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GLOBAL PROPERTY REVIEW

February 4, 2019

LONDON

 

So varied are the Brexit options across and within the UK’s political parties that it brings to mind the similar grapple with sub-prime and short selling from 10 years ago - that if you don’t know what’s going on, you must have been reading the newspapers.

 

The London property market has certainly been subdued over the last year overall as the back-and-forth with the EU unfolded. Just 3,514 transactions occurred in PCL last year, down 16.4 per cent on 2017, according to London Central Portfolio.

 

The average price, excluding new builds, stood at just over GBP 1.844 million in December, down 6 per cent monthly and 10.2 per cent quarterly. The average price actually rose for the year, though this was skewed by the top-end luxury purchases in the multi-millions. 

 

New build prices have soared more than 54 per cent in a year, again skewed by some significant deals in Mayfair, with the average price around GBP 4.46 million. 

 

However, in Greater London overall, the average price of GBP 619,888 was down just 1.1 per cent for the quarter against Q1, with new build average prices of GBP 698,485 up a fifth higher than existing property.

 

But in a wobbling market, it’s all about the negotiation. Data from Rightmove found that the average asking price is currently just lower than GBP 600,000, for the first time in more than three years. Buyer agents talking to The Week and elsewhere are looking forward to deals.

 

And taking the prize for optimistic outlook has to go to Winkworth, whose report expects a more stable market that the declines of 2018, with active interest in evidence even if transaction time is longer.

 

………

 

 

 

BOGOTA

 

The Colombian capital is the fastest growing major city in South America, with a population set to top 25 million in roughly 19 years. 

 

It’s a population that’s getting younger, as young people are drawn to the big city for studies and typically stay once having graduated. It’s also a national population getting more ‘middle class’; on average. Data shared on LiveAndInvestOverseas website indicated that the percentage of the population qualifying as ‘middle class’ has risen from 26.5 per cent in 2011 to 30.5 per cent four years later.  

 

The city is divided into 20 districts, with the wealthier areas of grand apartments, townhouses and villas to the north, middling properties in the thick of the, well, middle, with poorer districts to the south. It is a spring like climate that is popular with holiday homes buyers and retirees. 

 

The attractions of the city are numerous, especially coming from abroad. The healthcare system is well-regarded and a fraction of the outlay in the US, with day-to-day expenses essentially half the in North America. There’s a thriving expatriate community. Economic growth is in evidence and - as a student city, in addition to the home of 1,800 international companies - provides ample opportunity for investment property to renters looking to be close to work. 

 

Data from GlobalPropertyGuide and Metro Cuadrado show that gross rental yields range between 6.5 per cent and 9.6 per cent, depending on the district. In Chico, a 75 square metre apartment is on average US$2,151 per square metre, while an apartment in Cedritos would be lower, at an average $1,365 per square metre.

 

One key issue: you’ll be buying in pesos, a weak but swiftly fluctuating currency.

 

 

……..

 

 

 

PANAMA CITY

The capital of Panama might have less-than-wonderful associations in the minds of property investors given its haven status for wealth, including the Who’s Who of global politics. 

 

This may have stymied the city as a location on the tip of the tongue of buyers globally, but in the region, the city has been on a swift upward trajectory. Financial services, the Panama Canal and tourism are thriving.

 

Indeed, Panama topped the list of top requirement destinations in International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index for 2019. Its Pensionado programme encourages retirees from abroad to settle into city life if their monthly pension back home is over a certain threshold - not a bad demographic to target in amongst the young people working.

 

While the capital is busy and full of sightseeing for tourists, forests and beaches are just a short drive away.

 

Increases in infrastructure spending have directly benefited the real estate market for both commercial developments and residential abodes, in turn attracting developers and widening the mix of property on offer. The US$300 million spent on two major highways had a direct effect on the luxury region of Punta Pacifica, improving the connectivity to and from the airport and easing congestion in the downtown. 

 

The tax regime is competitive - while a buyer will pay 2 per cent on purchasing a property (essentially stamp duty), capital gains tax is either 3 per cent of the sales price or 10 per cent f the gain, whichever is lower.

 

Purchases from abroad are likely to be in cash at present - banks rarely go above 60 per cent loan-to-value, though their conservative valuations (aimed at muting a property bubble) typically means the loan is only around 50 per cent of the market price.

 

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