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.

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