Friday, January 27, 2006

Spain easily most popular location to buy a foreign homes

Brits with foreign homes set to double:
"The number of Brits who own property abroad is set to double to a massive 4.4 million, according to research by Barclays.

Five percent of people surveyed (the equivalent of 2.2 million people in the UK, according to Barclays figures) said they would definitely buy a property abroad in the future. This would double the number of Britons owning property abroad bringing the overall total to 4.4 million.
What's more, the number of Britons owning property abroad could end up being even higher still as a staggering 37 percent of respondents (the equivalent of over 16 million people in the UK) said that they were considering a purchase abroad.

Suzanne Clay, Head of European Business Development at Barclays commented: "The trend towards owning property abroad shows no sign of abating and could go through the roof if people were more confident of a hassle-free purchase."
Indeed, respondents did express many concerns about the buying process. The most significant worry amongst people considering a purchase abroad (58% within this group) was that they would get caught out by local legal or tax issues. There were also concerns about keeping empty property secure (17%) and being able to understand the local language well enough (14%). But surprisingly only 8 percent of people considering buying overseas were worried about being taken for a ride and paying too much.

The results of Barclays survey showed that the most popular countries for Brits planning to buy abroad were as follows:
1 Spain (inc Balearics and Canary Islands) 30%
2 USA 15%
3 France 14%
4 Italy 10%
5 South Africa 6%
6 Dubai 5%
7 Portugal 5%
8 Bulgaria 3%
9 Croatia 2%
10 Morocco 1% "

With all the talk of Bulgaria and other Eastern European countries being the new places for overseas investment it's interesting to see just how far ahead Spain is in the popularity stakes. It's also surprising to see how many intend to invest in Dubai.

Chris Bell


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Desperate in Dubai - desert dream turns to dust for property investors

A gathering storm? - Overseas - Times Online
"Dubai's glittering skyline may look great in the brochures, but many British homebuyers regret their decision to invest there.
John Arlidge The Sunday Times

The view from the 41st-floor terrace of Grosvenor House hotel in Dubai is the oddest - and most optimistic - anywhere. To the right, towering cranes outnumber palm trees. To the left, lines of half-built skyscrapers snake into the shimmering desert haze. Out to sea, 300 sand islands form a map of the world. It is no surprise estate agents bring clients here to sell the dream of desert living.

"Impressive, isn't it?" says Michael Grant, of Cluttons Dubai, as he points out the lagoons and skyscrapers of Dubai Marina, whose residents include the comedian Jim Davidson. Cluttons has been hired to sell Miramar, a luxury tower block to be built in the marina in which flats start at £670,000 and rise to £2m. "Frankie Dettori and Vinnie Jones are buying into the development because they believe it represents the best that Dubai has to offer," Grant gushes.

Sun, sand, celebrities and hard sell: a typical morning in a country that likes to describe itself as 'the eighth wonder of the world'. But there is another Dubai, where life is anything but wonderful. It is a place Laurie McWhan knows all too well.

McWhan is standing in the shadow of the Grosvenor House hotel, on a patch of wasteland next to a low-rise apartment block. "I shouldn't be here getting covered with dirt; I should be sitting up there on my terrace, enjoying a glass of wine in the sun," he says, pointing to the seventh floor.

McWhan’s desert dream has turned to dust. The 44-year-old from Islington, north London, and his wife, Marie, bought an off-plan flat in the Waves development in Dubai Marina two and a half years ago for £127,000. The developer, Damac, said it would be ready last May. It is still not finished.

“They now say it will be ready this spring, which means I can move in next summer at the earliest,” says McWhan. “Three years after I made my investment, I don’t have my house, a year’s potential rent of £12,000 is down the drain, and all they have offered me is a few thousand pounds in compensation. It’s scandalous.”

McWhan wishes he had never invested in Dubai, and he is not alone. British residents at Jumeirah Islands, a development of 800 villas and lagoons in the desert, are so incensed at what they term “shoddy workmanship and poor management” that they have written an open letter of complaint to Dubai’s new ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum."

Check out the rest of this article

Why is no-one warning of the risks of investing in Dubai. Even without the current problems this must be one of the most problematic places to invest in property. There's just no 'reason' for the existance of developments on this scale in this patch of sand. Stay away - if you're already invested get out while you can.

Chris Bell