Saturday, June 28, 2008


Recent property statistics confirm that Brits just cannot get enough of overseas property. Figures released by the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) claim that in 2007, the British spent a staggering £246 billion on homes abroad, a 21% increase on 2006.

Spain still tops the favourite destination chart – Spanish homes accounted for over a quarter of all purchases – but newer markets are fast emerging as investor favourites. According to a survey carried out by property investment company, Obelisk, Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania head the list of preferred countries for investment in bricks and mortar.

Savvy investors have seen high capital growth and strong rental yields in their property investments, but this is by no means always the case. Media reports continually highlight the flip side to property investment and horror stories involving purchases abroad appear almost daily.

Overseas property investment is not something to be taken lightly, but there are certain steps you can take to ensure that investment in a home overseas does not end in tears. By applying a combination of thorough research, due diligence and canny financing, buying a property abroad should have a happy ending.

Research holds the key to success. Only careful analysis of the myriad of factors involved in a purchase means you can be sure of walking into an investment with your eyes wide open. Aspects such as the local and national economy, the tourist industry and property market history are all essential when it comes to making an investment decision.

At Obelisk, a world leader in overseas property investment, they take their research very seriously. “We believe that an investor should only commit to a purchase when they have enough information to base their decision on” advises James Gonzalez, Market Analyst at Obelisk. “Our comprehensive in-house research and analysis ensures our clients receive the most secure investment opportunities.”

Hand in hand with exhaustive research should be due diligence. This means you avoid falling victim to a property with no planning permission or to a developer going bankrupt. It also ensures you get what you paid for. “One of the main pitfalls of property investment is lack of financial and legal security” warns James. “At Obelisk, no project is released unless it has met our compulsory due diligence criteria.”

Following research and due diligence, careful financial planning, guided by experts, makes the difference between laughing or crying all the way to the bank. Remortgaging your current property is often the easiest way to become a cash buyer, but taking out a mortgage on your investment property may cost you less. However, you need to consider the fees and costs involved throughout the process to make sure you incur minimum costs but achieve maximum gain.

Ken Thorkildsen, Director of Obelisk Private Finance, adds, “The number of mortgage products available abroad is increasing for non-resident property buyers. But in order to secure the best solution at the most competitive rates, it is essential to seek the advice of overseas finance specialists. At Obelisk Private Finance, we source only the most competitive products from those available in countries throughout the world.”

If you are among the thousands of British owners of properties abroad or planning to join them, apply the tried and tested formula of research, due diligence and wise financing. Then write your own happy ending.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Just as Turkey looks as if it is shaping up to become the next major holiday-home and investment destination, its government has stopped title deeds being issued to foreigners.

Safe as houses: Bodrum Castle overlooks the lively old town. The peninsula is popular with British and Turkish buyers alike
The country did it for six months in 2005, too, in an attempt to prevent large tracts of rural land being bought up. The latest ban - announced in April and awaiting ratification in parliament - has a similar purpose, limiting foreign ownership to 10 per cent of the land in any town.

Agents selling in Turkey expect the restriction to be lifted soon. "I don't see it as a problem, as you could never expect to receive your title deeds within three months anyway," says Julian Walker from Turkish property specialist Spot Blue. "For anyone buying now, the suspension will have ended by the time they reach completion."

Even 10 per cent foreign ownership of land is a high figure that is unlikely to ever be met, Walker points out. "Even in Spain, 95 per cent of sales are to the domestic market. In Turkey, there are 77,000 foreign property owners out of a population of 77 million, which is 0.1 per cent, so 10 per cent is light years away," he says.

"You have to remember Turkey is a poor country, 20 years behind the West in its property market, laws and business practice. And even though finance is available, it is also still typically a cash market."

advertisementApart from this blip, Turkey's property market is proving resilient, with prices expected to rise by 10-15 per cent this year, says Knight Frank.

The currency exchange company Moneycorp reports that British interest in Turkish property has trebled in the past year. A NatWest survey of mortgage lenders predicts that Turkey - where 22,650 Brits own property - will be the third most popular

destination for UK buyers in the next three years, with most sticking to the area between Kusadasi on the Aegean coast and Alanya on the Med.

In its attempts to double tourist numbers to 10 million by 2010, the Turkish government is investing in infrastructure and attractions, including new golf courses in Dalaman and Belek.

It is also encouraging new air routes and airport expansion. EasyJet now flies to Dalaman and Istanbul, BA to Antalya. A new international airport at Edremit will open up areas around Ayvalik, north of Izmir - until now, despite good beaches, great windsurfing and attractive property, the preserve of Turkish buyers.

Beyond its appeal as a value-for-money location for holiday homes - outside pricier Istanbul or Bodrum, the average two-bedroom apartment costs £35,000-£90,000 - Turkey is also drawing investors to Istanbul, where new development is taking place on both sides of the Bosphorus.

Prices average about £700-£900 per square metre, with studios from £40,000 in developments such as Life Studio near Ataturk international airport (through The Right Move Abroad), or Astrum Towers, six miles from the airport, which agent Regnum predicts will see annual growth of 30 per cent.

So, this Christmas - or whenever the restrictions ease - why not vote for Turkey?


Lively resorts, leisure facilities and low-priced newbuild properties make the Bodrum peninsula one of Turkey's best-known areas for British visitors, while quieter spots such as Yalikavak and Gumusluk appeal to wealthy Turkish property buyers wanting £1m-plus villas.

"Bodrum is one of the most popular coastal regions," says Jane Griffiths, managing director of Regnum, "and Turkey's appeal is widening to take in growing numbers of Eastern European holidaymakers as well as British. Small apartments can achieve rents of £300 a week."

Friday, June 13, 2008


British visitors to Turkey are up 18.75%, according to the latest figures from The Turkish Culture and Tourism Office (TCTO).

The figures for January to April 2008 show that Turkey is maintaining a healthy increase in visitors arriving from the UK, having increased by 18.75% to a total of 205,879. This compares with 173,379 for the same period in 2007.
Predicted to be amongst the top three leading tourist destinations in the Mediterranean by 2020, Turkey is also one of the fastest growing second-home property markets in the world. The number of visitors to the country has seen a sharp increase over the same period last year, signalling a strong upturn in the fortunes of the Turkish tourist industry and indicating a resurgence in Turkey’s appeal to its expatriate citizens.

Irfan Onal, Director for the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in the UK, commented: “We are incredibly pleased to see the number of travellers to Turkey continue to grow. Buying property in Turkey is increasingly becoming a very attractive proposition as people choosing to buy a Turkish property are finding that their homes currently represent fantastic value for money. There are several projects underway to ensure the continuing development of infrastructure and services in a bid to prepare for the increasing number of visitors to Turkey.”