Where should I invest in property in 2011?

Morocco Turkey United Kingdom

As 2010 draws to a close, attentions are turning to the best locations to invest in property in 2011. The last year has been one of mixed fortunes with traditional second home destinations such as Spain, Italy and Greece still feeling the harsh effects of the economic downturn whilst other mostly non-Eurozone countries such as Brazil, Turkey and Egypt flourished.

Overall levels of property investment rose in 2010 compared to 2009 with savvy investors capitalising on the bargains available as the property cycle reached bottom. Below market value residential developments such as those in Florida sold quickly as did properties with rental guarantees and finance packages as buyers sought security and minimal monetary exposure.
This more cautious approach to purchasing property is set to remain throughout 2011 so where is the best place to invest in safe, secure and high yielding property in 2011? The experts at Experience International, leading property agents, offer their top locations to invest in 2011:
United Kingdom
“Familiarity with the domestic market and buying procedures should make many, especially first time buyers, confident about investing at home in 2011” comments Steve Worboys, MD of Experience International.
And rightly so, property prices have indeed fallen quite considerably in recent times but the old adage of location, location, location still rings true. The capital cities of London and Edinburgh have seen prices remain stable and even grow by up to 9.9% in the last quarter (compared to Q3 2009) in line with positive quarter on quarter GDP growth nationally.
Alternative asset classes such as hotel rooms in these city centre locations will prove the most lucrative investments in 2011. London’s hotel market leads the way in Europe with an 8.5% growth in revPAR (revenue per available room) recorded in Q2 2010 according to Deloitte’s Hotel Market Outlook report.
With increasing numbers of Middle Eastern and Asian investors eying up prime London hotels, UK investors should move quickly to secure double digit returns such as those offered at the new Holiday Inn West India Dock Road. Available 19% below independent RICS valuations and fully managed & operated by global hotel brand, Holiday Inn, rooms in the 4* hotel are selling fast from £189,000.
Brazil
The South American BRIC nation secured its position as an economic success story in 2010 with ex-President Lula da Silva leaving a legacy of progressive fiscal policies, a rising middle class and a GDP growth rate forecast at an impressive 7.5% for 2010 according to the latest IMF World Economic Outlook report, considerably higher than the global average of 4.8%.
Entering 2011 in the hands of Da Silva’s successor, Dilma Rousseff, optimism remains high for continued economic prosperity and societal development. As Vince Cable, UK Secretary of State for Business remarked on a recent visit to Brazil, “The centre of gravity of the world economy is moving, and Brazil is at the heart of that.”
The future is happening now in Brazil with the rising middle classes driving demand for affordable social housing throughout the country as well as international buyers propelling the second home market, especially in the north eastern states. Leading holiday rental site, HomeAway.co.uk, reported a 71% increase in booking enquiries for Brazil during Q2 2010 and a number of new residential developments such as Tambaba Country Club Resort in Paraiba and Caponga Beach Village near Fortaleza are commencing construction in order to meet buyer demands.
Further south, Brazil’s second city, Rio de Janeiro, is tipped as a property hotspot in 2011. The R$8 billion regeneration project known as Morar Carioca, will see vast improvements in infrastructure and modernisation of housing by 2020 in the metropolitan regions of the city including Copacabana, Leblon and Maracanã. In addition the R$ 34 billion bullet train connecting Sao Paulo to Rio has been given the green light with the contractor expected to be announced shortly.
The discovery of the Libra oil field just off the coast of Rio also spells good news for investors as up to 15 billion barrels of oil could be extracted making Brazil’s one of the world’s top 10 oil producers.
 Istanbul
From BRICS to CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa), Turkey has, despite not yet being an EU member, emerged as the shining star of Europe in 2010 – as tipped by the experts at Experience International twelve months ago.
Steve Worboys comments,
“From an investment perspective, the economic powerhouse of Turkey, Istanbul, remains the best bet for 2011 with the city where east meets west presenting a rare window of real estate opportunity where demand vastly exceeds supply with over 250,000 housing units required each year.”
One of the fastest growing megacities in the world, the population of Istanbul is set to reach 15 million by 2023 (Turkish Statistics Institute) placing massive pressure on existing housing stocks. In response the “City of the Future” as Istanbul has been heralded by National Geographic, is seeing the development of modern western style homes in the burgeoning suburbs such as Beylikdüzü on the European side of the city.
Highly popular with Istanbulites, Beylikdüzü has seen rapid growth and infrastructure investment in recent years with the Tourium shopping centre opening in 2010 (expected to attract 1 million visitors per month), the new Metrobus line connecting the suburb to the city centre set for constructed in 2011 and Turkey’s largest airport at Silivri, in the next district, given the go ahead by the city’s Mayor.
Property prices in the city are steadily rising as the market establishes itself however high quality apartments in prime locations such as Crystal Heights in Beylikdüzü remain affordable from £68,000 with a 2 year 7% rental guarantee and 70% finance available.
One to watch – Morocco
One of the hottest property markets of the last decade, not just in terms of climate but investment potential – Morocco – may well be one to watch in 2011.
As part of the Plan Azur, Morocco witnessed a significant property boom especially along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts which ticked many of the boxes as Spain in the early 1970’s namely year round sunshine and a low cost of living.
The North African nation has seen resurgence in visitor interest over the last 12 months with HomeAway.co.uk recording a 55% increase in booking enquiries this year with average weekly rates for two and three bedroom properties at £452 and, respectively, £746.
10 million tourists are set to visit Morocco in 2010, an impressive 14% growth compared to 2009. Tourism revenues of 56 million dirhams are expected with the sector accounting for 10% of GDP which is forecast to increase by 4.5% by the end of 2010.
With BA announcing new thrice weekly flights from London Gatwick to Marrakech and the new Mandarin Oriental opening in 2011, a city centre purchase may well be a shrewd investment.
 For more investment on investing in the UK, Brazil, Istanbul or indeed Morocco in 2011, contact the experts at Experience International on + 44 (0) 207 321 5858 or visit www.experience-international.co.uk.

“Africa always brings something new” (Pliny the Elder)– Why this rich continent is looking to a bright future

Botswana Egypt Morocco Tunisia ,

A somewhat less mainstream holiday destination, Africa remains a largely untapped continent for international visitors but one whose tourism sector is significantly on the increase with the World Travel & Tourism Council having reported growth in tourism on the continent of 5.9% in 2008, greater than the global average of 3.0%. Not only this but with a great deal to offer all travellers, from a welcome sunshine getaway to an adventurous escape, Africa is set to share some of its hidden secrets to a growing number of privileged visitors in the coming years – with the World Travel & Tourism Council reporting that Africa’s travel and tourism industry is likely to contribute 9.4% to the continent’s GDP over the coming 10 years – there is a bright future ahead.

An exciting array of wildlife, a generally warm and sunny climate and varied and captivating landscapes can be said to be offered by all parts of this the second most expansive continent in the world. As one of the most diverse continents, Africa has an arguably unrivalled richness and variety, with countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Botswana, for example, all offering something different to those looking to visit – and perhaps also as places to invest.

Morocco
Colourful Morocco is one of the most well-known of Africa’s destinations, having founded itself both as an exotic holiday location as well as an exciting property investment choice, close to the hearts of many. Just three hours’ flight time from the UK has made Morocco a popular choice for visitors and in response to this popularity, a wealth of property developments have sprung up around the key tourist areas driven by King Mohammed VI’s ‘Vision 2010’, a national focus on increasing the country’s tourism industry and in turn industry profit. Morocco’s aim was to increase tourist numbers from 4.5 million in 2000 to 10 million in 2010 and in response to this national focus, the country is well and truly on track – with 2008 figures showing tourist numbers had increased to 7.88 million, revealing Morocco as a destination of growth where investors can financially benefit.
The resort of Apple Gardens in the tourist hotspot and capital city of Marrakech not only takes advantage of the growth in Morocco’s tourist industry – with 15% annual capital growth predicted – but also the myriad of cultures that define the country – just 15 minutes from the city centre yet boasting breathtaking views of the rugged Atlas Mountains as well as being close to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Djamaa El Fna Square. Apple Gardens is a beautiful boutique gated development with an array of first-class facilities and three bedroom town houses (from £188,711/ €213,134) and three bedroom villas (from £220,141 / €248,632), each available with individual courtyards, stunning roof terraces and a private pool with stunning views.
Tunisia
Though also in Northern Africa, Tunisia offers something different for the seasoned traveller, with a property market in its infancy for foreign buyers due to relatively new legislation to allow and encourage foreign ownership of property in the country. Tipped as one of the top emerging property markets, Tunisia is taking its stance firmly in the global limelight, and this is set to further increase in coming years. The Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009 ranked Tunisia the top African country when looking at a number of factors including infrastructure, health and primary education, technological readiness and financial market sophistication, making looking to the future bright for the country and in turn for those looking to invest in property. Not only this but the newly signed Open Skies Agreement which will allow European, American, Canadian and Arabic airlines to operate freely in Tunisian airspace, along with the construction of a new airport at Enfidha on the Gold Coast, all point towards a predicted significant growth in the numbers of those visiting Tunisia.
Steve Worboys, MD of emerging property market specialists Experience International, agrees,
“The Tunisian government are now very keen to encourage foreign investment in property and also in turn to grow Tunisia’s established tourism industry. This is therefore a fantastic time to buy either a holiday home or an investment property in the country, with rental income and property prices set to grow in the coming years and the Gold Coast is one region where we foresee an increase in both its tourist and property markets over the next few years.”
The Dunes at El Kantaoui is an exclusive resort located next to a private white sandy beach on Tunisia’s Gold Coast, between two of the country’s busiest airports and offers on-site world class Thallasso Spa facilities including Turkish baths, sauna and beauty and massage treatment rooms. The resort boasts studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments, with prices starting at just £20,646 / TND$40,531 for a studio.
Egypt
If historical significance, cultural splendour and a slightly more established property market is more your thing then perhaps Egypt should be your destination of choice. The warm desert climate and luxurious properties being built at reasonable prices have meant that Egypt has positioned itself as a popular holiday destination, with the ABTA 2009 Travel Trends Report recognising the country’s magnetism,
“As recession bites in the UK and consumers look closely at their budgets, Egypt will keep popping up as a good bargain option. For the past few years holidaymakers have been drawn to the country’s Red Sea resorts… attracted by the promise of good weather within a five-hour flight of home, top-class hotels and bargain prices.”
As ABTA have recognised, the Red Sea is one area specifically that is witnessing significant growth in its tourism prospects and it is here that Veranda is located: an exclusive gated resort set on a long white sandy beach with crystal clear waters. The resort boasts stunning views as well as a wide range of excellent facilities that include swimming pools with waterfalls, tennis courts, a luxury spa, gym and restaurants. Well-situated to take full advantage of the burgeoning tourist market – which the World Travel and Tourism Council predicts will grow Egypt’s GDP by 5.8% annually over the next 10 years – Veranda is just 15 minutes from Hurghada International Airport. Exotic gardens surround the properties which range from studios, one and two bedroom apartments to three bedroom townhouses and four bedroom villas, with prices starting at £39,690 / €44,827 for a studio.
Botswana
If instead it is more of a lifestyle investment that you are looking for, and ecological and ethical returns are of significance, the bushlands of Botswana may well hold the answer. This more southerly country is a truly different corner of Africa and in turn holds a wealth of unique and extraordinary wildlife that is bound to amaze and to enrapt and it is also here that a balance of tourism and environmental responsibility is being closely worked on by the government, with Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Honourable Onkokame Kitso Mokaila having commented,
“Travel & Tourism will contribute enormously to the country’s economy and we are committed to running a conscious campaign to publicise the strategic role and benefits of tourism in order to stimulate a more positive perception to the wider public.”
The Limpopo-Lipadi Game and Wilderness Reserve is one project that is setting the standard for this mix of environmental awareness and eco tourism in Botswana. Covering an expanse of over 80,000 acres, the reserve offers a unique investment opportunity to become part of this project that aims to educate and enrich through working to a strict ecosystem and conservation model. Visit Botswana, become part of the decision-making process surrounding the reserve, learn about the country’s unique species through local knowledge courses, sleep in game hides or tree platforms and even train to become a game ranger, the Limpopo-Lipadi Game and Wilderness Reserve will broaden your horizons and teach the wide variety of experiences that Africa has to offer.
Not only this, but the award-winning Limpopo-Lipadi Game and Wilderness Reserve also offers a unique financial investment opportunity, as Alan Marneweck, founder and share holder of the reserve comments,
“The exclusivity of Limpopo-Lipadi is reflected in the amount of shares available and this is an appealing feature to those who are looking for a unique investment… Another development in the area has seen returns of 300% over 5 years so capital gain on your investment is achievable.” This combined with the fact that Botswana has been tipped by the World Travel & Tourism Council over the next ten years to see “annualised real growth of 5%, exceeding the average for both the world and sub-Saharan Africa” means that the Limpopo-Lipadi Game and Wilderness Reserve is an all-round excellent investment choice – both ethically and financially. Entry level investment is $195,000.
 
For more information on investing in Morocco, Tunisia or Egypt contact Experience International on 0207 321 5858 or visit www.experience-international.com.
 
For more information on investing in Botswana contact Limpopo-Lipadi on 0871 244 5152 or visit http://www.limpopo-lipadi.com.

Evocative Morocco Rich in Culture and Increasing Tourist Numbers

Morocco

With the strength of the pound against the Euro still slipping and no sign yet of a turnaround in its fortunes, many people are looking further afield in 2009 when booking their holidays, with horizons widening outside of the Euro zone. One country that is benefitting from this increasing trend is Morocco, a country keen to grow its tourist market and one that is moving very much in the right direction.

2001 saw Morocco’s King Mohammed VI lay down plans for a focus on increasing tourism to the North African country, with ‘Vision 2010’ aiming to create 600,000 jobs in the industry and increase visitors from 2000’s figure of 4.5 million to a figure of 10 million tourists in 2010. This was to be achieved through ‘Plan Azur’, a strategy to build 6 new coastal resorts along with improving transport links and building additional amenities including marinas and sporting facilities to widen the appeal of this culturally resplendent country.
To date, ‘Vision 2010’ has attracted a large increase in visitors to Morocco, with the Moroccan Department of Tourism announcing that numbers of tourists to the country had grown by 6% in 2008 to 7.88 million, making them on track to hit their 2010 target. This growth in foreign interest in the country has also been shown in an increased demand for flights to Morocco, with research from online measurement company Hitwise.com revealing that searches for flights to Morocco increased by 2.1% in the last year, one of only a limited number of countries to witness a growth.
Not only is Morocco witnessing tangible results from its ‘Vision 2010’ in terms of tourists, the country has also become a hot topic of conversation amongst those in the property industry, with Propertywire.com finding in their review of leading property forums that Morocco was one of the most talked about destinations for those looking to buy property abroad. And it’s not hard to see why. Not only is Morocco investing in foreign interest in the country, as a property and holiday destination it has much to offer – with its location close to Europe, rich history, beautiful art and evocative culture amongst many other draws.
Growing in popularity with each year, Morocco is being recognised as one of the hot emerging markets in which to invest and more and more people are looking to buy property in the country, with John Howell of the International Law Partnership, a well-recognised industry figure, amongst many others ranking this destination in his Top Ten Investment Locations for 2009. But where should one invest if they want to buy property in Morocco? The six ‘Plan Azur’ resorts are being developed in coastal regions – one on the Mediterranean Sea and five on the Atlantic – and this is for distinct reasons of meeting demand. As Alisdair Luxmoore, director of Fleewinter.com, points out it is these types of developments that have the most potential,
“If you want a return on your investment, in terms of tourists coming to stay in your place, then, wherever you are in the world, being by the coast is an enormous help.”
One of these developments is the Mediterrania-Saïdia, the first ‘Plan Azur’ resort to be developed, within which Le Jardin de Fleur three miles from Saïdia town offers a great deal of rental potential, with facilities that are second to none including three 18-hole golf courses, 6km of unspoilt coastline, a 1,350 berth marina with a wide array of restaurants, designer shops and bars.
This secure gated resort offers a variety of property options, from one bedroom hotel suites (from £92,000) to a two bedroom beach apartment (from £197,000) or a three bedroom frontline golf villa (from £213,000), all finished to the highest of standards including furniture packs and set in landscaped gardens, some with roof terraces or plunge pools.
The development will be operated by leading hotel groups, such as Radisson and Best Western, which will allow owners to either have the option of using their unit for personal use, when they can use concierge, spa and hotel facilities, or to benefit from a lease-back programme organised by these operators, tapping into their large client base, to truly exploit its rental potential.
 
For more information contact Undiscovered Properties on 0870 734 7968 or visit www.undiscoveredproperties.com.

A Passion for Morocco

Morocco

 

Long before the King of Morocco ratified the Vision 2010 national development plan to help diversify the economy and bring foreign investment, Morocco was a popular destination for international film producers.  Films such as Ridley Scott’s ‘Gladiator’ and ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’ have recently been shot there and Morocco’s now so famous as a film set that it has a series of internationally acclaimed film festivals annually such as the Mediterranean Short Film Festival in Tangier and the Trans-Sahara Film Festival in Zagora, which both take place in June.
 
Naturally, now that the King of Morocco’s ambitious plans for economic diversification are coming to fruition as laid out and detailed in Vision 2010, the film industry is one to benefit even more from the new policies and legislation that have brought about greater business transparency in a successful bid to attract significant and sustainable levels of foreign direct investment. 
 
One of the latest productions to benefit was the BBC’s ‘The Passion.’  Speaking in an interview with The Sun specifically about the filming experience, actor James Nesbitt who played Pontius Pilate remarked that: “from the bustle of Marrakech’s colourful souks to the vast beauty of the Atlas Mountains, it is surprisingly different from anywhere in Europe” – despite being only a short three hour hop away from the UK!
 
And the film industry is certainly not the only one to benefit from Vision 2010 and the strong economic emergence of Morocco; forming strategically central roles in the national development plan are the tourism and real estate industries which is why Morocco has suddenly become such a popular place for property investment. 
 
According to Steve Worboys, MD of Experience International: “developments such as Apple Gardens in Marrakech, which comprises of 51 high quality villas within a boutique-style development are being snatched up by investors well aware that demand will potentially push up values in the city where there have been predictions of 15% annual capital growth, but that as Vision 2010 comes to completion, Morocco will likely be internationally recognised as a superb place to live, work, invest and do business.”
 
For others, the appeal of Morocco is not just about its economic strength and fantastic investment landscape – it’s more about the beauty of the nation, the fabulous weather, the history, the magical cities and the people.  This is why Morocco is such a popular choice with film producers, holiday-makers and now second home buyers alike.  Proving popular with the latter group are resort style developments such as Mediterranea Saïdia with its golf clubs, private beach, diving and sailing centre and myriad of five star facilities, and Playa Vista where apartments are guaranteed an ocean view forever because of their breathtaking sea front setting.
 
For more information about any of the properties mentioned please contact Experience International on 0800 612 0901 or visit www.experience-international.com.