08 December 2006

London property prices growing further

London house prices will end this year at the highest annual rate of growth since 2002, outperforming all UK regions, confirming the extent to which the capital’s housing market is outpricing first time buyers and creating a heaven for investors.

The new house price index shows an annual London house price inflation at 12.7% after growing steadily throughout the year from 5% last January.

According to industry experts low new housing supply is driving up prices in London and the south-east of England. The Bank of England’s two expected interest rate rises this year should help damp house price growth outside the capital, although London will be slow to adapt to any changes because of localised supply shortages that dominate the generally low housing turnover market.

Estate agencies have predicted that London property prices would continue to increase next year, boosted by large bonuses in the City and growing demand from wealthy overseas buyers.

Despite a brief slowdown in 2005, annual price growth across England and Wales has risen to 7.3% according to the latest figures available, making for a very strong property investment market overall.

03 November 2006

Add Uruguay to your overseas property portfolio

Uruguay property investment opportunitiesModern day property investors are always on the look out for new exciting destinations and an unlikely player has just emerged, Uruguay.

Uruguay has much to attract the holidaymaker and second home owner, not least the wide sandy beaches and picturesque colonial towns. Punta del Este, 130km to the east of Montevideo, ranks up there with South America’s premier holiday resorts attracting up to 700,000 visitors each year and has had numerous nicknames from ‘the Pearl of the Atlantic’ and ‘the Hamptons of Latin America’ to ‘the St Tropez of Uruguay’ and even ‘the Ibiza of Latin America’.
Sitting on a peninsula that reaches out into the ocean, separating the surf of the Atlantic Ocean from the calm waters of Rio de la Plata, Punta del Este is an area of outstanding natural beauty that offers the nightlife and the tranquility that is required.

In January and February Punta del Este’s 20 miles of sandy beach turn into a playground for beautiful people, wealthy South Americans and a sprinkling of celebrities. Naomi Campbell and Gisele B√ľndchen are Punta regulars and author Martin Amis owns a bolt-hole there. The modern marina beckons yacht owners from all over the world who bring their impressive cruisers over for some winter sun and fun. Whichever experience you require – lounge music on warm beaches til dawn, trying your luck on the baize in the American-style hotel casinos, admiring one of the world’s largest sea lion colonies on Isla de los Lobos, joining the jetset and stocking up on Gucci, roller skating with the children or simply taking in the most incredible sunsets - Punta del Este has it sewn up.

El Cardenal Azul is being prepared for the luxury real estate map through its facilities. Residents will enjoy tennis courts, padel courts, sauna, gymnasium, a steam bath, swimming pool and a Clubhouse with restaurant and bar. The resort will also take on day-to-day tasks such as gardening, laundry, house-cleaning and babysitting on behalf of the owners should they wish.

Don't waste time and have a look at the best that Uruguay has to offer. It's not going to be long until property prices sky-rocket so this is the time to make a move and invest in South Americas new holiday real estate player.

16 October 2006

A fresh approach to luxury property


Wetag Consulting have been taking a fresh approach to Swiss property. The secret lies in the broad range of customized unique real estate solutions, including acquisition, obtainance of residential permit and assistance with tax-related legal issues.
Pretty standard property services you might think but that is until you start viewing some of the properties.

Luxury property in SwitzerlandThis is luxury real estate at its best, with projects made to measure. In addition to the company holders there are freelance architects, construction engineers and consultants to cater for every taste and need.

Swiss property from Wetag
Since end of 2005 Wetag Consulting Immobiliare is member of RELO, a 1963-founded broker network of independent real estate companies representing 650 companies with 4700 offices and 120’000 sales associates, in nearly 30 countries worldwide. Collectively these companies sold (2004) 1.4 million homes valued at 380 billion US$, more than any national brand or franchise. RELO stands for high quality while generating a high volume of referral amongst their members.

Visit Wetag (english version).

05 September 2006

Holiday homes cheaper to buy than let

It can prove cheaper to buy a new property abroad than to spend out on annual holiday accommodation.
By purchasing a property abroad and letting it out for just six months of the year, you can effectively holiday free and earn enough through rental fees to pay for the property outright after just five years depending on the house and location of course.

While a couple may spend an average £1,000 in peak season on accommodation for a week’s summer holiday, they could opt instead to purchase a new holiday apartment in the same area, which they could frequent as often as they desired and secure a profitable income from holiday rentals. Over as little as five years, this could lead to enough in holiday rentals to effectively pay for the property, any overheads and other property related costs.

The internet today has made it increasingly easy to research and purchase property abroad.

Purchasing a new property abroad can be a great investment. It can offer you a guaranteed holiday destination that you can jet off to at a moment’s notice with the security that you will be staying in a property that you are familiar with, as well as offering high returns.

New properties are particularly cost effective due to low to none maintenance costs and can take away some of the uncertainty of buying in a foreign country. Buyers can feel confident that the property they are purchasing will be in good condition and they will be unlikely to be faced with any nasty surprises.

04 September 2006

Bali and Phuket attract property investors

Property investment propertyIf you have been watching the property market in Bali and Phuket for the past six years you would have noticed an economic and morphological synergy for these two leading foreign property investment destinations in Southeast Asia.

The majority of people who buy simply fall in love with the tropical lifestyle, but the market has now grown to include people who are after a good property investment.
The property market in Phuket and Bali has remained strong with prices rising.

The increasing interest for investors is greatly attributed to what is being referred to as a ‘lifestyle investment’.
The concept is simple. You purchase a property with the intention of getting back a return, through rental income, a capital gain by selling at a profit and the added bonus of yourself and friends and family being able to enjoy the property for holidays and long weekends.

03 September 2006

Holiday lettings with a twist

This summer like all new seasons saw the introduction of more holiday lettings than ever. The location, quality and variety do not only make for the perfect holiday, but also offer great investment opportunities for those looking to invest in property abroad.

The Lighthouse in Burnham-on-Sea is the first of its kind in the UK that is available to rent all year round. Built in 1830 the impressive lighthouse sleeps up to 6 and stands 110 feet (33 meters) tall with round shaped rooms covering 8 floors with panoramic views on a clear day of up to 22 miles. After a stay living and sleeping in a lighthouse, waking up in your bedroom at home will never be the same again.

Or maybe you would choose a Watermill in Tuscany, especially one that has been restored to retain many of its original features. The sitting room has the original mill stones, with views of the mill workings from the glass panel on the floor, something you won’t find in your typical B&B. Set within a chestnut covered wood, the Mill sleeps up to two people and offers the romantic holidaymaker an unforgettable place to escape.

There is also a luxurious Houseboat in the heart of Amsterdam that offers privacy and space. Available for rental, this 100-year-old houseboat was rebuilt in 2002 and offers accommodation for up to five people with private sundecks. The houseboat is a stroll away from all the Amsterdam sights and offers facilities including Internet access and a dishwasher in the spacious accommodation.

20 August 2006

A safe way to property investment in Spain

Problems arise when you start looking for property in Spain. There are so many companies with different offerings that it becomes almost impossible to settle for the best deal. Another problem is that large organisations offer a plethora of properties but the service you get is often rushed and impersonal.

Van den Hout Enterprises claim to differ by offering personal hands-on real estate services using a large international property network. Sounds ideal but is it possible?

CEO Paul van den Hout has been involved in Spanish and international property multinationals for over 18 years. He therefore recognises that it is crucial for a all round consultant to offer a broad range of services.

Using a unique concept of a 'virtual office' Van Der Hout Enterprises provides a platform of external specialists in all aspects of the property market, including real estate search, sales promotions, mortgages and insurances.

If the large agencies have let you down or you just want a more personal touch in your property investment search give them a try.

Van den Hout Enterprises (English version)

10 August 2006

UK indirect residential property ownership

If you want tax relief on a development investment you can now back a particular development.

Publication of the Finance Act at the end of July confirmed that indirect residential property ownership is permitted within a SIPP. So investors looking for a hands-off approach to residential property investment can now find eligible investments for a self-invested personal pension (SIPP). Developing can be much more profitable than a straight investment in existing property.

With most residential units sold off-plan, the risk to investors is reduced.

Developer funding involves providing equity to a developer in addition to bank lending, to finance a scheme. A developer typically requires 10% to 30% of the total scheme cost in cash, with the rest provided by bank lending. It is common to find developers with more opportunities than cash, which presents an opportunity for investors to raise the capital required and receive a priority return.

With the passing of the Finance Act a few days ago, investors can finally rest assured that indirect investment in residential property and development funding is permitted through a pension, allowing them to collect the returns tax-free within their Sipp.

Developer funding is an excellent way to access higher than average returns in the residential property market, by investing in the scheme right from the start and benefiting from a priority share of the developer’s own profits. It is also a totally hands-off investment choice, making it ideal for those who want to enjoy the gains of residential property without the involvement of buy to let

27 July 2006

Bulgarias Finest Golf properties

The unique Nicklaus Championship Golf course in BulgariaIf you are not just looking for a property but also a secure holiday relaxation experience then Bulgarias Finest might be your cup of tea.

You can now escape and relax in a spacious, luxurious vacation place, part of a safe gated community in the foothills of the Rila Mountains, just a few miles away from Borovets - one of Bulgarias finest sky resorts.
You can buy off plan today and see your investment blossoming in what is Bulgarias most exclusive golf resort.
Private gated resort with Golf only open to the property owners and their tenants ensuring maximum rental yield
This prestige Country Golf Club and Spa offers unrivalled privacy, great mountain views and direct access to the resorts amenities, including several swimming pools, a hot mineral waters luxury spa centre, tennis and other sports, as well as a shuttle service to the nearby ski slopes and airport.

The best villas are a range of stunning 4 and 5 bedroom properties being developed with care and the family in mind. Remember that Golf is only open to the property owners and their tenants ensuring maximum rental yield so if you are a fan of the great sport and like the combination of a golf property in Bulgaria give the Finest a try.

10 July 2006

More property investment in Bulgaria

It was announced this week that Bulgaria's Linexa Property is planning a 20 million euro investment building a new residential complex to be constructed in Bulgaria's coastal town of Kavarna.

Kavarna's mayor Tsonko Tsonev revealed the plans for the new complex which is going to be placed near a golf course.

Construction work has began and the 420-apartment complex is expected to be completed within two years.

The complex is the latest in a series of large-scale UK, Spanish and French property investment over the past years. Some of the projects include the construction of a golf course, hotels and holiday villages.

The increased interest in Kavarna property resulted in a record income from land deal taxes. The Bulgarian real estate market has seen rapid growth and is expected to grow even further after the country's EU entry in 2007.

Other posts about Bulgaria:

29 June 2006

Sotogrande properties

There are many interesting properties in Spain, which in late years has become the UK's favourite holiday destination as well as foreign property investment haven. Everyone wants a piece of this paradise, however few can really help you to fullfil your dreams.

Sotogrande-Properties present a large selection of real estate for sale in Sotogrande, Marbella and other areas of the western Costa del Sol. The properties range from luxury villas to high standard apartments and secluded country fincas.

Try Sotogrande Properties.

25 June 2006

New Indian property boom?

A revival for colonial style property in India is reported by the Peninsula, Qatar's English daily:

"Himalayan hill stations built by British colonial officers to shelter them from the fierce Indian summer and remind them of home are to be restored to their former glory by a new generation of middle-class Indians eager to savour a similar lifestyle. Government officials in Himachal Pradesh, home to some of the most evocative Raj summer towns, including Simla, Dalhousie and McLeod Ganj, have lifted a ban on outsiders owning homes. Property developers and members of Delhi’s increasingly affluent middle classes are queuing up to restore the faded grandeur of Himachal Pradesh’s many Victorian summer houses, and to build new bungalows based on original designs.

The rehabilitation of one of the most enduring symbols of colonial domination reflects the increasing confidence of India’s middle classes and a previously suppressed admiration for the style in which the British lived. Prices are rising fast. A three-bedroom bungalow in need of some restoration will fetch about £70,000, while a 10-bedroom house recently sold for £300,000.

Hill stations such as Simla and Darjeeling in the north-east were “discovered” in the mid-19th century by British officers who saw them as ideal family summer retreats from the heat and dust of the plains. Gothic churches with stained glass windows were built along with schools, racecourses, cricket grounds and private clubs for officers, tea planters and their wives. From 1864 to independence in 1947, Simla was India’s summer Capital. Admirers argue over whether the British were trying to recreate home counties England or Highland holiday towns. Many houses have features of both. What made them different were the verandas, where the colonials would recline on teak and cane chairs, sipping a gimlet (gin and lime) as they looked out over the snow-capped peaks of the high Himalayas."

Full article here.

09 June 2006

Nirvana property in Turkey

Increasingly Turkey is seen as an ideal holiday property investment opportunity. Affordable pricing combined with great new developments and many impressive holiday destinations have helped the market to grow and investment to flourish.
So this is the right time for buying property in Turkey both for investment opportunities and as a holiday home.

Nirvana International, an international residential development company specialising in Turkish property designs, constructs and promotes a range of luxury residential villas and apartments on first class developments. Current development is focusing on the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey.

The Turkish coast is quite simply stunning with its impressive golf courses along the Belek region and skiing facilities in the Antalya Mountains. The company's developments are designed by English architects and built to a high quality standard.

It helps to know that all the properties offered for sale are designed, developed and owned by the company that maintains a good standard of service.

The website also gives information on costs and the buying process.

Nirvana International

30 May 2006

Morocco property expo in London

A new property expo with a unique focus in Morocco property is going to take place at the Holiday Inn in London Heathrow.

With the recent announcement from Ryan Air regarding the opening of 20 new routes into Morocco, there is only one way the property market in Morocco is going. Morocco is only 3 hours flying time from London with an excellent climate and unspoilt beaches together with spectacular landscapes, it is like Spain 40 years ago" Simon Mawer adds. The opportunites on offer at the moment are excellent, with properties from as little as £45,000 and millions of tourists set to arrive in the next 5 years, it could not be much better.

The exhibtion is on throughout the weekend from Friday the 2nd June until Sunday the 4th June from 10am until 7pm.

08 May 2006

Property Show opens in Kuwait

Meshari Jasem Al Anjeri welcomed the public to the Worldwide Property Show in Kuwait that opened with visitors evincing significant interest in the investment options on offer by the more than 20 international real estate developers and exhibitors. DSL Exhibitions, the international property exhibitions company are hosting this 11 year old event which is taking place at the Marriott Courtyard, Kuwait City, on the 7th and 8th of May 2006.

Over the past 10 years, global appreciation in property values has regularly outperformed all other kinds of investment, including, antiques, gold, stocks and bonds. Commenting on property as an attractive option for all levels of investments, Mike Bridge, Regional Sales Director of DSL Exhibitions said: “We all know that property, wherever you buy it, always appreciates in value, is a safe investment if you have done your homework and can provide lifelong income. With the Worldwide Property Show, investors living in the Middle East now have access to real estate across the world.”

03 May 2006

Spanish villas with a twist

Spanish villaYes I know, there are already so many Spanish property sites out there that make it so difficult to choose. Having said that there are also so many badly designed, non functional and poorly serviced ones. This makes spanishvillas.uk.com stand out from the crowd.

The real estate services are not so different (resale property is also offered) but the staff are very friendly and efficient and their property portfolio advanced to say the least.

Take for example this three bedroom detached villa in Costa Blanca, 10 minutes walking distance from the beach. Located close to several golf courses and fully furnished including T.V and internet connection and close to all amenities. Looks like a bargain to me.

spanishvillas.uk.com also do property rentals. So if you are still wondering which agent to go to for your Spanish property sales, look no further.

spanishvillas.uk.com

Holiday homes in Austria

If, like Julie Andrews, you prefer to combine mountains with melody and believe that a good day's hill-walking comes second only to a night at the opera, then consider a holiday home in Austria. In Salzburgerland, the mountainous district that surrounds Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, you can walk, fish, ski or go horseriding, and then return to the heart of the historic cobbled city before the curtain goes up on Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

"There are lots of pluses for a family," says Deborah Ansel, who with her husband, Rob, is about to buy here. The couple from Buntingford, Herts, together with their sons George, 13, and Joe, seven, are considering buying, for £215,000, a large one-bedroom apartment in Zum Baren, a new development an hour and a quarter from Salzburg. "It will sleep four and we will use the pool, the golf course and do lots of walking," says Deborah. "We're not buying it just for the skiing. And of course we can get to know Salzburg."

Since joining the EU in 1995, this small and slightly old-fashioned country of eight million inhabitants has been gradually lifting its property restrictions and it is now possible for foreigners to buy into some of its beautiful countryside and chocolate-box towns. Zum Baren is one of the first luxury resorts aimed at non-residents. Built by the upmarket developer La Perla, it is near the village of Maria Alm in the Hochkonigs Winterreich mountain network. Here, the very lovely hills and trails are untouristy and remarkably quiet compared to more fashionable mountain resorts such as nearby Kitzbuhel and Saalbach.

Full report here.

12 April 2006

China's property boom tested

The billboards that line the road from the airport to the center of this metropolis in China's southwest proclaim as soon as you arrive that the country's property boom has spread firmly to the interior.

Touting housing developments like "Venice Impression" and "Dream Town," they are as ubiquitous as the cranes and frames of high-rises covering the hills on the outskirts of this gateway to the west, which not long ago were only dotted with villages.

Once a scene reserved for eastern cities like Beijing and Shanghai, they testify to a transformation overtaking China's second-tier cities, as investment in factories and infrastructure brings in jobs and raises incomes.

"Chongqing's property market right now is a lot like Hangzhou's five or six years ago, only without the same kind of bubble Hangzhou went through," said Lian J H Ye from the Chongqing office of property consultants DTZ Debenham Tie Leung.

Hangzhou, and its close neighbor Shanghai, came under the spotlight for rampant property speculation that sent prices soaring. Beijing responded with a raft of cooling steps, including levying capital gains taxes on homes resold within a short period and higher down payment requirements.

Ye thinks Chongqing will be spared a similar fate because its market took off after the lessons from Shanghai had been learned.

A lot is riding for the world economy on whether he is right.

More here.

10 April 2006

Property tax breaks in Oregon

When Toledo fire fighter Rudy Garcia went looking for land on which to build a home, he was eager to find a real estate tax haven.

He didn't have to search far.

Newly built homes in a wide swath covering a majority of land in Toledo are eligible for a program that forgives most property taxes for 15 years.

Begun more than two decades ago in an attempt to spawn home construction in "discouraged" areas of Toledo, the program has grown to cover two-thirds of the city, municipal administrators said.

In a little noted development last year, City Council added the popular neighborhoods of Point Place, the North Towne area, and Reynolds Corners.

The program now stretches to the city of Oregon to the east, Springfield Township to the west, Bedford Township to the north, and Rossford and Northwood to the south.

More here.

04 April 2006

Tips for building your overseas portfolio

The emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe are current hot spots, attracting a lot of interest with low entry costs and the potential for high capital growth.

However, the advantages and the security of more mature markets should not be overlooked. France is a great example. According to the annual French Property Market Report, published by the French property experts, VEF, France is still an exciting market with house prices set to rise by an average of 11 per cent this year.

VEF's long term prediction for the market is healthy with prices set to perform over the 8-9 per cent p.a. rate over the next decade, which shows there is still plenty of room in the Gallic market for growth. This is reassuring news for investors looking for sustainability and no unwanted surprises to their portfolio.

However, perhaps the best part for many is France itself. You can buy your dream apartment or villa as a buy to let and you can also use it for your own holidays. Tips from VEF include looking into regions such as Burgundy, Languedoc, Loire and Pyrenees Atlantiques. With low cost flights to France becoming cheaper from most areas of the UK and Ireland access has never been easier.

France still offers an incredible diversity of property, be it old or new at a price range to suit most budgets. VEF has a charming luxury development called 'Le Hameau des Pins' set in the breathtaking Corbieres hills near the Mediterranean coast with prices starting from just £130,000. With private swimming pools and views of the nearby Cathar castle and vineyards, this offers excellent letting potential.

A concept which is becoming ever more familiar is the 'leaseback purchase'. This is a particularly attractive idea that has existed in France for more than 20 years. You buy a freehold new build property on a holiday complex (for example by the sea, on a golf course on in a ski resort) and you sign an agreement with an onsite rental management company for a minimum of 9 years for them to rent out your property.

Not only does the French state give you a VAT concession worth nearly 20 per cent but you usually receive a guaranteed rental income and you can use the property yourself. According to VEF, the number of investors from Yorkshire who are opting for this type of holiday investment property has increased by 47 per cent between 2004 and 2005.

More here.

British buying the US

While Spain is the number one location for overseas property purchases, a biannual survey for A Place in the Sun Live reveals that the US has overtaken France to move into second place.

Australia takes fourth place ahead of Italy and New Zealand in the survey, which shows that the reasons for Brits making an overseas property purchase are varied.

More than a quarter of Brits are so-called 'family sun seekers'. They would buy an overseas property because they are looking for a safe reliable haven for holidays with their children.

Buying a place in the sun to enjoy a well-deserved retirement – 'reward reapers' – is the reason a fifth of people want to make an overseas property purchase.

Lifestyle concious Brits who want to expand their social horizons with an overseas property drive 16 per cent of purchases, while eight per cent of would-be-buyers are 'life changers', leaving the UK for a new life abroad.

Surprisingly, the number of people buying abroad for investment purposes is minimal by comparison.

Only three per cent of Brits see themselves as 'property tycoon wannabes', and two per cent of people want to 'jet-to-let' – buy abroad because they cannot afford to get on the property ladder in the UK.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that Britons are already investing more than £23 billion in overseas property, and most are looking to buy big.

03 April 2006

The World’s Most Exclusive Resort

If you could create the ideal holiday destination from scratch you’d probably want the perfect mixture of near-deserted white beaches, breathtaking scenery, year-round warm weather, sumptuous cuisine, a friendly native population and plenty to discover and explore. Fortunately this destination already exists in Southeast Asia in the shape of the Kingdom of Thailand; officially translated as the ‘land of the free’ but known to travelers the world over as ‘the land of smiles’.

Barama Bay Island is an 80 hectare parcel of paradise set in sheltered waters off the east coast of Phuket. White sand beaches are lapped by warm turquoise waters and an abundance of virgin tropical vegetation from coconut palms to mangroves covers the Island. Barama Bay has been conceived to be the most exclusive resort in the world. There are two options for gaining physical access to the Island, either a 15 minute drive from Phuket International Airport followed by a three minute water taxi journey to Barama Bay, or the faster and classier alternative – a five minute helicopter ride from the Airport directly to the Island’s helipad. There are three options for gaining access to the lifestyle that Barama Bay offers – being a guest of the Six Star Boutique Hotel, a Yacht Club member or the fortunate owner of one of the 30 waterfront Residential Estates.

Ownership of property on a completely private island in an idyllic setting has always been perceived to be the ultimate in real estate. There is a certain romanticism about being cut off from everyday modern life and being surrounded by water. It is a symbol of prestige, wealth, and has enormous investment value, largely because islands are limited, the supply can only diminish. By way of an example, Necker Island was purchased by Sir Richard Branson in 1978 for 303,000 US dollars and is now valued at a vast 106 million US dollars.

Residential Estate owners will have the best of everything that Barama Bay Island offers. Free to indulge in the facilities offered by the Hotel, free to frequent the Yacht Club and free to moor their private yacht. The residential area will be off-limits for anybody but owners and even have its own private residential pier. In fact the only transport that you will be able to bring to the Island is a yacht or helicopter, Barama Bay has a strict no-car policy, aside from the odd electric vehicle to drop you to your front door…

The sweeping waterfront plots will accommodate lavish properties with up to 5,000m² of internal space and owners can rely on the Six Star Resort Management company to look after you and your property whilst you’re at Barama Bay. An investment in Barama Bay real estate also comes with a family lifetime membership at one of Asia’s finest golf resorts. Blue Canyon Golf & Country Club covers 720 acres of the neighbouring island of Phuket and comprises two award-winning 18-hole courses set against the glorious backdrop of the Phang Nga mountains and the Andaman Sea. Blue Canyon has attracted the likes of Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Nick Faldo.

More here.

24 March 2006

Gulf property exhibition in Oman

The eighth Muscat International Fair International Trade & Industrial Exhibition and first Gulf Property & Investment Exhibition will be inaugurated today at the Oman International Exhibition Centre at Seeb.

The fair organised by OITE will conclude on March 23. The Gulf Property and Investment Exhibition is aimed at helping private and corporate investors talk face to face with the vendors and experts in Gulf property and other investment fields.

This platform will showcase new projects, strategies, investment opportunities to diversify individual and corporate investment portfolio. The exhibition focuses on promoting, popularising and familiarising property investment and other liquid investment opportunities available in the Sultanate of Oman and abroad.

Everything related to individual and corporate property; residential and commercial property developers and marketers; real estate agents, architects, designers, engineers, solicitors, and mortgage specialists, property investment advisors, project marketing specialists, property insurers, commercial and specialist banks, lenders and financial institutions will be found at the exhibition.

16 March 2006

China property investment boom in 2006

Morgan Stanley plans to invest three billion US dollars in the real estate sector in China this year, the Shanghai Securities News reported.

Citing an unidentified company official, the report said that the financial services firm expects China's real estate sector to continue to see strong growth due to the country's booming economy.

Morgan Stanley has invested a total of 1.5 bln usd in property projects in China over the past five years, according to the newspaper.

Morgan Stanley said last week that it had completed fundraising for its Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund (MSREF) V International with 4.2 bln usd of equity commitments from investors.

Uk property market online

The property market online seems so saturated these days. There are millions of websites offering more or less the same amount of information with specialists or niche operators winning the battle at the moment.
It is not often though that you come across a website that stands out from the crowd. I am talking about whathouse.co.uk, published by Blendon Communications, a specialist media company dedicated to providing advice on real estate.

Blendon is not new to the world of property with a history of print publications, trade shows and awards so their online offering is well thought out, usable and usefull when buying new homes.

But what makes What House.co.uk so appealing?

A simple search for a house in London leads to a page that features: property for sale, house prices, transport, schools, council tax information, supermarkets nearby, restaurants, pubs and gyms.
This has to be the most comprehensive and complete information for anyone deciding to settle in a residential area.

But buying property is also making a substantial investment and this is where the advice section kicks in. Here you will find a checklist of finance related issues that you have to possibly deal with when you want to buy a house.
From mortgages to insurance and legal to SIPP's there is everything you need to be aware of.

I thoroughly enjoyed the buy to let articles.

All in all What House has managed to produce something original and unique as a proposition to the property market in the UK.

Worth a visit.

09 March 2006

Foreign property investment up in Israel

In the first months of 2006, the monthly average was counted at NIS 115 million.Foreign investments in Israeli real estate are on the rise, according to data published Tuesday by the Ministry of Construction and Housing.
In 2005 there was a 53 percent increase in foreign investment over 2004, and in January 2006, a 12 percent increase was measured over the monthly average in 2005.

Israeli investments abroad have been on the decline since 2003, data shows. The drop is apparently due to finance reforms which raised taxes on foreign assets.
Since 2001, the ministry registers consistent growth in foreign investments in Israeli real estate. In 2001, the average monthly foreign investment stood at NIS 14 million, in 2002 it rose to NIS 16 million, in 2003 NIS 39 million, in 2004 NIS 67 million, and in 2005 it totaled NIS 102 million.

According to Ministry of Construction and Housing Director-General Shmuel Abuav, the consistent fall in interest rates and the improved


security situation in Israel attracted foreigners to invest in the Israeli market, as have the low property prices.

“Real estate prices looked especially low this year for investors from the Euro bloc, who also benefited from the increased value of European currency. The recovering real estate market in Israel will lead to an improvement in shares in the construction sector, which were very low for years and have just recently started to recuperate,” Abuav said.

01 March 2006

Korean Property Investment Freed Up

South Koreans will be able to buy housing units overseas beginning Thursday without being restricted by the value, as long as the purchases are for residential purposes, the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MOFE) said on Wednesday.

They now can purchase luxurious homes and even castles for residential purposes, hold it for a lifetime, and even let their children inherit the property. They had previously been obliged to sell their overseas real estate within three years after returning to Korea.

These are part of ministry's foreign exchange liberalization steps aimed at easing the glut of dollars in the local foreign exchange market. The government wants to increase flows of dollars out of the country to help slow the pace of the won's gains against the dollar.

The government raised the offshore real estate purchase cap to $1 million on Jan. 9 from $500,000 of last July. The ceiling is totally scrapped now.

Still, an individual buying a home worth more than $300,000 is obliged to report the purchase to the National Tax Service (NTS).

``The purchase of overseas real estate increased, but it is not yet sufficient,'' said Kwon Tae-gyun, MOFE director general in charge of the International Finance Bureau. There were 4.3 purchases of such overseas real estate per month on average between July and December 2005, with the figure rising to 13 last January.

``We're also planning to liberalize in stages the purchase of overseas real estate for investment purposes from next year,'' the MOFE official said.

On top of easier purchases of homes in foreign countries, individuals will be able to make as much outbound foreign direct investments as they want and buy any kind of foreign securities. The ministry is planning to set up measures to encourage overseas investment in the service sector and financially support energy project overseas.

Golf property in Spain

Increasingly buyers are looking for sports and entertainment facilities that compliment their holiday property choice. When you are traveling and renting facilities nearby are not so important, but when you are buying they might become a property's unique selling point.
It is no surprise then that both the travel and property industry are diversifying to explore this precious niche.

Quick to jump on this bandwagon are Villa Quest S.L. and doing it quite successfully. They are offering a range of properties including villas, apartments and townhouses near Spain's most reputable golf courses.

Beginners, enthusiasts and even pro's can rest assured that a golf course is always nearby and the properties are good quality and priced reasonably.

Some of the golf course areas include Lorca, Alamo, Murcia, Corvera, Desert Springs, Polaris, Roda, Tercia, Vale del Este and of course Almeria.

More from Villa Quest.

23 February 2006

Cyprus property boom

Property investment in Cyprus is becoming increasingly appealing to investors worldwide, with economic conditions now improving at an impressive rate and the prospective adoption of the Euro drawing record interest from foreign investors.

Jeroen Kremers, an executive director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), recently predicted that Cyprus would be using the European single currency by April 2008 and he stressed that it would be a crucial move for the health of the country's economy.

Property prices within the country are currently rising at a staggering rate of up 20 per cent annually. As such, investors are finding they can make bigger gains on their property in Cyprus than in France or Spain, while growth rates in Bulgaria can still be unpredictable.

Cyprus has long been a favourite among UK tourists and investors and it also has an enviable reputation for attracting "repeat visitors". A growing number of UK residents are looking to the island for a holiday home, many more decide to retire there and thousands are taking advantage of good investment conditions.

This special affinity is down to the fact that the basic infrastructure in Cyprus is not dissimilar to that of the UK.

While investing in some countries can be daunting because of basic communication difficulties, English is spoken by a significant proportion of the population in Cyprus, while the land registry system differs only marginally from that within the UK. All of this is crucial in making the task of buying and selling a property or making a buy-to-let investment all the more comfortable.

22 February 2006

South Korea offshore property investment

The government may remove all restrictions on overseas property purchases by next year after moving up its schedule to liberalize foreign currency transactions, officials at the Finance Ministry said yesterday.

At the moment, Koreans are banned from purchasing commercial-use property outside the country. Those purchasing property for residential purposes are subject to a ceiling.

But after raising the limit last month, the government is poised to lift all restrictions by the end of this year.

If the ministry gives the green light on eliminating the restrictions on commercial real estate purchases as well, there would no longer be any restraints on Koreans seeking to buy property abroad.

"We can't confirm it yet, but we already said earlier that the restrictions on offshore investment would be eased by 2007 or sometime soon after that," said Hwang Gun-il of the ministry's international finance department.

Easing the rules on offshore property investment is the second phase of the government's plans to fully liberalize all foreign currency transactions by 2011.

Finance Ministry officials are currently planning to accelerate this schedule amid steady gains by the local currency.

So far this year, the Korean won has appreciated around 4 percent against the U.S. dollar. That surpasses the 2.4 percent increase seen in 2005.

By lifting currency regulations, Seoul hopes to slash the won value.

16 February 2006

Ryanair move into holiday property market

Visitors to Ryanair's website can now click on a link that displays thousands of properties in Spain and Portugal.

The no-frills airline has inked a deal with property firm Majestic Worldwide that will see it place links to its partner's website on Ryanair.com.

Ryanair already has its fingers in several pies outside the air travel industry, recently launching its own range of travel insurance products.

But the budget airline apparently felt the time was right to build closer ties to the property sector as second homes in Iberia become increasingly popular among Brits.

Under the terms of the partnership, the first 50 Ryanair customers to invest in Majestic's La Condesa de Mijas Golf property in the Costa Del Sol won't have to foot the bill for the first 18 months of mortgage repayments.

This should see those quick off the mark save around €20,000 (£13,700) on their properties.

Majestic offers a wide variety of properties ranging from studio apartments to luxury villas.

According to the Irish Examiner, Ryanair says its new property venture could be extended to Italy and France, depending on how the initial deal pans out.

14 February 2006

Ski resorts in Bulgaria

There has been a 40 per cent increase in enquiries for investment property abroad in Bulgarian ski resorts since September 2005, as overseas property investors seek to capitalise while prices remain low. Exclusive resorts such as Aspen Golf in Bansko offer affordable Ski property and strong long-term investment potential, according to investment property experts. An off-plan studio or one-bedroom apartment start from €50,000 ( £35,000 ).

Over 30 per cent more UK holidaymakers visited Bulgaria in 2005, leading to an influx of travel companies with a majority of them offering guaranteed rental schemes. With a number of no thrills airlines looking to open up more direct routes to Bulgaria, this can only add to the long term growth of property investment.

Rental yields through guaranteed schemes are about nine per cent, while property investors letting independently are achieving yields of about 12 per cent.

However there are risks involved with buying Bulgarian property. Although Bulgaria is quickly establishing itself as a more mainstream destination it still remains an emerging market. The resale market is not as well established as other countries due to Bulgaria's status as an emerging economy and the large number of new developments being continuously released.

Overseas property investors have to decide whether they are prepared to take the risks associated with a new destination in an immature market such as Bulgaria, or a more established low-risk destination such as Spain which is more expensive to invest in, therefore offering lower returns short term .

With Bulgaria's membership to the EU looking imminent, it appears that many investors believe it’s a risk definitely worth taking.

A typical 2 bed Spanish investment property in Almerimar - Costa Almeria – Spain will cost aprox 105,000 euros compared to 50,000 euros for an apartment on the Ski slopes of Bansko in Bulgaria.

Removals, storage and shipping

Moving furniture and shipping your valuables to a property overseas can be not only a time-consuming but also painful procedure.

Make sure that you trust the job to a specialist because moving should not add to the burden of buying and all the paperwork that is involved.

Of course there are many companies out there that offer removal and shipping services in the EU and internationally but RemovalGroup caught my eye.

They offer the services of a dedicated removal co-ordinator who is on hand at any time of the move process. No need for endless hours on the phone trying to find out where your things are plus a long list of useful associated services from cleaning to handyman jobs and most importantly the peace of mind that your things are going to get to their destination in one piece.

Removalgroup.com

13 February 2006

New property investment TV show in Australia

Property Climbers is a real estate series about ordinary Kiwis trying to climb a rung on the property ladder, hoping to make some money.

The producers have tracked the ups and downs of different individuals over six months, as they practise their secrets of property investment.

What do they reckon they know that ordinary people don't about which house or block of land to buy? How do they spot the investment goldmines from the dogs?

Every step of the way millionaire investor and property consultant, Olly Newland is there with advice and tips for viewers.

"Over the years I've done up heaps and heaps of properties", says Olly. "I've done them quickly and cheaply, and I can tell you this, it's the quickest way to make a lot of money in a hurry."

Who are the property climbers in this series?

There are a few high rolling millionaires taking huge risks with other peoples' money but they're mostly ordinary Kiwis trying to get ahead through property.

Some have read all the Rich Dad Poor Dad books and attended property seminars. All are grappling with the usual investment questions. What size mortgage for how many years? Should they buy a do-up or a maintenance free dwelling? What style- apartment or bungalow?

More here.

09 February 2006

Holiday property buzz in Malta

With visitor numbers static in recent years and facing new competiton from former Eastern Bloc countries offering cheap holidays, the recent announcement by the Maltese government that negotiations were at an advanced stage with two low cost airlines has sparked hopes that the island will see a rise in visitor numbers, much to the relief of some in the tourist industry worried about the future of Malta as a holiday destination.

Even before the new carriers to the island land the existing airlines have been offering return flights at prices seemingly much lower than in the past to try and hold on to their share of the market.

Traditionally the UK has been Malta’s biggest market for incoming tourists, often making up over half of the island’s visitors in any given year, but some on the island see even this market as under threat. And property buyers from the UK have accounted for seventy per cent of Malta property sales to overseas buyers in recent years, settling in Valletta, Sliema, St Paul’s, Mellieha, St Julian’s and Qawra.

A good portion of UK visitors and property buyers for Malta in recent years have been ex-forces who served for the British during WW2 when Malta held out against Hitler’s Luftwaffe, and then in peacetime through to 1964 when Malta became independent, who returned for holidays.

But with the inevitability of this market declining a new breed of Malta’s holiday and hotel entrepreneurs see Malta’s future as less dependent on the UK tourist, and being more cosmopolitan in her outlook.

More here
.

Property funds in ISA's

Anyone looking to overload this year's ISA investment with property funds should think again, investment analysts have warned.

With yields falling and equity markets remaining buoyant, investors are being advised to keep only trace elements of property in their ISA portfolio.

The recommendation comes despite the fact that property funds qualify for ISA investment for the very first time this tax year.

Meera Patel, senior investment analyst at IFA Hargreaves Lansdown, said investors were attracted by the lack of correlation between property and equity markets but insisted falling returns simply could not justify any great confidence in this asset class.

For the last few years, we have been extremely cautious of commercial property,'' she told Reuters. ''Properties should usually be bought for their yields and these have fallen over the years. The capital growth from these is also usually very small so there is not much of a selling point there.'' Patel argued that if total returns were to be in the region of 6 per cent this year, a figure widely forecast, then this made property look expensive and equities appear much better value in the current environment.

She pointed to an uncertain economic picture as another reason for investors to be shy of property funds.

''If buildings become vacant as companies are forced to downsize, this could lead to a further fall in rental yields and property values overall.'' Patel concluded: ''We believe that investors should have no more than 10 per cent in property as part of their overall portfolio, given the outlook for the sector, and I wouldn't be surprised if investors currently actually had far more than this.'' Melvyn Bell, investment manager at Newcastle IFA Lowes Financial Management, echoed Patel's concerns over high weightings of property funds in investment portfolios.

Full article.

08 February 2006

Property market in Auckland slowing

The Auckland property market may be showing real signs of slowing, according to new figures released today by Barfoot and Thompson.

Barfoot said its January sales were the lowest for the month in the last five years.

The company has the the largest market share in Auckland and its sales figures are generally taken as a good indicator of trends.

The company recorded 797 sales in January, the slowest start to the year since January 2001.

This followed a slow December where 671 sales were recorded, well below the company average of about 1,000 a month.

Prices followed the trend, with a 13 per cent decline in average sale price from $492,882 in December to $428,385 in January and a 9 per cent decline year on year.

Part of the drop may have been due to non-market factors.

Full article.

06 February 2006

Taxing for overseas property investors

Ireland has changed from a country which sends its job seekers abroad to one which sends its capital abroad – often in search of overseas property investments. Irish investors in overseas properties range from those investing in large scale commercial developments, to those buying a second dwelling. The key issue in overseas property investment is not taxation so much as location and price. But a good location and a good price can be ruined by a bad tax surprise.

An investment in foreign property can be made in a variety of manners, ranging from acquiring shares in a company, to purchasing the property directly in the individual’s own name. There are other vehicles which may be used, including unitised funds, trusts, partnerships, co-ownership agreements with other investors, as well as a choice between entities created in Ireland, or those created abroad.

The choice of method of investment and type of vehicle has tax implications but may be driven by non-tax considerations. In some foreign countries which are not members of the EU, there may be restrictions on the purchase of land and buildings by non-residents. Where there are such restrictions, the investment may have to be through a local company or other local entity. There can also be banking problems if the Irish investor is financing the purchase in part through borrowings. Difficulties can be encountered in obtaining finance in Ireland on the basis of the security of an overseas property, and financial institutions in some overseas locations, especially non-EU locations, may have restrictions on lending to non-nationals.

Where the investment is not a direct investment, but is made through an investment vehicle of some form, this will usually involve administrative obligations and cost in relation to that vehicle. The burden and cost which these can represent should not be overlooked or under estimated.

The use of a vehicle to make the investment can have many tax implications. Some, such as a foreign co-ownership structure may bring about an overall Irish tax cost of 23 per cent, whereas others, (eg a company) may involve a double layer of tax before the individual investor recovers his money directly. One layer of tax could arise in the company on its income and on its gains, and another layer could arise on extracting the cash from the company. Where a vehicle such as a company is used to acquire a property (eg because of local legal restrictions, or to save stamp duty or its equivalent on the purchase of the property) and the individual investor later occupies the property eg as a holiday home or second home without paying a market value rent to the company, the individual may be exposed to an Irish income tax liability on imputed income broadly equal to the rent not charged. These are merely some of the many tax implications that can arise from the choice of vehicle.

An Irish resident individual is liable to Irish income tax and capital gains tax in respect of the income and capital gains respectively arising from world-wide investments, subject to certain exceptions where the individual is either not domiciled in Ireland, or not ordinarily resident in Ireland. Where foreign property is acquired through a vehicle, there may be an exposure on the individual to Irish taxation if the vehicle is regarded as transparent for Irish tax purposes eg many trusts, and partnerships.

As previously mentioned, certain forms of foreign co-ownerships may constitute offshore funds, and the tax liability of the resident individual investor may be deferred until money is extracted from the fund, and in some cases the tax may be capped at the rate of 23 per cent.

Where the vehicle is not an offshore fund, and is not transparent but is not resident in Ireland for tax purposes, the Irish resident investor may nonetheless have an exposure to Irish tax on the income and gains arising from the foreign property in some circumstances. This arises under anti-avoidance legislation which can attribute the income, or the gains, of the foreign company to the Irish investor. This is a complex area and its interaction with European law awaits clarification from the European Court of Justice.

Full article.

03 February 2006

Kiwis investing in Fiji property

Despite ongoing political instability, New Zealand tourists are thronging to Fiji in every growing numbers with visitor numbers expected to have topped 100,000 last year.

New Zealanders are not just going there to lie on the beach either - they're investing in holiday property.

Fijian Tourism Minister Pita Naa-Du-Vah, visiting New Zealand, says the number of Kiwis visiting his country has more than doubled from 49,000 in 2000 to about 108,000 last year.

The minister says there are a few reasons for the continuing rise in New Zealanders going to Fiji. He says the old relationship between the two countries has always been there from colonial times and is still very strong today.

He says with new opportunities for more investment in Fiji tourism, an "incredible number" of New Zealanders are investing in the sector, including in construction work.

The minister says New Zealand companies such as Fletchers are involved in construction work, working on roads.

But he says New Zealanders are also investing in hotels and villas in Fiji, and the double taxation arrangement Fiji has with New Zealand has helped New Zealanders who are buying holiday houses there.

Naa-Du-Vah says there were some bookings cancelled in early January amid political instability and he's here to give reassurance to the people of New Zealand and travel wholesalers that everything is well again in Fiji.

More details.

02 February 2006

Beware of foreign property deals

A series of promotions and advertisements are offering the dream of a holiday home in France at a fraction of the usual cost. But beware, because as with most things that sound too good to be true, there are drawbacks.

Clever juggling with the figures using a leasing scheme set up by the French government and a low interest-rate mortgage in euros makes it sound as if you could have a holiday home without hassle or the cost.

The scheme suggests that you put down a deposit of 20%-30% of the price of a property yet to be built and promise to lease it back to a management company which guarantees the rental return. Under the leaseback scheme, launched 20 years ago to boost tourism and investment, you escape the 19.6% VAT levied on new properties.

You might be promised 4% to 6% of the purchase price each year in rent (this is known as the yield) while paying from 3% for your French lender's mortgage.

So what are the drawbacks? Firstly, if you want to use your holiday home for a couple of weeks a year, the yield usually drops by at least 1%. But the biggest catch is the rental guarantee: it's only as good as the company offering it. If there's too much competition for holiday lets in the area, rents will fall or the company could go bust.

If the company is successful it can automatically renew the leaseback rental agreement at the end of the original term.

Full article.

31 January 2006

Property in Croatia

British investors have lagged behind other Europeans, such as the Germans and the Italians, in recognising the potential of Croatia, once part of Yugoslavia. Some areas such as Dubrovnik and Hvar Island have already experienced strong capital growth and this is expected to spread along the largely unexploited Dalmatian coastline, stretching from Slovenia in the north down to Montenegro, which includes more than a thousand islands.

Croatia property prices are rising fast, having more than doubled in the past three years. But, they are lower than the South of France and if you buy now in the right location, any profit you make will be tax-free after three years. When competitive mortgage deals become available after EU admission in 2008/9, property values are likely to rocket.

After decades in the doldrums, the property market in Zagreb, the beautiful and often forgotten Croatian capital, is moving up after the arrival of Oracle, Siemens, Te-Com and Coca-Cola. Demand exceeds supply for accommodation in the centre and prices are rising, although they are still lower than in Prague or Budapest. About E120,000 to E130,000 buys a new two to three-bedroom flat in Maksimir, a leafy residential area in the north east of the city with a large park, a short tram ride from the centre. Rental yield would be around 7-7.5%.

Now the big European tour operators are moving along the coast. With a shortage of tourist accommodation in many areas, buy-to-let investors from Britain are snapping up low-cost holiday homes along one of the most dramatic shorelines in Europe, often before a brick has been laid. Prices in Dubrovnik – a medieval gem with its sun-baked city walls, lapped by an azure blue sea – have gained up to 20% in the past year. A new one-bedroom flat overlooking the city’s yacht marina will to set you back from E174,000 (£120,000) for two bedrooms.

This growth rate looks set to continue, as demand for tourist beds is forecast to increase by an average of 6-9% a year. Access is a key factor, with more new flights to Croatia’s airports at Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Pula, Zadar and Brac from a growing number of European destinations. A new coastal motorway from Zagreb to Split will reach Dubrovnik by 2008.

There are no plans to introduce budget airlines routes into Croatia. But Ryanair flies to Trieste, a 45-minute drive from Istria in the north of Croatia, close to the border with Italy and Slovenia. The region – dubbed the new Tuscany – has an undulating green hinterland and an unspoiled coastline, ripe for development, which is being explored by a growing band of foreign property buyers.

The Istrian Peninsula, jutting out into the Adriatic, enjoys an Italian influence with Venetian ports, including Rivinj and Porec, and a Roman amphitheatre in Pula. But prices are much lower than on the Italian Riviera. You can pick up a new three-bedroom det-ached house, with its own pool and garden, on a small private estate, a short distance inland from the sea, for 220,000 Euros. Air-conditioned flats on the coast start at E65,000 Euros.

27 January 2006

Property hotspots in Mallorca

This year’s property hotspots in Mallorca will be business premises and middle-priced holiday homes.

The shortage of business premises in Palma and other large cities means the price of these properties is set to rocket. Meanwhile in the domestic market, the luxurious end of the market will stay stable whilst the mid-range, more-affordable property market will be buoyant.

There is no sign of the foreign investors drying up as industry insiders claim that currently 700,000 Europeans are thinking about buying a second home somewhere in the south Mediterranean region.

Mallorca is set to stay as one of the most sought-after destinations for holiday homes due to its safety, culture and cheap airline connections. However, a different type of investor is heading this way.

Instead of large holiday homes on a golf course, purchasers are seeking smaller boltholes near airports for that long weekend away from base.

The mid-range property priced around 400,000 euros is set to become the most sought after type of second home in the sun.

24 January 2006

Property development in the French Alps

It is not every ski resort that has a large, colourful Picasso sculpture of a woman's head in the middle of its village, with other modernist pieces by the likes of Bury, Vasarely and Dubuffet scattered around. Nor can other resorts claim to be the architectural vision of one of the Bauhaus movement's most famous sons, Marcel Breuer, designer of the Unesco building in Paris and the Wassily chair.

But Flaine considers itself to be a bit different. This perspective is likely to be put to the test in the next few years as the Grand Massif resort sets out on an expansion programme to get back on the map after years in the doldrums.

Leading this initiative is Canadian developer Intrawest, which has announced that Flaine will be the site of its second project in Europe, following the success of its village of Arc 1950 at Les Arcs, which is virtually sold out and nearing completion.

Intrawest has shaken up the standard of holiday property development in the French Alps. Its cosy four-star apartments with spacious floorplans, colourful soft furnishings and high-specification interiors contrast with the cramped, spartan accommodation skiers must too often accept as the norm. At Arc 1950 they have been snapped up mainly by UK buyers. Now, it is planning to repeat the formula at Flaine, a resort that has a style of its own, but has fallen out of fashion in the past 15 years.

More here.

23 January 2006

Australia holiday home property

The holiday home property wave has broken but, for the time being at least, living on millionaires' row means there won't be a wipeout.

While other beach house sales flounder, luxury home markets in locations such as the Gold Coast, Portsea and Margaret River have powered into 2006.

In those markets, multi-million-dollar houses and apartments are selling strongly while other agents complain of their worst lead up to Christmas in a decade.

On the Gold Coast, PRDnationwide agent Doug Green sold three luxury homes for more than $13 million in less than three weeks in the lead up to Christmas.

More here.

17 January 2006

Free holiday homes in France

Second home-seekers who desire an overseas property in France can effectively get a holiday home for free following the introduction of a new type of mortgage.
The emergence of interest-only leaseback mortgages is expected to help the French property market compete with Bulgaria and Turkey where overseas property investors have been turning of late.

It means the borrower of an interest-only leaseback mortgage can purchase a leaseback property in France, cover the cost of their mortgage and still use the property for a few weeks a year themselves as a holiday home, according to property investment firm Assetz.

The French leaseback scheme was introduced by the French government 20 years ago to increase tourism in areas such as the Cote D'Azur, the Alps and Paris by increasing the amount of quality holiday accommodation.

Under the scheme, investors purchase a freehold property and lease it back to a pre-selected property management company earning guaranteed rental income for at least nine years.

Investors are typically allowed to use their property for a set number of weeks each year for a holiday – although that depends on the development.

They also benefit from a 16.4 per cent discount on the property price with the French government providing a VAT cash back upon completion.

Until recently mortgage lenders in France would only offer interest-only mortgages on non-leaseback properties but this has now changed.

Investors can now purchase a property with a projected rental yield of five per cent on an interest-only mortgage of about three per cent of the property price. After mortgage costs, an investor would therefore receive two per cent of the property price per annum.

More here.

13 January 2006

Record prices for property in Noosa, Australia

A one bedroom apartment at Noosa’s premium Netanya beachfront resort has been sold to a Melbourne business man for $2.3 million, the highest price ever paid for a one bedroom apartment in Noosa. The same property sold in 1996 for $520,000.

A Roma businessman and property owner bought a similar, 75 square metre beachfront apartment on the top floor of the Hastings Street resort last year for $1.79 million, setting the value of the property at more than $23,866 per square metre.

The new price represents a per square metre value of $31,500.

Real estate agent Klaus Tschech from Noosa Richardson and Wrench, said Noosa beachfront property has grown on average by 20% year on year for the past 15 years.

"Noosa only has 650 metres of beachfront property so real estate in this premium location will always be a good performer," he said.

Netanya Noosa's tariff for a one bedroom penthouse terrace apartment for the 2006 high season is $4,375 per week.

The Netanya Noosa beachfront resort complex was purchased by private owners eleven years ago. Each apartment was converted to strata title and sold off to individual owners for personal use and holiday letting.

Don Farrow, CEO and Chairman of Netanya Management Group in Noosa, was a partner in the original purchase of the property and has spent the last decade developing the property and building a management team to market the property to high end holiday makers.

The result is a property which has maintained an elite appeal for owners and guests which have included Jana Wendt and Michael Gudinski.

Mr Farrow credits the success of the resort to his core staff of 16, which swells to 32 in peak periods.

“Fifty per cent of our core staff have been with us for more than a decade and together we have created a culture in which the guest and owner experience is paramount,” he said.

The onsite management of the resort enables the apartments to function like a hotel for owners and holiday makers, with daily servicing, room service, mini bar, PABX facilities and extended check in hours.

“Some time ago a few of our apartment owners opted for off site management by external real estate agents in Noosa,” Mr Farrow said.
“That was short lived when those guests were unable to access after hours check-in, daily room servicing, room service or access to the PABX offered through Netanya’s management service.”

All 48 apartments in the Netanya Noosa hotel resort have now been managed for many years through the Netanya Group. The Netanya Management Group owns many of the common areas in the complex such as the reception area, open plan offices, conference facilities (50 theatre style), laundry, PABX system, lunch room and court yard.

Holiday property management used to be the domain of husband and wife operators seeking a seachange to escape from the city.

Sick of urban life and seeking a lifestyle in a tourist destination, thousands of couples and families have traditionally signed up to manage holiday properties over the years, to fund a new life in a more appealing environment.

But the business of management rights has changed dramatically since its fledgling start in Queensland in the 1950s, with many predicting the end of ‘mum and dad’ style management.

Don Farrow says many husband and wife teams seeking an escape from traditional employment quickly become disillusioned with managing holiday properties.

More here.

09 January 2006

Romania property investment

People wanting to make maximum returns on a property investment abroad should head to Romania, it has been claimed.

House prices in the country are expected to soar four-fold over the next 10 years as Romania's economy benefits from its entry into the European Union in 2007, according to Channel 4 programme A Place In The Sun.

It has put Romania at the top of its list of the 20 best places in Europe to make money on property in the coming decade.

It said house prices in the country currently average just £17,000, but predicts £100,000 invested now could be worth £514,000 in 10 years time due to the impact EU membership is expected to have on the property market.

Anybody who bought property before the country joined the EU was likely to be in a very strong position as hoards of investors were expected from 2007, it added.

Poland, not the most obvious destination to buy a second property abroad, was named second on the list.

But the programme expects £100,000 invested there now to be worth £493,000 in 10 years time as the current transformation Poland is undergoing continues, with increased levels of investment from foreign firms creating more jobs and stoking the property market.

More here.