The residential property market in Spain is set to bottom out next year and see a 2% rise in prices in 2016, according to ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.
It is well documented that the fall in prices has been slowing in recent months and the agency is predicting that prices will fall overall by 2% this year compared with 4.6% in 2013.
Property prices in Spain have fallen around 30% since the economic downturn hit the country’s real estate markets in 2008.
S&P says that the positive outlook for the property market is down to a faster than expected recovery of the Spanish economy and a subsequent quicker fall in unemployment.
According to the Spanish Central Bank the country’s economy grew by 0.5% in the second quarter of 2014, the fastest rate in six years, and the latest job figures show that 192,000 people had joined the country’s workforce in the 12 months to the end of June.
Experts say there has been a change in trends in the Spanish property market in the last 12 months with the arrival of British and US property funds who are taking advantage of the offers in the Spanish property market.
But the market is unlikely to recover everywhere at the same pace. It is predicted that properties on the coast, including areas popular with second home owners, will see prices rise first.
However, according to S&P the long term recovery of the property market could be kept on a leash by the high number of properties on the market in Spain and the country’s population decline could also put a brake on the long awaited recovery.
S&P said in January that Spain’s housing market was overvalued by somewhere in the region of 12% to 20%.
According to Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight, Standard & Poor’s is a bit more pessimistic than other agencies, who believe a recovery may begin as early as 2015.
Several reports in recent weeks have spotlighted the slowdown in the price declines, prompting different analysts to predict the bottom of the market may be nearer.
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In the UK property market over the last 12 month Student accommodation has been the best-performing asset with average double-digit returns these have been driven by strong rental growth.
Over the last 10 years the student housing sector has grown to a market worth in the region of £103bn. This growth has been driven by a rise in the number of students enrolling on university courses, up from 100m in 2000 to over 150m last year.
According to the property index student housing funds have returned close to 12% since the start of the year this compares with an average return of only 1.3% across the rest of the property market and an average 6% for other investments.
Over the last year a number of large investment funds have bought into the sector as
they believe that the sector is not greatly affected by the present economic downturn and lenders are also turning to student accommodation as one of a handful of property types which they view as low risk: vacancy rates run at about 5%, less than one-third of the figure elsewhere in the property sector.
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A lot of investors simply rely on the price given to them by the agent or developer. But developers can overcharge, they over-design buildings in a bid to win awards and they are forced to overcharge for the buildings simply to break even.
Some savvier investors may base their investments on a search on one of the many
internet property portals to find the average prices for similar properties in the area.
The more experienced might also use sites like Zoopla to see how properties have been amended, re-listed, re-valued since their original posting.
However, these sites only give us the values that the vendors and the estate agents think that the property is worth. This isn’t reliable as the vendor clearly wants to
obtain the maximum price, a strategy supported by the agent who normally works
on a commission basis.
There is only one way for investors to ascertain a property’s value which is truly safe and that is to find a properties residual value. The residual value is based on the amount of net rental income it can generate – anything above 6% looks like a
For example, if a property brings in £6,000 rent per year after all costs have been
taken in to account, that £6,000, based on a 6% net yield would give the property a value of £100,000.
That £100,000 would be the Residual Value of the property and it should be the focus for every investor going in to a deal. But at the minute investors ignore the residual and rely purely on the capital growth of a property which is hopelessly optimistic considering the market place at the moment.
Despite the residual value of a property being £100,000. The investor may pay £125,000 believing that the value of the property will increase and they can sell it for
£150,000. But then if property prices start to fall slightly, he’s suddenly in
negative equity and then the only price someone would be willing to pay for the
property is the Residual Value and the investor will have lost £25,000.
The key to real successful and safe investment is how you derive the 6% net yield which you have used to establish the property’s residual value. By working out the 6% net yield using below market value rent it means that the investor will not have
to contend with tenants struggling to pay rent. As rent continues to rise, there will always be a demand for properties charging below market value rent.
First time buyers will be queuing round the block to save a £100 per month, yet the
investor is still left with a 6% net yield because they have bought the property
at residual value.
It also means that there will always be savvy investors looking to purchase a property at the residual value because they are not only purchasing a strong income stream, but they are purchasing a property at a price that will not be affected by market fluctuations or crashes.
If the property market was to fall again then the investors who have invested
in residual value will be protected from the fall in house prices and when
houses start to get repossessed and more people are forced in to the rental
market, then their yields will go up even though they are still charging below
In the end, everybody will be relying on residual property valuations. It’s inevitably in the future but there’s no reason why investors can’t take advantage of them now.
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Student property delivers high returns
Student accommodation will continue to offer attractive investment returns in spite of upcoming changes to tuition fees, this is according to all the major market analysts.
Private investors have been attracted to student property as an asset class due to the relatively high yields on offer, driven by the imbalance between the supply of accommodation and the high demand for university places.
With an offer on at the moment of buy five get one free there has never been a better time to buy into this market especially when you consider that the current value for student accommodation is £45,000 per unit whilst the deal offered nets the properties down to £25000 per unit.
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St. Lucia’s increasing property market
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.
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”.
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