Real Estate Investment 2005 – The Hottest Countries for Investment in 2005

By Rhiannon Williamson

Whether you are a real estate investor looking for a steady and ‘safe’ investment in a proven market or a real estate speculator willing to gamble on the unknown and undiscovered in the hopes of gaining a significant ROI (return on investment), this article covers the real estate investment hotspots for 2005.

A recent UK government report discovered that there was a 250% increase between 2000 and 2004 in the number of Britons buying property abroad solely for investment purposes, and this trend does not seem to be limited to the UK nor does it seem to be slowing down!

The global stock markets seem to be in decline, there is a worldwide pension crisis looming and we have uncertainty in the Middle East, in the UK the housing market is unaffordable, possibly over inflated and unlikely to bring significant returns for investors late in on the game and so more and more of us are looking further a field for our investment opportunities. This has led us to look around the world for the ‘next big thing’ – the next real estate boom.

So what’s hot for 2005?

The latest EU entrants are proving of continued interest to the property investor as are those countries in line for EU ascension in 2007.

The likes of Malta, Poland, the Czech Republic and Cyprus who joined the EU in 2004 were hot before they joined and have proved solid for investors already in the market and are looking like safe bets for 2005 as well. Growth is set to be steady, the economies of these countries are improving and investor confidence is strong.

Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey and even North Cyprus who are lining up for ascension consideration in 2007 have solid emerging real estate markets which are proving of interest to the property speculator. Clearly the risk involved in investing in countries not already in line with EU fiscal and legal legislation is greater, however, so are potential returns.

The attraction of such markets to property speculators is quite simple – these countries are working hard to improve infrastructure, attract inward investment, stabilise their economies and promote tourism, and ultimately they are hoping for EU ascension as this brings with it vast potential for economic advancement. In the meantime these countries often have deflated real estate markets offering incredible property ‘bargains’ and undiscovered and under exposed tourism potential – all of which adds up to potentially significant returns for anyone in on the real estate investment game.

Eastern Europe is opening up thanks to the budget airlines carving swathes of routes into all corners – from Ljubljana to Salzburg, from Krakow to Riga – and also thanks to overseas property investment clubs. It is now possible to invest in overseas property funds meaning your money can go far further than you ever have to!

It’s possible to invest in funds which purchase and manage real estate in Spain, Slovenia, Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia etc., etc. These funds work just like any other general investment fund. The investors’ money is pooled and the fund managers then purchase a range of investments – in this case a range of properties in various locations – and manage them.

Anyone looking to invest in such a property fund should expect a minimum investment of around $10,000 – $20,000 with a 1% upfront fee, a 1% management fee and a performance fee. Obviously charges and investment rates vary from fund to fund and returns are not guaranteed.

There is still room for expansion in the popular property hotspots of Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. The markets in these countries are proven, strong and ever popular, and if you head off the beaten track, away from the main tourist destinations and airports you are still likely to find significant real estate investment opportunities.

New flight routes and new areas of interest in these European destinations are attracting more real estate investors month on month and the word in the market is that if you are interested in these countries you should consider the northern parts of Costa Almeria or Costa Calida in Spain for example, the Costa de Prata in Portugal or Languedoc, the Cote d’Azur and surprisingly, Paris in France.

Further a field Dubai and Florida are established, proven markets with room for growth, Bahrain and Canada are countries worth considering, as are New Zealand and South Africa. The latter is of particular interest to speculators as it is set to host the world cup in 2010, the Rand is weak, the political situation is stable, it is possible to buy yourself out of crime hotspots and the scenery is diverse, breath taking and stunning and the property market is definitely hot!

If you are considering real estate investment for the first time or are keen to increase your presence in the real estate investment market place, make sure you are comfortable with any investment before you go ahead and sign on the dotted line. Read around and do plenty of research – the internet is a great place to start – research the country you are considering investing in, and any investment, real estate or legal company you are considering getting involved with. Seek independent advice and always keep in mind that the value of any investment can go down as well as up.

To your success – cheers!

Rhiannon Williamson is an experienced publisher who has produced articles for leading travel and tourism guides and financial magazines. Her specialist knowledge about both travel and finance gives her site Shelter Offshore the unique ability to literally cover every single aspect of moving & living abroad – including the often less discussed offshore tax advantages that can be available when leaving our homeland.

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