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News and articles on worldwide property and real estate investment


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 lower price points and more favourable returns, " says Hart.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

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 of 20%, with many seeking to rent investments properties below the radar of the country's tax authorities.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

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 a second passport. The minimum investment required for Cyprus' Golden Visa is at least €300,000 (US$326,000), in Portugal €350,000 ($381,000) and in Spain €500,000 (US$544,000). Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of[...]

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 development that is possible, an advantage over vast countries such as Brazil, Egypt or Turkey. The result is exclusivity. Property ownership is limited, and owners effectively benefit from an excess of supply, resulting in consistent rental returns, and impressive capital growth. Ultimately, that is what real estate investment is all about, and it seems that Cape Verde has the perfect dynamic at the current time. Article by +Roxanne James on behalf 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 infrastructure, residential, healthcare, care homes and leisure, " adds Levis. With the landscape changing in the UK, investors are expected to diversify further within the asset class of commercial real estate. With increasing opportunities for retail investors to enter commercial property markets through crowd-funding platforms and real estate investment trusts (REITs), the sector is expected to experience significant growth in coming years. Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of [...]

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 enter the market.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

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 the United States, the United Arab Emirates and China after careful market research have invested their capitals in environments which can offer interesting prospects of future appreciation, " Faini said. He added that Italy is seen as a " safe country " which in the past did not suffer collapses or bubbles as most of other European countries and with a solid real estate sector, where the ownership rate exceeds 70%. Antonio Zagaroli, managing director at Knight Frank Com[...]

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 potential benefits - it could be a go-to investment. " One of the constraints in this region is the lack of properties where a strong, long term lease is in place, and that's the constraint at the moment, but I think more and more developers are looking to reposition their properties to allow that to happen, " Plumb added. Overall, aside from the expected impact of low oil prices, geo-political events and other macro-economic factors shaking up the region, JLL predicts that new ap[...]

South African Listed Real Estate Outclasses Equities in 2015

Fri, 12 Feb 2016 08:07:20 GMT

According to figures released by Catalyst Fund Managers , South African real estate investment trusts (REITs) returned 7.99% to investors, outstripping returns of 6.46% for cash, 5.13% for equities and -3.93% for fixed income bonds.

Commenting on the sector's top performance, SA REIT Association Chairman, Laurence Rapp says: " Despite a tough operating environment and the brutal turmoil that hit local markets in December, the SA REIT sector continued its excellent track record of outperformance for investors in 2015 ".

While being the best performing asset class of 2015, listed property's returns were somewhat lower than in recent years after it took a downward turn in December against other sectors as capital markets in South Africa responded to President Jacob Zuma's sudden decision to sack finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.

The incident, referred to by the media as 'Nenegate', caused ripples in South African financial markets and values of listed property dropped around 10% in two days.

The sector later recovered to some extent but despite these gains, in December listed property still lost 6.12%. Up until the last month of 2015, listed property wasn't only leading other asset classes but completely outperforming market expectations.

Rapp notes that while the limp local economy will put all sectors under pressure in 2016, the listed property sector is already ahead in its quest to find greater value for investors by entering new markets and subsectors. " International and sectoral diversification has been a growing trend in the sector for some years now, and certainly dominated strategies in 2015, " says Rapp.

This focus is likely to continue in 2016. Rapp adds: " Given the stagnant economy, weakened Rand and further threats of a credit downgrade, the sector will work hard to sustain value in local markets while also looking for offshore assets with more attractive fundamentals and Rand hedge benefits ".

The South African REIT Association represents all the country's listed real estate, valued at more than R300bn-worth of real estate. Good quality, high-performing REITs are extremely influential on developed economies, contributing significantly to GDP whilst generally improving the standard of living.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Up To 10% Growth Expected for Thailand's Property Market in 2016

Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:04:50 GMT

Thailand's economy has experienced some significant ups and downs in recent years but despite the weak economy, its property market is expected to pick up significantly this year, driven by the growing low-rise sector of the residential market.

Atip Bijanonda, president of Thailand's Housing Business Association, said the Thai property market this year would grow by 5-10%, boosted by transactions in single-house and townhouse segments.

" In many provinces, condos will remain sluggish this year, while demand for single houses and townhouses will continue to grow as supply remains limited, " he said.

According to the Real Estate Information Center (REIC) , the number of low-rise units - single houses, townhouses and duplexes - remaining for sale in 26 provinces totalled 146,870 worth 541 billion baht. Also available were 98,130 condo units worth 275 billion baht.

Bangkok, Chon Buri and Nonthaburi are recorded as having the most condo and low-rise units remaining for sale.

Prasert Taedullayasatit, president of the Thai Condominium Association , said sales of single houses and townhouses had picked up since the third quarter last year. Demand was strong for townhouses priced 2-3 million baht as large developers shifted to the segment.

Townhouses priced higher than 10 million baht located close to mass transit stations showed the most significant growth with the sector competing with condos in the same location due to lower prices.

" Developers should prepare for changes in the real estate landscape, " Mr Prasert said. " As happened last year, big developers are expected to continue dominating the residential market, putting smaller developers in trouble ".

Don Nakornthab, senior director of the financial institutions strategy department at the Bank of Thailand, said the government's spending on infrastructure in 2016 may be minimal but it could lead private investment and help the property sector, as most megaprojects will develop mass transit and transport networks.

" Developers should be more cautious in property development as the economy remains slow, with high household debt and low prices of agricultural products having an impact on consumers' purchasing power, " he said.

Economists expect Thailand's economy to improve from last year as the government's economic stimulus policies and other measures introduced by the central bank and the Public-Private Partnership Committee are implemented.

In 17 major provinces, the property market significantly slowed down, with the number of housing units launched dropping by 29.3% in the first three quarters last year to 31,193. The number of units sold also fell by 35% in the same period.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Property Values Continue to Record Strong Growth in Ireland

Wed, 10 Feb 2016 08:09:04 GMT

Investment research firm MSCI revealed a 25% total return in 2015 for Irish property in its Growth Index, published at the end of January. This follows-on from the 40% record breaking return achieved in 2015, demonstrating another exceptionally strong growth year for Irish property markets. MSCI revealed that total returns from investment property hit 25% year-on-year in Q4 2015, demonstrating consistent buyer interest for more than 6 quarters. This outpaced the UK market return of 13.8% shown in the IPD UK Monthly Property Index. Last year saw the introduction of residential properties to the IPD/MCSI property index for the first time in Q3 2015, along with the admission of two new REITs, reflecting changing investor interests. The Office sector continued to lead the market, returning 5.6% in the last quarter to close out 2015 with a 27.1% year-on-year total return. The Retail sector returned 20.9% and the Industrial sector 21.2% for the year. Rental Value Growth was the key driver in the Irish market during 2015 as market rents grew by 14.4%. Yield impact, a proxy for investor sentiment, added 7.2% to the annual returns, a significant moderation on 20.2% recorded in 2014 as pricing stabilises in the Irish market. The strong rental value growth indicates a clear sign of business confidence in the Irish economy but also endemic of the limited supply of office space in Dublin City Centre. 2015 also proved to be the year in which the Irish recovery spread nationwide, with obvious improvements in the regional retail sector and a growing demand for modern office space, particularly in Cork City. Key retail locations, especially properties on Dublin's prime Grafton Street produced the best annual performance with returns reaching 8.3% in Q4 2015, and 28.1% over the year as a whole. MSCI's Colm Lauder said, " The rate of total return may have moderated in 2015, but this is representative of a market that is stabilising following the resurgent bounce-back that occurred during 2014 ". Crucially, rental value growth is now the primary driver of performance in Ireland, rather than yield movement, a sign that the occupier market is driving performance rather than investor demand. Pauline Daly, President of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) said, " Ireland's improving economic performance throughout 2015 was evident in the commercial property market, where growth was recorded across all sectors. The pace of the increase is starting to stabilise with the majority of commercial activity, as expected, predominantly within the Dublin region ". Investment activity was strongest in the office sector in Dublin with Regional cities including Cork and Galway experiencing a welcomed uplift in growth also. " As the economy continues to recover and companies locate and expand, further growth is expected in 2016 with rental growth likely to be the driver of capital growth. Much of the rental growth in the office sector will however hinge on the adequate supply of new stock coming on stream to cater for demand " said Ms Daly. Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of Pro[...]

Fed Interest Rate Hikes Make US Property Attractive Proposition

Tue, 9 Feb 2016 08:24:12 GMT

According to Hong Kong economic journal Ejinsight , US Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) have outperformed those of other regions due to the improving economy in the country.

Following a string of economic indicators showing rising growth, falling unemployment, increased non-farm payrolls and more mergers and acquisitions deals in the US, have all supported the performance of REITs in recent months.

Developers in the United Kingdom, meanwhile, have also reported positive earnings overall, though their investment returns have been relatively lower. Those with large exposure in central London regions will continue to show good performance, benefiting from rental growth.

However, over in continental Europe, prospects for REITSs are not looking as good, due to a generally weak macro outlook and deflationary environment. Although authorities are expected to unveil more monetary easing, share prices of real estate firms across Europe haven't shown any significant gains relative to the US.

In Asia, stock markets have been dragged down by concerns over the broader economy. Japan has entered technical recession, Hong Kong has seen a slowdown in retail sales growth and Singapore is suffering from weakening industrial production. Consequently, real estate stocks have fallen in line with the overall equity markets in the region.

Going forward, economists believe global market sentiment will continue to be driven by the expected trend in US interest rates, with the Fed continuing to raise rates following the initial hike last December.

Due to the strong US economy, it is believed that boosting exposure to American real estate will pay off. US REITs are now trading at a 10% discount to their average net asset value while the earnings are forecast to increase 8%. Analysts also have a positive outlook for US residential property, Grade-A office space and commercial buildings in coastal cities, expecting strong earnings growth driven by US economic recovery.

Rising interest rates are good news for the real estate sector, particularly in new construction or development. This is because prices for raw materials remain stable in the face of rising interest rates whereas the finished product becomes more expensive to the consumer, making companies that profit from homebuilding and construction attractive plays for savvy investors.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Will Britain Terminate Tier 1 Golden Visa Investment?

Mon, 8 Feb 2016 08:15:03 GMT

A surprise proposal was put forward in parliament last week that could shut foreign high net worth investors out of the UK's lucrative property markets.

An amendment to the 2015 Immigration Bill was tabled by Baroness Hamwee and Lord Paddick (both Liberal Democrats), proposing the abolition of the Tier 1 Investor visa from 1 January 2017 - the visa granted if you invest more than £2 million in the UK.

Although it is unclear as to what has prompted the proposal, there is speculation it is due to concerns about transparency surrounding big ticket real estate transactions and doubts about the economic benefit to the UK from offering visas in exchange for large investments in property.

2015 saw a tiny number of foreign investors applying to come to the UK under the Golden Visa scheme, with numbers down from around 1800 in 2014, to fewer than 200 last year. The popularity of the Tier 1 Investor route dropped significantly following the increase in minimum investment from £1 million to £2 million in November 2014.

In addition, geopolitical and economic factors affecting the two main source countries for Golden Visa investment – China and Russia – has negatively impacted transaction volume in the UK's prime property markets.

The Tier 1 investor route requires an extended period of residence with significant presence before a non-EU buyer can obtain permanent residence in the UK, becoming eligible for British Citizenship a year later, subject to security and character checks. Those who come to the UK this way bring funds, typically provide employment and are therefore useful citizens for society as a whole.

The proposals come at the time in the UK when foreign investment is being increasingly viewed as being the catalyst behind rapid price growth that has resulted in significant affordability issues for the domestic market.

However, there are differences of opinion as to whether restricting investment at the top end is likely to slow price growth in the short term. The proposed changes to Golden Visa legislation will be a continuing theme of debate over the next few months.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Global Real Estate Glistens More Than Gold

Fri, 5 Feb 2016 08:18:53 GMT

According to new research from Savills, the global stock of residential and commercial real estate equals 2.7 times the world's GDP, hugely outweighing the value of all gold in existence.

" The total value of all the gold ever mined is approximately US$6 trillion, which pales in comparison to the total value of developed property by a factor of 37 to 1, " said Yolande Barnes, head of Savills world research.

International estate agency Savills values the world's residential real estate stock at $162 trillion, more than the $155 trillion-worth of all globally-traded equities and securitised debt instruments combined.

If the wealth of residential stock – spread over approximately 2.5-billion households – is added to commercial ($US29 trillion) and agricultural land ($US26 billion), the value of measurable global real estate comes to $US 217 trillion.

" The value of global real estate exceeds – by almost a third – the total value of all globally traded equities and securitised debt instruments put together and this highlights the important role that real estate plays in economies worldwide, " Ms Barnes said. " Real estate is the pre-eminent asset class which will be most impacted by global monetary conditions and investment activity and which, in turn, has the power to most impact national and international economies ".

The global residential real estate figures reflect the reality of a global economy dominated by the West. China accounts for nearly a fifth of the world's population and its real estate market makes up almost a quarter of the total value. That's broadly representative. However, a fact that surprises is that more than a 21% of the total residential asset value lies in North America – despite it only being home to 5% of the global population.

The research reflects the exponential rise of cross-border investment across real estate asset classes and also the continued difficulties domestic home buyers have in terms of affordability. Many economies around the world have courted investment in property markets in recent years and some consider this to be to the detriment of domestic first-time buyers.

There is likely to be an increase in measures to cool investment markets. For example in the UK, BTL investors face an additional 3% stamp duty that is due to be levied as from April 2016. Tax relief on mortgages for second home and investment property purchases is also due to be significantly reduced from April 2017.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Chinese Investors Surge on JVs in Thailand Condominiums

Thu, 4 Feb 2016 08:10:39 GMT

According to real estate brokers in Thailand, at least seven Chinese investors with a combined 10bn baht are looking for joint ventures in Thai condominium development this year due to a slowdown in China's construction sector and overall economy.

Alan Lin, managing director of property brokerage Harrison Co said the Chinese investors included contractors, developers, property funds and construction material makers. " As the Chinese economy tumbles, many Chinese investors in property-related business are looking for an opportunity for investment abroad, " he said.

" The first destination is normally Britain, followed by Australia, the US and Asian countries ".

Those most interested in Thai property are contractors with expertise in high-rise construction of 70-100 storeys and connections with Chinese partners capable of introducing potential buyers of condo units in the country.

Chinese developers interested in Thailand are mostly medium-sized operators unable to compete with huge developers with bigger funds to bid for land plots.

Property funds in China are looking to invest in income-generating assets such as retail, hotels, serviced apartments and industrial estates. Yields of 8-10% for retail, 7% for hotels and serviced apartments and 10-15% for the industrial sector are readily available in Thailand in the current climate.

Harrison is in talks with seven Chinese investors prepared to spend 1.5 bn baht per deal in a joint venture with Thai developers. Locations of interest include Ratchadaphisek Road, the riverside area and Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok as well as Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai.

One Chinese contractor plans to spend 1.7bn baht on a high-priced condo project worth 5 billion baht in central Bangkok. The deal will be finalised in the first quarter.

Harrison expects 25bn baht in sales this year, up from last year's 7bn, which rose by 18% from 2014 with major drivers for growth expected to come from sales of a residential project in London worth 6bn billion baht and Chinese deals worth 6.25bn.

Mr Lin said the property market this year would be stable, but growth would be seen in locations along the Purple Line and inner-city areas such as Silom, Lang Suan, Sathon and Sukhumvit roads.

There has been a general surge of interest in income-generating assets among international property investors in recent years, something that is set to continue into 2016. Assets that have achieved exponential market growth internationally include hotel rooms and serviced apartments, with student accommodation grabbing a significant market share.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Blackstone Predict New Opportunities in Australian Commercial Property

Wed, 3 Feb 2016 08:12:10 GMT

Blackstone, the world's largest real estate investor do not see Australia's commercial real estate market as overheated as many analysts do, suggesting that global volatility will continue to create new investment opportunities in 2016. The firm's global chief investment officer for real estate, Ken Caplan said: " We bought a half-interest in Southern Cross not long ago, so we continue to see opportunities [in Australia]. We still see it as an interesting time to be investing. Australia has done well for us. We like the investment and would like to do more ". In December last year, the private equity giant bought a half share in the Southern Cross office complex in Melbourne for AUD675m, with Canadian giant Brookfield owning the balance. Analysts have speculated that the yield of just over 5% is a new benchmark for the Melbourne office market. Globally, Mr Caplan expects the pace at which yields have tightened to slow after the strong run real estate has had in recent years. However, he did not see interest in Australia abating, rejecting talk of a commercial property bubble. " I see a lot of reasons why Australia will remain a place that investors will want to invest capital into real estate ". Blackstone has more than AUD5bn of property and AUD1bn of real estate debt in Australia. In 2015 the group made its first push into the Australian real estate debt market, buying $750m of Australian loans as part of its USD26.5bn to purchase General Electric's global real estate assets. " It does feel like we are in an environment where we will see more interesting opportunities. And having the dry powder across the firm of USD85bn [funds available globally across asset classes] means we are able to take advantage of this, " Mr Caplan said. Blackstone has been most active in Sydney and Melbourne office and retail property and according to Mr Caplan, " That's where I expect we will continue to be most focused ". Increased investment activity in commercial real estate markets is generally a precursor to increasing prices in the residential sector. That's why savvy investors pay close attention to the activity of the investing giants like Blackstone for indications of where smart capital is flowing and seek opportunities locally. Opportunities to invest in commercial real estate around the world are becoming more widely available through crowdfunding platforms and real estate trusts, with entry levels at more affordable ranges for retail investors. The commercial sector of global real estate markets is expected to see significant growth in the next 12 months, as more economies achieve stability or seek to stimulate growth through investment in business. Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of[...]

Faith Tourism Booms in Turkey

Tue, 2 Feb 2016 08:08:04 GMT

Turkey is a fascinating country that is home to a mesmerising blend of East and West. Ancient civilisations have come and gone in the country over generations in time, each leaving behind an incredible heritage that resonates with followers of many different faiths. Consequently, millions of people from all over the world visit the spiritual attractions. Turkey is home to and faith tourism has become an important part of the country's growing tourism sector. Here we take a look at the most popular sites and attractions for religious visitors to Turkey: Konya: Shrine of Rumi and Museum Konya was the final home of Rumi (Mevlana), Anatolian mystic, poet and the father of the Mevlevi Order. He is known as Mevlana in the East and as Rumi in the West and his tomb is in the city. In 1273, his followers in Konya established the Mevlevi Sufi order of Islam and became known as the Whirling Dervishes. Konya has the reputation of being one of the more religiously conservative metropolitan centres in Turkey. It was once known as the " citadel of Islam " and its inhabitants are still comparatively more devout than those from other cities. Izmir: Virgin Mary's House The house was discovered in the 19th century by following the descriptions in the reported visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, a Roman Catholic nun and visionary which were published as a book by Clemens Brentano after her death. The Catholic Church has never pronounced in favour or against the authenticity of the house, but nevertheless maintains a steady flow of pilgrimage since its discovery. Catholic pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there until her Assumption, according to Catholic doctrine. The shrine has merited several papal visits from several popes, the earliest pilgrimage coming from Pope Leo XIII in 1896. Trabzon: Sumela Monastery Sumela Monastery is a commonly-visited attraction of faith tourism in Turkey, as well as pleasure trips. The ancient monastery and buildings surrounding it were built in the 19th century, with the Roman Orthodox community permitted to perform the religious ceremony of the ascension of the Virgin Mary since 2010. The area, already rich in natural beauty draws significant numbers of faith tourists in Turkey. Nevşehir: Cave Churches and Haji Bektash Nevşehir is the capital of the Cappadocia region where the first settlements date back to 3000 BC; the oldest name of the city was " Nyssa ". The city also has some interesting remains from the Seljuk period, such as the castle which stands at the highest point of the city. The Kursunlu Mosque has an impressive complex of buildings and a medresse surrounding it which dates back to 1726. They were built by carving the soft rock surface located in what is now the Göreme Open Air Museum, attracting thousands of visitors as well as faith tourists every year. Sanliu[...]

Eighteen Consecutive Months of Growth in Spanish Property Market

Mon, 1 Feb 2016 08:28:24 GMT

The latest data released from Spain's General Council of Notaires shows that residential property sales in the country increased by 7.3% in November last year, compared with the same month in 2014.

The figures show just over 18-months of continuous growth in Spain's real estate sector, reflecting increasing buyer interest in the country, set to extend well into 2016 and beyond. Furthermore, analysts believe growth is sustainable, with price growth stability.

A breakdown of the data shows that apartment sales increased by 6.2% year-on-year, more than double the increase recorded in October 2015. This was largely due to transaction volumes of new apartments which increased by 8.3% and resale apartments 12.2%.

Sales of individual family homes also saw strong growth, up 11.4%, recording nine months in a row of double digit increases. However, sales of new housing fell for a tenth month in a row, down in November by 18.6%.

In the new-build market, the issue holding back price growth is lack of supply. This dynamic is slightly misleading however, as there is a vast supply of unfinished and empty housing stock across Spain that is mostly held in bank inventory.

As this inventory is released and made available to buyers, it could serve to prevent Spain's property market from overheating in the face of significantly increased buyer-interest. In the meantime, the supply issue is likely to affect price volatility in certain regions of the country.

The average price of homes sold in November was €1,219/m2, a fall of 1.1% year-on-year. A breakdown shows that apartment prices fell by 0.6% and the price of individual family homes fell by 0.8%. The data also shows that the price per square metre of second hand apartments fell by 0.7% year on year to €1,320 although new apartments increased by 5.9% to €1,666.

The total number of new mortgage loans also increased by 7.3% year on year in November but in seasonally adjusted terms this figure moderates to an increase of 2.4% year on year, the lowest increase in 18 months.

Spain's economy remains hampered by high unemployment rates and a significant public deficit. However, tourism has been booming in the country and its contribution to the economy continues to grow. In the regions of Spain popular with holiday home buyers and investors, property prices are set to continue to rise throughout 2016, albeit at a meandering pace.

As with all property markets, there are anomalies that present themselves as opportunities for value growth and savvy investors can still find such opportunities in Spain.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

UK BTL Investors Face Significant Challenges in 2016

Fri, 29 Jan 2016 08:08:35 GMT

Despite the fact that demand still outstrips supply in British buy to let markets, government measures are set to change the landscape of the property investment market to slow down purchases of second homes. As from April this year, buy to let investors in the UK will have to pay an additional 3% stamp duty surcharge. In real terms, this will add a further £3,000 to BTL investors' tax bills to the purchase of a £100,000 home that would ordinarily be exempt from stamp duty. For properties purchased at £250,000, the tax bill amounts to no less than £7,500, bringing the total obligation to £10,000. The measures are set to curb the rapid growth of private investment in UK property markets and extend to all second-home buyers in the country. According to Reuters, BTL transactions made up a quarter of market activity last year, far more than in most other advanced economies and a major cause of spiralling prices. There is a rising voice of descent among younger first-time buyers struggling to get their feet on the property ladder as private investment reduces affordability. The inability of the younger generation to buy principal residences has also increased pressure on social housing, already experiencing supply shortage at critical levels in some UK regions. Earlier this month, the Council for Mortgage Lenders revealed a late surge had pushed buy to let lending up 35% year-on-year in November as investors look to act before the new tax comes into force. New figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reveal buyer enquiries were at a three-month high in December, driven by demand from would-be landlords seeking to complete before April. The surcharge is not the only tax change hitting buy-to-let. In his earlier budget last July, Osborne announced that investment owners would be restricted to a flat 20% rate of relief on mortgage interest, effectively halving relief for higher-rate taxpayers. Investors and second home buyers will also be assessed for tax before the relief is deducted, pushing more into the higher rate bracket. Although it is predicted that there will be a slowdown in the BTL sector from April, there are certainly no signs that momentum is declining in the market. RICS did note however, an increase in new instructions in December for the first time in almost a year, a sign that landlords could be seeking to exit the market due to concerns about yield. If investor interest does wane after April, it should serve to remove some of the heat from the housing market and slow price growth although there is bound to be a period of adjustment to improve affordability for first-time buyers in the UK. Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of[...]

International Hotel Brand Announces its First Luxury Hotel in Portugal

Thu, 28 Jan 2016 08:16:44 GMT

Meliá Hotels International and Discovery Fund have signed a joint agreement that will see Europe's third largest hotel chain open its first luxury hotel in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Meliá lisboa is part of an ambitious project that aims to return life to a strategic location in the city, with the hotel set on the corner of the central Antonio Augusto de Aguiar and Fontes Pereira de Melo avenues.

The hotel will open in early 2018 with 239 rooms, a 24-hour restaurant adapted to the lifestyle needs of guests, and a panoramic lounge-bar on the upper terrace with stunning views of the city.

The hotel is set to follow the 'bleisure' (business and leisure) concept, providing everything needed by guests visiting Lisbon for a combination of business travel and leisure, while also giving local residents a meeting point where they can 'see and be seen', with attractive options for dining, drinks and music. Meliá Lisboa will feature modern facilities for conferences and conventions for between 50 and 550 people, two floors of parking, and a health club and Yhi Spa, the chain's spa brand.

Portugal is considered one of the most important destinations for European tourism and with a growing strength in urban hotels; the Meliá Lisboa is set to mark the group's continued growth in Portugal. The hotel chain is working closely with Discovery Portugal Real Estate Fund who are focused on real estate and tourism assets management in Portugal.

Pedro Seabra, partner of Discovery Fund, highlighted the importance of the agreement in bringing an international brand into the hotel's management:

" This alliance and the Melia Lisbon's project represent the continuation of the excellent work of the Discovery team, with the aim of revaluating the Fund's assets, " he said. " We are also excited to be able to count with the best professionals to make this project a successful reality from 2018 ".

Gabriel Escarrer, vice chairman and CEO of Meliá, added: " We are very excited about the Meliá Lisboa because it combines architectural innovation in a hotel with the highest standards of quality and service, with the history of such an emblematic corner of the city of Lisbon, with the attractiveness that you only find in the centre of the great historic capital cities in Europe ".

Portugal remains one of the most popular destinations for property investors in Europe and despite some economic and political instability in recent years, considerable growth now seems to be back on the agenda for 2016.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

American Retailer Claims Prime Barcelona Asset

Wed, 27 Jan 2016 08:09:29 GMT

Real estate giant Hines expanded its retail portfolio this month with the purchase of Arcs 10, an upscale retail asset in Barcelona. Houston-based Hines forked out almost €40m for the 1,200m² property, located close to the Cathedral and Plaza Sant Jaume in Spain's perennially popular tourist hotspot.

The building is leased to Barcelona-based international fashion retailer Desigual, who emerged in Ibiza back in 1984 to become one of the largest fashion retailers in Europe with a presence in 42 countries around the world. Arcs 10 is also home to the four star hotel, Catalonia Catedral.

Hines acquired the retail asset from a private Spanish investor on behalf of its Pan-European Core Fund (HCEF), a euro-dominated Luxembourg-based investment fund established in 2007. Managed by the Hines group, the fund aims to develop an extensive portfolio of commercial real estate assets across Europe.

The acquisition comes at a time when confidence in Spain's economic stability and future performance is riding high among investors.

" With the acceleration of economic growth, take off of retail sales and consequent performance of the High Street, Spain is an attractive market, where tenant activity is seen to be strongly improving, for both existing retailers in the market, and newcomers seeking to make a presence, " said Jamie Rea, managing director for Hines España.

As part of its Europe expansion, Hines entered the Spanish market with an investment in 84 acres of land in downtown Barcelona in 1996. That investment, fronting onto the Mediterranean Sea, is now known as Diagonal Mar, one of Europe's largest mixed-use developments, totalling more than 37 hectares.

The project consists of a retail and leisure centre, which opened in November 2001, five residential phases totalling 1,400 apartments, three hotels, three office buildings and the third-largest public park in Barcelona. Hines expanded its Spain operations in 2000 by opening the Madrid office and in 2004 with its Marbella office.

Significant purchases of this nature are proving to boost investor interest in Spain's real estate markets. Investors in residential properties have been growing in numbers in recent months, buoyed further by euro weakness against other currencies. With major players taking the lead, this is a trend that is set to continue well into 2016 and beyond.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Positive Outlook for Dubai Real Estate in 2016

Tue, 26 Jan 2016 08:24:45 GMT

As the emirate continues its preparation to host World Expo 2020, Dubai's real estate is proving an attractive proposition to international property investors.

With investment in mega infrastructure projects and increased construction supporting continued growth in Dubai's property market , there are still plenty of high value opportunities to be found.

The Dubai Land Department (DLD) annual report shows that there were 63,719 real estate transactions in 2015, with a value of $72.7bn, representing an 8% increase on investment inflow in 2014.

UAE property portal believe that there is strong investor interest in Dubai, attracted by yields as high as 8%, compared with the 4% average available in London.

Economic growth is expected to continue at a rate of around 3.5% through 2016, despite the decline in oil prices. The emirate has undertaken a significant investment programme in recent years that has seen economic diversification into logistics, retail and real estate that has enabled Dubai to loosen its dependence on oil. also report that many of the Dubai-based developers left in debt after the crash of 2008 are now in a position to pay off balances ahead of schedule. Development of the iconic palm tree shaped islands, Palm Deira is pressing ahead once again and its developer, Nakheel has announced various hospitality and leisure projects, indicating the firm is moving forward in a position of strength.

Increased investment in Dubai has seen it transformed into one of the world's most innovative cities. Air-conditioned walkways to the metro, drones providing a document delivery service to government offices, incredible super cars adopted as first aid vehicles and high-power speedboats protecting the emirate's coastline.

In the pipeline, there are plans to build a museum of the future and the worlds's first fully functional 3D printed office. The government's extensive tech-friendly policies are encouraging new innovative businesses in Dubai, turning the emirate into a hub for regional and international tech startups.

With government investment expected to continue as Dubai approaches their 2020 goal, the emirate has much to offer international property investors. The already impressive skyline is altering dramatically to put Dubai firmly on the map as a top investment destination for 2016.

Article by +Roxanne James on behalf of

Investor Appetite Increasing for Thai Hotel Opportunities

Mon, 25 Jan 2016 08:08:42 GMT

Despite the sluggish economy, demand remains strong for real estate in Thailand with the nation currently leading the region in the hotel residence boom, the property investor's vehicle of choice throughout 2015. Economists estimate the real estate market grew by almost 10% this year after receiving a boost from the government's property stimulus measures, implemented to stimulate interest from property buyers overseas. The stimulus measures include reductions in housing transfer and mortgage fees, personal income tax deductions for those purchasing a property for less than €75,000 and soft loans amounting to €250,000 offered by Thailand's Government Housing Bank, (GH Bank) . In October last year, the cabinet approved cuts in housing transfer and mortgage fees to 0.01% each for six months for homes priced at €75,000 or less, down from 2% and 1% respectively. Also approved was a proposal allowing first-time buyers who purchase a home below the same threshold to deduct 20% of the value of the home from their annual personal income tax over a five-year period. Thai Condominium Association president Prasert Taedullayasatit said the tax incentives would boost the overall housing market in the fourth quarter by 20%-30%, increasing full-year housing market values by 12.6% from last year. Investment in hotel residences surged in Thailand in 2015, with many opportunities falling well below the new threshold for tax incentives. The sector has a significantly improved outlook on the back of the Thai government's stimulus measures and construction has been stepping up to meet rapidly increasing demand for robust, income-generating assets in branded hotels. According to research by Thai-based hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks, there are currently more than 28,000 hotel-branded residential units for sale across the region overall, representing almost 120 projects. In Thailand, there are 44 developments on the market, representing 4,775 units, with the top three locations for hotel residences being Phuket, Bangkok and Pattaya. The average price per square metre for urban properties in Thailand is €5,960, while in resort destinations it is €3,283. One key catalyst for the rising tide of buyer interest has been an increasing number of mixed-use projects that contain hotel and real estate components. Recognised hotel brands are being tapped to help engineer pricing premiums for property sales, which in market-wide terms has equated to 26% in urban locations and 14% for resort products. Commenting on the research, C9 managing director Bill Barnett said: " The historic pattern of hotel and real estate marriages has moved away from the beach and leisure destinations and is gaining traction in urban city offerings. Traditional lifestyle buyers are be[...]

Bulgaria's Property Market to Strengthen Further in 2016

Fri, 22 Jan 2016 08:14:34 GMT

Property consultants Cushman & Wakefield reported a record year for foreign investment in Bulgaria last year with real estate sales contributing €239 to the economy, predicting a continued rising demand throughout 2015. After prolonged economic hardship following the global financial crisis, Bulgaria's property market remains at a huge discount to peak 2007 prices, attracting wealthy foreign investors with opportunities to acquire land and property at rock-bottom prices. Polina Stoykova, managing director of Bulgarian Properties said: " An important element of the new market reality is the return of confidence in the property market. More and more buyers are thinking of buying property because real estate is a safe real asset and good investment. This understanding coincided with a very favourable moment in the property market development because real estate prices are currently at levels from ten years ago and respectively, the properties are much more affordable. We could also add to the picture the improved mortgage conditions now offered by the banks ". Apart from price, another dynamic property investors are interested in is tourism. Most foreign investors seek to take advantage of resort properties with excellent occupancy rates that ensure consistent rental revenue streams in a growing market. Bulgaria has risen through the ranks as one of Europe's most popular alpine resorts, offering exceptional value for family ski holidays and with plenty of breathtaking beaches the country has a whole lot more on offer besides. Bulgaria enjoyed an extremely successful winter season in 2014/2015 that saw more than 80,000 visitors to its alpine resorts, boosting the nation's economy by €17.5m. According to the country's tourism minister Nikolina Angelkova, the number of visitors from Turkey increased by almost 30% as a result of the simplification of visa requirements while German tourists increased by around 17%. At the beginning of August last year, budget flight operators Ryanair issued a press release that is set to boost Bulgaria's tourism and real estate sectors moving forward into 2016. The airline's Robin Kiely said: " Ryanair is pleased to announce a new daily London Stansted to Sofia route beginning May 2016 which will go on sale on in September. Sofia is another key capital city airport and our second in Bulgaria as we continue to grow Europe's largest route network, with more routes and flights and improved schedules ". Property prices in Bulgaria have also been buoyed by weak supply due to limited construction. This has impacted markets in the country's large cities and resort areas the most and with off-plan investment opportunities thin on the ground, prices look set to continue r[...]

Cape Verde Emerges as Tourist Hotspot in 2015

Thu, 21 Jan 2016 08:16:38 GMT

Cape Verde's National Statistics Institute (INE) reported a 2% annual increase in visitor numbers in the first half of 2015, putting the country on target for a bumper year for tourism. In the first six months of the year, more than 278,000 visitors arrived on the beautiful archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa, attracted by its fabulous beaches known as jumping-off points for windsports and a great location for diving among shipwrecks. During the second quarter, Cape Verde hosted 116,200 tourists representing a 4.8% increase on the same period of 2014, despite the country's relatively under-developed tourism infrastructure. Overnight stays in H1 increased 3.5% to almost 1.8 million with hotels remaining the most popular type of accommodation for 87.3% of visitors to the tiny archipelago nation. The data reveals that the second quarter of the year saw mostly British tourists arriving in Cape Verde, representing around 25% of international visitors. Brits holidayed for an average stay of 9 days with the island of Sal as the most popular resort location, accounting for around 46% of overnight stays in hotel establishments. Cape Verde is a former Portuguese colony and maintains close links with Portugal and the Eurozone. Special partnership status has been granted by the EU and in 2008 Cape Verde joined the World Trade Organisation. The country has improved significantly to achieve economic stability with plenty of potential for further growth, particularly through its tourist sector. The country's democracy is one of Africa's most stable and Cape Verde was officially removed from the Unite Nations list of Least Developed Countries in December 2007. The country's outlook has never been better according to the World Bank , recently reporting that 'good governance, sound macroeconomic management, trade openness and increased integration into the global economy, as well as the adoption of effective social development policies underpinned an impressive development trajectory'. Around half of Cape Verde's 482,000 population lives on the biggest island, Santiago which is home to the capital city, Praia. Tourism is mostly concentrated on the island of Sal which has the country's only international airport capable of receiving charter flights from Europe. New and bigger international airports are scheduled to be opened in Santiago, San Vicente and Boa Vista, boosting residential property prices in those areas. Almost every habitable island of the archipelago has new development in construction. Capital values are consequently rising by 10%-15% annually and yet property in Cape Verde is still very much a bargain at around €1,200-€1,650/m2. Cape Verde remains largely undiscovered to international travellers,[...]

Investors Look beyond Paris for Bargains in France

Wed, 20 Jan 2016 08:14:58 GMT

As property prices in Paris continue with their upward movement, restricting yield opportunities for international investors, many are now seeking value in regional cities such as Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lille and Strasbourg. At a presentation at the Munich trade fair in October last year, David Green-Morgan, JLL's global capital markets research director said: " Over the past 2-3 years we have seen a change in behaviour. Now investors, particularly from Asia are seeing real estate, particularly in Europe as a safe haven – and the emphasis on wealth preservation especially from Asia has become more important ". Although many investors tend to focus on bigger cities such as Paris, a lot of capital is looking to generate more aggressive returns and therefore there is a rising interest in regional opportunities. This is a trend that is also happening outside London in the UK and outside the Big Six in the German market, (Munich, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne). Peter Rawls, investor relations director for the huge Euroméditerranée urban renewal project on the sea front in Marseille, said yields in prime offices in the city are between 5.76% and 6.1%, comparable to other regional cities in France . Availability of capital is not the problem and many large investors such as Germany's Union Investment Real Estate and US manager Pramerica are already allocated. " The main challenge is that those who are already invested don't want to sell, " he said. However, regional cities are attracting families through quality of life and industry is stepping up to provide employment. The Airbus group has it's headquarters in Toulouse with divisions in other French regions and its main helicopter arm is based near Marseille airport. Marseille also acts as a gateway to Africa which is attractive for commercial real estate investors, particularly from China. Jean-Philippe Blangy, managing director of UK-based fund manager Tristan Capital Partners said his firm hasn't yet developed a strategy for French regions but is beginning to look at more opportunities in France. All the major regional cities are attractive for potential office investment, while retail value can be found throughout France, even in smaller locations. " We have €5bn of assets under investment and most of that so far in Germany, UK and Spain – but there is no specific focus on the regions, " he said. " In France our investments are 100% in Paris and zero in the regions ". According to Blangy, the yield spread between Paris and Marseille is much wider than that between Berlin and London, and even regional cities in Germany are closer to l[...]