Streetwise Property Alert 4th July 2013

Welcome to today’s news…

High-End Spain News

From 1 January, non-European buyers of property worth over €500,000 in Spain will be granted a residency visa; many pundits are suggesting that this will generate considerable interest amongst overseas buyers from Russia, China and the Middle East.

Michael Lovett of agency Fine & Country Spain believes this will act as something of a trigger not least because it will enable buyers to move freely between the different European nations. He likens the trigger to the similar visa offer made in Portugal where that drove up sales. In essence, ‘We hope to see a renewed interest from Asia with market analysts predicting a €100 million worth of property investment in Spain over the next 24 months.’

Watch Marbella, he suggests. ‘The high level of wealth and assets in Marbella set it apart from other Spanish towns. It is a real magnate for savvy investors. In Nueva Andalucía especially, where there is the biggest variety of residential nationalities, international culture has significantly boosted tourism and property sales in the last 12 months. It is clear confidence in the market place is growing. We expect luxury areas like Marbella, ideal for high end buyers, to profit from added migration.’ We have access to well-priced properties in Marbella for serious buyers.

US Boom

One of the things we like the look of in the US market is that funds have been moving in with enthusiasm. Take the Australian fund, the US Masters Residential Property Fund It’s reported that, in the past year, it has bought ‘490 properties and more than 1500 units throughout New Jersey’s Hudson County and the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan’.

Why? Their MD Alan Dixon explains, ‘The US housing market has reached a critical turning point. For the first time since 2006, US house prices have begun to increase steadily. Independent appraisals show the fund’s property values have appreciated on average around 10 per cent over the period (12 months)’. We are currently looking at where ‘the big boys are playing’ with a view to a short article or a four-page report).

Turkey – Quick Update

Of interest to lifestyle buyers, Turkish property specialists Spot Blue report that Turkey has almost 400 beaches with Blue Flag status; that’s the highest number ever and puts the country third out of 48 participating countries.

‘While some countries are falling down the rankings, Turkey is raising its game and improving the quality of its beaches and marinas. The knock-on effect is positive for the property market. Being near a Blue Flag beach can only help a property hold value.’

Antalya is the place to be on that basis. It has 179 Blue Flag beaches. Mugla comes second, some way behind, with 76 flags. ‘The latest Blue Flag list highlights just how untapped much of Turkey’s coastline is. Away from the main resorts, there are dozens of stunning beaches and bays that many foreigners never encounter, real gems each with a selection of properties to choose from.’ Looking seriously at Turkey for a lifestyle buy? Drop us a line, we may have something for you soon.

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.