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Expat Investor : November 2007
Fast Facts 99481 Fast Facts 99482 Fast Facts 99483 PROPERTY INVESTMENT November 2007 EXPAT INVESTOR 23 Cyprus and Malta set to fuel overseas property purchases Half of first-time buyers opt to live near the office Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside As property prices continue to escalate, first time buyers face making more sacrifices with many prioritising convenience for work over their social lives, according to research by Alliance & Leicester Mortgages. Half of first time buyers (51%) regard living close to their place or work as the most important factor in their house purchase decision, with a further third (34%) rating good transport links as another key decision-maker. In contrast, only around one in four (28%) first time buyers rates living close to friends and family as vital, while just one in six (17%) regards living near shops and nightlife as the most important factors in their search for a home. Stephen Leonard, Director of Mortgages at Alliance & Leicester, says: "Many first time buyers are The European Union's announcement that Malta and Cyprus will adopt the euro on the 1st January 2008 is another vote of confidence for the two island economies, and one which leads currency specialist HiFX to predict that the announcement will encourage further inward investment, sparking increased interest in the islands' properties from Brits attracted by the strong economy and local culture. Having satisfied the EU's stringent economic management criteria, Malta and Cyprus have become the second and third of the EU's new entrants from 2004 to be allowed to adopt the euro, beating the more heavyweight Lithuania and Slovakia to the tape. Whilst their respective currencies have been effectively fixed against the euro for the past two years or more, the conversion to the euro confirms a high degree of economic maturity Butterfield Bank Guernsey has launched a French property loan service tailored for clients who are purchasing or refinancing high quality residential property in France. The Bank confirms that the loans are available from 750,000 to 10 million and are typically a maximum of up to 50% of the property value, subject to valuation (all valuations are undertaken by UK estate agents which have a Fr ench presence). Interest rates are charged at 1.5% -- 2.00% per annum above the euro refinance rate and all applicants can take out and the promise of a share in the spoils of the recently improved EU- wide growth story. Many Brits have a soft spot for Cyprus and Malta. HiFX reports that the numbers enquiring about buying into the islands have already doubled over the past year and prospective purchasers will no doubt be further encouraged by these developments. Mark Bodega, Marketing Director, comments, "We predict the property market on both islands to continue to grow thanks to a number of reasons. British purchasers like the legal system in Cyprus as it is easy to understand- being based on the English one. The Cypriot government also believes in looking after the environment -- properties cannot exceed a certain height, density is monitored and green areas are planted within developments." "Malta boasts far lower taxation than the UK and there are no annual council or property taxes, and inheritance tax was abolished in 1992. Since joining the EU in 2004, the Maltese property market has shifted up a gear. "As a result, we are getting a substantial amount of enquiries from property investors seeking to purchase property to rent, and more discerning buyers looking for luxury properties and the excellent tax rates available to the higher tax payer". loans for a period of one to 15 years. There is an upfront fee of 0.5%, however interest only terms can be negotiated. Butterfield Bank Guernsey says it has a dedicated Lending Services team who work alongside clients on a one-to-one basis throughout the application process, from inception to completion to ensure property transactions are as straight-forward as possible. Brian Taylor, Manager, Lending Services, says, "Butterfield Bank Guernsey has built up considerable experience in dealing with property transactions in France. The launch of our French Property Loan is designed to offer clients a comprehensive and competitive loan in order to facilitate a purchase or refurbishment. "Customers can take advantage of our extensive experience in this market and competitive interest rates. We are extremely adaptable to our clients' specific requirements and ensure each application is structured on an individually negotiated basis." Fast Facts 99480 obliged to look closely at their priorities and overheads when they move. Clearly choosing the right location is key to long-term happiness in a new home, but buyers should also be careful not to over-stretch their budgets and may opt for a short commute to work to help keep costs down." Halifax produces an annual Seaside Town Review, tracking house price movements in 117 seaside towns in Great Britain. This mortgage provider also produces an annual Quality of Life Survey, tracking where living standards are highest in Great Britain by ranking local performance across key indicators of the labour market, the housing market, the environment, education and health. Its latest research identifies the 20 seaside towns in Britain offering the highest quality of life. It has also examined which seaside towns offer the best value for money. Highest quality of life Christchurch in Dorset, Leigh-on- Sea in Essex and Bexhill-on-Sea in Sussex are the three seaside towns in Britain that are most highly ranked in terms of quality of life. All 20 seaside towns offer a quality of life that ranks them within the top 50% of all towns in the country. Best value for money Nine of the 20 seaside towns offering the best quality of life have an average house price below the national average of around £200,000. Bridlington (£139,645), Lowestoft (£141,878) and Great Ya r mouth (£142,860) have the lowest average prices. These three towns, therefore, offer a combination of relatively low property prices and high quality of life. Best value for money in the South East Three seaside towns in the South East -- Bexhill, Southend and Herne Bay -- all have average house prices of less than £200,000 and are among the 20 seaside towns with the highest quality of life. Good value for money Scarborough (£151,652), Weston- super-Mare (£168,593) and Felixstowe (£179,817) also offer both a high quality of life and affordable property prices. HIPS completed in 48 hrs Within days of the launch of HIPs on 1st August, AHIPP members have achieved impressive turn around times, reporting a number of completed HIPs (Home Information Packs) processed and delivered to their owners before the end of the first week. Leading the way is pack provider Richards Gray, through estate agents Savills who provided a pack for a property in Long Marston, near Stratford upon Avon, within 48 hours of the order being placed, and with the electronic version available to the estate agent within 30 hours. They are closely followed by Habitus through agents Knight Frank and the Property Search Group (PSG) in Liverpool, through TheHIPAlliance.com, involving local agents Sutton Kersh and solicitors EAD, all of whom have been turning packs around in record times. Contrary to earlier predictions, by those set against the introduction of HIPs, estate agents across the country have reported a smooth and efficient service from their designated pack providers. Christopher Lacy of Savills, tells Expat Investor, "In spite of all the unaddressed issues with HIPs, we have to deliver an efficient service to our clients. "One of the main issues is the potential delay before agents can offer a client's property to anyone -- even quietly to 'hot buyers' on the telephone. We at Savills have set about matters professionally to ensure that any delay is minimal, and we are very pleased with the service that we have received from Richards Gray." The speed at which the first packs have been turned around has allowed a smooth implementation, with consumers welcoming the packs and reporting a positive experience. Paul Broadhead, Deputy Director General, AHIPP, comments, "As we have said all along, the industry is ready to deliver, and with our members reporting turnaround times of less than 48 hours, previous claims that the packs would slow down the process and cause disruption have been dismissed. "The pack providing industry has placed considerable investment in ensuring that they are ready and able to process packs. "Working with technology providers such as Quest and Thinking Applications, pack providers are able to ensure that HIPs are ordered, compiled and delivered efficiently, at the convenience of the agent and the consumer." SEASIDE TOWNS OFFERING BEST VALUE FOR MONEY Town Region Average House Price 2007 £* Bridlington Yorkshire & Humber 139,645 Lowestoft East Anglia 141,878 Great Yarmouth East Anglia 142,860 Scarborough Yorkshire & Humber 151,652 Weston Super Mare South West 168,593 Southend on Sea South East 179,717 Felixstowe East Anglia 179,817 Herne Bay South East 188,516 Bexhill on Sea South East 193,405 *Year to March 2007 Butterfield Bank Guernsey launches French loan service Many golf enthusiasts dream of having their own golf course, but are resigned to the idea that it is unrealisable. However, Second Home Nova Scotia provides a solution -- an affordable turnkey nine- hole golf course offering what's described as "superb coastal views and tournament ranked challenges, within easy driving distance of the province's buzzing capital, Halifax." The golf course, Minas View Golf Links, is a nine-hole course set on 38-acres of ocean front property that has been operated by the same family since inception in 1967. Situated high on a bluff with approximately 2,950ft of saltwater frontage, the land offers spectacular coastal views, including the Bay of Fundy tides, the world's highest, which rise and fall by as much as 54ft. Each hole offers its own special perspective of the Minas Basin, with Cape Blomidon in the background. Halifax, the thriving [provincial capital], is around an hour away. The course has five par 3s and four par 4s and is easy walking on gentle rolling terrain. Its 8th hole offers a particular challenge, a 146-yard drive across a deep ravine and the ocean below. This is a turnkey business with tournaments already booked for the 2008 golfing season. Minas View Golf Links is priced at C$750,000 or £350,400 (exchange rate -- C$1 = £0 .4672). Cyprus proper ty www.paradorproperties.com Turnkey golf for less than a London flat