Streetwise Property Alert 27th June 2013

Spain – Is It Back

We have reported recently that some of the islands, especially Ibiza, have turned the corner and are on the way back; at least, sales and prices for certain sectors, mainly higher-end ones, are becoming more positive. Elsewhere? We’ve also reported that foreign investors, especially Brits, are bagging bargains. From what we can see, for the most part, these are at the lower end of the market. Frankly, you are often talking identikit units on not-quite completed developments short on facilities and infrastructure. Let’s not confuse ‘cheap’ with ‘good investment’.

Has the market bottomed? Catching up on industry publications, we note that Overseas Property Professional’s John Howell is saying that the cranes are back. He spoke to DLR Properties which state, ‘Buyers are back, particularly at the lower end of the market. Prices are creeping up. We are finding it difficult to find good inventory at the right price.’

Is it time to buy? Yes and no. If you are looking at the €500,000 mark – mindful of the new rules coming in for non-EU nationals- and at a good price, especially in one of the rising areas, it might be a good time to look. If you want a half-price, big mortgage, bog-standard unit on a half-empty development, there’s no rush. You’ve years and years to choose; the supply is limitless.

French Lending News

Trawling through notes provided by a contact attending the recent Property EU France Investment Briefing in London, we note that Roland Fuchs of real estate finance lender Helaba, says that that more finance is coming through for funding major French real estate developments. Those of you who have been active in this market know this has been something of an issue over the past 12 to 18 months.

‘More and more capital is being made available, even for non-core financing. The lack of core-plus and opportunity of financing deals in the market is more a result of the lack of investment opportunities in this area. As soon as investment opportunities and investors come back I think the finance will follow.’ We are currently looking at new projects in France, off-plan to almost completed, so please let us know if you are looking to buy here.

US – More Improvements

According to The First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the number of improving housing markets in the US reached 263 in June. The index tracks 50 cities on the basis of construction employment, housing permits and home prices for the previous six months in the region. A useful tool for would-be investors in the US.

29 new cities were added to the list of improving markets. Including Salinas, Baton, Topeka, Philadelphia and Iowa. 24 markets were dropped from the list including Montgomery, Bloomington, Hickory, Columbia, New Haven and Hartford.

‘As market conditions improve across most of the country, some metros have moved onto the IMI list while marginal seasonal fluctuations have nudged others off of it. This is to be expected as the recovery expands. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that the number of improving markets is now more than three times what it was in June 2012.’ More to come.

If Carling Did Weddings…

A friend of our Operations Manager Julia Briscoe, organised something a little bit different for one of her other friends wedding. I won’t spoil the surprise, but you can take a look by clicking here.

In less than a week, the video has had more than 345,000 views on Youtube and been featured in local and National news media. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see total views exceed the one million mark over the coming weeks.

It shows what can be achieved with a little imagination. There was no commercial element to this, but imagine if there was. Getting your name/product/company/face out to so many people in such a short time –and for free – is something that has only recently become possible. How might you capitalise on the opportunity?

Streetwise Property Alert 25th June 2013

Okay, the Tenerife Hotel introduction seems to have ticked some boxes! I am tempted to see if we can put together a viewing trip for those who have replied so far. We have a brochure that we can send out on request; but, please (says the voice of painful experience) only for those who are seriously interested in investing rather than those looking for a subsidised weekend break to Tenerife!

Ibiza – A Safe Investment?

Daniel Chavarria Waschke, managing director of Sotheby’s International Realty, says that Ibiza is a ‘wise choice’ when it comes to buying property. Indeed, bottom-fishers are a little late according to Daniel. ‘Ibiza had its recovery year in 2012, light years ahead of faltering markets on the Spanish mainland, and is already booming again. Even off-plan and in-construction property is selling at a remarkable pace.’

Richard Way, editor of the Overseas Guides Company is quoted in the national media as saying much the same, adding, ‘Ibiza has an appeal as a bolthole in the winter months. Ibiza has some of the most exclusive hillside villas anywhere in the Balearics; arguably in Spain, too.’ We are currently talking to expats and agents and developers on the island; let us know if you are seriously interested in buying there. We will have some material for you shortly.

Golf Investments

I’m always slightly cautious when I read articles in the national press that praise a particular location and, near the end, you get a quote or two from a developer or agent who is active there. Far be it for me to say, but some investors might wonder which came first – the article and then the quotes or is it the other way round; a press release full of quotes is turned into an article and, in return, there’s a plug at the end for the developer or agent. Either way, that’s not to say it’s a bad article at all; just that you need to aware of what you are reading.

Anyway, there is a good article in the Telegraph today that may swing either way in this respect but does offer some useful tips when it comes to buying a golf property. Let’s quote, ‘Target resorts close to international airports. You want to spend your time on the fairway, not the motorway. Compare resorts in more than one country if possible. They all have their own pros and cons. Don’t assume you will get complimentary golf once you have bought the property. Be wary of resorts with a high property density. They may prove a tricky long-term investment.’ If you want to read more on golf lets, drop us a line. We can do an article for you.

Legal Matters – Check First

If you are buying overseas, one of the first things you need to do as part of your due diligence is to check the ins and outs of buying as a foreigner. Sometimes, you are welcomed with open arms (at least for now) and on other occasions you are not that welcome at all. There is a widespread – incorrect – assumption that anything that is ‘sort of British’ (to quote a recent member looking at what he called ‘a former colony’) is the same as Britain. No! No! No!

Take Australia as an example. As property expert Eddie Chung explains, ‘As a foreign national in Australia you are subject to certain restrictions imposed by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) that regulate your ability to buy Australian property. Under the current rules, unless a specific exemption applies, the acquisition of both residential and commercial properties in Australia by foreigners will need clearance from FIRB by default, regardless of the value of the property and nationality of the purchaser.’

We are looking at doing some checklists for the early autumn for the most popular markets; tell us where you are buying in the next 12 to 18 months. We’ll add up the replies and do checklists for the  most popular six to eight.

All for now, do email back if you’d like to follow up on anything covered in today’s email. We look forward to hearing from you.

Persistence Pays

It’s easy to assume that the huge enterprises that make it big were lucky, or had it easy from the start. This is rarely the case.

In a recent TV interview, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told how the company almost failed to get off the ground. Bezos says it took over 60 meetings to raise the million dollars the company needed to launch. In the end, the money came from 22 people who contributed $50,000 each.

How many people would have given up after 5, 10, 20, or 30 meetings? The truth is that the vast majority would. Bezos persisted and the result is there for all to see.

No matter how good your idea, it will only come to fruition with persistence. The world is rarely hanging around waiting for what you’re about to offer it, no matter how good that thing might be.

Upcycling Opportunity

I was reading about a business run by Scott Hamlin in Portland Oregon, and wondered how many other people might be able to cash in on something like this.

Hamlin’s company, Looptworks buys up  end-of-line, unwanted fabric from warehouses in Asia which is destined for landfill or the incinerator. It then turns it into shirts, skirts, laptop sleeves and backpacks. The company is very much for profit, but has a strong environmental ethos.

Any enterprise that has a positive environmental impact will be well received by prospective customers and the media. Upcycling (converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality) is environmentally friendly and can be highly profitable if done well. Are there upcycling opportunities in your sphere of expertise? Do you know of any waste materials that could form the basis of a new upcycling opportunity?

Streetwise Property Alert 21st June

Have you received our monthly currencies review? It’s essential reading if you are exchanging currencies soon. Email back and we will send it to you. Meantime…

Spain – Lift Off?

Over in the US, the New York Times reports that ‘Large investment firms have spent billions of dollars over the last year buying homes in some of the nation’s most depressed markets. The influx has been so great, and the resulting price gains so big, that ordinary buyers are feeling squeezed out.’ There are many pundits who think – hope – that the same may be about to happen in Spain and that this will be the turnaround trigger.

For example, we note one story – of many – that ‘A planned sale by Sareb, the Spanish state-organised bad bank, of a portfolio of property homes, mostly in the regions of Andalucia and Valencia, has attracted interest from a host of private equity buyers. These are understood to include the US funds Apollo, Lone Star and Blackstone. It seems like the moment when it starts to happen. The flow of deals has been zero so far, but this should be the opening of the doors for a lot of transactions.’ We are familiar with agents and others who whistle loudly in the dark but there is a growing sense that there may be some big sales coming.

London – The Way Ahead

In London, we note that Mayor Boris Johnson sets out that, as the population will reach 10 million by 2030, 400,000 new homes are needed in the next 10 years. Is it going to happen? Hard to see.

Helen Evans, chief executive of the Network Housing Group, one of the largest housing associations in London, calls it well, ‘Affordability in London is no longer just an issue for the unemployed or minimum wage workers, it is a problem for the majority of young professionals and working families who are dealing with house prices rising at 3 to 4 per cent annually but pay packets in London shrinking by 3.9 per cent over the last five years.’

Supply-demand-price – you cannot beat the basic economic principles; over at London Property Alerts we’re looking at the 16 hottest locations over the next five to 10 years. Sign up to London Property Alerts to find out more.

Australia – Hotspotting

We cover down under locations; Australia is very popular. Peter Koulizos, property lecturer and author, aka, makes some interesting points about hotspotting. Let’s quote. ‘I have sourced data from the ABS to help determine how each of the capital city markets has performed in the five years from March 2008 to March 2013. Sydney – 15.1 per cent. Melbourne – 16.1 per cent. Brisbane – 0.0 per cent. Adelaide – 5.3 per cent. Perth – 6.4 per cent. Hobart – 3.2 per cent. Canberra – 15.0 per cent. Darwin – 40.7 per cent.’

‘However, this doesn’t mean that every suburb within these capital cities have performed poorly. I have used data from RP Data to compile the list below which highlights just a few suburbs from each of the five major capital cities which have performed relatively well over this five year period. Sydney (15.1 per cent). Arncliffe – 35.3 per cent. Campsie – 34.8 per cent. Ashfield – 31.4 per cent. Marrickville – 31.0 per cent. Can you see a common theme in these outperforming suburbs? It’s their location. All of the suburbs above are relatively close to facilities (CBD) or near water (beach or river). Suburbs in these types of locations (especially those close to the CBD) tend to do well in almost any market as this is where the demand for property, relative to supply, is the greatest.’ Good advice.

All for now. See you over the weekend with the latest property introductions.

Local Video Reviews

Here’s an idea which combines two trends…people love to access reviews and they love to watch videos on Youtube. It seems like these are perfect conditions for online video reviews becoming a viable business opportunity. But what do you review?

It could be anything, but my thought here is that a Youtube channel featuring reviews of businesses in a specific locality could build up a regular audience, while being something that a lone entrepreneur could run. Your channel could be called something really imaginative like ‘Rotherham Reviews’ and feature video reviews of restaurants, café’s, pubs take-aways, shop and service providers. Revenue would eventually come from advertisements on the channel.

Whilst I wouldn’t expect one local review site to make a fortune, it could be great fun, combining business with pleasure. And there’s excellent expansion potential. If you can make the ‘Rotherham Reviews’ channel work, why not extend the idea out to ‘Sheffield Reviews’, ‘Doncaster Reviews and so on.

Energy Ice Cream

Energy foods are big business. We’ve all seen Energy Bars and Energy Drinks of course, but there have to be other food categories where a product could be developed and marketed on the basis of its energy giving properties.  There are a wealth of options, but I don’t recall seeing an Energy Ice Cream. Adding the ‘Energy’ element to an Ice Cream could be an interesting and lucrative point of difference.

If you’re interested in getting into  a food or drink production business, this ‘energy’ niche could be a good place to start. The technicalities of it should be pretty easy to research, and if you can create something which has both great taste and energy-giving properties, it will have all the hallmarks of a winner.

This sort of opportunity isn’t for the faint-hearted or the uncommitted but it has millionaire-making profit potential.

I’ll have mine in a cone!

Property Alert 19th June 2013

Many of you are serious property investors and have been asking us for a summary of current introductions. Here it is…

London – Sourcing

We are expanding our sourcing services which have been proving very popular, especially in London. We have links with many auctioneers, and can often pinch properties via pre-auction offers; something to think about, for sure. Email us with your requirements.



We note, from members who have purchased recently, that these are now paying out as promised. No more (new) replies for the moment please – we are told some recent buyers are going back for more.


12 Per Cent Returns

We have developer clients looking for finance and JV partners. They will offer 12 per cent p.a. return on cash which is about six times what your money in the bank will yield. No time-wasters, please. You need to have cash.


Pubs Make Money

If you are interested in buying redundant pubs and getting a net initial yield of 8 per cent from a 10 year residential lease then please email us back for more information.


Recent London Deals

These have proven to be very popular and I have been asked not to mention them again; other than to say, no more replies please.


Ireland Deals

We are receiving some interesting properties from Ireland. Here’s one. County Wexford (south east Ireland) – 3 bed semi – Let at £6,600 p.a. – Offers invited in excess of €35,000 – Circa 18 per cent yield  – Less than 2km from the sea.


Student Accommodation Update

Our allocation of Liverpool student accommodation has gone. So too has our allocation of Manchester student accommodation. The first block at Canterbury? Sold out as well. We have a waiting list of disgruntled missed-out members who are at the top of the list for the next introduction; we expect this to be our most popular student accommodation introduction ever. It’s in Bristol and, as of today, we can add 12 members to the list, that’s all. 


US Regeneration Bond – Wow!

The bond closed at £1.5 million, the first interest payment went out to bond holders on 31 May, bond and the property portfolio derived from the bond was recently valued independently at £2,705,000. Well done to those of you who bought in! We have a new five-year bond and compound bond coming from the same source; is this of interest to you?


Tenerife Hotel

Limited rooms available from just £14,000 per 26th. 10 per cent fixed return for 2 years. 50-50 room rental from year 3. Built and operational hotel with high occupancy. Funds transacted through IFT using an FSA regulated transaction provider. 1 week personal usage included. Rooms purchased on a long lease basis for 175 years. Optional buyback available after 10 years. 


Brazil 20 Per Cent

Every investor – bar none – who bought in last year has either re-invested in the Brazil deal and/or had their investment + 20 per cent back. We can currently introduce members to the same one-year or a new three-year deal. But only serious investors please and only for a limited period.

All for now, other than to say please do email back for details of these introductions.

Something For The British

Sometimes the difference between a generic product and one targeted at a specific group can be the title. In nonfiction publishing, it’s pretty widely acceptable that the title is responsible for much of a books success. Here’s an idea that capitalise on that. It’s a range of books…for the British.

Once you have that concept in your head, possible titles immediately present themselves. Baseball for the British, Bollywood For The British, Haggling For The British, New York For The British.  The connecting factor is that each book is about something with which the British may not be familiar, or may have a unique take on.

This is just one manifestation of the concept of course. It could just as easily be for another nationality (For Americans) for people from a region (For Yorkshiremen) for people from an occupational group (For Teachers) or for a particular demographic (For Pensioners). The key is that by focussing in on a particular group, you can turn general information into something which people in that group feel is specifically for them.

I’ll leave you to think how you might use this idea.