Overseas Property Buyers Loving the Credit Crunch

I work with hundreds of real estate agents and property developers and at this time one thing is for sure things could be better, however I will present a twist in the tale that changes this for buyers and agents alike. Despite lower overseas property prices consumer and bank confidence is low, this has resulted in a reduction in numbers of people buying real estate overseas. This combination is slowing our industry down but it’s far from a grinding halt and in fact for some, things could not be better.The bad news is that I am seeing evidence especially in markets that were fat with buyers such as Spain suffering the most with real estate agencies reducing staff whilst other are closing down all together. So what does this say for the future of international real estate? Those buyers who are in the fortunate position not to require high loan to value finance are now reaping the rewards they have the power. Agents who can sell to this audience will no doubt survive these times but this is not all that is required.Lifestyle buyers and Investors Can Win Win WinI tend to split overseas property buyers into two types of buyer the first is a lifestyle buyer i.e. buyers seeking retirement, relocation, a second home or holiday home. The second type of buyer is the hard nosed investors who almost don’t care about the location only the figures on the bottom line. What ever the types of buyer both are now in for a treat when buying abroad. Like natures cruel method of selection the fittest survive and this can also be attributed to agents, developers and their products. So how are the agents becoming the fittest?Real Estate Agents are now presenting the best availableEvidence that recession proofing measures are being undertaken by the overseas property industry includes reducing marketing budgets and agents becoming more selective with the products that they push. I know of numerous agents who have got rid of the stuff they will find harder to sell and to hold on to properties that are more desirable. One of my agents is a good example he previously marketed properties in 6 countries he has now reduced this to one region and only the properties that give the buyer a high loan to value finance option. He explains I have got to go where the guaranteed money is going to be. Other agents are not so concerned with branding and are simply promoting for a tangible return for their marketing. Lifestyle buyers cannot believe their luck I recently spoke to a British couple who for them the slowdown had come at the right time. They like others had a life time ambition to buy a property in Florida. With the help of a local realtor they found a home being sold on ‘short sale’ i.e. sold by the owner before the bank took it from them. For the owners it left their credit status intact for the British couple it gave them a huge property beyond their imaginations.Property Developers are now bending over backwardsProperty developers know the environment that are operating in and are becoming more and more inventive with finance products with very low initial deposits lengthy payment plans, guaranteed buy back schemes, rental guarantees and free furniture packs to name but a few. The most innovative developers can be seen in Dubai with some outstanding finance packages for off plan property. The rise of the fractional ownership for the more expensive real estate is almost common place. Good examples of this can be seen in Portugal with two of the most prestigious developers now offering luxury homes on this basis. Developers need agents to help sell their homes and many have increased their commission rates and incentives for them to do so One of Dubai’s largest developers Damac properties has pushed up its commission rates substantially to encourage agents to increase their activitiesOverseas buyers and investors are still thereMy own experiences running an overseas property website prove to me that buyers are still there and that they are picking and choosing the best products for them. These tend to be for investors developments that offer low deposits and guaranteed returns. For the lifestyle buyer it is desirable property that has been reduced in price importantly these types of buyers like to see evidence of the price reduction.Hot property regions reflect the state of the marketThe top 5 countries that appear to be the hottest for UK buyers at this time are1.Egypt
5.PortugalAll the above regions are providing investors with low entry prices and good prospects for capital growth over a 5 year term.Tipped for the topMy tip for the top is Ajman I see this part of UAE as Dubai a few years ago properties prices are low starting from about £28,000. Dubai prices are being put up each year not by demand but by the developers meaning many workers will be priced out of the region. Ajman’s close proximity to Dubai makes it ideal for Dubai workers. The lack of infrastructure at this time in Ajman and its desire for foreign investment makes this ideal for speculators.18 months is a long time.It seems to me that this slow down will reduce prices not only for overseas real estate but also for related industries that help feed the industry. We are all now in stronger positions to demand chunks off previous rate cards and unlike before you are highly likely to receive your well deserved discount.Buyers are out there picking and choosing the best properties.Today’s market is all about value for money for us all whether you’re and real estate agents, developer or overseas property buyer, those that can provide it will survive and prosper.

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