of improvement.

Spanish property valuation experts Tinsa say that average prices are increasing, but homes are still around 41% of their peak value recorded in 2007 before the market collapsed.

The biggest moves were in the Balearic and Canary Islands, among the most popular investment destinations holiday home owners.

Prices were 5.4% in January compared to December 2015, recording an increase of 3.2% year on year.

Taking Spain as a whole, the average increase was 2.9% for the month and 1.1% for the year.

Tinsa also observed that although prices were holding up in the larger cities and coastal resorts, rural and small town home values were suffering.

" The market is showing some healthy signs of recovery but has a long way to go before reaching the price levels last seen in 2007, " said a Tinsa spokesman.

The other report, from realtors Fotocasa , showed the value of resale homes showed a slight increase of 0.3% month-on-month and a similar decrease for the year.

The study goes on to show that average prices are 45% below their 2007 peak and that 12 of Spain's autonomous 17 regions have reported home prices declining more than 40% since the peak.

Rioja prices fell the most, says the firm, by almost 55%, followed by Castille-La Mancha, Navarra, Aragon and Murcia, which all registered a fall between 50% and 55%.

The Canary Islands recorded the largest average price increase of 2.1%.

The firm confirms the most expensive place to live is the Basque country, with an average price of €2,730 per square metre.

" Smaller apartments have fallen in price the most, " said a Fotocasa spokesman. " They were among the most expensive homes when prices reached their peak in 2007 and cost an average €3,424/m² ".

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

North East England a Hotspot for Savvy Property Investors

Wed, 23 Mar 2016 08:08:41 GMT

Investment in property is growing at a greater rate in the North East than anywhere else in the UK, with investors snapping up more than £1bn worth of commercial property in 2015. Research by real estate research firm CoStar has shown investment volumes within the region grew by 32% - the largest percentage increase of any UK region - proving that many property firms from the UK and beyond have the North East in its sights. 2015 saw deals which included the purchase of Newcastle Shopping Park in Byker for £46.25m, the sale of 254-bed Hilton Hotel in Gateshead for more than £36m to new pension fund owners Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited , Hanro Group's sale of Sainbury's in Heaton for £44.5m and Metnor Group's sale of purpose built student accommodation to a Singapore firm for £40.6m. Gavin Black, chairman of the G9 Group of chartered surveyors, said the North East 2015 total of £1.06bn was almost double the £524m annual average over the last eight years. Mr Black, chairman of the group which includes BNP Paribas Real Estate, Cushman and Wakefield, Gavin Black and Partners, Bilfinger GVA, HTA Real Estate, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Naylors Chartered Surveyors and Sanderson Weatherall, said: " By any judgement this is impressive. Investors are increasingly searching beyond London for value and within the North East there is good value and asset management opportunities. Investors have the North East firmly fixed on their radars ". He added: " Taking account of the current Northern Powerhouse debate and our regional position within this, we are cheek by jowl with competing locations such as Leeds and Manchester, which, together with our neighbours in Edinburgh and Glasgow, are part of the UK's 'Big Six' regional cities ". " So we do have competition on our hands for inward investment. We therefore need to continue the narrative that there are opportunities in the North East and very good reasons for doing business here ". Key deals during 2015 were Standard Life's purchase of Monument Mall for £75m off an initial yield of 4.30%, Orchard Street's purchase of Wellbar Central for £40.1m off 6.04% and W.P Carey's purchase of Rainton House, Houghton-le-Spring for £32.5m off 7.36%. Looking at sectors, CoStar data shows office investment was up 39%, retail investment rose 46% and industrial investment rose 77% year-on-year. 2015 was also the strongest year for investment by property companies and institutions and the second strongest year for foreign investment where North Americans outspent their overseas counterparts. The most active buyers were property companies, 46% (£465m), funds 27% (£280m), institutions 24% (£240m) and private investors 3% (£35m). Meanwhile the region's most active sellers were property companies, 65% (£576m), funds 19% (£169m), institutions 11% (£101m) and private investors 5% (£44m). " The North East offers attractive returns, " said Grant Lonsdale, real estate analyst at the CoStar Group. " Average yields across all sectors remain at 8.3% while across the UK they average 7.5% and in Central London they are just 4%. This underlines value and potential for investors ". Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of[...]

Qualitas Raises 130m EUR for Australian Property Fund

Tue, 22 Mar 2016 08:12:43 GMT

Australian real estate management firm Qualitas has announced successful fund raising for a new fund providing equity and mezzanine debt for quality commercial, retail and residential projects.

Andrew Schwartz, group managing director and CIO at Qualitas, said the Australian debt market is different to that of Europe and the US. Australia's main four banks issue around 90% of all commercial mortgages - a higher level than in the US and Europe - but they have begun to tighten lending criteria, opening up a space for non-bank funders to enter the market.

But Schwartz said it can be difficult for foreign investors to access opportunities since much of the business is based on relationships and established local networks.

Schwartz said Qualitas has first-mover advantage in the private mid market. " As a result, the new fund has attracted strong interest, " he said.

In recent weeks, Qualitas has participated in two residential projects, worth a total of €180m.

Qualitas partnered with Aussie developer GEOCON to undertake a €92m project, the Wayfarer Apartments in Canberra, and provided mezzanine finance to the project alongside the senior lender.

The company also provided a senior debt facility to The Monarch Investments Group for the acquisition and development of a prime residential housing site in Sydney's southwest, to be known as The Meadows.

The €89m, 210 house-and-land lot development will provide affordable duplex-style housing and already has registered interest from several hundred buyers.

The two projects are examples of why Australia offers a multi-billion-dollar market for opportunistic debt and equity providers wanting to capitalise on the unique characteristics of its commercial real estate funding market.

Qualitas will be responsible for identifying and originating deals for the new opportunity fund, using what it says " the same discretionary approach " that it used for existing investors.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

2015 Sees Record-Breaking Property Investment in Ireland's Cork Market

Mon, 21 Mar 2016 08:08:31 GMT

The property investment market in Ireland's second city hit new and record highs in 2015, far out-stripping 2014's much-recovered market, according to a new report due shortly from DTZ Sherry FitzGerald.

Describing 2015 as a remarkable year of performance, DTZ say that last year " was a record-breaking year for Cork property investment, following a bumper closing quarter ". A total of €136 million was invested in Cork's commercial property during 2015, as investors and REITs looked outside of the capital for more competitive returns.

That €136m outturn for 2015 contrasts sharply with the previous high of €79.7 million recorded in 2014, notes DTZ.

The two largest investment purchases, totalling €93 million between them, practically face one another across Cork city's River Lee, and are the €58m purchase by Green REIT of One Albert Quay from John Cleary Developments (final deal closing of the almost fully occupied new build is expected within days,) and the €35m acquisition of the Clarion Hotel by Dalata.

Late last month, Dalata also announced its further €40m acquisition of the leasehold interest on four hotels, including the Clarion Hotels in Cork and Limerick which will now be rebranded as Clayton Hotels , with upgrade works set to follow.

Domestic capital was the main driver of investment sales in Cork in 2015, accounting for 85% of the value of transactions. The €136m tally reported this week by DTZ does not include loan/portfolio sales, so the €70m valuation put on the Wilton Shopping Centre as part of the Hazel Portfolio is not included, nor are the sales of the Shipton Group's former shopping centres in Blackpool and Douglas Court.

A key trend in the Irish investment market in 2015 was the rise in the volume of investment sales outside of Dublin, driven by strengthening economic conditions, higher yielding opportunities (relative to Dublin) and positive rental growth: the share of spend outside of the capital increased to 18% in 2015, compared with just 5% in 2014, with the Cork investment market the strongest.

Peter O'Flynn, MD DTZ Sherry FitzGerald Cork said " 2015 set a new high watermark for Cork commercial property investment, with turnover boosted by a number of high-profile deals, including the acquisition of One Albert Quay by Green REIT and the purchase of the Clarion Hotel by Dalata Hotel Group ".

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Chinese Property Investment Reaches $30 Billion In 2015

Fri, 18 Mar 2016 08:02:03 GMT

Despite market turbulence back home, Chinese buyers continue to snap up real estate in major western markets. Transaction volume reached $30 billion in 2015, double the levels seen in 2014 according to Knight Frank's latest research. " The key gateway locations of New York's Manhattan, London, Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne all account for more than 40% of last year's transactions, " says Paul Hart, executive director of Greater China at the property consultancy firm. The report noted that amongst Chinese buyers (composed of major developers, insurers, sovereign wealth funds and more) was an increase of developers and insurance companies participating in major deals. In the top 20 players that made offshore investments in 2015, 14 were developers (up from ten in the previous year) and six were insurance companies (up from four in the previous year). While developers were more active in deals, Knight Frank highlighted the staggering transactions made by Chinese insurance giants in pursuit of trophy assets. " Now insurers dominate purchasing in the six of the top ten deals [done around the world], " says Hart. Those mega-transactions include Anbang Insurance's string of high-profile acquisitions such as the iconic hotel Waldorf Astoria for $1.95 billion; Heron Tower in London for $1.172 billion plus its $414 million purchase of Merrily Lynch Financial Center in Manhattan. In the same year, Taiping Life Insurance bought luxury apartments on 111 Murray Street for $820 million. Overall, Chinese insurers spent $4 billion on real estate abroad, double the amount spent in 2014 at $2 billion. " We are starting to see the beginning of levels of investment by insurance companies, " he says adding that these entities will become a dominant force for many years ahead. " It's an extremely positive thing for the Chinese consumer as it allows people to diversify their risk away from domestic risks by investing in other countries; it gives people the freedom of choice in investment, " adds Hart. Political support from Beijing have been integral to perpetuating this trend. In 2012, China permitted domestic insurers to invest in real estate abroad for the first time. In the following years, China's Insurance Regulatory Commission loosened restrictions further so domestic insurers can deploy more capital overseas. The report forecasts that Chinese property investment abroad will continue to be strong in 2016, a trend driven by domestic factors including economic woes in China that are pushing companies to diversify and invest offshore. New York surpassed London, Sydney and Melbourne as the No.1 destination for Chinese investment. Manhattan captured the bulk of Chinese capital at $5.78 billion in 2015, a five-fold increase from the year before. While the major Chinese institutions have dominated transactions in the Big, Knight Frank's research also noted moves made by small-to-mid-cap companies and developers to regional US hubs outside of Manhattan such as Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago. " These [smaller, lesser known Chinese] brands struggled to find deals in Manhattan because the deal sizes are significantly larger and the investment yields are lower so they go to these other important [regional] hubs and achieve very quick and easy access to stock at[...]

Hotel Operators go Bargain Hunting in Greece

Thu, 17 Mar 2016 08:15:41 GMT

The Athens Hilton, an emblematic hotel in Greece's capital for decades, was put on sale this week as the crown jewel among hundreds of bargains in the hotel sector across the country.

Greek lender Alpha Bank formally launched on Wednesday the procedure for the sale of the majority stake (97.3%) in its subsidiary Ionian Hotels Enterprise, current manager of the Athens Hilton.

Expressions of interest may be submitted by March 11, according to an Alpha Bank press release.

Citigroup has been appointed as sales advisor for the process which " aims at attracting high-quality investors with a vision of further strengthening the hotel's potential for offering world class hospitality services, " the statement said.

Although no starting price was set, local financial analysts told Xinhua, that Alpha Bank was expected to examine offers exceeding €110 million euros.

It is not the first time that the five-star hotel is put on sale. Two years ago Greek-American entrepreneur and former candidate Mayor of New York John Katsimatidis made an offer of about €100 million, according to reports, but was rejected as being too low.

Located in the centre of the city, close to Syntagma square, the parliament, key tourist attractions and with a view to the Acropolis, the Athens Hilton was inaugurated on April 20, 1963 by Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton hotels chain, as " the most beautiful Hilton hotel in the world ".

In recent months the Athens Hilton has become the unofficial meeting place for talks between Greek government officials and visiting envoys of Greece's international lenders on the progress of bailout commitments.

According to local analysts, the sale of the hotel by the Greek lender is part of Alpha Bank's wider campaign to further boost its capital base after the third recapitalization of Greece 's banking system in three years in late 2015 under the bailout agreement.

However, the Athens Hilton is not the sole interesting bargain in the hotel sector in Greece at the moment.

From the start of 2016 there were around 500 ads on various specialised websites for the sales of hotels across the country, as despite the record arrivals from abroad, in particular smaller hotel units are facing sustainability problems due to the seven year debt crisis, according to a survey carried out recently by Greek " Kathimerini " (daily) newspaper. The number accounts to about 5% of hotel units nationwide.

Foreign investors can also explore opportunities via the Greek privatisation fund HRADF which oversees the sales of the Greek state's real estate properties among other assets.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Foreign Demand for Bangkok Condominiums Driven by Weak Baht

Wed, 16 Mar 2016 08:24:15 GMT

Demand from foreign investors to buy mid to upper-market condominiums in Bangkok's central business districts (CBDs) is strong, especially from Asian countries, thanks to the Asean Economic Community having come into effect at the beginning of the year, plus the baht's continued weakness. Implementation of the AEC presents a positive challenge for Thailand's property developers to roadshow their residential projects overseas, especially in China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Middle East. " We plan to road-show our luxury condominium projects in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore this year, having witnessed [foreign] demand to buy in these projects last year, " said SC Asset Corp's chief executive officer, Nuttaphong Kunakornwong. The company's luxury Saladaeng Ond project, which was launched last year, has already achieved sales of €23 million to foreign buyers from Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Taiwan, he said. Up to 30% of the customer target for Saladaeng One, which offers units from €330,000 apiece - or €7,800 per square metre - is the foreign market, the CEO added. Sansiri president Srettha Thavisin also said that condominium demand among foreigners wishing to buy had picked up strongly, especially for units priced above €130,000. Last year, the company recorded €88 million in presales from foreign customers, and it expects overseas presales of up to €126 million from its overall presales target of just over €1 billion this year, a 47% increase on presales in 2015. Most of the developer's foreign buyers are from Asian markets, such as Singapore, Japan, mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Srettha said, adding that it also hoped to see good sales from Europe and the United States. " Although luxury condominiums in Bangkok's CBDs have high prices, they are still lower than for condominiums in many other Asian economies, especially Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, " the president said. The AEC's implementation this year and the baht's weakening from 33 per US dollar to between 35.50 and 36 are the main factors boosting foreign demand for condominiums in Bangkok's CBDs. Frank Leung, managing director of Hong Kong-based Fulcrum Capital, which invested €58 million to buy 306 units of the Park 24 condominium from Proud Residences last year, said Thailand was the first Asean country in which the company was expanding its investment. The company sees business opportunity especially for residential projects, for which prices are still lower when compared with Asian markets like Hong Kong, Singapore and China. Aliwasa Pattanthabutr, managing director of property agency CB Richard Ellis (Thailand), said demand from foreign investors to buy luxury residences in the Kingdom continued to be strong because Thai luxury condo prices were still lower than those in other Asian markets. " Most foreign buyers looking to buy properties in the region have a fixed budget to spend. With the baht declining, they can buy more expensive properties. In Phuket, we have recently been able to sell more expensive units in projects we represent, " she said. Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of[...]

Abu Dhabi Rents Likely to Achieve Stability in 2016

Tue, 15 Mar 2016 08:28:52 GMT

In's January market report, the UAE portal suggests Abu Dhabi's property market is " adjusting to normalise the inflationary gains it amassed last year ".

January saw declining values in apartment rents that brought relief to the Emirate's property market , following concerns of overheating in 2015.

According to the report, the average annual rental value declined 5% in January this year across the UAE capital. The December average rental of AED 141,000 was reduced to AED 135,000 in the first month of the year.

Despite falling rental values, average yields in Abu Dhabi are still proving attractive for investors, averaging at 7% across all property types and sizes. " Individually, studio apartments yielded an impressive 9.4% asset value, while 1-bed yields remained a little over 8%. 2-bed and 3-bed apartments returned yields of 7.3% and 7.4% respectively ". Yields for properties with more than 4 bedrooms stood at 4.64% in January this year.

The most popular areas for renting apartments in Abu Dhabi are Al Reem Island, Al Raha Beach, Al Reef, Al Ghadeer and Saadiyat Island. With strong demand for property in these locations, there are plenty of high value opportunities for savvy property investors in the Emirate. comments that: " The ongoing slowdown of a global economy has certainly affected demand in realty markets across the world. A rallying dollar and rising interest rates coupled with falling oil prices have not only made international purchases costlier but have also forced several economies relying on oil exports for growth to introduce monetary and fiscal tightening ".

Although the liquidity shortage among international property buyers is set to remain a challenge, Abu Dhabi's reduced dependence on oil is likely to continue to make its property an attractive proposition for investors.

Across the UAE, there has been significant investment in infrastructure, real estate and tourism as reliance upon oil revenues shifts to other economic sectors. This kind of largescale development is good news for the savvy investor, seeking growth opportunities in the Emirates.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

M&G Enters European Long Lease Property Market

Mon, 14 Mar 2016 08:16:13 GMT

Leading international asset managers M&G Investment has launched a new fund offering pension funds and other investors the opportunity to invest in European real estate.

Its first investments totalling €100 million are in the leisure and retail sectors in Belgium and Portugal, with exchange on two further deals in Germany and Ireland expected shortly and further opportunities " under review ".

M&G Real Estate chief executive Alex Jeffrey, says: " Long lease property is an established asset class in the UK, but is not as widespread in Europe, and this innovative fund will enable investors to access an evolving opportunity at a time when the European economy is improving ".

" Having invested in Europe for over 15 years, we are bolstering our investment capability and expanding our footprint across the region to provide clients access to quality real estate with long term value ".

The new fund's immediate pipeline is worth €130 million and the portfolio dynamics will evolve as further deals are completed.

The new fund is M&G's first foray into Portuguese real estate through a portfolio of supermarkets, which have been sold by and leased back to Sonae, Portugal's leading food retailer.

The investment in Belgium is for a David Lloyd health and racquets club in Brussels, which follows a deal for around £350 million, announced in January 2016 for the chain's UK clubs.

M&G has 15 years' experience of investing in UK long lease real estate, launching its M&G Secured Property Income Fund in 2007 for third-party investors.

Fixed income chief executive for M&G Investments , Simon Pilcher, says: " A new European financing landscape is emerging following the financial crisis, where pension funds and institutional investors, the natural owners of long term capital, are providing long term finance where banks previously dominated the market ".

" European companies are beginning to seek alternative ways to raise finance, with sale and leaseback being an increasingly popular option so launching this fund is the natural next step ".

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Cypriot Property Prices on the Rebound

Fri, 11 Mar 2016 08:29:22 GMT

As Cyprus heads out of its bailout programme the fall in property prices is bottoming out according to data from the Central Bank of Cyprus residential property prices index (RPPI) .

The RPPI recorded a decrease of only 0.3% compared with the previous period in the third quarter of 2015.

Two districts have seen the beginnings of recovery, with prices increasing in the third quarter by 1.2% for Larnaca and 0.2% for Paphos.

" The decrease in prices of houses and apartments price is slowing down, " Antonis Loizou , member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), told the Cyprus Weekly.

On an annual basis, however, prices are still down. Overall real-estate prices dropped year on year by 3.7% in the third quarter, down from 5% in the second quarter and 6.5% in the first.

The least affected was Famagusta, with a year-on-year fall of 1.6%. Property prices in Paphos dropped by 2.5%, in Larnaca by 3%, in Limassol by 3.9% and in Nicosia by 5.1%.

According to Loizou, offices in prime locations and projects in touristic area seem to have suffered the least during the market crash that has seen overall prices tumble 31% since their 2008 peak. " Of course these are only a small fraction of the market, " he points out.

British expats who used to buy new housing in Cyprus are now looking to buy resales.

" Especially in the Paphos area one can find a real bargain prices for a holiday home, " Loizou said. On the other hand, prices for agriculture land and plots is still in decline, driven by the limited demand. " They are the ones that have been affected the most, " Loizou says.

With banks lowering interest rates from around 5% to 3%, this could help the market rebound. However, the problem with lending is that, despite the fact that it has become cheaper, mortgage availability has become tighter as well.

Real estate professionals in Cyprus are suggesting that now is the time to buy in the country. With prices considered to be at the lowest point and a consistently thriving tourism sector to underpin investment in its real estate, savvy buyers are surging to check out what's on offer in Cyprus .

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Bulgaria's Borovets the Booziest Ski Resort in Europe

Wed, 9 Mar 2016 08:08:43 GMT

A new report from ski tour operators Crystal Ski reveals which resorts have the most bars per sq km and although the French coined the term après ski, it is the Bulgarians that have taken the crown. The ultimate après resort, based on Crystal's research, is Borovets in Bulgaria with approximately four bars per sq km and pints of beer costing little more than £1 during happy hour. A representative from Borovets tourism office said: " To have quality après, you need quality avant-ski, and Borovets has that too. The ski-in/ski-out resort in the highest Balkan mountains combines perfect skiing conditions with daily visits to rich cultural and historic sites, unique local cuisine and unrivalled hospitality ". The reasonably priced and cheerful Eastern European spot came well ahead of the French Trois Vallées resorts of Méribel, with 2.2 bars per sq km, and Courchevel, with 2.1 bars, second and third place respectively. The lively resort of Pas de la Casa in Andorra came in fourth with around 1.8 bars per sq km followed closely by the more traditional Austrian ski resort of Schladming in fifth place. The French resort of Les Deux Alpes came sixth, Italy's Sauze d'Oulx and Livigno came seventh and eighth and a third Trois Vallées resort, Val Thorens, came ninth. According to the search engine analytics tool Google AdWords, the term “après-ski” was searched for more than 22,500 times between December 2014 and April 2015, proving that skiers and snowboarders are not just looking for a large ski area, but also for venues where they can let their hair down at the end of the day. Last September Crystal launched five different types of ski tours – Mile Muncher, Piste Princess, Gadget Guru, Park Rat and Après Animal, and incorporated them into the holiday search panel of the Crystal website. Vicky Hales, customer engagement director at Crystal Ski Holidays, said: " We get that our customers all love ski holidays for different reasons, and our Après Animal Ski Explorer character has been really popular on social media. Skiers can now search our deals by which character they are – so après lovers can find the perfect holiday ". The après research was based on 25 resorts in Europe, provided by tour operator Crystal Ski Holidays . Resort sizes vary. All bars counted are within the boundaries of the specified size of the resort. The Bulgarian resort sits at 1,300m and its slopes rise to 2,550m. The 58km of mainly intermediate pistes are served by 12 lifts. It also has two terrain parks, catering for all levels, and night skiing on eight runs. Snowmaking covers more than 60% of the slopes. Local folklore evenings are popular with visitors as are excursions to the capital Sofia or the UNESCO World Heritage Centre Rila Monastery. Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of[...]

Sarovar Hotels Target Religious Tourism in India

Tue, 8 Mar 2016 08:06:29 GMT

Uganda-based Madhvani Group and India's Sarovar Hotels and Resorts plan to establish mid-segment hotels in about dozen popular pilgrimage locations across India in a bid to tap the growing opportunity in the religious tourism segment, according to top officials of the two groups.

The alliance plans to open hotels in pilgrimage locations like Bodh Gaya, Rishikesh, Shirdi and Varanasi and aims at creating an organised pilgrimage hospitality circuit. The average size of the hotels in these destinations will be between 100-120 rooms.

" India is one of the foremost locations in the world for religious tourism and Madhvani Group is quite keen to tap this potential. In pursuit of this goal, we have already purchased land in Rishikesh and Bodh Gaya and are in advanced stage of acquiring land in Shirdi. We are also keen to expand our footprint in Varanasi, Katra, Dharamshala and Puri to cater to both the Hindu and Buddhist circuits, " Roni Madhvani, Director, Madhvani Group said.

" Funding at all these locations shall be through combination of debt and equity but quantum shall be decided closer to the execution stage and shall depend on the cost of funds and availability, " he added.

The Madhvani-Sarovar partnership opened its first new hotel in Tirupati recently. Described as India's first theme hotel inspired by the 10 avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, Marasa Sarovar Premiere, a 121-room hotel, aims to provide affordable luxury accommodation visitors. The company said the existing demand-supply gap provided an opportunity for it to establish a mid-range hotel in the holy town.

" Religious tourism is very strong in India but unfortunately lacked branded facilities in these locations. We hope to fill that gap by being in most cities. Religious destinations are only meant for mid-segment hotels and we intend to stay in that market, " said Anil Madhok, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts .

Madhvani Group is looking at various religious destinations and Sarovar Hotels are set to be managing the properties on completion. The $500 million plus Madhvani Group is an industrial conglomerate in East Africa with diversified investments in Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and India.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Oman Revs Up Tourism for Rising Number of Visitors

Mon, 7 Mar 2016 08:06:15 GMT

According to Ahmed bin Nasser Al Meherzi, Oman's Minister of Tourism, by 2020 there will be 20,000 hotel rooms in three to five-star category hotels in the beautiful Middle Eastern country and if the tourism sector continues to grow, the Sultanate will achieve this target before 2018.

" The (Oman Tourism) strategy includes the construction of 50,000 hotel rooms with three-stars and above during the next 25 years, with permits to build budget hotel rooms, but they will not be listed within the strategy, " he said.

" The Oman Tourism Strategy, which has been implemented since the beginning of 2016 after it was approved by the Council of Ministers, focuses on several objectives, the foremost of which is enhancing domestic tourism, particularly the recreational sector, which the ministry is currently executing, " the minister added.

The minister also pointed out that domestic tourism, its trends and objectives, due to its importance, dominates about 50% of the strategy. He added that this requires utilities and installations that meet demand of the Omani tourist who looks for recreational tourism related-installations and services.

Al Meherzi commented that the total investment expected for this sector during the upcoming years exceeds €2bn adding that there are projects being implemented, others were issued licenses to be established and other projects are under study.

Among the recreational tourism projects that have been approved is the construction of two water parks in Salalah and another world-class water park that will be located at Al Athaiba, in the Governorate of Muscat; a world-class recreational city in the Wilayat of Al Seeb; a family leisure park in the Wilayat of Al Musannah stretching over 5 million square metres and a project to set up a zoo.

Al Meherzi added that the Masirah Island will see the implementation of a tourist project that is aimed at enhancing the tourism sector on the island, as it has good tourism potential. He pointed out that two sites had been presented to investors for the development of a yacht marina, tourist resort and chalets.

Oman is a hugely popular country for tourism in the Persian Gulf, with domestic holidaymakers comprising the majority of visitors. Real estate prices are relatively low and investors can purchase a one-bedroom apartment for around €85,000, according to Savills Oman .

With consistent demand for holiday homes there are plenty of opportunities to achieve consistent rental income through purchasing in the country's gorgeous coastal areas. Property prices in the country are rising steadily, with apartments increasing by 6% in the last quarter of 2015, according to Savills research.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Underwater Tours to Boost Tourism in Turkey

Fri, 4 Mar 2016 08:07:43 GMT

As Turkey seeks to maintain its tourism industry amid regional problems, one Antalya-based firm has hit upon a novel idea to keep people coming to the coast - a 48-seat submarine.

Guests from around the world could soon be speeding through the Mediterranean Sea at 130 feet below the waves in 'Nemo', a Finnish-built craft, renovated in Spain.

The chairman of the company behind the ambitious $4-million scheme, IHS Travel and Tourist Fly , said: " We wanted to bring a new and different alternative to the sector and then this project came to our minds ". said Yunus Emre Yavuzyigit. " I believe it will revive the tourism industry. We are very hopeful of the project ". he added.

The project comes as Turkey witnesses a decline in the number of foreign visitors from Russia and Europe in 2015. According to a data released by Turkish Tourism Ministry last month, foreign tourist arrivals dropped around 1.61% compared to the same period of 2014.

Antalya was one of Russian visitors' most popular destinations until Turkey downed a Russian warplane on the Syrian border on Nov. 24 last year.

After the subsequent diplomatic row, tourist arrivals have dropped significantly.

According to the ministry's figures, numbers of Russian tourists coming to Turkey have fallen by 47% in December 2015, compared to the same period of the last year.

However, a quick recovery is expected with the support of alternative touristic activities like the bold 'Nemo' venture.

The 90-minute tour aims to attract both local people and international tourists.

" I believe these tours will make a significant contribution to Turkish tourism ". said Erhan Gurcam, captain of the submarine.

" I am very excited to be part of this unique project ". he added. " As a retired military submarine captain, it will surely be a different experience for me ".

The underwater adventures will continue throughout 11 months of the year and the company plans to enlarge the underwater tours over the coming years.

" We plan to buy more submarines to start tours in the Aegean Sea and the Marmara Sea as well in 2017 " Yavuzyigit added.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Foreign Property Investment on the Rise in Kenya

Thu, 3 Mar 2016 08:06:46 GMT

According to Knight Frank, Kenya is set to attract more foreign real estate investors seeking growth opportunities in fast-growing African cities due to its investment hub status.

Knight Frank's Africa Hotspots bulletin reports that overseas investors will increase their exposure in Nairobi's real estate market up to 2019, mainly banking on the projected rise in population and high spending patterns by a rising middle class.

The bulletin points to Africa's growth potential as attracting a notable increase in activity involving foreign investors from the Middle East and Asia.

" We have seen rising interest in Africa from an increasingly diverse range of international investors, developers and occupiers in recent years. Meanwhile, an increasingly significant flow of capital has emerged from South Africa into other African markets, " Knight Frank's head of Africa, Peter Welborn said.

Foreign investors are also eyeing real estate investment opportunities in Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, Angola, Morocco, Sudan, Ethiopia and Libya.

" The growth of Africa's cities and economies will do much to define the global social-economic landscape over the coming decades. These major long-term trends are driving the construction of high quality real estate across the continent, " the report states.

In Kenya for instance, recent forecast by the International Monetary Fund indicates the country's gross domestic product will jump from $62.7 billion in 2015 to $104 billion in 2019, placing it among the top 10 fastest growing African economies.

Further, United Nations projections show Nairobi's population will grow from 3.5 million in 2010 to about 6.1 million by 2025.

The population for the rest of Africa is expected to quadruple to over four billion by 2100 from an estimated one billion currently and the majority of the people will be living in cities.

According to the report, rapid urbanisation is driving investments in shopping malls and modern offices in Africa's major cities.

" The most visible demonstration of this is the rise of the modern shopping centre concept in cities such as Nairobi, Lagos and Accra, but there are development opportunities in all property sectors, " say Knight Frank.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Affordable Housing Gains Popularity in Dubai

Wed, 2 Mar 2016 08:10:08 GMT

According to, the UAE's largest property portal, localities offering affordable rental opportunities in the Emirate are rising in popularity.

The shift is largely due to the widespread development taking place and the jobs the projects are creating for a middle-tier income workforce mainly from South and Far East Asian countries, leading them to seek affordable housing to relocate to.

The portal notes ' Dubai apartment rentals declining in certain bed groups, while increasing in others. Average apartment rent in Dubai across all bed categories remained close to AED 138,000 (€34,200), ' representing a 3% increase on average rents at the end of December 2015.

As demand for affordable rentals continues to rise, the yields available to investors have become increasingly attractive. report the average yield across the Emirate is estimated at just over 6% although yields of up to 10% are available, depending on location and build quality.

" In our month-on-month study, we found an average annual rents for studio apartments at about AED 59,000 (€14,620), a negligible 1% decrease compared to December 2015, " the report states.

Despite some turbulence in the Emirate's property market , yields improved across all property sizes with studios achieving an average 7.23%; 1-bed apartments 6.4%; 2-beds 5.7% and 3-beds returning 5.3% of the unit cost in January 2015. The portal found that larger properties offered a minimum yield of 3.55%.

The most popular area for property buyers in Dubai remains the Dubai Marina, followed by Jumeirah Lakes Towers. The top three localities for renting apartments as of January this year are reported as being Bur Dubai, Downtown Dubai and Business Bay.

Construction in the Emirate has been in overdrive in recent years as investment is stepped-up ahead of the World Expo 2020, to be hosted in Dubai. Investment in the Emirate's hotel and leisure sector have proven particularly popular with foreign buyers and with significant capital being injected into Dubai's infrastructure there are many bargains to be found.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

The Israeli Housing Market's Year of Rising Demand

Tue, 1 Mar 2016 09:17:08 GMT

According to Israeli treasury figures, home purchases in the country reached record levels in 2015 as young couples and investors moved into and out of its property market at a rapid pace, placing significant upward pressure on prices. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's attempts to cool soaring home prices have caused huge gyrations in the markets, although home purchases rose to a record 120,000 transactions according to figures released by the treasury on Monday. Citing preliminary figures for 2015, the treasury said first-time buyers stormed the housing market in the first half of the year after a hiatus in home buying the year before as buyers waited for a plan by the previous finance minister, Yair Lapid, to exempt many categories of home purchases from the value-added tax. Kahlon created his own panic when he announced last spring he was raising taxes for property investors in a bid to deter them from crowding out other buyers. News of the impending tax hike caused investors to lock in purchases in June before the higher taxes went into effect, the treasury said. When they did, investors dropped out of the market during the third quarter. Meanwhile, however, young couples opted to delay buying a home in anticipation of another Kahlon plan to lower housing prices – the Machir L'Mishtaken program. As a result, home purchases dropped on average 24% year-on-year in the second half of 2015, the treasury said. However, the number began to shoot up in the final weeks of the year, with home purchases up 28% in November from a year ago to about 9,900 transactions. The treasury said the end-of-the-year surge was driven by property investors who accounted for about a fifth of all transactions for the month. The housing figures are the latest in a string of disappointments for Kahlon, who vaulted to a strong Knesset position in last year's elections and to the finance portfolio on the promise of reducing housing prices and the cost of living. In housing, Kahlon has launched several programs, but they have yet to have an impact. Although construction starts have grown, home prices in the 12 months through November increased 7.6%, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. " Investors are returning to the market because, among other things, they have no [investment] alternatives in the stock market, " said Arnon Friedman, CEO of property developer Ashdar . He said figures from the treasury showing that purchases of second-hand homes shot up 38% in November from the month before, with the biggest rises in the Negev and Galilee peripheries, was evidence that people had lost faith in the government to solve the problem of rising home prices. Purchase in the northern Sharon area, which includes towns like Hadera and Harish, were up 60% in November from October. They were up 38% in the Galilee, including Haifa and up 11% in the great Tel Aviv area. The presence of property investors in Israel's property markets is expected to exceed the treasury-quoted figure [...]

Caribbean Golden Visa Schemes Lag Behind European Counterparts

Fri, 26 Feb 2016 08:10:56 GMT

Caribbean nations have been playing 'catch-up' with European nations when it comes to property-for-residency schemes and although new programmes are being established, they are yet to provide the level of benefits as similar programmes available in Europe. For example, the new Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) that has just been launched by St Lucia on 1 January 2016 grants visas to applicants investing at least $300,000 in approved real estate projects qualifying sums in the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund or approved enterprise projects or the purchase of government bonds. Additional application fees of approximately $168,500 for a family of four are also levied and applicants must also demonstrate a whopping US$3million in financial resources to support residency. There is no requirement for applicants to reside in Saint Lucia and the scheme is limited to 500 applications annually. With the existence of four similar programmes in the Caribbean and taking into account the requirements, just moderate interest is expected from overseas investors. The real estate investment option under St Lucia's CIP will be limited to specific touristic projects, such as new resorts. Around 500 investors are expected to choose the real estate option each year although the effect is unlikely to boost the island as a whole. Interest for the Caribbean programmes is global with a higher proportion of investors seeking second passports rather than residency. Caribbean golden visas are likely to attract citizens from those countries whose face obstacles to travel with their home passports such as Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Iraq, although its success will depend on the stringent due diligence tests which St. Lucia is adopting under the scheme. Compared with the other citizenship investment and second passport programmes offered by St. Kitts, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda and Grenada, the St Lucia CIP will be exclusive, but efficient. " It will be viewed as a more elite programme among its Caribbean peers because of the minimum net worth requirement of USD$3million. The programme is expected to be more efficient resulting in faster processing times which is a big attraction ". However, Caribbean countries face tough competition from European visa programmes such as Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. The market is growing and governments are competing for the 20,000 or so families globally each year investing in residency and citizenship programmes. Europe offers far greater benefits in terms of residency and more attractive citizenship for those who gain it. There is also no restriction on real estate investments in places such as Spain, Portugal and Cyprus, enabling investors to buy in the open market rather than more restrictive government defined programmes such as St. Lucia. The Caribbean programmes are facing increasing competition as demand shifts from many investors to more attractive European options, although they do offer a quick route to[...]

Cape Verde Improves Landscape for Investment in Tourism

Thu, 25 Feb 2016 08:14:41 GMT

According to news reports, the government of Cape Verde announced the creation of a Tourism and Investment Agency designed to provide better conditions to attract more foreign investment, promote domestic investment, and diversify and qualify the tourism sector, which contributes 20% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Júlio Morais, former Cabo Verde Ambassador to China, who will chair the Tourism Agency, said it would focus efforts and resources on the mobilisation of " adapted and innovative funding mechanisms " for small and medium-sized Cape Verdean companies. The government has promised to " continue to invest in improving the business climate, transforming it into a competitive factor and to create innovative tools and techniques to promote tourism ". The new Cape Verde Tourism and Investment Agency will coordinate three regional centres: One in the north, which will be located on S. Vicente Island; one on the central island of Sal and another in the southern island of Santiago. Cape Verde is attracting more and more tourists and its property market has grown considerably in the last decade, with no sign of slowing in 2016. The fact that Cape Verde is experiencing a tourism boom shows a continued demand for holiday rental properties, from private villas right through to beachfront holiday resorts. For as long as people continue to travel to Cape Verde, the property market will continue to grow. The recent and on-going prosperity of the Cape Verde islands is largely connected to the continual growth in tourism. This has also been combined with a democratically elected and stable government structure and a clear strategy to develop the islands in line with that increasing touristic demand. In recent years, there have been key infrastructure improvements including supporting foreign investment and leisure development, as well as modernising the utilities, telecommunications and transport links. For the investor, Cape Verde can offer consistency in rental returns and capital growth and this is because there is consistent demand for properties all year around. This is largely thanks to fact that it is a safe country, with a low crime rate, and that it always has exceptional weather. Unlike some countries, Cape Verde doesn't really have a low season (tourists can enjoy temperatures in excess of 25 degrees all year round) which makes it an attractive holiday destination at any time of the year. Furthermore, investors are attracted to the fact that Cape Verde is well-protected. The government has strict legislation in place that only allows low level and low-density projects to proceed. This not only protects the look and feel of the Islands, but also restricts the number of properties that can be built. A similar principle is applied to the land in Cape Verde. This means that much of it is protected and cannot be sold to developers. In addition, the size of the islands dictates the level of[...]

Northern Ireland Sees Most New Homes in UK

Wed, 24 Feb 2016 08:05:08 GMT

According to new data released by the National House Building Council , Northern Ireland had the highest percentage increase in new home starts of any UK region during 2015.

The report shows a 30% increase in registered new homes - from 2,487 to 3,223 last year – outpacing other UK regions, with the east of England having the next highest percentage increase at 23%.

Developers based in Northern Ireland have reported the biggest number of developments being offered for tender since the housing crash in 2008. However, the NHBC show that Northern Ireland's increase comes ' from a relatively low base ' as house-building slumped so drastically in the downturn.

Peter Gillan, managing director of Co Antrim housebuilder PG Contracts , said the company had seen a " great turnaround " in both large developments and one-off houses. " Percentage margins on the larger developments remain tight, but a mass volume is there to be had, " he added.

However, Conor Mulligan, managing director of homebuilder Lagan Homes, said Northern Ireland faced barriers to house-building that were not present in England. Drags on progress include " sewer bonds, gold-plating of EU regulations and demands to upgrade underfunded infrastructure and services ".

" Thankfully, there appears to be a recognition of difficulties and, I believe, the desire to overcome them, " Mr Mulligan added.

David Little, NHBC representative in Northern Ireland, said volumes last year were double those in 2012. " In general, builders are now more confident about prospects for house-building and this optimism is shared by potential buyers, " he said.

But he warned that the momentum needed to be maintained and said: " We are still some way off building the numbers of new homes required ".

Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said the house-building recovery " still has a very long way to go, " though the pick-up was welcome news. " Even if the industry operates at maximum capacity, the rate at which new homes are built will remain well below what is required for the foreseeable future, " he indicated.

UK-wide, the number of new homes registered reached 156,000, up 7% on 2014, still some way off from satisfying the demands for housing in the UK, particularly at the affordable end of the market.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Dollar Investors Bag Bargains in Bali

Tue, 23 Feb 2016 07:58:52 GMT

The Indonesian island of Bali is a popular destination for holiday home purchases and following property price declines throughout 2015, there are now plenty of opportunities for significant deals in its property market. Increasing numbers of luxury buyers in dollars are taking notice. Barry King, managing director at Prime Real Estate, says that thanks to price declines on villas, the firm sold around 20% more properties priced over $3 million last year. The number of wealthy Chinese buyers in the southeast Asian market of Bali is already on the rise, buoyed by a weakened yuan and volatility in Chinese markets, adding pressure on wealthy Chinese nationals to get money out of the country. The island of Bali saw an 11.3% drop in the Indonesian rupiah against the US dollar in the past year. A slowing Indonesian economy has also dragged down the property market in the commodity-rich nation. Dominique Gallmann, CEO of Bali-based real-estate broker Exotiq Properties , says the average sales price for the agency has dropped to less than $500,000 from $750,000 in 2014. Luxury prices in South Bali dropped an average of 15% to 25% by the end of 2015, with the segment above $1 million suffering more than lower-priced properties, she added. Many property investors are looking to Bali for affordability compared with property prices in nearby Hong Kong, ranked one of the most expensive destinations for housing in the world. Its warm weather, stunning landscape and welcoming culture makes Bali one of the world's most desirable places to live. Visitors just can't seem to get enough of the glorious island, and more and more holidaymakers are either turning their short trips into permanent stays or securing holiday homes that they can retreat to whenever they feel the urge. Luxurious villas by the ocean and comfortable family homes nestled in the mountains are being snapped up quickly, making Bali a hot spot not just for international home buyers looking for their own slice of heaven, but also for astute property investors. Bali's luxury property market is progressively attracting more and more property tycoons looking to cash in on capital gains and build a healthy property portfolio in a market that has seen rapid growth over the past few years. Indonesian law places restrictions on the ability of foreigners to purchase property in Bali. These laws aim to keep ownership within Indonesia and protect the country's booming economy. However, as long as the property is not part of government subsidised housing, foreigners are allowed to invest in commercial and residential real estate or property as an investment. Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of[...]

The Key Risks to British Real Estate in 2016

Mon, 22 Feb 2016 08:10:21 GMT

According to research from insurance giants Aviva, Brexit, euro-zone debt and UK interest rate rises will remain the downside risks for UK real estate in 2016. Richard Levis, global real estate analyst at Aviva suggests that the impending vote on EU membership is one of several risks that could affect UK real estate returns this year. " We expect healthy occupier demand and a broader recovery in the rental market to drive capital appreciation in coming months. Good quality, higher-yielding assets are likely to do especially well this year, but there are multiple risk factors that could have both negative and positive implications for the market, " he said. " We doubt the UK electorate will vote to leave the EU this year. However, short of a decisive mandate to remain in the EU, the aftermath of the vote could see unusually high currency volatility, higher gilt yields, capital flight, weaker economic growth and another Scottish referendum. All of this could drain liquidity and damage investment performance of UK real estate in the short-term, " he added. " Even in the event of Brexit, the UK will probably retain extremely close economic and political ties with the EU. Hence, longer-term impact would depend on the outcome of trade negotiations between the two parties. A UK exit would put the central London office market most at risk within the commercial occupier sector. London's financial district is especially vulnerable due to a potential drop in demand for buildings from the financial services industry ". The general view is that UK interest rates should remain low in 2016, rising at a gentle pace throughout the coming years, parking below pre-2008 historic norms. However, rapid and unexpected policy tightening could damage real estate returns if property yields also increase rapidly. Rental growth in UK real estate is currently at levels not seen since the last cyclical peak. Analysts expect price growth to cool this year as the central London office market slows. However, there is a possibility rents will surge on restrained supply, low vacancy rates, a lack of new development and steady economic expansion. The biggest upside potential is in the industrial sector, which has not had much real term rental growth since the late 1990s. " This year we expect overseas net investment to ease amid slowing emerging economies, heightened geopolitical tensions and low oil prices. But we can also envisage an upside scenario where overseas net-investment continues to rise and, as a result, yields for the best quality assets would fall further. In addition, demand for lower quality secondary assets and strategies would rise fuelling a further " re-rating " of secondary yields. This scenario would also put further pressure on investors to increase exposure to non-core real estate assets such as inf[...]

Foreign Investors Gain from Losses in Egyptian Tourist Sector

Fri, 19 Feb 2016 08:52:19 GMT

After five years of operating losses in the Egyptian hotel market, many owners are now seeking to exit the sector, providing increased opportunities for foreign investors to bag a bargain.

Recent reports on Egypt's tourist sector reveal that a group of Egyptian and American investors bought three hotels in Sharm El-Sheikh with a total value exceeding $52m and a capacity of 300 rooms.

According to Daily News Egypt reports, an alliance of Gulf investors is in negotiations with owners of two resorts in Marsa Alam. The group is comprised of Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti investors with an agenda to buy hotels and real estate assets in Egypt worth $500m in 2016.

Egyptian tourism has suffered over the past five years since the 2011 revolution, following which the number of tourists declined significantly. The income from tourism reached its lowest point in 2013, recording just $5.9bn. Additionally, the Ministry of Tourism disclosed that the Russian jet crash last October pushed income in 2015 down to $6.1bn compared to $7.3bn in 2014.

The current conditions of the Egyptian tourism sector may be a good opportunity for foreign investors, where many hotel owners seek to exit business after five years of losses, an official at the Ministry of Tourism said.

An official at the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) recently stated that foreign interest in Egyptian hotels, despite its positive effect, will reduce the potential for more investments to increase the current hotel capacity. Hotel capacity in Egypt stands at about 225,000 rooms, 65% of which are in the Red Sea and South Sinai region.

According to prominent tourism sources, foreign investors aim to refurbish hotels and then resell them when tourism recovers, rather than use them for their own operations.

In the face of financial volatility and declining oil prices, Egypt is now an attractive destination for Gulf investments in real estate - one of the most secure sectors for investment around.

In spite of the difficult conditions experienced by the tourism sector at the moment, investors expect an imminent recovery after the British company Control Risks issues its evaluation of security at airports.

The Egyptian cabinet appointed Control Risks to review security procedures at Egyptian airports. Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said the British company will begin its review mid-February 2016.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Middle East Investors Increase Exposure in Malaysian Property

Thu, 18 Feb 2016 08:14:29 GMT

2015 saw a resilient property market in Malaysia despite declining energy and commodities prices, political turmoil and a falling Ringgit, which became one of the worst performing currencies across Asia. However, analysts believe that the next few years will see increasing opportunities for investment in Malaysian real estate , boosted by the current macro-environment in the country. Reports indicate that it is now possible to buy world-class real estate in prime locations with net yields in excess of 6%. For overseas investors, the Ringgit has fallen 25% against the dollar compared to 12 months ago and is widely thought to be undervalued, making investments in the country particularly attractive to Middle East investors with currencies pegged to dollar performance. The fact that Malaysia offers freehold ownership is another differentiator compared to many other Asian markets. Islamic or Sharia-compliant real estate investing is well-established and relatively straight forward. Investors can fully leverage the comprehensive Islamic financial infrastructure, another reason why Middle Eastern investors are increasingly attracted to this market. Integrated schemes where people want to live, work, eat and shop are in demand and rare in Malaysia. Mid-Valley City, a 20-minute drive from the heart of the city, is a good example of a development that continues to be in strong demand, despite rising competition. Attracting 34 million visitors a year, it consists of two mega shopping malls, three hotels, residential apartments and several office towers where occupancy is consistently high and rental rates that outperform other buildings in the area. Another example is KL Eco City, a 25-acre mixed-use development project underway from the SP Setia Berhad Group. It includes three luxury residential towers, which are fully sold, a mall and offices. More than 60% of the entire development is dedicated to offices, of which 90% has been sold. In contrast to these well-designed projects, there are plenty of outdated, poorly managed older buildings in Malaysia. Around 75% of Kuala Lumpur's office stock is more than 15 years old and less than 15% is less than five years old. The outdated office stock present a number of redevelopment opportunities and have attracted overseas investors to enter the Malaysian market. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) made its first direct real estate investment in Malaysia in 2015 by forming a joint venture with Malaysia-based property developer Pavilion Group, investing $118.6 million. The two are investing in a mixed-use development (Pavilion Damansara Heights) in Kuala Lumpur. Medium to long-term investors in Malaysia are currently benefiting from the undervalued currency, which provides an attractive window of opportunity for foreign buyers to ent[...]

Milan Emerges as Italy's Commercial Property Investment Hotspot

Wed, 17 Feb 2016 08:06:35 GMT

Milan's commercial real estate sector attracted significant interest from foreign wealth funds throughout 2015, with investor interest in Italy's business capital expected to continue into 2016 and beyond. A number of historic buildings have attracted foreign investments in Milan on the strength of low rates, international liquidity and structural reforms on the way in Italy . In January, the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (Sofaz) reached a deal to buy a historic property in the city centre which was the home of the Milan chamber of commerce until 2011, according to the local press. The Palazzo Turati, recently used as a conference centre, is reported as being sold to Sofaz for €97m in the fund's first real-estate purchase in Italy. Meanwhile Abu Dhabi Investment Authority reportedly agreed to buy a 1960s building in the northern Italian city, which Milan-based Corriere della Sera newspaper said will be demolished and replaced by a new tower. At the end of December, Qatar Investment Authority completed a deal to acquire another historic building that housed a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, also in the Milan city centre. Paolo Bellacosa, Managing Director at CBRE Capital Markets - a worldwide real estate services firm - in Italy, noted that since the end of 2012 the Qatar, Abu Dhabi and lastly the Azerbaijan sovereign funds have been the most active international investors in Milan, showing a long-term approach. The Unites States and China have also played a key role; he pointed out, with last summer's purchase of the former Milan headquarters of Italian bank UniCredit, Palazzo Broggi in the heart of Milan, by Fosun, one of China's leading privately-owned groups. " Actually this case will be about urban regeneration of a historic square of Milan which will also involve the national postal service former palace bought by the U.S. fund Blackstone as well as other properties, " he added highlighting the role of these renewal operations as a driver of economic growth in Italy. Bellacosa estimated that the volume of commercial real estate investments increased to around €8bn at the end of 2015, more than 45% up on 2014, of which over €4bn was invested in the Milan metropolitan area. Mr Bellacosa is of the opinion that there is much more space in Milan for urban development operations, from requalification of former railway yards to the post world exposition project. Several important deals with strong interest not only in core investments but also in development projects are a sign of confidence in the Italian market in the middle and long term, noted Andrea Faini, Managing Director at World Capital Real Estate , a Milan-based group specialised in real estate consultancy and investment. " Countries such as [...]

Hong Kong Housing Ranked Most Unaffordable in the World

Tue, 16 Feb 2016 08:13:32 GMT

According to the 12th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey of 87 global cities by US think-tank Demographia, property in Hong Kong is the most expensive in the world while that in the US is the most affordable.

The report shows that the four most affordable housing markets, all with home prices 2.6 times median annual income, were found in the US – New York's Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Rochester. Overall, cities in the US have the most affordable housing according to the Demographia list.

At the other end of the spectrum, housing in the bustling port city of Hong Kong in southern China is classified as 'severely unaffordable'. Property prices are on average 19 times median annual income. Second from the bottom of the list is Sydney (12.2 times) followed by Vancouver (10.8 times).

The rankings are based on the 'median multiple' of the respective housing market, ie the median price of property is divided by the median annual income before taxes. Cities with a median multiple of 5.1 and over are ranked 'severely unaffordable'.

Housing affordability in Hong Kong is its worst since Demographia started its survey, in part due to well-off mainland Chinese buyers investing in Hong Kong property. US monetary policy and increasing demand in general contribute to housing scarcity which in turn places more upward pressure on housing prices.

Apart from their prohibitive cost, new housing developments in space-starved Hong Kong have become so tiny that they are referred to as " mosquito units " by locals.

The dire housing situation in Hong Kong was one of the concerns raised by young people who took to the streets in 2014 in massive pro-democracy protests known as the Umbrella Movement. Since then, the Hong Kong government has said it would increase housing supply.

" Virtually all of the geographies covered are facing more uncertain economic futures than in the past, " said the Demographia press release.

" As always seems to be the case in economic matters, younger people and lower income people tend to be at greater risk ".

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

UAE Real Estate Sector to Gain Traction in 2016

Mon, 15 Feb 2016 08:20:34 GMT

According to international real estate investment and advisory firm JLL, new funding and investment schemes in UAE's real estate market are expected to gain traction in 2016 as the market struggles with overall instability and cautious funding. In its '2016 Top Trends for UAE Real Estate', the international firm laid down eight market trends and factors that would draw a new shape and form to the country's property market throughout the year. " Banks becoming more cautious is obviously going to cut or restrict one of the traditional sources of real estate funding, " Craig Plumb, head of research at JLL MENA said. He recalled stricter bad-loan regulations already announced by several banks, like the United Arab Bank, in their latest reports. However as one door closes, another one opens allowing more alternative real estate schemes and funding sources to gain traction in what he called a " further maturing " real estate market in the UAE. " We're going to see more interest in public-private partnerships [PPP], the UAE has announced new laws in the back of last year to allow public-private partnerships, " Plumb said. Such tie-ups have been reported in infrastructure or transportation projects, but no official PPP directly related to real estate has been announced. Beyond funding sources, JLL predicts that relatively new investment and transactional schemes, like build-to-suit projects and sale & leaseback investments, also have the potential to gain popularity in the UAE's property market. Build-to-suit refers to developers building to the specifications of corporate tenants or building " inside out ", and focusing on efficient spaces, with the latter being especially true for office spaces, according to JLL. Meanwhile, sale & leaseback, a scheme more prevalent in mature property markets, can be seen more often around the UAE, especially Dubai, given its positioning as a regional and global facility. " Built-to-suit is a mechanism for developers to raise finance on the back of a pre-lease to a major corporate; whether that is a commercial corporate like we've recently seen with HSBC, or whether it is a school or a hospital like GEMS or Medcare, " Plumb explained, referring to entities that have experiences sale & leaseback transactions. " A corporate operator will take a long-term commitment to a building… [making it] a more attractive investment, and based on that you can raise the finance… so I think we could start seeing more activity in that space, " Plumb said. He noted that the concept of strong, long-term lease contracts is not very common in the UAE or the region, but added that - given the need and poten[...]