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25/11/2011

 
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The UK's Governments Housing Strategy released on Monday has sparked much controversy this week and it certainly seems to have united the private rented sector, social landlords, the pensions sector and the construction industry.
The prospects of allowing UK property values to fall further and the impact on housing development is horrific, if developers do not build due to the costs of building exceeding sale prices then supply of housing will diminish at a time when our population is rapidly increasing. The result will be pent up demand leading to yet another boom and bust scenario, something that no person in their right mind really wants. Such factors could also lead to an even greater bubble in rents being charged, thus resulting in further social and economic issues in the future.
Reducing supply of property in relation to demand may seem good for landlords in that rents will rise quickly and values will follow as soon as financing is more readily available, however, the cost to the infrastructure of the Country in terms of over-crowding in homes and homelessness could be catastrophic. What we need is balance between supply & demand, steady growth and confidence in the market.
Please feel free to comment.

Investment in Student accommodation in the UK – LINK

Investment in commercial storage units in the UK - LINK

Both the above investments are suitable investments to be placed into a 
SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension)

 
 
St Lucia is often called “The Helen of the West Indies” for its captivating beauty. With a total land area of about 620 square miles, St Lucia is one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
The island has excellent beaches, scenic waterfalls, mountains, rainforests, orchids and exotic plants. The twin mountain peaks of Les Piton drop dramatically to the water´s edge on the west coast. In the south, visitors get close to bubbling pools of lava and steaming sulfurous spouts at Sulphur Springs Volcano, or splash in the sulfur-infused waters of the Diamond Waterfall and Mineral Baths.

St. Lucia is increasingly seen as one of the world’s most interesting property markets. The island is in many ways comparable to neighboring Barbados, but St. Lucia’s property prices are about 40% to 60% lower.

Reasons for the rising buzz about St Lucia:
The island is one of the most accessible in the region, with direct flights from the US, Canada, Germany, and the UK. British Airways recently increased direct flights from Gatwick to St. Lucia. 

One of the region’s lowest crime rates.

A tax haven with no VAT, no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax and no estate tax.

Top destination for weddings and honeymoons 

St Lucia’s first casino recently opened, plus a multi-million pound shopping mall, multi-screen cinema, and new restaurants and bars.

St. Lucia has a new niche—health and wellness.
With the support of the government and other private institutions, the first St
Lucia Health and Wellness Retreat is set to open mid-November 2011 with the new Alaia spa designed and operated by ESPA opening on the Marquis Estate 2 years later.

St Lucia’s currency is pegged to the US dollar at EC$2.7 to US$1.

House prices

Property values rose by about 10% to 15% annually from early-2000s to 2008, local analysts estimate. The northern coast, with most residential developments, saw the highest house price rises.
According to the Global Property Guide research prices now in St Lucia range from US$1,207 to US$2,649 per square metre (sq. m) for houses from 150 sq. m to 700 sq. m.
Typical prices in March 2011:

150 sq. m. house: US$181,050 

250 sq. m. house: US$390,750 

350 sq. m. house: US$927,150 

700 sq. m. house: US$1.32 million 

130 sq. m. condo unit: US$389,220 

The average condominium price was US$2,994 per sq. m. 

Most new developments are in the island’s north, including Castries, the capital city, and Rodney Bay. South Coast development is limited by strict planning laws, and by the area’s dense rainforest.

 St. Lucia’s economy expanded by a healthy 4.4% in 2010 after a 1.3% decline in 2009 and 5.8% growth in 2008, mainly due to an increased activity in construction and tourism, supported by a buoyant property market. 

Inflation was 3.3% in 2010, up from -0.2% in 2009. From 2003 to 2007, St Lucia had average inflation of 2.6% per year.
According to the latest IMF report, “In the face of increasing headwinds from subdued growth in the U.S. and Europe and an uncertain global financial environment, we expect growth at about 2% in 2011, shored up by post-hurricane reconstruction. High world commodity prices are expected to put temporary pressures on inflation and the balance of payments in 2011, but these will subside over the medium-term”.

Follow the link for information on the latest 5* resort in St Lucia, prices starting from only £165,000 – LINK
 
 
GREEDY pension firms are paying themselves as much as 80 per cent of the contributions to people’s retirement plans. Thrifty workers who save to ensure a comfortable old age are losing a massive amount in fees and commissions to the companies who manage their pensions, research has revealed.
The UK's retirement crisis shows no sign of receding as new research shows that pension income has in some cases been eroded by more than 70% in the past decade. Falling investment returns combined with lower annuity rates have driven potential retirement income down from £9,000 per year a decade ago to £2,500 now
.Millions of people face poverty in retirement due to poorly performing pensions as a result of falling markets and greedy fund managers.

Investment Property Worldwide has teamed up with one of the UK’s leading independent wealth management companies which specialises in pensions and investments. They will carry out an initial review completely free of charge for potential investors to assess whether their existing pension plans may be transferred
into a SIPP.
If acceptable, once your pension is transferred into a SIPP various options are then available to make your pension work harder for you.

LINK to Investment Property Worldwide alternative investment page.
 
 
Hundreds of thousands of pension investors are earning little or no interest on cash held in their schemes – prompting advisers to suggest they seek better returns elsewhere.
Research has revealed that some of the country’s largest providers of  self-invested personal pensions (Sipps) and small self-administered schemes  (SSAS) are paying well below the Bank of England (BoE) base rate on cash  deposits. Some providers have even lowered their rates while BoE rate has remained  steady at 0.5 per cent for more than two years.
Aegon, one of the leading Sipp providers, is not paying any interest on its instant-access Sipp bank account, and has not done so since  2009.
James Hay’s Sipp account – which is offered to investors in its iSipp and JH  Sipp & Wrap pensions and operated by Santander – is currently paying just 0.00001 per cent  interest.
Hornbuckle Mitchell pays between 0.1 and 0.15 per cent depending how much  cash is deposited.

If you have money earning little or no return take a look at the insured loan note opportunity paying 10% over 12 months or 24% over 2 years and can be invest in via a SIPP  - LINK
 
 
Picture
The first plane in the Harlequin Air fleet has now been fully decorated and modified, with the second plane delivered for the same treatment.
Interior and exterior modifications to the first plane were inspected on Monday in Arkansas, US, and given the thumbs up. It’s expected to start the journey to its new home in the Caribbean in the coming days; meanwhile, the second plane was delivered to the US on Monday for the same beautification: Harlequin colours and logos; “Harlequin blue” carpets; and cream leather seats with the Harlequin logo.
Harlequin Air will exclusively serve guests at the Caribbean hotels and resorts, providing island-hopping transport for transfers to and from transatlantic flights,
excursions, and visits to the other hotels and resorts. Although that last
feature can only become available when one of Buccament Bay Resort’s
sister luxury destinations is completed, it’s still arguably the most exciting. One day soon, it could allow a guest at Bucc Bay to also be a visitor or guest at any of the Caribbean hotels and resorts currently under development, and any that are yet to conceive!
The best part is this is just the beginning: the Harlequin Air fleet will continue to grow over the coming months as Harlequin endeavour to meet the increasing demand for bookings in 2012 and beyond. Initially, the service will carry as many of the guests as possible; however, Harlequin intend to eventually make it available to all.
To invest in any of the Harlequin resorts please follow the link to the website - INVESTMENT.
To book a holiday on Buccament Bay please follow the link - HOLIDAY
 
 
The bad news this week for golf tourism is the decision from the Portuguese government to increase the VAT from 6% to 23% on all golf green fees.
Being a major golf destination this decision is going to devastate the tourist market for many years to come. 
Since the start of the recession in late 2008 business has been difficult for many in the Portuguese travel industry, but in 2011 there has been an encouraging upturn with many clients returning from Spain, Turkey and other overseas golf destinations to play again in Portugal.
I am reliably informed that all golf courses were “advised” at the beginning of 2011 that they should charge 23% VAT on their green fees, but as this was never made official, only 6% was charged.
Courses have now been told that they all owe an extra 17% VAT on all the green fees sold during 2011.
Many of the smaller courses on the Algarve will probably have no funds to repay this shortfall and will have no alternative but to close, leaving the courses that survive increasing their fees to pay this backlog of VAT.
Hats off to the government for at least trying to reduce their EU debt, but with decisions like this I hope they will not be too surprised to find many golf courses closed, green fees that no one can afford, and hotels and other accommodation closed down during the buoyant winter golfing months, leaving many thousands without a job.
I can only assume that no one in the Portuguese government has any concept of how important the golf industry is to the economy of the country.

If you are looking for a property on the Algarve or Silver Coast please get in touch with your requirements -CONTACT
 
 
In spite of the recent recession, Harlequin has had a truly amazing year: the first luxury destination, Buccament Bay Resort in St Vincent and The Grenadines, has, according to holiday operators, enjoyed record levels of bookings for the region, along with great feedback, reviews and press coverage; several hotels and resorts are currently being developed in the Caribbean by Harlequin Developments; in fact, the company continues to grow in every way, always chasing its Chairman’s indefatigable ambition.

Growth, however, is meaningless if it doesn’t contribute to improvement (and there is always room for improvement). As successful as Buccament Bay Resort has been in its first year, we at Harlequin have listened and identified a key area for investment: transport. Connecting flights to St Vincent are short but the waiting times can be disproportionately long if left to commercial airlines. Consequently, Harlequin has taken the initiative and will soon be literally flying high via its own airline, Harlequin Air, which is expected to be operating by early 2012.

Based in St Lucia, Harlequin Air will provide an exclusive service for guests at Harlequin’s Caribbean hotels and resorts; but the service won’t stop at delivering swift and seamless transfers between islands for transatlantic flights. Guests will also be able to utilise the fleet for excursions and visits to other hotels and resorts. Additionally, there are plans to establish a scheduled service between St Lucia and Puerto Rico for Harlequin’s growing number of US-based guests.

Here are the flight times guests can expect:


St Vincent to Barbados:         45 minutes

St Vincent to St Lucia:            20 minutes

St Vincent to Puerto Rico:
  160 minutes

Barbados to St Lucia:   
          45 minutes

Puerto Rico to Barbados:
    170 minutes

Puerto Rico to St Lucia:  
     145 minutes

 The first plane is currently having the “Harlequin treatment”, which involves being: liveried with full Harlequin colours; decorated with ”Harlequin blue” carpet; and fitted with cream leather seats with the Harlequin logo emblazoned in the headrests.

Official photos are on the way, but in the meantime, here are some candid ones taken

For Harlequin, the sky isn’t the limit, it’s just another step forward.

To invest in one of the Harlequin Resorts or book a holiday please follow the link - HARLEQUIN