16 top tips on buying a home overseas in 2016

16 top tips on buying a home overseas in 2016

Portugal Spain United States
  • Fall for an area, not an individual home
  • Know what you want BEFORE you visit
  • Think about what you will want in the future, as well as what you want now

The arrival of New Year provides a chance to take stock, make plans and look to the future with a positive frame of mind. For many, this will include the excitement of finally planning to buy their dream home overseas, providing the perfect antidote to the months of grey, chilly weather on offer in the UK.

Whether it’s a detached villa with pool on Disney’s doorstep in Florida, a stylish apartment close to the beach in Spain or a perfectly located country retreat in Portugal, the overseas property market is awash with great value properties for those who know where to look.

Chris White, Founding Director of Ideal Homes International, comments,

“We’re predicting great things for the overseas property market in 2016, with Spain and Portugal, the US and Cyprus all appealing in unique ways to buyers from the UK. We would always advise buyers to be cautious though, particularly if they haven’t bought overseas before – it’s really important to do your homework and buy through a trusted and reputable company.”

In that vein, Chris and his team have put together their 16 top tips on buying a home overseas in 2016, to help buyers turn their dreams into reality.

The Ideal Homes International 16 top tips on buying a home overseas in 2016

  1. Investigate on the internet – research potential areas thoroughly, rather than individual properties. Find out about local amenities, from beaches to restaurants, based on your priorities. Think about how those priorities may change in the future as well – a holiday home bought this year could serve as a retirement pad later on, so what facilities would you want on hand then? Don’t fall in love with a particular property until you know the location is right for you!
  2. Use an agent with form – opt for an organisation with a good track record. Make sure they have been in business for some time and have a long list of satisfied customers happy to speak about their experiences.
  3. Budget carefully – buying overseas isn’t just about the property price. Be aware of the buying costs like fees and local taxes. These can vary hugely from country to country, so do your research and budget accordingly.
  4. Plan a trip – once you’ve identified the places you like on the internet, hop on a plane and check them out for yourself. You will quickly be able to get a feel for whether or not a place is right for you and a few hundred pounds invested at this stage can serve extremely well when it comes to finding the perfect location for your new home overseas.
  5. Know what you want BEFORE you visit – think about how many bedrooms you need, whether proximity to the beach or a local golf course is important to you, whether you simply must have your own pool and whether the local supermarket can be reached on foot or by car. Whatever your preferences, have them firmly fixed in mind before you visit – and be sure that your agent understands them too. This will ensure that he/she is able to show you properties that perfectly suit your requirements and avoid wasting time spent touring unsuitable homes.
  6. Think about the journey – work out the journey from your current home to the area in which you plan to purchase. What are the flight times and costs like? Is there just one airline that flies into the local airport or several? Can you hire a car easily upon arrival if you need to? These factors will impact on how relaxed you are by the time you arrive at your overseas property each and every time you visit, so think the journey through in detail.
  7. Find a reputable lawyer – this is one of the most important elements of buying a second home overseas. A good agent should be able to recommend a reputable lawyer, or you can do your own research on the internet and by speaking to others who have bought property in the area. Chat on the phone with the lawyer and meet him or her when you visit – test their knowledge and be sure to choose someone you are comfortable with.
  8. Think about money matters – once you’ve bought your property, you will need to get money out to that country regularly in order to pay bills, take care of maintenance issues and so forth. Look at what you need to do to set up a local bank account and plan to do this as early as possible in the process. Bear in mind that many overseas banks also have a branch in London where you can take care of some of the initial paperwork should you need to do so.
  9. Remember the insurance – before you commit to purchasing a property, check that it is insurable and at a reasonable rate. If the area that you like the look of is prone to flooding or sink holes then it might be time to look elsewhere.
  10. Ask about hidden requirements – speak to your agent and conduct your own research online to ensure that you know everything you need to. In Portugal, for example, you need a fiscal number in order to purchase a property. You can get one quickly and easily from the local Finanças department for a small fee – or you can appoint a lawyer to take care of this on your behalf.
  11. Consider other significant expenses – what other expenses might your property purchase give rise to? One of the most commonly overlooked items is the need for a car, so think about whether you can access your new home on public transport, whether you will pay for a hire car each time or whether you would prefer to purchase a car of your own overseas.
  12. Is the property just for you? – if you plan to rent your property out as well as using it yourself then be sure that it appeals to a wide range of holidaymakers. Neutral décor and access to a pool can make a big difference to the number of people choosing your holiday home over another one.
  13. Speak to the experts – join some online forums and Facebook groups and chat to those who have already purchased in the area you like. Even better, find people who have moved fulltime and benefit from their experiences of local life.
  14. Know the market – understand price trends in the country and region you like in order to know whether or not your expectations are realistic based on your budget. Knowledge of local prices will also help you to gauge whether you are paying over the odds or picking up a real bargain.
  15. Think about maintenance – unless you are planning a permanent move, you will need to consider how best to maintain your property from afar. An isolated villa might be your dream holiday home, but an apartment on a managed condominium might present far fewer headaches in terms of regular maintenance, particularly if you plan to rent it out as well as use it yourself.
  16. Use an agent who does it all – find an agent you trust and who can offer you the whole package. They will be able to support you with every step of the process, from finding a reputable lawyer to arranging an inspection trip. This can often be by far the quickest and cheapest approach – and also the least hassle!

For further details call Ideal Homes International on 0800 133 7644 or +351 289 513 434, email info@idealhomesinternational.co.uk or visit www.idealhomesinternational.co.uk.

10 years on, the overseas property market resets itself

10 years on, the overseas property market resets itself

Cyprus Portugal Spain United States World ,
  • Portuguese property prices due to rise 5% p.a. for next 5 years (RICS/Ci)
  • Florida property values up 8.2% over past year (Zillow)
  • Portugal, Spain and Florida are hot picks for 2016 (Ideal Homes International)

Over the past decade, the landscape of the overseas property market has changed vastly. Property entrepreneur and Founding Director of Ideal Homes Portugal and Ideal Homes International Chris White has been selling property through the good times and the bad. After a turbulent 10 years, he believes the overseas property market has finally reset itself – and that now is the time to look to the future.

In Portugal, where Chris White is based, the market crashed spectacularly following the events of 2006/07, along with residential real estate markets around the world. Lesser estate agents would have crumbled (many did) but Ideal Homes Portugal stuck with the market through the hard times and came out the other side even stronger. Today, the flourishing agency employs 35 staff, selling properties across the Algarve as well as in the capital Lisbon.

Chris comments,

“There were some tough years in the middle of the past decade, but it’s wonderful to see the Portuguese property market back on an even keel again now. Prices look set to rise at a comfortable rate over the next few years. I’d say capital growth of 3-5% per year should be achievable for those who invest in the market during 2016.”

Data from the RICS/Ci Portuguese Housing Market Survey concurs. The August 2015 report suggested that prices would increase by roughly 5% per annum over the next five years. At present, a lovely two bedroom townhouse with private pool in Quinta do Lago can be picked up for €375,000.

Spain, as well as Portugal, has seen its property market reset itself over the past decade, although prices in Spain have been slower to recover. For buyers in 2016, this presents an excellent opportunity, according to Ideal Homes International’s Chris,

“Prices are rising in Spain, but many areas are still priced below their peak. There aren’t as many opportunities there as there were a year or two ago, but Spain is certainly still a good bet if you’re looking for a real estate market that has the potential to keep expanding over the next few years. The Costa Blanca would be my particular tip for those looking for a second home in the sun that can double as a savvy investment.”

At Orihuela, two bedroom/two bathroom off plan apartments are available from €129,900. Due for completion in December 2016, the apartments will each feature two large terraces, as well as community gardens, sea views and two large swimming pools (one heated).

Florida is another area that’s now back in the game, according to Ideal Homes International. A modern, four bedroom townhouse in Kissimmee, ideally located for access to Walt Disney World, costs just $285,000 (€252,000). Part of an exclusive gated community, the home includes a private pool area, screened in patio and comes fully furnished.

Prices in Florida have risen by 8.2% over the past year, according to Zillow, while data from the National Association of Realtors in June 2015 showed the US market passing its 2006 peak to reach record highs.

Back in Europe, the other country that Chris White of Ideal Homes International has flagged up for attention is Cyprus. Chris comments,

“Cyprus is an interesting prospect as a place to buy a holiday home in 2016. The market there has been incredibly quiet there this year and we don’t expect huge increases in prices over the next 12-24 months. However, what Cyprus does have to offer is fantastic value for money. If you’re looking for somewhere with great weather where your money can go a lot further, then Aphrodite’s isle is an excellent choice.”

As an example, a two bedroom villa in Konia, on a small complex of just six homes with a shared pool, can be picked up for €149,000.

For further details call Ideal Homes Portugal on 0800 133 7644 or +351 289 513 434, email enquiries@idealhomesportugal.com or visit www.idealhomesportugal.com.

Charlotte emerges as 2016 property hotspot

Charlotte emerges as 2016 property hotspot

United States
  • Charlotte ranked 3rd out of all US cities (PWC)
  • City is one of ‘best places for business and careers’ (Forbes)
  • Charlotte flagged as top 2016 property investment hotspot (Property Frontiers)

Charlotte, North Carolina, has emerged as one of the key property hotspots in the US for 2016. The thriving metropolis has been ranked third out of the nation’s cities in PWC’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate United States and Canada 2016.

Known as the Queen City, having been named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who became Britain’s queen consort the year before the city was founded, Charlotte is the second largest city in the south-eastern US and the second largest banking centre in the country. Bank of America has its headquarters there, while Wells Fargo uses the city as the base for its east coast operations.

With a healthy mix of service sector companies, industry and technology, Charlotte has a strong economic base as well as a thriving sports and social scene. The city has been on the rise for some time. From 2000-2008 it was ranked the 60th fastest growing city in the US. Last year, it had shot far enough up the ranking to take the number three spot, according to Census data. In 2013, the city received a further boost, with Forbes listing it as one of the Best Places for Business and Careers.

Now, the PWC Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2016 report has once more shone the spotlight on Charlotte’s potential, highlighting it as one of the country’s most dynamic real estate hotspots. Ray Withers, CEO of specialist property investment company Property Frontiers, comments,

“We’ve been involved in Charlotte’s property market for some time, as demand for good quality rental accommodation is high both within the city and the surrounding area. Investors from around the world are keen to pick up buy-to-let property in the US right now and Charlotte is one of the key urban areas offering the perfect combination of good value purchase prices and healthy demand from tenants.”

Property Frontiers is already offering investors the opportunity to purchase buy-to-let apartments at Chandler Oaks, just over an hour from Charlotte in the South Carolina city of Gaffney. The fully tenanted homes are priced from $48,671 for a one bedroom apartment. More than 70% of the properties have already been snapped up by investors keen to benefit from the liquidity of the US residential market.

With investor demand so strong for property in the area – and likely to become even more so in light of the PWC report – Property Frontiers has sourced a further development, within the Charlotte Metropolitan Area itself. CEO Ray Withers confirms,

“We are very shortly due to launch a fabulous opportunity at Circle Oaks Village, just 20 minutes from Charlotte, allowing investors to tap into the city’s real estate market and to be part of the future of one of the most active and exciting locations in the US. Property Frontiers has been planning the launch of this development for some time and it’s excellent that the just-published PWC report has confirmed that once more we are at the forefront of where investors want to be when it comes to global buy-to-let property markets.”

Circle Oaks Village is a collection of refurbished and fully tenanted apartments within easy reach of local business districts, schools and recreational facilities. The one, two and three bedroom apartments are spread across 29 buildings, on 13 acres of land. Investment is from just $77,727, with a management company contribution of 40% paid on closing, giving the management company the right to lease the property for the next five years. This means an investment price from only $46,636, with minimum guaranteed returns of up to 18.08% NET on capital invested for the first five years.

For further details, visit www.propertyfrontiers.com or call the team on +44 1865 202 700.

Planet property: Global house price report highlight’s world’s real estate hotspots

Planet property: Global house price report highlight’s world’s real estate hotspots

Germany United Kingdom United States
  • Global house prices rising at 4.7% per year (Economist House Price Index)
  • UK, US and Germany highlighted as real estate hotspots (Property Frontiers)
  • Output rising across entire UK construction sector (Markit/CIPS UK construction PMI)

The Economist House Price Index is one of the most important reports when it comes to providing a snapshot of the health of the world’s real estate markets. The latest report, released in October 2015, paints a largely positive picture of the planet’s property. Of the 26 markets studied, prices are rising in 21 of them, at a median pace of 4.7% per year.

Knowing where to invest

“Data such as this is key when it comes to knowing where to invest,” comments Ray Withers, CEO of specialist property investment company Property Frontiers. “It’s encouraging to see that the UK, the US and Germany are all enjoying sustained price rises. It shows how sensible our clients have been in investing in buy-to-let properties in those countries.”

Looking at the UK

House prices in the UK have been rising since Q2 2009, albeit with a few bumps along the way, according to the Economist’s report. Nationally they’ve risen by 11.5% in Britain between then and Q4 2014. The new-found confidence in the market has seen construction pick up pace, with the latest Markit/CIPS UK construction PMI reporting rising output across all parts of the industry in September 2015 – the 28th month in a row that the sector has been creating jobs. All of which is great news for property investors looking for a stable market.

One area of the UK that is firmly on buy-to-let investors’ maps is Manchester, and in particular Salford Quays. The area is booming and developments like Custom Quay, where the 60 one and two bedroom duplex apartments are available for investment from £127,000 with 8.4% expected yield, are attracting investors keen to be a part of the city’s bright future.

Heading across the pond

Over in the US, the figures paint a different picture, but one that is equally interesting from an investment perspective. Though prices have broadly been rising since Q1 2012, they remain some 22.4% below their peak value in 2006. For property investors, this means the chance to invest in real estate that could well increase in value at quite a pace over the years ahead.

At Chandler Oaks in South Carolina, just 45 minutes from the huge financial hub of Charlotte over the border in North Carolina, the potential for returns is certainly exciting, with investment from $48,671 and a minimum of 11.4% gross yield for two bed apartments. Fully tenanted and fully managed by a local property management company, the development is proving extremely popular, with 70% of the apartments already snapped up.

Buy-to-let in Berlin

Back in Europe, Germany is another country that is the focus of buy-to-let investors’ attention. The market in Berlin has some interesting characteristics, including rising rents (even with rent controls in place) and low property prices. Stadtpark Steglitz is a collection of studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments spread across three buildings in the south west of Berlin. Investment prices start from €109,000, with gross yields up to 5.6% realistically expected.

According to the Economist’s House Price Index report, home values in Germany were largely immune to the global financial crisis that started in 2006/07. In fact, prices there have remained fairly stable since the mid-1990s. It is only since around Q1 2009 that they have begun to rise steeply. Between then and Q4 2014, house prices shot up by 22.8% in Germany, delighting those who had already invested in property there and causing other investors to pay cities like Berlin some serious attention.

For further details, visit www.propertyfrontiers.com or call the team on +44 1865 202 700.

Value of foreign investment in US homes rockets, latest report reveals

Value of foreign investment in US homes rockets, latest report reveals

United States
  • Value of US home sales to foreign buyers jumps 13% (NAR)
  • Currency fluctuations in Europe pushing investors to the US (Property Frontiers)
  • Chinese buyers now top list of foreign investors in US (NAR)

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), around 4% of US homes (209,000 houses) were bought by foreign buyers between April 2014 and March 2015. The figure represents a 10% drop over the previous year, due to the strength of the dollar. However, while the volume of purchases by overseas buyers may have diminished, the value has shot up by 13%, from $92.2 billion in 2013/14 to $104 billion in 2014/15.

So, who’s buying in the US?

For the first time, buyers from China have topped the list of foreigners buying up US real estate, knocking the Canadians off the top spot. It’s something that those in the industry have expected for several years, as Ray Withers, Chief Executive of leading property investment specialists Property Frontiers, explains,

“We’ve seen a growing trend of Chinese buyers purchasing US real estate for several years. The NAR’s 2014/15 Profile of International Home Buying Activity has shown they are now not only the largest purchasers by volume (at 16%), but also by value, with an average spend of $831,300. As a group, Chinese buyers like high end investment properties in prestigious locations, so there’s a lot of focus on cities like New York and LA, though their interests extend right the way across the US.”

Canadian buyers still accounted for 14% of homes bought by foreign buyers during 2014/15. Buyers from Mexico, India and the UK also accounted for substantial proportions of the overall number of houses purchased.

A stable base

“With currency wobbles in Europe, the US provides a stable playing field for investors,” continues Withers. “The dollar may be strong, but in an uncertain market that can be a positive attraction for many investors. It’s about playing the long game, not making a risky overnight profit that could backfire significantly.”

Withers cites Chandler Oaks in the South Carolina city of Gaffney as an example of what investors are looking for from the US market. The development consists of one and two bedroom apartments designed for students and young professionals to rent. With rents on the rise in the US, this type of investment is much in demand – 70% of the apartments at Chandler Oaks have already sold out. Rents in the US have risen 3.7% year on year, with Zillow’s March data showing that annual rental growth exceeded annual house price growth in 17 of the largest metro areas of the US during March.

Rising rents are good news for investors looking for strong yields. At Chandler Oaks, a minimum of 11.4% gross yield is offered for the two bedroom apartments, thanks to a contract with a local college that will provide tenants to May 2019. Underwritten income of 8% NET is also in place until the start of 2020.

These strong yields are one reason that foreign buyers look to US, as they can generate greater income than they could on similar properties back home. Local property restrictions also come into play – in Beijing, the maximum property ownership limit is two homes, even for investment purposes, hence the cash purchase of so many homes in the US.

Whatever their individual reasons, investors turning to the US are looking for stable investment opportunities with healthy returns, exactly like Chandler Oaks. Investment there is available from $48,671 for a one bedroom apartment.

For further details, visit www.propertyfrontiers.com or call the team on +44 1865 202 700.

The new Silicon State: Florida boosted by medical cash injection

The new Silicon State: Florida boosted by medical cash injection

United States
  • Visit Florida bringing new $2.5 million grant to state’s medical tourism industry
  • Set to dramatically grow demand for local housing stock for both visitors and workers
  • Brookes & Co’s The Club at Sunset Lake offers chance to capitalise on investment opportunity

Tourism has long-since been Florida’s economic mainstay, with the state – and it’s vacation-epicentre of Orlando – becoming synonymous with Micky Mouse, theme parks, year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches and family holidays. Yet, the Sunshine State is not resting on its laurels, not content just to be the world’s entertainment forerunner, a new money-maker is in town and it is set to shake the region’s tourist industry up.

In an unparalleled move by Visit Florida, the state’s tourism body, a brand new $2.5 million grant programme has been announced to support the growth of the state’s medical tourism industry, setting Florida up as the go-to US destination for medical procedures, including cosmetic surgery. The new grant will be used to greater promote the medical tourism services on offer in Florida, as well as to encourage more medical professionals to make the state the location of choice for their industry meetings, conferences and training courses, in turn boosting the sector considerably in a move that is the first of its kind.

This boost is set to see a dramatic effect on the local economy, bolstering the state’s finances directly through spending but also by expanding the need for housing stock, be it for those visiting or for the increasing number of workers being employed in the medical industry in the vicinity.

Not only looking to attract domestic US medical tourists, the new approach for the Florida tourism industry is also aiming to attract worldwide visitors looking to marry their medical procedures with the confidence of being treated in the US and the relaxed atmosphere and warm climate of the ever-popular Sunshine State. And cosmetic surgery in the US is increasingly big business. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the number of such procedures grew by 6.5% from 2012 to 2013, with Transparency Market Research (TMR) revealing that the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) is due to increase by a staggering 17.9% from 2013 to 2019 globally.

With the South Atlantic Region that includes Florida making up some 19% (310,441) of the country’s total cosmetic procedures in 2013, up 1% on 2012’s figure of 292,579 (according to ASAPS), and the injection of the new grant on the horizon, this is set to expand on a large scale for the new ‘Silicon State’. Philip Button, Managing Director of leading property investment company, Brookes & Co, who have been working in the Florida market for over a decade, explains,

“There is no denying that in today’s body-conscious society, cosmetic surgery is big business and with current estimates stating that $5.2billion is already being spent by 375,000 of the US population on medical tourism in Florida, it is clear that the Sunshine State has more to offer than just the traditional fun-in-the-sun image it has become world-renowned for. And with $2.5 million set to be injected into the market to further develop this potential, the opportunities for growth are immense.”

And Florida is already making inroads into this growth. The ground-breaking 650 acre Lake Nona Medical City, being developed in Orlando that is due to be completed in 2017, is not only on track to create 30,000 jobs but also to generate $7.6 billion wealth for the economy, an undeniable impact. The results of this are that not only are there increasingly ample opportunities for investment in the Florida property in market for renting to visiting medical tourists but also for savvy investors to buy into the domestic market set to boom as a result of the growing jobs in the sector.

One such project that illustrates this growth opportunity is Brookes & Co’s Orlando project, The Club at Sunset Lake, whose successful first phase that sold out in record time can in part be attributed to the close proximity to Lake Nona Medical City. Seeing the launch of a highly anticipated phase two of the development, now is the opportune time for buyers to secure their part of this investment project that offers a 5-year rental guarantee with a 6% return after all costs.

The Club at Sunset Lake has been designed to meet the needs of Florida residents who are seeking rental properties of a superior standard, whilst being close to all amenities and boasting facilities of the highest quality. The luxurious facilities, including an exclusive club house and swimming pool, fitness centre and spa, sports courts and cycle paths, as well as a lake-front park and picnic area, ensure that The Club at Sunset Lake makes the most of its beautiful setting. The spacious two, three or four bedroom properties are priced from £96,950, the larger also with garages.

For more information about The Club at Sunset Lake and buying in Florida, contact Brookes & Co on +44 1621 875 925, email info@brookesandco.co.uk or visit www.brookesandco.co.uk 

What a difference two years makes! Florida rises fast in the rankings as market flourishes

What a difference two years makes! Florida rises fast in the rankings as market flourishes

United States
  • Florida rises 15 places in ‘24/7 Wall St Best and Worst Run States in America’ rankings from 42nd in 2012 to 27th in 2014
  • Florida placed fifth in a ranking of the best business climates in the US (Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index)
  • Brookes & Co offering excellent opportunity to invest in growing market through The Club at Sunset Lake

Just two years ago, in 2012, prospects for the US’ ‘Sunshine State’ were less than bright, with skies having clouded over during the economic downturn and no real signs of a break in the grey. The state was placed at 42nd in the ‘24/7 Wall St Best and Worst Run States in America’ rankings, with economic recovery seeming little more than a glimmer of hope on the distant horizon. Yet just two years on, Florida has risen 15 places in the rankings to take its place at 27th. Having moved up ten places in the last year alone, the state has made confident strides in this important ranking that measures key financial ratios, as well as social and economic outcomes and in turn provides a thorough measure of the monetary health of America’s states, some would say ‘the state of the states’.

Yet these are not the only encouraging signs for Florida as it progresses in leaps and bounds. Debt per capita has dropped to $1,952 – the ninth lowest in the country – and the state has been awarded credit ratings of AAA by S&P and Aa1 by Moody’s. The Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index has also recognised Florida’s progress of late, placing it fifth in a ranking of the best business climates in the US. Though the current unemployment rate, at 7.2%, remains a little above the national average, it has contracted massively over the past two years and Florida is today seen by many as an excellent place to do business.

Florida is not, however, merely a place in which to work, although many do commute to the region for business purposes, many others relocate to the state for employment reasons in a permanent move that in turn has a knock-on effect on the domestic property market. For according to the 24/7 Wall St report, 3.2% of Florida’s population had migrated to the state since mid-2010, as Philip Button, Managing Director of leading property investment company, Brookes & Co, explains,

“Some 600,000 people from other states and from overseas have moved to Florida within the last few years and this influx has put pressure on the region’s housing resource. Professionals moving into the area seek out accommodation that meets their standards and this in turn provides excellent opportunities, growing opportunities as the workforce grows, for investment in the domestic property market.”

Brookes & Co’s recently launched Florida project, The Club at Sunset Lake is situated in Orlando and offers exactly this kind of opportunity to invest in the flourishing domestic market. The project has been designed to meet the needs of Florida residents who are seeking rental properties of a superior standard, whilst being close to all amenities and boasting facilities of the highest quality.

The luxurious facilities, including an exclusive club house and swimming pool, fitness centre and spa, sports courts and cycle paths, as well as a lake-front park and picnic area, ensure that The Club at Sunset Lake makes the most of its beautiful setting. Properties are spacious, the larger properties also with garages, and range through two, three and four bedroom properties.

Supporting the development of Florida’s high spec housing offering, the opportunity speaks to the strength of Florida’s recovery, with investors looking to be part of the Sunshine State’s future thanks to the progress that it has made in recent years. The state does still have some way to go, however, with house prices remaining some 16% lower than they were in 2009, according to 24/7 Wall St. With prices are rising, from a property investor’s perspective, this is good news, as depressed prices are likely to rise back to (and beyond) their former peak, meaning that those putting their money into the project can grow their capital over a period of several years, enjoying strong yields while they do so.

Properties at The Club at Sunset Lake are priced from £96,950 and the project offers a 5-year rental guarantee with a 6% return after all costs.

For more information about The Club at Sunset Lake and buying in Florida, contact Brookes & Co on +44 1621 875 925, email info@brookesandco.co.uk or visit www.brookesandco.co.uk

Job growth propels Florida property investment market

Job growth propels Florida property investment market

United States
  • Florida unemployment figures at 6%, lowest rate since June 2008 (Department of Economic Opportunity)
  • Strong domestic demand for housing driven by four key factors: Leisure, Transport, Medical, and Agriculture (Philip Button, Brookes & Co)
  • Brookes & Co domestic investment project The Club at Sunset Lake 83% sold in under four weeks

Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity has revealed that the state’s unemployment figures now stand at the lowest rate since June 2008, a figure of 6% in September. Not only this but the ADP Regional Employment Report also showed that Florida grew the private sector by 20,050 jobs in October, meaning that 2014 looks as though it will be closing on a positive note for the state’s employment industry.

When considering the fact that just a year ago, Florida’s jobless numbered on average 7.2% in 2013, and a less than giddy figure of 11.3% in 2010, the ‘Sunshine State’ has come a long way in recent times, making firm progress in this important indicator for the country’s wealth. The knock-on effect of the increasing stability in Florida’s job market is that the property market is also, not only stabilising, but growing with optimistic fervour.

This is especially true for the domestic market, an often un-thought-of sector in the shadow of the bright lights and Disney magic of the tourism sector, yet boasting excellent investment prospects, especially within the context of the bolstered regional employment. Launching a new investment project in Orlando on 1st November – The Club at Sunset Lake – the UK’s leading property investment company, Brookes & Co, recognised this opportunity and offered, through the new project, buyers the chance to capitalise on this.

The project presents a brand new gated development to the market, situated in the heart of central Florida and close to all major amenities. With the luxurious facilities, including an exclusive club house and swimming pool, fitness centre and spa, sports courts and cycle paths, as well as a lake-front park and picnic area, The Club at Sunset Lake certainly makes the most of its beautiful setting.

Offering a 5-year rental guarantee with a 6% return after all costs, from a range of spacious two, three and four bedroom properties priced from £96,950, it is clear to see why the project is the ideal investment opportunity, registering enviable success so far.

And what a success it has been. Within the period of under four weeks since the launch of The Club at Sunset Lake, Brookes & Co have sold 83% of the units available. Demand is high, but what, specifically, is driving the growing domestic market of Florida?

Philip Button, Managing Director of Brookes & Co gives his take,

“It can be said that the increasing levels of employment in the state are driven by four key factors: Leisure, Medical, Transport and Agriculture. Individually, each of these facets are key to the economic workings of Florida, but together these sectors influence not only the success of the Floridian economy but also contribute wholeheartedly to the coffers of the US in general terms.”


The leisure market is the go-to market when thinking of Florida, the abundance of theme parks, Disney World, Universal Studios and the like, have become synonymous with Florida’s Orlando, making the state the country’s top tourist hotspot. Disney are building several new parks over the upcoming year including Avatar Land, with Universal Studios’ ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ already a huge success and visitors soon able to ride the new Hogwarts Express! At Legoland, an expansion at Miniland and a new hotel being built to cater for demand, demonstrates how this market is booming. And with this boom comes expanded job prospects for those developing and building the projects, as well as those staffing them to cater for the record tourist numbers.


Transportation is central to the state’s success, with rail expansion a major arena that is impacting heavily on Florida’s domestic property market. The landmark SunRail project that will revolutionise commuter travel is expected to be finalised by 2017 and is doing wonders for the local and national economy. The project is creating more employment (an independent financial study found Sunrail has the potential to create nearly 260,000 jobs) but it is growing the state’s wealth too, with a predicted impact on theUS economy of $8.8billion.With airport growth also in the pipeline, and SunRail predicted to link up to the newly expanded airport, Florida’s transport links are going from strength to strength, helping the domestic market flourish in turn.


In the medical sector, the Lake Nona Medical City is being developed in Orlando, a groundbreaking project of such magnitude that it is set to create 30,000 jobs – an impressive impact by all accounts. In turn, this project is on track to also create $7.6 billion wealth for the economy, leading to more people working locally and therefore more people looking for rental properties. Due to complete in 2017, this makes now the ideal time to purchase a property for the purpose of renting it to the domestic market.


In their latest ‘Fresh from Florida: The Journal of Florida Agriculture’, Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services revealed that the industry was worth a staggering $108 billion to the Sunshine State, with Florida the US top producer of not only oranges but also sugarcane, sweetcorn, watermelon and squash. Florida Naturals, a leading fruit juice producer, who own over 50,000 acres of fine citrus groves in the heart of Central Florida, continue to grow, creating many new jobs in the area too.

All of this collectively has huge economic impact on the Orlando area and, in fact, Forbes recently ranked the city as number one in their report on ‘The Top 10 Cities and States for Job Growth’. In turn, this growth gives rise to significant demand for high- quality rental properties in the area for the workers and their families to live in, as has been proved by Brookes & Co’s The Club at Sunset Lake. The Sun has certainly returned to the Sunshine State!

For more information about The Club at Sunset Lake and buying in Florida, contact Brookes & Co on +44 1621 875 925, email info@brookesandco.co.uk or visit www.brookesandco.co.uk 

Fashionable Florida: Sunshine State rated the ‘desirable location’ this winter

Fashionable Florida: Sunshine State rated the ‘desirable location’ this winter

United States
  • Orlando most popular holiday location for domestic travellers this winter (ASTA)
  • International buyers in Florida property market up 1% in 2014 (NAR)
  • Florida as ‘desirable location’ top reason for buying, with 59% in 2014 claiming so (NAR)

Faux fur. Long boots. Over-sized scarves. Roll-neck jumpers. All key style trends for Autumn/Winter 2014/15. But when it comes to this season’s must-visit destination, where’s hot this wintertime, even as the weather turns cold?

According to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Florida’s Orlando is top choice for those looking to the US over the 2014-15 winter season, with more US residents booking to visit the Sunshine State’s most popular hotspots than anywhere else in the country.

Receiving 41% of the recorded bookings, Orlando ranks far ahead of the key tourist destinations of Las Vegas (receiving 13% of bookings) and New York City (with just 6%), and as a state overall, Florida charges ahead of the pack, with 58% of ASTA-recorded bookings, far outweighing second-place Hawaii’s 20%, thus marking Florida, and Orlando specifically, out as the ‘in vogue’ locations for A/W 14/15.

This season Florida, with its much-loved winter sun, is being seen as ‘the’ place to visit, rounding off an outstanding year for the state in which it welcomed 11.2 million overseas visitors in the 2013-14 period, compared to 10.4 million for the previous year. The 7.7% increase year-on-year is substantially contributing to Florida’s economy, adding an additional $4.3 billion to the state’s coffers, an extra 6% according to Visit Florida, taking the 2013-2014 figure to $76.1 billion.

And with more tourists comes more employment. As a tourist destination grows to match demand, more staff are required to construct and staff these new developments, growing the need for additional rental housing within the local market. For this reason Florida is also solidifying its place as a much sought-after location for purchasing property. Whether it is to use as an income stream by renting the property to others, as a long-term investment to capitalise on the state’s expanding property prices, or as a combination of these factors, more and more people are seeing the Sunshine State as a hot property prospect this winter and onwards into 2015 and beyond.

In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has revealed in their ‘Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida 2014’ report that 10% of Florida’s residential market was made up of international sales this year, up 1% on the 2013 figure, and up an estimated $1.54 billion, or 24%, in terms of how much these foreign real estate purchases in Florida were worth in the year up to June 2014.

And the most important factor for influencing someone’s decision to purchase real estate in Florida? According to the NAR report, viewing the state as a ‘desirable location’ and increasingly so.

Philip Button, Managing Director of specialist property investment firm Brookes & Co, who have been working in the Florida market bringing US properties to UK buyers for over a decade, explains more,

“Florida is certainly a stand-out location for those looking to invest in property, offering much potential and opportunity, and it is becoming more and more so. The NAR has shown that 54% of buyers in the state in 2013 saw Florida as a ‘desirable location’ in which to purchase and a year later, in 2014, this had increased to 59% putting this as their top reason to invest.

“Florida’s place as this year’s fashionable Autumn/Winter location for both holidaying and purchasing real estate, has also been backed publically by Floridian Governor Rick Scott who has increased public funding for Visit Florida, the state’s tourism body, by $10.5 million (according to the 2013-2014 Annual Report), taking public funding to a record $74 million for financial year 2014-2015. For this, and a whole host of reasons, buying in Florida is certainly ‘à la mode’ in 2014 and a wise choice looking forwards.”

Always ‘on trend’ with the projects they bring to market, property investment specialists Brookes & Co have just launched a new project in Florida that allows buyers to capitalise on the location as a hot destination this winter and beyond.

Offering a 5-year rental guarantee with a 6% return after all costs, The Club at Sunset Lake makes the ideal investment opportunity. This brand new gated development in the heart of central Florida, close to all major amenities, boasts luxurious facilities including an exclusive club house and swimming pool, fitness centre and spa, sports courts and cycle paths, and a lake front park and picnic area, making the most of the beautiful location. The two, three and four bedroom properties are spacious, the larger properties also with garages, and priced from £96,950.

With the fashion world already looking ahead to A/W 15/16, it is clear that some things in fact never go out of fashion – and Florida may well be one of those.

For more information about The Club at Sunset Lake and buying in Florida, contact Brookes & Co on +44 1621 875 925, email info@brookesandco.co.uk or visit www.brookesandco.co.uk

Best of the bunch – Top 5 countries for enjoying some winter sun

Best of the bunch – Top 5 countries for enjoying some winter sun

Grenada Italy Portugal Spain United States , , , ,
  • Costa del Sol offers cheapest European winter sun breaks (Post Office)
  • Mallorca bookings up 68% in a single year (ABTA)
  • Euro approaching best rate since 2012 (Currency Index)

It’s that time of year when the novelty of cold mornings and rainy afternoons has worn off and families turn their attention to which country would be the best place for them to soak up some winter sun. This year the number of those leaving the UK in search of winter sun between October and December is expected to rise, as many families delayed their summer holidays overseas due to Britain’s fantastic summer weather.

The Post Office has provided some handy hints this year for travellers looking for good value from their breaks. Both Portugal (specifically the Algarve) and Spain (the Costa del Sol) have been recognised as providing excellent value for money in the Post Office’s Winter Sunshine Report. The barometer report examines eight tourist staples, including sun-cream, drinks and an evening meal, to judge which destinations offer the cheapest break. The Costa del Sol came in at just £44 for the list of items and the Algarve at £48. As the weather in Spain and Portugal can take a turn for the worse over the winter months, the report also highlighted the value of Tenerife, where the winter sunshine is a little more reliable. The island came in at £58 for the eight items.

Italy is another popular choice for those seeking a winter sun break and if the over-priced cities are avoided it can offer excellent value. In fact, the UK travel organisation ABTA observed at its recent travel convention in Slovenia that Italian bookings were up this summer due to “some great-value hotel deals.” ABTA also highlighted Mallorca as a recent success story, with summer 2014 bookings up 68% on summer 2013. The island’s increased tourism figures are expected to carry through over the winter season.

When it comes to long-haul winter sun destinations, Florida offers excellent value and families can enjoy Orlando’s theme parks without the extensive queues of the summer months. The Caribbean is another popular place for winter sun seekers, especially for couples looking for a relaxed, romantic escape. The luxury appeal of the island of Grenada is proving particularly attractive this year, thanks to its high-end spas and pristine beaches.

For those looking for more than just a holiday, each of these destinations offers a wide variety of options when it comes to property investment. From second homes to pure investment properties, the choice is endless. Those looking to buy in Europe are able to enjoy the cheaper Euro at present, with Currency Index observing that the US Dollar’s recent gains have had a particularly beneficial effect on Euro rates, which are approaching their best levels since 2012.

For those looking to profit from property in the top winter sun destinations, here’s a quick round up of the best opportunities on offer.

Spain – Costa del Sol

Modern 2 and 3 bed apartments and penthouses in Avalon – Los Arqueros Golf, the best golf resort near Puerto Banus, are available from just €290,000 from Taylor Wimpey España. Large terraces, spectacular views, a communal pool and beautiful gardens make this the perfect family resort.

Balearic Islands – Mallorca

Taylor Wimpey España is offering just 24 luxury two bedroom/two bathroom apartments from €242,000 at Cala Anguila II.

Canary Islands – Tenerife

From land plots costing €95,000 for those with imagination and time on their hands, to key-ready, ultra luxe apartments for €483,000, property portal Kyero.com has something to suit every buyer.

Portugal – Algarve

Ideal Homes Portugal has properties ranging from Central Algarve studio apartments in Alvor, costing just €57,419, to a four bedroom villa in the prestigious Vale do Lobo golf community, available to anyone with a spare €11,000,000 to hand. This plot of land with delightful timber house, coming in at just €69,000, is particularly interesting.

Italy – Le Marche

Italy’s stunning Le Marche region offers a good value alternative to the cities and has everything from beaches to mountains with excellent skiing facilities. A one tenth share in the luxury fractional ownership holiday home, Casa Tre Archi from Appassionata, costs from as little as £65,000.

Florida – Orlando

Beautiful two, three and four bedroom investment homes are available from Brookes & Co at The Club at Sunset Lake, from just £96,950. The fully managed properties are close to Orlando’s major attractions and perfect for those looking for a rental property that provides long-term income.

The Caribbean – Grenada

High-end hotel suites for investment in Grenada are available from Property Frontiers and include four weeks’ personal usage, allowing investors to enjoy Grenada for themselves, as well as making money from average projected yields of 10.5%.


For more information on the properties detailed above, please contact:

Taylor Wimpey España: +44 8000 121 020 or www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.

Kyero.com: www.kyero.com

Ideal Homes Portugal: on +44 800 133 7644 or +351 289 513 434 or www.idealhomesportugal.com.

Appassionata: +39 33154 13225 or www.appassionata.com.

Brookes & Co: +44 1621 875 925 or www.brookesandco.co.uk.

Property Frontiers: +44 1865 202 700 or www.propertyfrontiers.com.