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CONTENTS This month
Contents Features 24 Turkey turns a corner? Has the property market survived the recent unrest? 30 Reach for the sky: examining the supertall and the super prime, inside and out 34 The OPP Awards for Excellence are back 48 Michele Liberatori on building genuine Tuscan villas – anywhere in the world 71 Buyers’ markets of North America
Regulars 6 Top ten news stories 9 News analysis – US & Canada price gap 14 Big Issue: how do you become an OPP? 20 What’s up? Development news 37 Legal news 40 Nation branding: how do you measure stry ty Indu r e p o r and improve the image of asewhole as P country?
er the Ov
Th 66 An interview with APITS MD Andy Bridge
! ATES IJING THE D BE SAVE CTOBER LONDON O R 23-24 OVEMBE N 8 2 014 27 NE 2 .o www
/// JU c t .c o m nne
44 Industry insight: selling Asian property HE
T D ET + HEA THE MARKIONAL T W A + KNO URE TERN
50 Country guide: Portugal
ULT + IN LAW LOCAL C E + + R U W T A C L G+ U ERIN S ASTR INFR Y LAUND ESTMENT E V MON CTIVE IN LES E COLL ENCY RU ID + RES
63 Mortgage guide: India 64 FX Report: future of the euro
23 Paul Owen on
T L ES IMPR ERISH + CH AGUES + INTERNS E R L L O COart of NT the + MEnetworking BOSS
57 Letter from Turkey 59 Events: reviews and previews 78 A life in the day of a drone pilot
+ WIN S GUTR INSTINCTSH THE
KILLE LE + SMA MAKE SA + THE ETITION E TOP P H TH COM Y + REAC E MON
TS AR + TAC R+F CON AIPP + NA PP + REIA + NFO IM + NAEA EA + + ICR BCI + MIP CEA IA F A+ P + MIE GRI + OP IHIF +
H U LER + HE Linnovation HE C and 11 Business brieﬁng – ideas HE SE ST OVE T
The OPP Team
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News Analysis: What has been happening in the property world Country Report: The essential facts and figures on a country Letters From: What is happening in the real estate market around the world Legal Round-up: Updates on the legal changes we all need to know about Training: Tips from the experts on finding success in your business FX Report: A country’s currency – past, present and future
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Nice work if you can get it We are about to welcome a lot more property professionals into the business. Let’s do it right this time. Editor, OPP Magazine Christopher Nye
It’s time to bring in the next generation of OPPs
Or at the other extreme, is selling property so hard, are customers such fools, that we really need to be registered to the hilt and studying for years? I spoke to a friendly bunch of ﬁnal-year students this month, and in encouraging them to come into the business it crystalized for me why selling property is attractive. 1. You can make a lot of money. There are 22 property billionaires in
We should be asking what sort of people we want coming into the overseas property industry Britain alone. (See page 6) 2. It’s in your hands. You can go from nothing to wealthy in a few years without academic qualiﬁcations or old school tie. It took Nick Candy just 10 years from doing up his ﬁrst London ﬂat to planning One Hyde Park. 3. It’s not just about money. You’re selling an exciting product that can transform your customers’ lives.
4. You’re out and about. If you’ve ever worked in a call centre or kitchen you’ll know how great that is. So let’s encourage young people into the business. You can do that by giving them our guide (page 14) to becoming an OPP. The Turkish prime minister helped his son into the property business, then was caught on tape allegedly telling him how to hide $1billion in cash. Read how Turkey’s political problems are aﬀecting the market there on page 24. A country’s reputation can be lost as easily as any business, so on page 40 we look at nation branding and reputation management. In the second part of our design series on page 30, we crane our necks back to admire the new wave of skyscraper apartment blocks. (Seriously though, would you live at the top of 432 Park Avenue, New York? Have you seen it? I’m almost pleased I don’t have $79.5million on hand to buy the 92nd ﬂoor penthouse.) Closer to earth, the owner of a company making traditional stone Tuscan villas has carved a niche selling them to foreign buyers. But not in Tuscany, no, he builds them everywhere from China to California. Could there be a more fun job or noble calling?
ave you noticed how hard you’re working these days? There’s a reason for that. There is a phenomenon, well known to economists, where the economy starts to improve but employers are reluctant to take on more staﬀ. According to Forbes magazine, it takes around 19 months after a recession ends for employment to rise signiﬁcantly. We’re probably within that 19-month phase right now. True, the recession in most countries ended some time ago, but many property professionals, including Andy Bridge of A Place in the Sun (page 66), believe that the recovery has only been obvious in this business since the start of 2014. In the meantime we have all realised that we can do much more with fewer people. Even so, as (or maybe “if”?) the economy truly recovers, eventually our bosses, accountants or conscience will have to allow us to have more colleagues. So it’s time to ask what sort of people we want coming into the industry. Do we want, for example, to repeat the situation where every other bored early-retiree on a costa tried to ﬂog Spanish new-builds?
Top Ten News Stories Our pick of the news this month at OPP Connect
Sales way up but golden visa not the hero
Housing market slump causes overseas interest
Could metro halt prime property price slowdown?
The General Council of Spanish Notaries released a report showing that Spanish sales shot up in the ﬁrst quarter of 2014 – residential sales were up 45% and mortgage loans for houses saw a 48.3% rise. But ﬁgures reveal that the muchanticipated golden visa has had very little impact on this success, having only attracted 72 residential buyers.
The slowdown in the Singapore market has caused investors, developers and agents alike to look overseas for proﬁtable opportunities – and they can be aggressive buyers, agents told OPP. A recent iProperty survey showed that Singapore buyers are mainly targeting Australian and London properties, but are looking for more medium-term investments.
Knight Frank highlighted a dramatic slowdown in Dubai prime property prices during Q1 2014 – rises were actually below global average – but experts say that units near the planned new extensions to the Dubai Metro are likely to beneﬁt from price rises. Property prices near the metro rose 34% from its opening in 2009 to 2012.
Taiwan next to implement cooling measures
Unrest ‘has increased foreign property demand’
Clean exit and golden future for Portugal
The Taiwanese government is planning a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to foreign investors, implementing cooling measures to ease local anger over high house prices and the ghost apartments left empty by foreign buyers. The government will be encouraging more investment in business to counteract a wage slowdown.
Exhibition organisers have said that the recent political troubles have actually increased foreign property investment demand from Russians. Kim Waddoup CEO of event organisers aiGroup, said, “More Russians are looking to invest in property abroad and to do it faster.” He said exhibitors had seen considerably more sales than previous years.
The 10th Portuguese Property Conference, held in London, highlighted Portugal’s clean exit from its bailout programme – and its bright future. The conference showcased the favourable conditions for foreign investment and the success of its golden visa scheme which has attracted more that €430m in property investment since 2012.
Housing market “recovering, not in crisis”
£140million says London is still booming
Turkish real estate is seen as a ‘safe haven option’ by Afghans concerned about instability at home, say agents. But investors are not big spenders, typically investing £50,000-£90,000 on one- or two-bed apartments in the growing Istanbul suburbs. Turkey’s status as a Muslim country is also attractive to Afghan buyers, say property professionals.
Despite falling sales, the US market is still in a strong recovery, say two specialists. Gary Kenny, CEO of Feltrim pointed to a high demand from Chinese investors, who snapped up Florida property, while Colin Murphy, Director of Torcana, noted the dramatic fall in the percentage of distressed sales and said homebuilding was nowhere near oversupply.
Opinions are split as to whether London’s pricey (and rising) property is a sign of a booming market or disastrous bubble. While Savills and others warn of potential disaster, deals like the sale of a super-prime One Hyde Park apartment for £140m show that demand and faith is still there from foreign investors, even if locals don’t share their opinion...
Afghan interest rises in Turkey’s ‘safe’ property
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NEWS Analysis Words | Adrian Bishop, Editor, OPP Connect
Mind the price gap! The US and Canada may be neighbours, but when it comes to housing markets, they are poles apart
he Grand Canyon-sized gap between average resale property prices hit an all-time high during the ﬁrst three months of the year, with average Canadian values 66% above US prices, according to data from the Bank of Montreal. The huge diﬀerence has come about because the Canadian housing market has remained strong in the face of constant predictions about either a hard or soft landing, while the US market rise has been weaker than expected, with prices still below 2005 levels and some areas even falling back earlier this year. Doug Porter, Chief Economist at the Bank of Montreal, explains, “The Canadian housing market has just kept on rolling in 2014 even as the US housing market has paused for breath (after a steep climb out of the dungeon).”
The Canadian market has just kept rolling in 2014 even as the US has paused for breath
and Chief Investment Strategist at Toronto-based Otterwood Capital Management, explains, “Many pundits have been screaming for a Canadian housing crash for quite a while now, but time and time again they’ve been proven wrong.” Overseas property investors are still investing in both countries, with the US the top destination of Chinese buyers, according to the latest data from the SouFun website, with Canada third, behind Australia. Vancouver-based Nicola Way, who runs the www.BestHomesBC. com website, tells OPP that the Canadian market has real advantages over the US. “The main advantage that the Canadian economy has over the US is stability. This has been proven during the recent recession years due to the Canadian government’s conservative banking policies. “Yes, real estate on average is cheaper in the US at the moment but when buyers consider the longer term picture, I think there is still a nagging doubt that potentially the US would be aﬀected more
severely again should another global recession take hold.” Carla Rayman, from the website www.YourGlobalAgents.com and NAR liaison to Panama, says some Canadians have used their equity to beneﬁt the US market: “As prices began to increase over the last few years, many Canadians used this as an advantage to take the equity from these properties and purchase vacation homes or investment property in the US – particularly Florida for eastern Canadians and Arizona for those living in Vancouver. Canadians were (and still are) able to use this equity to qualify as a cash buyer and thus win bids easier on properties for sellers looking for a quick close. “They are building wealth by learning when to buy and when to sell real estate.” US developer Gary Kenny, who heads up the Feltrim Group, in Florida, believes comparisons are diﬃcult. “The USA is crawling back from a severe drop of up to 70%, whereas Canada is just encountering a slowdown, so really I think it’s not fair to compare both.”
US house prices peaked and began to fall in 2006/7, while the Canadian market remained stable and continued to grow, expanding even faster when the Bank of Canada dropped rates early in 2009, during the after-eﬀects of the global ﬁnancial crisis. US average values are around US$250,000, while Canadian property averages are at US $375,000 (CAN$409,000). Christine Hughes, President
Canada has defied expectations with continued price rises
Business Briefing Ideas and inspiration to help you run your business Personnel management the Steve Jobs way Steve Jobs, 1955-2011, founder of Apple Inc, proved several things: that a hippie can create the world’s biggest company; that one man, through an obsession with quality design, can transform four of the biggest global industries: personal computing, telephones, music and movies. And that you can break all the rules and still make your staﬀ love you. WHAT JOBS SAID ABOUT STAFF: On A players: “When you have really good people you don’t have to baby them. By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. A-plus players like to work together and they don’t like it if you tolerate B work.” Jobs’ standard comment on seeing new Apple prototypes: “This is shit.” Interviewing for staﬀ: “Are you a virgin? How many times have you taken LSD?” On oﬃce collaboration: “There’s a temptation to think that ideas can be developed via email. That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. If a building doesn’t encourage that, you’ll lose a lot of innovation and the magic that’s sparked by serendipity.”
WHAT STAFF SAID ABOUT JOBS: Steve Wosniak: “Steve’s contributions could have been made without so many stories about him terrorizing folks.” Engineer: “We learned to interpret ‘This is shit’ to actually be a question that means ‘Tell me why this is the best way to do it’” Job interviewee: “I guess I’m not the right guy.” Engineer: “Jobs thought of himself as an artist and he encouraged the design team to think of ourselves that way too.” Reporter: “Jobs would have made an excellent King of France.” (All quotes taken from Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson)
Garrett Kenny, Buying and Owning a Property in Central Florida If anyone represents the American dream it’s Gary, who was a trucker in Ireland who came to Florida, loved it, and became a successful Florida developer. Now he has written a book that will be invaluable to househunters and pretty handy for other agents too. It is aimed at house buyers, but is he wiling to spill any secrets for his fellow OPPs? Well, keep this to yourself but...
We are giving away 10 copies of Gary’s book to the ﬁrst 10 people who email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
South American buyers will tend to travel in larger groups and tend to buy in cash. You can’t just wade in and talk about property, you need to get to know them ﬁrst – ask about the family, the business, what they do. His success with Chinese buyers is due to travelling there, again and again, month after month, building relationships. Some agents, Gary is astounded to say, take a week to respond to a query. He always replies within 48 hours. Very occasionally, you need to tell a client their expectations are too high and you cannot help them any more. Gary’s book is available at Amazon, priced £10.25
FREE GIVE AWAY!
Brilliant Branding By OPP Marketing, powered by D2E Change is afoot in UK supermarkets. The ‘traditional’ British stores have lost out to cheap and cheerful arrivals Aldi and Lidl, seeing drastically reduced proﬁts. So this month Tesco announced ‘pound zones’ in its store and the Co-op set aside £100million to cut prices. But those are short-term strategies. Morrisons, who posted the worst FT100 performance of the ‘Big 4’, is dropping out entirely and joining the cheapies. They call it ‘value without compromise’, which seems like an awful of syllables for some Morrisons customers, but is more eye-catchingly explained as “17% oﬀ 1,700 products”. It’s a bold move. Suppose, when the economy improves, people don’t want the cheap brands any more and Morrisons are left ﬁghting over the scraps with Lidl and Aldi? No, says their CEO, this is a structural shift. Seen a structural shift in your market? Email email@example.com
Bad month for:
Tan Yang Po (50), trading as AZEA Personal Coaching, who was charged by Singapore’s Council of Estate Agents (CEA) with acting as an illegal agent for overseas property, selling apartments in Houston, Texas. If convicted she faces up to three years in jail and S$75,000 ﬁne. Property selling is highly regulated by the CEA, with a Key Executive Oﬃcer (KEO) having to visit and approve any international sale.
Good month for:
Nick Candy (pictured, with his wife Holly Valance) and Christian Candy, who sold an apartment at One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, London for £140million to a Russian or Ukrainian buyer. Good for the UK Treasury too, who get £5.6m stamp duty.
CHINA’S TOP BUSINESS SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
Number of daily users in 2013 in thousands. Source: iResearch, January 2014
China Internet Watch (run by iResearch) has released its latest report on Business Social Networking in China. The exponential rise of once niche social media sites suggests it’s time for property professionals to advertise and network beyond the giants such as Weibo. Total users of business social networking sites in China rose 91% to 31 million from 2012 to 2013. (Other reports, such as Sootoo.com’s, put this number much higher). Dajie.com, launched in 2008, is far-and-away the most popular choice for Chinese professionals. (See above) 67% of users are male The largest age group, at 38.3%, is 25-30. Only 1.8% of users are over 50 LinkedIn launched its beta Chinese-language site in February 2014, determined to bring the “global platform” to China. Watch this space.
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BIG ISSUE Recruitment Words | Christopher Nye
Welcoming a new generation of agents
Got a friend who might like to become an overseas property professional? Then give them our cut-out-and-keep guide to becoming an OPP
his is for anyone thinking of coming into the overseas property business. We all like to complain about our jobs, especially when it involves meeting the general public, but looking at it objectively, are there many careers better than being an estate agent overseas? Out in the sunshine, fulfilling people’s dreams of a seaside holiday home or a pied-à-terres in Paris or a super-prime penthouse in New York. Or helping people to emigrate, or retire to a healthier lifestyle. If you’ve never worked in a call centre or fast food kitchen,
trust me, you may not realise how lucky you are! It is also a career that suits expats particularly well,
If you’ve not worked in a call centre you may not realise how lucky you are to sell property! having made the move themselves and being able both to advise on the processes of buying ‘abroad’
and being able to relate to wouldbe immigrants. It is also an ideal second career. As Tim Swannie of Home Hunts says: “It is important to get some life experience and maturity before becoming an agent, you are helping people to make one of the biggest decisions in their lives when they buy a house, and many clients may not take an 18-year-old seriously who is straight out of school.” Ironically, of our experts, Tim was the only one who did start as a callow youth, so it is clearly a great career for old or young! Happily, as the market (fingers
JUNE 2014 It asks a series of fairly searching questions and gives you a score on sociability, assertiveness, achievement, dependability and emotional resilience. Most of our interviewees said that academic qualifications were far from being the most important part of the job. Perhaps that’s true of most jobs, but in selling something as personal as a home, the ‘halo effect’ – the likeability factor – can hardly be over emphasised, and if an agent cannot charm their way into a job they may not be right for real estate. Most agents will start off as a domestic agent in their own country, then transfer to an international division or move abroad. The problem for international agents is that they must deal with the laws and restrictions in the country of the buyer, and the property, as well as international law. But whenever you get a barrier to entry like that,
you also get greater potential for those who are willing to overcome those barriers. With the UK the biggest buyers’ market in Europe and the base of many international companies, we will now consider how one can become an estate agent in the UK. Many of the same principles will apply to other countries.
STRAIGHT FROM SCHOOL Tim Swannie of Home Hunts now sells luxury property from New York to Paris, but he started straight from school: “I joined a UK based estate agency called Black Horse Agencies (part of Lloyds Bank) straight from school as an oﬃce junior and worked my way up. I remember spending the whole of the first week photocopying sales details but I loved being in the oﬃce environment.” The recruitment specialist Reed and Co lists estate agency as one
crossed) continues to improve, we have been hearing from Bansko to Brisbane that agents are finally employing more staff. “I carried out interviews in Spain this week,” Chris Mercer told OPP, “as we need to strengthen the sales team.” So we asked some industry bigwigs to tell us how they came into the business, and the answers are revealing in their variety. But for those who feel inspired it is a good idea to ask from the start, do you have the necessary qualities?
THE RIGHT STUFF?
Director, Home Hunts Most important quality: Personality is the most important thing for us. We try to only work with positive, open and honest people. We work as luxury buyers agents for international clients and it is SO important that our sales team are good listeners and great at communicating with people Career highlights: Youngest ever branch manager at Black Horse Agencies when I was 20 years old… winning at the OPP awards in London!
It was revealing that when we asked our 10 wise OPPs about their career high, none of these international jet-setters mentioned the lifestyle or the travel; they all, unanimously, quoted an amazing sales win. Selling is what it’s all about. To see whether you would make a good salesperson, try the Century21 real estate simulator.
President, IEA, Singapore Why estate agency: Friends suggested I give it a go. 34 years later, still a realtor. Most important quality: Passion, Professionalism, Knowledge, Commitment, Ethics. Academic results don’t mean a thing if you don’t have the EQ (emotional quotient).
BIG ISSUE Recruitment
of its Top 6 entry-level careers, with few formal requirements and good on-the-job training. The average starting salary of £14,000 per year is barely above minimum wage, but at least there are opportunities for making good commissions for those with the skills and motivation. For those starting straight from school aged 18, as for new recruits with a non-property related degree, working in a business will go hand in hand with study. But to get that all-important first job, it shows willing to complete an estate agent course and have it ready on a CV before you even start looking. Reed recommends a course in real estate by ICI Education that offers correspondence courses at three levels, taking an average of 14 weeks to complete the basic level and costing from £448 for the Certificate to £898 for the Advanced Diploma. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) suggests two basic one-day courses to introduce yourself to the business. They are Effective Estate Agency Parts 1 and 2, costing from £160 each and held in London, Chester and Birmingham. There are other beginners courses in subjects such as property valuation, money laundering law and building defect identification, all of which will be useful for selling overseas property. To become a member of the NAEA you’ll need to take the NFoPP Level 3 Technical Award in Sale of Residential Property, open to all, and taking around 120 hours of home study (fewer for those who take the course while working as an agent). New entrants to the industry can also try an apprenticeship. In the UK, the government’s apprenticeship service (apprenticeship.org.uk) offers one in Property Services and lists some 150 vacancies across the country. It’s worth noting, however, that these really do seem to be geared towards school leavers, requiring at least a year working for around £100 per week, and most are geared towards lettings. Some specialist international property companies offer their own apprenticeship schemes,
Int Sales Manager, Pierre et Vacances Best qualiﬁcations: Whatever the course, a good business school provides anyone with good basics and reﬂexes. Language skills and knowledge of other cultures are useful. Career highlight: When I received my first referral, which was also my first “over the million euro” deal.
Director of Mercers How I started: I started in 1983, via friends who had an Estate Agents in Denia, Spain. Career highlight: 2001, when Mercers sold 385 off-plan properties in one year, with a team of only eight people.
CEO, North Dakota Developments Most important quality: Commitment to excel. Advice to a new agent: Strive to create meaningful long-term relationships based on a win/win for both the seller and buyer. No one wants to come out of a deal feeling resentful and that they have been taken advantage of.
Pinnacle How I started: Even as a child my parents used to buy and sell houses and we used to move house every year! Qualiﬁcations: In the UK there are no specific qualification required– but you should work with a professional company that offers a structured sales training.
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BIG ISSUE Recruitment
MD, Sales Talent Spotters How I started: I got a job as a salesman for a French property company. I got the chance to talk about a country I love to people that loved it too and to help them find their dream property – what a job! Most important quality: Integrity. Without it, nothing else matters. What route or qualifications? Get a sales job in the industry. Business is sales. Learn how to sell first then you can choose any number of other (well-paid) options when you’re ready.
CEO, Feltrim Need to know: When you’re an agent you don’t earn a salary until you make a sale, so for anyone entering the business on this side of the water make sure you are able to support yourself for at least four months. Most important qualities: Honesty... trustworthiness... loyalty... Concentrate on your area and know it well, that way you can better serve your clients. Knowledge is power, know your product, know your area. Don’t lie to your buyers to try make your sales, they are way too savvy nowadays and there’s a small resource called the internet!
CEO, Vale de Lobo Most important quality: To listen, to learn, to be humble, to think “out of the box” and above all , to have solidarity with all the group you work with. (Another) most important quality: To understand the business, from an economical point of view. To understand the competitors, to have the arguments to sell. Finally to understand the rational of the client decision… with this he will be a very strong professional… which, by the way, is very rare!
including JLL, who recruit 12 in the UK each year via the City of London Apprenticeship Scheme. “I am very conscious that we need to offer opportunities to young people from all backgrounds and this scheme will allow our apprentices to realise their potential and hopefully build a career in the property profession,” said JLL’s International Director Chris Northam.
UNIVERSITY The benefit of a university course is the enjoyment of the student lifestyle, while gaining a qualification that is recognised whatever career one subsequently decides to choose. A degree is a degree. Moreover, they can also allow students a headstart in the more academic elements of the business. For example, the course Real Estate N230 available at several UK universities is a good step on the way to becoming a chartered surveyor with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), a ticket to working in the overseas property industry anywhere in the world. For those with a different kind of degree looking for a step-up into the business, global corporations such as Knight Frank offer a graduate recruitment programme. Knight Frank has a well-regarded programme, open to graduates from all over the world and paying £23,000–25,000. They even pay a £500 starting bonus so students can buy a couple of suits. JLL also offer a range of graduate recruitment schemes for all elements of the business – investment, analysts, planning, building, surveying… – as well as a summer internship scheme. You can get a ﬂavour of the atmosphere by following their graduate twitter account at @JLLUKGraduates. Savills also have a range of schemes for differing roles within the firm, and have come first seven times in a row in The Times ‘Graduate Employers of Choice (Property)’ award. They also offer a monthlong summer placement, paid at the equivalent of £13,000pa. There are lots of routes to take – research the best for you!
Qualification, qualification, qualification In which countries do you need licensing?
If an agent or broker would like to become an overseas property professional they can take the CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) designation. This course is not mandatory to deal with overseas properties – however, it is highly recommended. The designation will provide you with knowledge, research, network and tools to globalize your business.” They also hold courses for foreign estate agents: “That course will describe the role of real estate in the U.S. economy and society as well as knowledge of the U.S. real estate marketplace. The course materials provide information on
In Australia, trading as an unlicensed agent is punishable by up to a year in prison! the requirements, regulations, and laws associated with working as a real estate professional in the US and skills for facilitating real estate transactions in the US market.” Brazil also insists on qualifications, licensing and registration by the Regional Council of Realtors (CRECI), who don’t make it easy, with literature only in Portuguese and a requirement of permanent residency in Brazil. Many institutions offer courses in Real Estate Transactions, which must be completed within two years and are completed alongside an internship of at least 128 hours, which also has to be registered by the CRECI. Southern Europe is awash with
people from northern Europe – especially the UK and Ireland, Germany and Scandinavia – selling property to their countrymen. In Spain anyone has been allowed to sell property since the Spanish government liberalized its procedures in 2003. That worked out well, didn’t it? The following few years saw the proliferation of illegal developments, confusion over ‘land grab’ laws, lost dreams, lost life savings and the most astonishing crisis in real estate history. We can argue whether such deregulation is bad for the industry as a whole, but it certainly offers enormous potential for people who want to become property agents in the sun. Spain is still the top choice for overseas buyers, they will still want to buy from an agent who speaks their language, and agents can get into that business with the minimum of hassle. France does have estate agent licensing laws (Loi Hoguet) and anyone who “deals or assists in dealing” with French properties must have a carte professionnelle. Confusion reigns over which qualification agents need, but for the fun parts of the job – driving around the French countryside showing people lovely houses – you can assume you need one. The requirements for French language and experience or academic business qualifications are quite onerous, however, so another option is to become an agent commercial independent immobilier, working under contract to an established and licensed agency. A large agency such as Leggett Immobilier, however, will assist potential agents in all the procedures and training if they feel you have the right stuff.
n Australia, to work as an agent within an existing business you will need to complete a Sales Representation Registration Course before you can get a job. You can’t have been found guilty of a serious offence within the past 10 years or be an undischarged bankrupt. It begins with an eight-day course or distance learning course costing around AU$800–999, depending on the province and covering basic legal and ethical requirements. After a year you can take a longer course to convert that into a licence to run your own business, costing at least AU$5,000, depending on the province. Trading as an unlicensed agent is punishable by up to a year in prison! The main qualification for selling property in China is to be Chinese, plus a professional qualification. But no such restriction affects anyone hoping to sell property outside of China. For the USA, like Australia, there are qualifications requiring a course of study both to be a sales agent, or intermediary, and to run a business as a broker. Although technically open to non-US citizens, it can be hard to get on the courses as they require a US social security number. Note, too, that rules and qualifications can vary across the 50 states. It is in the interests of consistency that agents agents formed the National Association of Realtors (or REALTORS® as they like to call themselves). This is the commercial entity which holds access to the multiple listing service (MLS). The NAR, a spokeswoman told us, also helps to train realtors in international transactions: “NAR maintains formal relationships with 80 organized real estate associations in 60 countries as well.
NEWS Development news
Keeping track of major developments Signia Skys launched by piramel sunteck
Piramel Sunteck Realty has launched their luxury residential project, Signia Skys, in Nagpur. The project is a collaboration between the Piramel Group and
Sunteck Realty, while celebrity Sussanne Roshan of the Charcoal Project is the oﬃcial interior designer. The ten-storey project will include 4-bed designer apartments, a swimming pool, gymnasium, landscaped garden and cutting edge security. “Being customer-centric is pivotal to delivering a successful real estate project. This association is another step towards delivering not only a superior, but an innovative and tailor-made home that is best suited to its future resident,” said Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Group. www.sunteckindia.com/ resiential/signia-sky
3XN break into Mumbai with Ornate spaces
Launches, milestones, openings... please send news and images of your development to firstname.lastname@example.org
Live, Work, Play – go!
The $767 million mixed-use Live, Work, Play Aiea project is going ahead in Honolulu. The development will include residential units, oﬃces, restaurants, shops and public spaces, in hope of creating an “urban village”, says developer Robertson Properties Group. The ﬁrst phase of commercial construction is due to start this year, with the ﬁrst phase of occupancy starting in 2015. www.liveworkplayaiea.com
Les halles gets a roof
3XN’s ﬁrst project in Mumbai was unveiled at a lavish groundbreaking ceremony. 3XN’s design team joined developer Ornate Spaces for the unveiling of the 77,000m2 project “inspired by the Indian nature and Mumbai’s mangroves”. GXN, 3XN’s innovation unit, has designed the facade to maximize
natural ventilation, while the 2500m2 of vertical gardens will be included to lower C02 in the city’s congested environment. The project will comprise 273 apartments over 23 stories, and construction is expected to take three years. www.3xn.com
The €800million refurb of Les Halles in central Paris hits a milestone with the erection of a glass canopy to cover the market. There are no homes but it is anticipated to revitalise the market in the 1st arrondissement www.parisleshalle.fr
Palazzo Molin, a prime development in Venice, has reached completion after an award-winning restoration and conversion project that has transformed the historic C15th palace into 18 contemporary apartments. The building is listed by the Belle Arti (Heritage Authorities) because of the historical importance of its façades and its architecture. As an interesting historical aside, Mozart stayed at Palazzo Molin during his tour of Italy in C18th and, notably, the owner inspired the character Don Giovanni in Mozart’s famous tragic comedy. Prices range from €595,000 to €2.6 million, with the main piano nobile apartment priced at €4.9 million. www.palazzomolin.com
Costa Beach construction
Plans for Germany’s tallest apartment block (above) have hit trouble as it is feared the 150m building may be so heavy that it damages the U-Bahn tunnel beneath it. A survey is being undertaken. Construction has started on Ghana’s ﬁrst 5-star residential facility, Ambassador Heights. The three and four-bedroom homes will be attached to the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel. Plans for a Chinese-backed hotel/residential project in downtown Seattle have expanded from 25 to 42 storeys. GIS International Group and RBF Property Group have proposed the building which, despite its height, will only include 78 hotel rooms and 95 residential units. Struggling Qatari developer Barwa Real Estate is selling its Barwa City project to Qatari Diar’s subsidiary Labregah Real Estate Company for US$2.08 billion, it announced. Work has begun on £13million student accommodation blocks for the University of Roehampton in south-west London. The builder is Morgan Sindell. They are within the grounds of a Grade II listed building. Barangaroo, the 22 hectare, AU$6bn development on Sydney Harbour is continuing well, but builders paused to paint level 23 of the Barangaroo South tower bright green to celebrate gaining a 6-star green rating. Work has started on the UK’s ﬁrst eco-town, NW Bicester in Oxfordshire. The lead developer is A2Dominion and it will eventually add up to 6,000 sustainable homes wth 40% green space.
Construction has started on Taylor Wimpey Espana’s Costa Beach development in Mallorca. Comprising 2-bedroom apartments and 3-bedroom town homes, all units come with terraces surrounding communal gardens and a swimming pool. This is an oﬀ-plan development with the possibility of personalizing ﬁnishes. Prices start from €220,000. Also under construction from Taylor Wimpey in Mallorca are the Cala Magrana III, Camp de Mar Beach and Santa Posa projects. www.taylorwimpeyspain.com
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Networking not working? Networking events are not social clubs, they are to sell your services and expertise. Try to focus!
Networking is a great chance to sell yourself, but you need a strategy
eaving an event recently I bumped into a fellow attendee who said, “How awful?! Those people at the front of the room selling. That’s not what networking is about.” Okay, the presentations could have been better, but I completely disagreed with his conclusion. The ONLY reason to attend a networking event is to sell your services. For years I saw industry networking events as a chance for an enjoyable evening with industry friends, swapping old stories and hearing the news. With the greatest respect to my industry friends (if I have any left now), if I want to spend an enjoyable social evening I have family and friends. Understand that you are giving up your time to attend an event to generate business. Then prepare with three questions:
Of course sometimes something (or someone) unexpected crops up and for that you cannot plan.
Going to an event with nobody worthwhile to meet just means losing hours of your life and not making the most of the opportunity because you were unprepared. Let’s not do that again. When you’ve checked the list and found three people to meet (they could be existing contacts or new ones), how do you ensure you make the most of the opportunity and walk away with a productive result, or three? First, don’t focus your eﬀorts on “What can I tell them about
my company?”. Rather, think of something valuable that you can give them, something that makes you nothing. Maybe you know someone who could help their business. Then your valuable oﬀering would be an introduction to them – also a great way to make an introduction to someone new. “Jane, my name is Paul Owen. I saw you were coming to this event and hoped to speak to you. Having researched your company, I think that a business mentor I know, Tracy O’Sullivan, could really help with your expansion into the Chinese market.” You can probably work out the rest of the conversation yourself. What have you done? You’ve ﬂattered them with your desire to meet them and also given immediate value to them with no apparent gain to yourself. You’ve made yourself memorable, created a reason to exchange business cards and started a potentially productive business relationship by preparing properly. Do that at each networking event and you’ll reap the beneﬁts. Do it three times and your business generation could go through the roof. And you can still catch up with some old industry friends too – the two outcomes are not mutually exclusive!
1. Is there anybody worth meeting there? If at all possible, check who’s coming. 2. How do I ensure that I meet those people and have productive time with them? 3. What results should I expect?
You can’t prepare for everything, but that doesn’t mean you should prepare for nothing. Going to an event with nobody worthwhile (for your business development) to meet just means losing hours of your life you’ll never get back. Going to an event aiming to meet three ideal people, but missing out because you didn’t know who they were or that they were going, is an even bigger loss. So is meeting them at said event
PAUL OWEN: The Clear Path Company Tel: +44 (0)20 3004 9113
Words | Sam Street
Turkey turns a corner?
Events in Turkey have been both tragic and turbulent, but in the property market agents and investors are excited about the country’s prospects
traddled between Europe and Asia with almost 5,000 miles of coastline, few would doubt the potential of the Turkish real estate industry. For years the country was well positioned to take advantage of the fall in demand for property in Southern Europe brought about by the Eurozone crisis. However, a ‘perfect storm’ over the past year, culminating in the recent Soma mining disaster, have ensured that the country has not had an easy time PR-wise. The escalation of the conflict in neighbouring Syria was coupled with a plummet in the value of the Turkish Lira. This led to the ignominy of Turkey being named in Morgan Stanley’s ‘Fragile Five’ group of emerging countries most vulnerable to Federal Reserve
tapering. Most notable of all, however, were the mass antigovernment protests which started in Istanbul and spread across the country. The initial cause of these protests was the planned
A perfect storm over the past year, culminating in the Soma disaster, has meant bad PR reconstruction of an old Ottoman barracks in Gezi Park, one of Istanbul’s last green spaces, which would house a shopping centre and luxury flats. Given that much of
Turkey’s economic growth since the turn of the millennium has been based around a construction boom, investors had reason to be fearful that local sentiment was turning against new developments. Nevertheless, as far as the Turkish investment climate is concerned, the past few months have proven to be a pleasant surprise. In January the Central Bank acted decisively to address the country’s currency woes with an increase in interest rates from 7.75% to 12%, strengthening the buy-to-let market and alleviating fears of a bubble. Moreover, the triumph of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s governing AK Party in the recent municipal elections should be a victory for stability.
JUNE 2014 delivering impressive large-scale infrastructure improvements.
railway. The ‘Eurasia Tunnel’ is another project that will connect two continents with an undersea tunnel for motor vehicles and the ‘Third Airport of Istanbul’, an eye-catching project aiming to make Istanbul one of the world’s top travel hubs, was tendered for €22billion in May 2013. “We are now also developing the ‘Kanal Istanbul’, an alternative to the Bosphorus strait, which will decrease naval traffic and better suit mega ships. Without doubt, this will create lots of real estate opportunities as it aims to create a new habitat around Istanbul.”
AKP and Erdoğan
Speaking exclusively to OPP, İlker Aycı, the President of the Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Investment Promotion Agency (ISPAT), who this year was also elected president of World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA), stated: “Turkey is undertaking remarkable developments in infrastructure. One of the most important projects is the ‘Marmaray’, which connects two sides of the Bosphorus with an undersea railway tunnel. The project was completed in October 2013 and inaugurated with the participation of statesmen from various countries including Japan, where the main partner and contractor came from. “New strategic tenders have also been held for huge projects, such as the ‘Third Bosphorus Bridge’, which is contributing to the revival of the historical ‘Silk Road’ that will connect Beijing to London by
The March elections were seen as a referendum on the government of Mr Erdoğan, a man who, to say the least, divides opinion in Turkey. Last year, the generally outspoken Prime Minister received particular criticism from the European Union over the manner of his crackdown on the Gezi Park protests and in recent weeks much of this sentiment has returned following events in the town of Soma. Despite this however, investors and agents were delighted to see the AK Party win a comprehensive 45.6% of the vote, which was up 7% on the previous election. “The victory of Erdoğan’s AKP will help to maintain the momentum of ongoing infrastructure developments, which should only serve to increase the attractiveness of Turkish property for international investors,” said Editor Ivan Radford of The Move Channel. Since its first year in power, 2003, when it passed a law giving foreign buyers equal legal rights to locals, the AKP has continued with its proinvestment policies, and is now
Clockwise from top left: International protests; Prime Minister Erdogan on the defensive; Erdogan meets supporters; street protests in Istanbul
Reciprocation In 2012 the AK Party made arguably the most significant move in the history of the Turkish real estate industry when it removed the country’s reciprocity law. Prior to this, investment in the Turkish real estate sector had only been open to those investors from countries which allowed Turkish investment in their property. Under the new law, citizens of 183 countries can invest in Turkish
FEATURE Turkey real estate. Mr Aycı said that in 2012, international investment in Turkish property quadrupled yearon-year, to reach $1.1bn. Much of this huge rise in investment has come from Russia and the Middle East. Despite a fall in the rouble which in theory would deter Russian investors from foreign property, searches for Turkey on Russian property portal Indinaidi have increased by 52.7% with Turkish destinations still remaining financially attractive compared to Russia. Meanwhile, Istanbul has been described as ‘a second London for the Arab world’, by the CEO of Varyap, a multipurpose Turkish developer which has delivered high-profile projects such as the Turk Telecom Arena and Varyap Meridian.
than in Istanbul, which this year was named as the best destination in the world in TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Destinations Awards. The influx of tourists coupled with a demand for new housing of 250,000 new units per year has seen property prices in Istanbul skyrocket. In the year to February, REIDIN states that prices in Istanbul have risen by 20%. Within Istanbul, upmarket waterfront districts such as Emirgan, Bebek and Yeniköy continue to offer great potential, as does the heart and soul of the city in Beşiktaş and Beyoğlu. On the outskirts, the shores of Lake Büyükçekmece are a hotbed of lifestyle investment with 4-7 bedroom ‘Eco Villas’ on the market for around £950,000.
Top for tourists
Finally, the country has seen an almost threefold rise in tourism since the AK Party came to power, with 34.9 million tourists visiting the country in 2013 compared to just 13 million in 2002. Nowhere is this more apparent
However, Istanbul differs from London in one key way. Like many emerging world cities, demand is stimulated less by foreign speculators than by the ever increasing housing requirements of the local middle class. This makes
buy-to-let the real opportunity. Part of this local demand has been triggered by the government’s debt reduction policies, which Mr Aycı describes as ‘revolutionary’: “Turkey has drastically decreased its budget deficit to around 2% as of today, and gross public debt ratio has been decreased to 36%. In the EU, the average gross public debt ratio is 85% and in countries like Greece, Italy, Ireland and Portugal it is more than 100%. As such, when the sovereign debt crisis hit the markets, Turkey had room to manoeuver through fiscal adjustments in order to stimulate domestic demand in the face of declining external demand.” Adil Yaman, Investment Director of agent Universal 21, makes clear on the company website that to find the best buy-to-let opportunities investors must look to the suburbs, and particularly those areas near universities and shopping centres, where spacious apartments with good transport links are still available for as little as £40,000. Ray Clancy, the Editor of Property Wire, supports this view. She told OPP: “Much of the interest has been in new developments on the European side of Istanbul, including the suburb of Beylikdüzü which is proving popular due to its transport links and growing middle class population. Property prices are still relatively cheap in this part of the city and decent rental yields are achievable.”
The picture postcard view that agents want to be selling: Olu Deniz; Turkish coffee on the bay; bridge across the Bosphorus.
Predictably, the bulk of interest outside of Istanbul is directed at Turkey’s South West Coast, which remains best placed to capitalise on the economic slump of Southern Europe, with Turkish agent Spot Blue’s website advertising apartments in the region from just £30,000. Meanwhile, The Move Channel’s, Ivan Radford says: “The Aegean coast is a popular destination for lifestyle purchases, as well as buyto-let tourist investments, with Muğla [province] receiving the second biggest share of enquiries at 22%, followed by [the province
JUNE 2014 of] Aydın at 17%.” Within Muğla, Ray Clancy says that ‘Bodrum and Göcek have become highly fashionable for the wealthy sailing jet set’, which has led to a number of restaurants and boutique shops moving in and values rising. Additionally, Clancy states that the villages of Çiftlik, Üzümlü and Hisarönü which surround the popular city of Fethiye are attracting interest, but adds that wealthier investors tend
Normally rooted in Istanbul and the South West Coast, investors are now moving inland
Red tape & regulation At present, there is much debate on the state of Turkish regulations. Generally a positive view has prevailed as a result of the 2012 legislation, which not only removed the reciprocity principle, but also expanded the maximum area of foreign land purchase in Turkey from 2.5 hectares (25,000 m²) to 30 hectares with the council of ministers having the discretion to double this limit. However, some still feel more can be done. “Turkey has not attracted as much foreign investment as anticipated due to a conservative regulatory system that must be more transparent and open to competitive world markets,” says Kemal Safyurek. One common concern which has been aired by Turkey’s Association of Real Estate Investment Companies (GYODER) is the country’s investor residency laws. By deterring investors who wish to manage every stage of their investment in person, the lack of residency offered to investors has hindered Turkey’s ability to compete with countries like Spain and Portugal which offer a ‘Golden Visa’ giving five years’ residency to those spending over €500,000. However, the government partially addressed this concern last autumn with a new law granting a year’s residency permit to investors in Turkish property – of any value.
Change for the better Thanks to this and other changes, Ray Clancy has a more positive outlook: “A decade ago a lot of people who started buying in Turkey had their fingers burnt due to lack of regulation. There were stories of taxi drivers picking up people at airports and claiming to be estate agents resulting in them being ripped off. But gradually more and more regulation is being introduced into the market. Also, the process of getting title deeds is faster and gives buyers more peace of mind,” she says. This view is shared by Burcu
Orhan, Partner & Attorney at Law at London Legal International – The Turkish Law Firm in the UK – who says: “The buying procedure is very straight forward in Turkey and if you follow it step by step there will be no surprises; it will be a 100% safe purchase.” However, she also warns: “Turkey does have a ‘different’ buying procedure to the UK and a lot of British buyers do not realise signing a contract is not sufficient and may leave them at risk. Buyers must have their own independent Turkish lawyer who can handle the entire procedure on their behalf securely and efficiently. (Buyers) Using local agents or friends for purchase is not recommended.” In terms of taxation, the country’s property regulations stand up to scrutiny relatively well. There is no Capital Gains Tax, provided the property is kept for over five years and VAT is payable on a sliding scale for new-build flats, ranging from one per cent up to 18% for larger properties. The only other fees involved are legal fees (approx. £400), land registration (£30), estate agency fees at 3% of purchase price and purchase tax at 3%.
Where are we now? Overall, Turkish social changes, infrastructure improvements and the recent rise in interest rates have expanded the rental market, to the benefit of buy-to-let investors. The weakening of the Lira has in principle been attractive to foreign investors, albeit with a perceived risk associated with the volatility of the rate. Now, the decision of the Central Bank to raise interest rates has made property a little more expensive in foreign currency but at the same time reasserted the independence of Turkey’s central bank and looks set to stabilise the currency. Furthermore the decisive result in favour of the government at the municipal elections mean the Turkish property industry finds itself in a much better position than during the turmoil of a year ago and has a great opportunity to continue its rapid growth in line with the stability experienced over the past ten years.
to choose neighbouring Antalya province and the ‘bohemian towns’ of Kalkan and Kaş. Kemal Safyurek, owner of Kalkan-based Mavi Real Estate says: “Kalkan is on top of the list (in Antalya province) since it provides guaranteed sea views and beautiful modern design villas with rental income that no other resorts can offer.” Outside the hotspots of Istanbul and the South West Coast, there are exciting times for the Anatolian Interior with the province of Denizli surprisingly overtaking Antalya to receive the fourth most enquiries on The Move Channel, accounting for 16% of all Turkish property enquiries in the year to March 2013. This demand for property in Denizli was mainly driven by the launch of apartments last year in the thermal resort of Pamukkale, which promised a 10% rental income. Interestingly this investment was reserved exclusively for UK and EU investors who normally choose to stick to the South West Coast. The success of Pamukkale could open up opportunities for other inland areas of outstanding natural beauty to attract foreign property investment, such as the ancient settlement of Cappadocia where old historical mansions and flats blend with cave houses and hotels
the likes of which cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.
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DESIGN Apartment blocks
// Tall buildings are back with a vengeance, the brighter and bolder the better.
n London, 236 tall towers of at least 20 storeys are either proposed, approved or under construction, and 189 of them are residential. Twenty-two of them will be over 50 storeys. In New York, One57 is nearing completion, at 319 metres, but will soon be caught up by 432 Park Avenue, at 426 metres. But these are small fry compared to towers under construction in Jeddah and Mumbai and one in Changsa, China that will be 838 metres. All of them are partly residential. At the risk of cliché, it’s difficult not to see this as hinting at a nation’s virility. Are cities like Queensland, Makati, Busan and Astana really so short of living space that they need to build so high? They are exciting though. And
whatever the reason, the builders are clearly confident that – just a few years after the collapse of two tall towers became the defining image of the 21st century – families are not only willing to live half a kilometre above pavement level, but are willing to fork out megamillions to do so. Because while early residential blocks were built to clear slums and house the poor, the new towers are strictly prime, or even superprime. In London a penthouse was sold this month for £140million, which after refurbishment will cost around £10,000psf. Super-prime is property that starts at around £3,000psf. In London there are whispers that super-prime is proving hard to shift, there being so much of it. It is also proving hard to find craftsmen who are sufficiently skilled to give that level of finish that super prime demands. In London, planning controls in the residential areas mean that lower-rise properties need to exhibit their super-
primeness in both location and interior finish. As one super-prime developer told OPP, the difference between prime property at £2,000 psf and super-prime at double that, is only around £100psf – so you can see the attraction in selling it. But in New York or Dubai, the money goes on height.
How high? It would be easy to dismiss the futuristic renderings of the kilometre-tall Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia as the dreams of a sheik who’s been too long on the hookah pipe. However, the five metre thick raft foundation is in, it is being built by the same team who built London’s Shard and in any case the Burj Khalifa is already 86% of the way to that height. So construction is clearly not an issue. Wind was dealt with at the Burj with alternating faces against the wind as it goes up. At 432 Park Avenue, the alarmingly slender construction that will be the West’s highest homes, wind-tunnels
DESIGN Apartment blocks
432 Park Avenue New york
Battersea Power station london
every 12 floors to prevent the wind resistance that would cause the building to sway significantly otherwise. The super-star architects (dubbed ‘starchitects’) of such buildings are trying hard to make them distinctive. In London they help create a buzz by giving them quirky looks and names – gherkin, cheesegrater, walkie talkie and shard – you can imagine architects starting with a nickname and designing around it – and cities everywhere are being livened up by huge towers with kinks, twists, bridges and infinity pools at unfeasible heights. In Singapore, the designer of Marina Bay Sands is going even better than the 150m infinity pool on the 55th floor. For his next trick, Moshe Safdie is building twin residential towers with a glass swimming pool bridge between the two on the 38th floor (pictured, right).
Interiors Moving inside, just how do you justify a super-prime price tag, or match the drama of the exterior? By going back to the beauty of the project and materials, two interior designers told OPP. At the Battersea Power Station development in London (left), with studios starting at £800,000, the local architect Tim Boyd of Michaelis-Boyd is using the building’s industrial heritage as a starting point: “People don’t want to live in some bland modern development that could be anywhere in the world. They want to be part of the power station and its history. That means being part of the brickwork.” He is opting for ‘craftmanship with a twist’: “Lots of exposed brickwork, solid oak shelves and floors, lacquered brass handrails, exposing and highlighting the inner beauty of the materials.” Staircases are a big part of the design, with duplexes over two floors and feature staircases between the two. Fixtures will combine beauty and industry: such as large freestanding copper baths and hand-made tiles. Over in New York, Bluerock Real Estate, the developers of The Charles on Manhattan’s Upper
JUNE 2014 East Side, say: “In New York, the ultimate luxuries are space, privacy, service and views. Traditionally, space and privacy were available only in townhomes, but occupants of private townhomes would not have the benefit of services, such as a 24/7 concierge and in-house building management. Similarly, light, views, and services are available in high rises, but usually at the expense of privacy and space. Our goal was to create a space that didn’t force homeowners to have to choose. We set out to create the experience of townhouse in the sky. “Above ground level the building’s exterior is largely a floor-to-
sky habitat singapore
On the interior, how do you justify the price tag, or match the drama of the exterior?
The charles New York
ceiling window wall system.” It includes design features, “like the enfilades, high ceilings, expansive windows, large kitchens and marble bathrooms. The interior and lobby finishes, which were by David Collins Studio, amplify this effect with colors and fabrics that evoke, in a more modern way, the grand brownstones of the Upper East Side and the design influences of classic European apartments. They use a very elegant tonal palette of blues, greys and lavenders, with restrained use of golds and silver.” When it comes to ‘luxury’, Bluerock say they have put the money into “the quality of the mechanical elements”, including the scale of the floor plans and best quality cooling and heating, which they say “are not readily apparent to the buyers, [and so are] often value-engineered out of the end product. The ‘luxury’ developers tend to compensate for this with fixtures and finishes that, while considered luxurious by comparison to most lower budget housing, have become commonplace to the point of being trite, often adding only marginally to the overall cost of the product.”
FEATURE OPP Awards for Excellence
The venue for this year’s awards
They’re back. Prestigious, independent, free* to enter, winning an OPP Award can seriously boost your business. Now is the time to enter
igger and better than ever before, this year’s awards include three NEW categories of award. As ever, they are judged by totally independent industry leaders from around the world. They are independent, respected and valuable to your business. The OPP Awards for Excellence celebrate the very best developers, projects, real estate agents and associated companies working in the global cross-border residential property industry.
Who will win? We don’t know! The winners will be chosen by the judges, without
The OPP Awards celebrate the very best companies working in the industry today any interference from OPP. The winners can be companies or individuals. Their businesses
can be large or small, new to our industry or veterans. They can be based anywhere in the world. They can cover small or large geographic areas. It makes no difference whether they advertise with OPP or use any of our other services. What matters is that the applicants offer something different, something outstanding, something EXCELLENT. The awards will be presented at the OPP Gala Dinner, to be held on Thursday, 27 November 2014 during our OPPLive London conference.
JUNE 2014 But it doesn’t end there. Just entering the Awards – and the thinking about your business that you need to do in order to complete the application pack – will beneﬁt your company and make the eﬀort worthwhile, even if you don’t win.
Helpful Hints Start to prepare NOW! That will give you plenty of time to get your application in by 1 August 2014. In your application form, deal with each of the awards criteria. Failure to do so will, inevitably, reduce your score. Don’t exceed the number of words or documents permitted by the rules. If you do so you are likely to be disqualiﬁed. Gather together some compelling customer or user endorsements to submit as part of your application. Think about which images will best support your application. A small number of well chosen and relevant pictures is your best bet.
Words | John Howell
Download the Awards Information Pack and an application form from www.opp-connect.com/enter-theaward. Your application must be received no later than midnight GMT on Friday, 1 August 2014.
*It is free to enter one category of award. If you wish to enter more categories there will be a charge.
in association with
1. Best Global Developer 2. Best Developer – Europe 3. Best Developer – North America 4. Best Developer – Central America/Caribbean 5. Best Developer – South America 6. Best Developer – Middle East 7. Best Developer – Africa 8. Best Developer – Australasia 9. Best Developer – Asia
Developments 10. Best Luxury Development 11. Best Eco Development 12. Best Aﬀordable Development
Real Estate Agents 13. Best Global Agency 14. Best SMALL Agency (maximum ﬁve staﬀ) 15. Best LARGE Agency (minimum 100 staﬀ) 16. Best NEW Agency (maximum two years old) 17. Best Agency – Europe 18. Best Agency – North America 19. Best Agency – Central America/Caribbean 20. Best Agency – South America 21. Best Agency - Middle East 22. Best Agency – Africa 23. Best Agency – Australasia 24. Best Agency – Asia
Property Investment 25. Best Property Investment Advisers
Other Awards The Novotel London West The awards, and the winners, will be widely publicised.
Winning an OPP Award for Excellence can be a seriously good move for your business. Credibility, industry endorsement, third party publicity and prestige are just a few of the beneﬁts that ﬂow from winning.
Information Pack: (www.oppconnect.com/enter-the-awards)
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF US!
26. Best Online Service 27. Best Marketing Campaign 28. Best Media 29. Best Fractional Scheme 30. Best Supporting Service 31. Best Innovation 32. Best ‘Alternative’ Product 33. Best ‘Alternative’ Broker 34. Best Student Housing Project 35. Best Student Housing Broker 36. NEW! Best Example of Customer Service 37. NEW! Best IT Solution 38. NEW! Best Agent Support
Cuba opens itsofdoors Our round-up legalwhile changes Corsica Taiwan takebut a step back finds taxand hikes in Spain speedier from foreign processes in investment US, France and India BAHRAIN BELGiuM REDUCED reits canREGISTRATION Be reGulated CHARGES real estate The20 Belgian legislatureShura has adopted On May, Bahrain’s a new act oned regulated real Council ratiﬁ a motion to estate reduce companies. It provides a new charges for the registration of status acquired for REITs real in the country newly estate. The – the trusts can now operate as amendment, bringing the buyer’s regulated real estate companies fee down from 3% of the property in order to remain outside the value to 2%, is hoped to stimulate scope of Alternative Investment real estate growth. Fund Managers an (AIFMD) while still Furthermore, incentive taking advantage of the existing designed to push buyers to pay tax regime. REITs will be quickly was The approved – if the labelled case-by-case, and payment is made within 60may days be considered separate from AIFS the buyer will receive a 15% if it pursues a business strategy discount on registration fees. focused on creating long-term [Source: Oxford Business Group, value rather than just pooled capital and www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com] return, among other stipulations.
BRAZIL CHinA REGISTRATION OF FOREIGN real estate reGistration CAPITAL BY 2017
activities, provided that they belong the MLR, told state newspaper toofindividuals or corporate entities China Daily. He added that real domiciled or incorporated abroad.” estate registration should help Foreign capital must be to preserve registered by property means ofrights, an improve transaction security and Electronic Statement of Registration ensure higher eﬃ ciency in the – Foreign Direct Investment Module property on sector. Over the next (RDE-IED), the Central Bank four years, China will develop Information System (SISBACEN). anthe “integrated For purposesmanagement of the Electronic platform” forRegistration, real estate foreign Statement of registration, saidisJiang. direct investment deﬁned as permanent holdings in Brazilian companies or, in accordance with common CuBA market practices, longterm ownership by non-resident new ForeiGn investment investors; individuals or corporate law residing, domiciled or entities incorporated abroad, through ownership of shares or stock in Brazilian companies, or investments in foreign companies authorized to operate in Brazil. The statement implies that the Brazilian companies receiving the investment and/or the representative of the foreign investor are responsible for the registration. [Reported by: Daniela Antunes, Maxwell Alves Solicitors, www.maxwellalves.com]
DUBAI TANWEER LEGISLATION TO Cuba has published its new foreign investment law. Among many BE ANNOUNCED
More updates are available in our news section at www.opp-connect.com
real rights”. However, one lawyer warned the Cuba Standard(DLD). that the Dubai Land Department theThe rights over real estate will be industry has been waiting granted to foreign investors via 18 months for the law to be an administrative concession, rather passed and legal experts gave than a transfer of property. their views on the draft to the Land Department last year, reports the National website. No DuBAi speciﬁc details were available standard Forms now but Ms Rashed says it is ready mandatorY and is being examined by higher authorities. The DLD ﬁrst announced in October 2011 that it was employing experts to examine and improve the real estate investor protection law by the end of the year, but to date nothing has been ﬁnalized. [Reported by Adrian Bishop, Editor of OPP Connect.] Those involved in the sale of real estate (buyers, sellers and agents) FRANCE must now start using the unified CHANGE IN CAPITAL contracts written by Dubai Land Department. From 1 May the GAINS TAX
contracts became compulsory, in a bid to minimize “misrepresentation President Francois Hollande has and misunderstanding” between announced a change in the capital parties. Rera introduced thehome forms gains tax system on second in 2008, but they have only just sales to provide more ﬂuidity in the becomeproperty mandatory. The The contracts French market. taper can be downloaded from the eMart relief system is to be changed so website (www.emart.gov.ae). that from 2014 the required time of ownerships before a property is completely exempt from capital FRAnCE gains tax will be 22 years, down corsica clamps down from the 30 year system which was on ed ForeiGn BuYers ratiﬁ in September 2012. Nicholas Leach, Partner at Athena Corsica has passed a proposal Advisors, commented, “This could to make it impossible be considered as a bit for of anonU-turn residents to buy property on to by the government, reverting the island.which The French island’s a system is similar to that bill will make it compulsory when Sarkozy was in power.for Last peopleproperty to be permanent residents year’s tax changes put
China is to a real estate According tointroduce the Foreign Capital registration byconsidered 2017, said Law, “Foreign system capital is Ministry of Land tothe becountry’s any goods, machinery or and Resources (MLR). The equipment that enters Brazilsystem will no be initial established part of with foreignasexchange government plans to make disbursement, intended for China’s market freerand andservices, more production of goods diversifi ed, Jiang Daming, and any funds brought intohead the country for use in economic
changes to the island’s market, it includes Article 17, which seems A new property law aimed at toimproving have opened up Cuba’s housing investors’ rights tolooks foreign The article set investors. to be announced soon allows foreigners to buy “homes in Dubai. The long-awaited and buildings, dedicated Tanweer legislation will to behousing and tourism”; “real estate destined announced “soon”, says Majida toAli housing and buildings dedicated Rashed, the head of the Real toEstate individual residences” and to Investment Management obtain “the property or other and Promotion Centre of the
Lawyers and accountants around the world tell us about new developments in the law. If you know of any interesting changes to the law or taxation in the country where you live or do business, contact
LEGAL News for a minimum of five years, in a bid to curb speculation and ease development pressure. The new proposal has garnered hot debate since it was introduced last summer. Those against the bill, mainly from the far left, have voiced concerns that the changes could create a black market in real estate – while nationalists in the country are strongly against foreigners using Corsican properties as holiday homes. The bill also includes a tax rise on holiday homes. The proposal will have to be approved by the French parliament, and may yet face challenges from the EU.
Latvia Golden visa cost tripling
Latvia is more than tripling the cost of its golden visa – although it will still be among the cheapest property-for-residency schemes in Europe. The cost is rising from €71,000 to €250,000, plus a one-off, nonrefundable residency application fee of 5% of the property sales price, which goes to the government. To qualify for the updated scheme, which comes into effect from 1 August, the property must have a minimum cadastral/ tax value of €80,000, the Latvian parliament has agreed. It was previously suggested that the minimum investment for the Latvian golden visa was to be €150,000, plus a €25,000 fee – limited to only 800 applicants a year – with all others having to invest €500,000. Reported by Adrian Bishop, OPP Connect editor
Russia Investors targeted under new tax The Russian Finance Ministry has proposed tax amendments which would hit real estate investors. Investors in residential real estate would be saddled with new taxes under the amendments, which are being suggested as a way to increase government earnings and push capital into the stock market, the Moscow Times reported. Currently, an investor can benefit from a tax-free profit on a house or apartment if they hold on to the property for over three years. If the amendments are passed, owners of more than two apartments would have to pay a 13% tax on the revenues, no matter how long they’d owned the property. However, people selling their only property would not be taxed, nor would those selling a second residence valued less than 5 million rubles ($140,000). A decision has not yet been reached but local media reported President Vladimir Putin verbally approving the proposals. Experts have said that it is likely to be the smaller investors who lose interest in the market, rather than bigger companies or funds.
Taiwan New cooling measures planned The Taiwan government plans cooling measures to ease local anger over housing affordability and ghost apartments. The Straits Times reported that the government is planning a carrot and stick approach to investors, often from overseas, who have bought apartments in the country’s capital but are leaving them empty while taking advantage of rapid capital growth. As prices have risen, local businesspeople who have made their fortunes in China are believed to be buying up large swathes of property at low interest rates and small property taxes, resulting
in 20% of apartments being left empty. The government believes that this was a contributory factor to recent riots in the country. Taiwan’s Premier Jiang Yi-Huang has promised to enact legal changes to help force residential prices down by 30% in two years, to a maximum of 10:1 prices to incomes. Measures going through parliament at present include trebling property taxes from 1.2% to 3.6% for additional residences, and offering deals to landlords who rent to the elderly and disadvantaged. The overall objective, said Taipei’s Mayor, is that investors will change to investing in businesses, and hence tackling the slowdown in wages that is the other half of the affordability imbalance. Reported by Chris Nye, OPP Editor
US Drones cause FAA complications
A US agent has caused complication in federal aviation laws by using drones to market houses. Brian Tercero, from Santa Fe, has been making use of drones’ video footage to give a more “powerful” image to potential buyers. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned the use of drones for commercial purposes, but a federal judge recently ruled that commercially-used drones don’t count as aircraft and are thus our of the FAA’s power. The FAA is appealing the decision. Mr Tercero stressed that he does not invade anyone’s privacy, only filming houses with the owners’ permission and never gathering footage of neighbouring properties.
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BUSINESS Nation Branding Words | Christopher Nye
Countries are working hard to make people love them. Meet the nation branding experts
hat keeps a property developer awake at night? Natural disaster? You can’t do much about that. A massive mistake from one of your team? Nope, you can train that possibility out of the equation. How about this then: you’re building a resort in a country known for its relaxed, party vibe, then the army declares martial law. Or you’re selling investment property in a small country neighbouring a former superpower whose president – mentioning no names – appears to want to redraw regional maps? The problem for OPPs is that the world is a big place and property is expensive. It doesn’t take much to knock the appeal of a country, and when reputations fall you probably won’t see your holiday-homehunters or investors for dust as they scurry oﬀ to another beach in
a less troubled country. Then there are the countries that people just don’t really warm to. With nearly 200 countries in the world people can hardly be blamed for making snap judgments based on the ﬂimsiest of evidence. It’s hard selling property, or indeed attracting investment, to a
It’s hard selling homes in a country that people dislike, distrust or don’t know anything about country that people dislike, distrust or don’t know anything about. So along with globalisation a new discipline has arisen often called ‘nation branding’ or ‘public
diplomacy’, deﬁned as how a country communicates with citizens in other countries or is considered by them. It is about measuring and controlling the reputation of a country – whether it is liked and admired, feared, despised or ignored by the people (not the governments) of other countries. Also known as ‘soft power’, it’s the eﬀort to charm, to persuade rather than invade. One of the most respected measurements of attractiveness is the Monocle Soft Power Survey, which calculates 50 diverse factors – including Olympic medals, quality of design, cuisine etc. (see table on next page). As the rankings suggest, reputations are earned and cemented over generations (although the position of Germany on the top suggests that memories are not that long) and clearly there is a measuring bias in favour of the
JUNE 2014 people, with our shared language, culture, love of cricket and so on, while Cape Verde needs to work harder to persuade British people to visit. Some countries target their charm oﬀensive. China, for example, seems oblivious to upsetting much of the world yet is putting huge resources into Africa and is now seen as a more positive inﬂuence there than the USA. At a lower level, governments can help to support and fund tours such as the one doing the rounds last month by Portuguese agents, developers and politicians; Portugal’s charismatic Tourism Minister charmed the media. Personalities and brand ambassadors work particularly well here. Mallorca, for example, moved upmarket as a destination when people like Richard Branson and Claudia Schiﬀer bought homes there. Tourism development is a big part of reputation management and developers can both inﬂuence nation branding and be a big recipient of its advantages. The Resort Group, for example, has become a signiﬁcant part of Cape Verde’s economy with a hotline to government. In Portugal, energetic entrepreneurs like Diogo Ferreira encouraged the government to oﬀer golden visas and then went around the world promoting them. Governments, with big money to spend on reputation management, now have a plethora of gurus, PR experts and marketers advising them and it has become a matter of serious academic discussion and professional polling. One of the most well known experts is Simon Anholt, creator of the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index. He maintains that real attitudes are not changed simply by logos and PR, but via six channels: tourism, exports of products and services, an enlightened and positive foreign policy, attracting expat talent, cultural exchanges and activities, and high proﬁle, admirable people. He maintains that most countries can make themselves more admirable and loveable. Turn the page to see how.
MONOCLE SOFT POWER 2013 1. Germany 2. UK 3. United States 4. France 5. Japan 6. Sweden 7. Australia 8. Switzerland 9. Canada 10. Italy 11. Denmark 12. Spain 13. Netherlands 14. South Korea 15. Norway 16. Austria 17. Singapore 18. Finland 19. Brazil 20. China
richer countries. It doesn’t matter how hard, for example, Peru works or what it spends on marketing itself, when you say the word ‘Peru’ many people will still picture Paddington Bear and ladies in big colourful skirts. But at the same time, don’t you have a vaguely warm feeling about Peru? Where does that come from? Another measure is the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking. This takes six measurements: attraction of investment, tourism and trade, increase in pride, improvement of public diplomacy and increase in exports. They have a complicated-looking algorithm to explain it all, ﬁnishing up with a measure for trade and tourism. Their 2013 tourist rankings are pretty similar to Monocle’s, but with nations like Thailand, Turkey and Greece making it into the Top 20. The BBC World Service also runs an annual poll, interviewing 26,000 people around the world. The most recent poll, taken in early 2013, asked people whether they believed various countries’ inﬂuence around the world was positive or negative. Top ranked countries were Germany, Canada, UK, Japan, France, Brazil and the US, while China slipped down signiﬁcantly from the previous year. So much for measurement – how do you make yourself more popular with the people that matter – the agents who you want to sell the properties and the end users? Emerging nations have to work to match the more powerful nations, while avoiding many pitfalls. So while the world looks at Wimbledon tennis in admiration and follows the Tour de France, Qatar’s astonishing coup in getting the 2022 World Cup has, thus far, made it a byword for eﬃciency, yes, but also for corruption and deceased construction workers. But if it pulls oﬀ a successful World Cup Qatar’s reputation will be seriously enhanced. While people might feel vaguely positive about a country, to sell property there they may need to feel more intimately involved – hence the success of selling property in the Caribbean to British
BUSINESS Nation Branding
Simon Anholt interview Founder of the Nation Brands Index, Simon Anholt advises governments and is the author of five books Where do you start branding a nation?
Firstly it is essential to have or commission research as to what the general perceptions are of your area. Otherwise you cannot tailor your message. It is not okay to start oﬀ with a personal notion of what people probably think about a country, just because you think that. For example, if you were in the UK, promoting Germany as a holiday home destination, the assumption might be that Germans are rather cold and unfriendly. So your marketing would stress the warmth and amiability of the place. But if you were marketing Gerrmany to people in Latin America, that communication would be entirely inappropriate because Latin Americans already think that Germans are wonderful and that Germany is the best place on earth.
Is it just logos AND slogans? Advertising works, and tourism is a straightforward business. The more you spend on original, creative, well-targeted advertising the more business you will get. But I am very sceptical about using those same techniques to try and change the image of a country overall, because that has never been shown to
ANHOLT BRANDS INDEX 2013
1. United States 2. Germany 3. United Kingdom 4. France 5. Canada 6. Japan 7. Italy 8. Switzerland 9. Australia 10. Sweden
work. So it depends what it’s for. For export promotion, for example selling wines from Cyprus, then logos and so on are probably quite useful. But if you are trying to change the image of Cyprus, then it won’t do any good.
How would you help Cyprus? When you have a general image problem it’s very hard for any sector to drag itself out of that negative perception. There comes a time when it becomes the responsibility of governments to say, okay, all of our sectors are suﬀering the general image problem and none of them can really do their business properly. We have to do something about it as a government and as a country, to try and form a meaningful working coalition of all the sectors and businesses aﬀected and come up with a national strategy, that will eventually over time improve the image of the country. That’s a big task but by no means an impossible for a country the size of Cyprus.
What about a larger country? I recently live in and advised Mexico. Size is a factor, it makes it that much more complex administratively to come with what used to be called a grand strategy for the whole country and ask why do we exist, why should people feel glad that we exist, how can we make ourselves more relevant and highly regarded in the world? These are big strategic questions. Perfectly doable but they both need the political will and organisation; and it needs to involve as many sectors as possible. Mexico is a very interesting case because in reality the crime is very localised, but the picture that one gets outside is exaggerated and inaccurate. Mexico City is a very liveable place, Mexicans are the most delightful people.
SIMON ANHOLT: email@example.com It’s no more dangerous than any large city, but my European friends assumed they would never see me again. If you were selling Mexican property to Americans then you need to get the base perceptions of the people you are targeting. The image of Mexico in the US is generally quite negative, but better educated, more cosmopolitan Americans see it quite favourably, so that group of people would be more interested in buying property there. They may just need reassurance that they are not pioneers, that many other Americans and Canadians are already there, living safely and happily.
What doesn’t work? If I had a euro for every time someone from a region told me they were at the precise geographical centre of somewhere I would have a large pile of euros right now. I was once told by a bloke in Lille that they were going to brand themselves on the basis of being exactly in the mid-point of London, Paris and Brussels. So I told them they were going to be known as the place that was equally far away from three much more interesting cities. These kind of positionings don’t help because they are so uninteresting.
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FEATURE Industry Insight Asia, Part 2 Words | John Howell, Editorial Director, OPP
Industry Insight: Selling Property in Asia
In the second part of our “Industry Insights into Asia” survey, we look at companies selling property located in Asia. We discover the major challenges they faced and how to help businesses to operate in Asia even better
he data comes from the answers to 103 detailed questions about what you are doing in Asia, how and where.
Selling Property Located in Asia
Only 22% of those taking part in the survey sold property located in Asia to non-Asian buyers. The relatively small number of responses about activity in any particular country meant that there was little point in detailed analysis of their replies but some interesting information still emerged. Not least was the range of countries – some totally unexpected – where the companies were based. See Figure 1.
Figure 1: Where is your company based?
MALAYSIA INDIA UK SINGAPORE USA ITALY NEW ZEALAND MEXICO EGYPT THAILAND HONG KONG PORTUGAL
JUNE 2014 Most had been in business for some time – 35% over 10 years and 55% over 5 years. For most of the companies, selling to international buyers was only a small part of a larger business. 79% had fewer than ﬁve members of staﬀ engaged in this work out of an average of 14 employees.
There were interesting diﬀerences in the attitude to training between those selling property in Asia to non-Asian buyers (“PROPERTY”) and those selling international property to Asian buyers (“BUYERS”). See Figure 2. Notice, in particular, how only 2% of people selling international property to the Asian market (“BUYERS”) provided no training whereas 35% of those selling Asian property to international buyers (“PROPERTY”) supplied nothing.
HORRIBLE VERY DIFFICULT DIFFICULT AVERAGE EASY VERY EASY
OTHER LANGUAGE PRODUCT BUSINESS PRACTICES CULTURAL NONE
Figure 3 – Organisation of the Business ORGANISATION OF THEIR BUSINESS
We work directly from our main oﬃces
We have set up a branch or representative oﬃce in the country where we are working
We have set up a separate business in the country where we are working
We use local agents and work through them
HORRIBLE VERY DIFFICULT DIFFICULT AVERAGE EASY VERY EASY DIFFERENCES between your home country and the country/ies where you are doing business Figure 9 – How easy was
HORRIBLE VERY DIFFICULT DIFFICULT AVERAGE EASY VERY EASY it to adjust to the TIME ZONE DIFFERENCES between your home country and the country/ies where you are doing business
Our survey gathered a mass of useful information about the problems they encountered in doing business internationally. In order to save space I will let the graphs speak for themselves. In each case, the heading PROPERTY refers to those selling Asian property to international buyers and BUYERS refers to people selling international property to the Asian market. Figure 4 Overall, how easy has it been to SET UP AND RUN your international business activities? Figure 5 – How easy was it to adjust to the GENERAL CULTURAL DIFFERENCES between your home country and the country/ies where you are doing business Figure 6 – How easy was it to adjust to the EMPLOYMENT LAW DIFFERENCES between your home country and the country/ies where you are doing business Figure 7 – How easy was it to adjust to the TAX SYSTEM DIFFERENCES between your home country and the country/ies where you are doing business Figure 8 – How easy was it to adjust to the LANGUAGE
Figure 2 – Training Provided
FEATURE Industry Insight Asia, Part 2 Figure 10 – Overall, was setting up and operating your international business...? Figure 11 – Overall, has your international business been...? Figure 12 – Would you do it again?
Business Confidence Of those selling property in Asia to non-Asian buyers, 100% felt more conﬁdent about the future of their business than they did a year ago. For those selling international property to Asian buyers, the ﬁgure was 91%.
More people underestimated the challenges and difficulties than overestimated them Summary Overall, most people – whether running a business selling international property to Asian buyers or Asian property to international buyers – found the task much as they expected it to be and adjusted well to the challenges involved. However, more underestimated the challenges and diﬃculties than overestimated them. There was overwhelming conﬁdence in the future of these markets – inbound and outbound. Well over 90% would do it again.
Next month, in the last of this series of articles, we will look at how the people who took part in our survey thought their businesses would develop over the next few years. We will also look at the countries where they thought markets would grow – and those where they thought there would be less activity. Be warned: some countries appear in both lists and there are a number of surprises!
HORRIBLE VERY DIFFICULT DIFFICULT AVERAGE EASY VERY EASY Figure 9
Figure 10 100%
HORRIBLE VERY DIFFICULT DIFFICULT AVERAGE EASY VERY EASY Figure 11
MORE DIFFICULT THAN WE EXPECTED ABOUT AS EASY AS WE EXPECTED EASIER THAN WE EXPECTED MUCH EASIER THAN WE EXPECTED
Figure 12 100%
MUCH MORE DIFFICULT THAN WE EXPECTED
HORRIBLE VERY DIFFICULT DIFFICULT AVERAGE EASY VERY EASY
MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN WE EXPECTED AS SUCCESSFUL AS WE EXPECTED LESS SUCCESSFUL THAN WE EXPECTED
YES 92% NO 8%
YES 93% NO 7%
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FEATURE Tuscan villas
Words | Francine Carrel
Taking Tuscany on tour
After success building villas in Tuscany, one company decided to take their talents to wealthy foreigners wanting the Italian experience at home
he Tuscan farmhouse is an image that springs readily to mind: a sturdy, rustic building with exposed brickwork, terracotta tiles and wooden beams. It’s solid and reliable. It’s a style of building that appeals to those seeking a slower pace of life, and it has a permanence that outlives architectural fashions. But there’s a problem. As appealing as the idea of central Italy is, with its millennia of history and rolling landscapes, it’s simply not conceivable for most people to up sticks and settle far away from their country and career. Do not worry. World Tuscan Houses has a solution. Building a
‘Tuscan’ villa in your own country. Not a fake or a replica but a ‘real’ Tuscan villa built out of real Tuscan stone and using real Tuscan timber,
Building something that can conjure nostalgia for a place you’ve never known takes some doing tiles and craftsmen. Building something that can conjure up nostalgia about a time and place you’ve never known takes
some doing. Michele Liberatori, President of WTH, told OPP about the appeal of Tuscan Villas: “Villas and farmhouses in Tuscany have a special appeal because they represent an ideal way of living: contact with nature, simplicity, old rituals, family life. Moreover, the typical Tuscan farmhouse is built with traditional craftsmanship and using old, reclaimed, natural materials. Using the sustainable technologies available nowadays, we are able to make the dream of living in Tuscany come true.” He started out in Italy before realizing the demand from abroad: “We have been building and
It all depends. Clearly, this is not going to be cheap. The typical Tuscany country house that WTH builds can use many different finishes and various materials, whose price changes depending on quality and antiquity. Their clients have the opportunity to take part in the choice of every miniscule detail, from the floor to the kitchen’s tools, thus Introducing further variations in price. To give some examples, the price of a wood floor may range from €80psm to €480 for an antique wood floor dating back to the 19th century. Similarly, the price for a terracotta floor ranges from €120 to €350psm for an original 18th century item. The price of WTH’s work also varies, depending on the country concerned and the finishes and materials the customer chooses. In general the cost ranges from €6,000-15,000psm. The total cost will also vary depending on the market price of land and so on.
restoring villas and large properties in Italy for over 20 years, both for Italian and foreign customers. “Then, some customers from abroad expressed the wish of having a Tuscan Villa in their own country. So we decided to export our expertise and the mastery of our craftsmen all over the world. “We are currently working on several projects in South Africa, Singapore and the US, and we’ve had requests from UK customers.” It’s not just Italians hoping for a taste of home, but also foreigners who admire the Tuscan style. “Our clients come both from Italy and from abroad. We have Italians who live in Italy, Italians who live abroad, foreigners who live in Italy and foreigners who live abroad. We provide homes for permanent residence, but also holiday homes, resorts, bed and breakfasts – and properties for customers who would like to make an investment for future selling. “The one thing they all have in common is the love for authentic,
natural and original materials, for houses with a story to tell.” One big challenge is getting the correct, authentic materials around the world. WTH don’t like to compromise. “We only provide selected original materials with a certificate which testifies their origin and characteristics. We know our suppliers in Tuscany and Italy very well, and whenever a client requests different materials we make sure we get the best things, always trying to adapt them to his very own home.” “Building a house the way we do it is like creating a tailor-made dress or suit for a customer. We discuss even the finest detail with our clients, in order to provide a completely ‘customized’ house.” To deliver this WTH has a network which includes eight professional practices and 20 other companies, able to offer a complete service to the customer: one chief project manager, the certainty of delivery times and the guarantee of high quality. “We are able to build a traditional but fully customised Tuscan villa anywhere in the world, thus adapting this model to the demands of the most demanding customer. We named our service ‘from the foundations to the fork’. Our service includes not only the construction of the house but also the landscape design, the swimming pool, the interior design and the home fittings. We can even choose the cutlery to set the table.” An issue that any OPP must give thought to is legality. When operating in so many countries, forming good and reliable partnerships is essential for both success and business safety. “Before developing any project we analyze and plan every part of the work,” Mr Liberatori said. “Then we develop and follow the project together with the client, who has to deal with only one project manager, in charge of the all the work.” Abroad, we are in touch with local experts who know the different laws in each country and provide all necessary information regarding costs, taxes, and so on but it Is our project manager who follows the project and deals with the client.”
COUNTRY REPORT Portugal
Prospects in Portugal A top destination for retirees – and little wonder!
ortugal is desirable to international buyers looking for both investment and lifestyle opportunities. Lapped by the Atlantic ocean (with 850km of beaches), it enjoys 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. It has top-quality golf courses, plenty of leisure resorts and good healthcare. Little wonder that Portugal is so popular with retirees. Portugal has a long history. A multitude of inﬂuences over the years have created a unique cultural heritage that draws tourists from around the world: ancient architecture, Mediterranean cuisine and an attractive wine cellar! Portugal recently made a clean exit from its three-year bailout/ austerity plan.
CHAVES VILA REAL
PORTUGAL SANTARÉM LISBON
Area: 92,090km2 Similar to: Jordan, Hungary Coastline: 1,794km Highest point: Mount Pico; 2351m Capital: Lisbon, population: 547,600 Climate: Cool and rainy in the north, warmer and drier in the south.
THE ECONOMY GDP: $219.3 billion
Inﬂation: 0.4% Based on: Services industry (lots of tourism); manufacturing (textiles, clothing, technology, wine and food) Public debt: 127% of GDP Tax: 43.5% of GDP
Corruptions Perceptions Index: 33 of 177 countries
Human Development Index: 3 of 185 countries
Ease of Doing Business Index: 31 of 189 countries
PEOPLE Population: 10,814,000 Population density: 116.29 per sq km Language: Portuguese (oﬃcial), Mirandese (oﬃcial, but locally used) Ages: 0-14: 15.9% ; 65 and over: 18.4% Average age: 41.1 Life expectancy: 79.01
Ethnic demographics: Portuguese 98.3%; Cape Verdean 0.2%; Brazilian 0.2%; English 0.1%; others 1.2% Politics: Portugal is a republic with a parliamentary democracy. Dominated by the social democratic Socialist Party since 1975. The current Prime Minister is Pedro Passos Coelho, who was sworn in on 21 June 2011.
Religion: Roman Catholic 81%, other Christian 3.3%, other 0.6%, none 6.8%, unspecified 8.3% (2011 est.)
COUNTRY REPORT Portugal
Tourism is playing an increasingly important role in Portugal’s economy. It accounted for 5.7% of total GDP in 2013 and is expected to rise steadily over the coming years. After a dip during the financial crisis, arrival numbers are rallying and seem set to continue the trend. Lisbon, known as the white city due to the sunlight reﬂecting off the River Tagus, was named Europe’s Leading City Break Destination by the World Travel Awards in 2013, 2010 and 2009. Porto, Portugal’s second city in the North, was elected Best European Destination in 2014 and is one of the top 14 cities chosen by British Airways to visit. Most of tourists in Portugal are British, French, Spanish and German. Most of them came to Portugal to search for culture, gastronomy, city breaks or travel in business.
TOURIST ARRIVALS IN PORTUGAL (MILLIONS)
8.8 7.6 7.2 6.8 6.4 6.0 5.6 5.2 2005
FLIGHT DURATIONS TO PORTUGAL
Rio de Janeiro
Residential real estate Over the last 20 years, Portuguese real estate has experienced encouraging development. Apartments and house values declined throughout the 2007 crisis. It became complicated to get a mortgage, investors lost confidence and scores of new developments stood empty. Now, though, the economy has stabilized and the houses prices are still much lower than before the crisis – this means great deals for buyers and opportunities for OPPs. While growth is strong, there doesn’t appear to be evidence of a property bubble. In comparison to the median property prices in many other Western European cities, the house prices in Portugal are very affordable for second home buyers and retirees. Two main areas for overseas investment are:
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY FACTS Price (sq.m)
Landlord & Tenant Law
Cap Gains Tax
Prices per m2 Algarve VS Europe, €/m2 Location
1,495 AlgarveSpain (2) The Portugal property favorite is the Algarve region, (3) 2,014 on theUnited southKingdom coast. Algarve is one of Europe's top golfing destinations and has some of the best and most beautiful beachesNationale in the entire of which (1) Federation Desworld, Agentsmost Immobiliers fulfill demanding Blue Flag criteria set by the EU. (2)the Ministry of Housing Spain This regionBanking is also known (3) Lloyds Groupfor the excellent restaurants serving freshly-caught fish and the charming and historic fishing villages that preserve the Source: Meravista.com Arab traces from the past. The Algarve is the first choice for sun and sea seekers from all over. Property in Algarve is now 32% cheaper than homes in the UK, with plenty of stock to sell. The Algarve has a lot to offer second home-hunters on a budget.
Silver Coast A second popular home destination in Portugal is the Silver Coast. This area starts just north of Lisbon and stretches all the way to the south of Porto. The Silver Coast is attracting property buyers that want a life in the sun and who prefer holidays away from the crowds.
The climate might not be quite so good as the Algarve, but does provide incredible waves for surfing and water sports. The Silver Coast offers better value in terms of property prices: generally about 20% cheaper than Algarve and with a lower cost of living. Golden Visa Under the Portuguese ‘Golden Visa’ scheme, nonEuropean Union citizens can gain residency though buying property worth at least €500,000. The scheme has so far been a great success. In 2013, 470 Golden Visas were granted by Portugal, attracting an investment of around €300million. It has now attracted more than €430million in Portuguese property investment since its launch in 2012. This is in stark comparison to competitor Spain, who have so far only issued 81 visas. The majority of that has been from Chinese buyers. The Chinese generate by far the highest demand for Portugal’s golden visas, accounting for nearly 80% of those already issued, followed by citizens from Russia, Brazil and Angola.
SUN AND SEA AT DECENT PRICES
COUNTRY REPORT Portugal
Property Portals home.in idealista.com casa.sapo.pt meravista.com heyproperty.eu
Useful links www.apemip.pt – Portuguese Real Estate Professionals and Brokers Association www.portugal.gov.pt/ – Government website www.turismodeportugal.pt – Tourism board www.aeportugal.pt - Portuguese Entrepeneurial Association
PROPERTY DEVELOPMENTS Below: Estrela da Luz; Top right: Casa do Lago; Bottom right: The Residences
Algarve Estrela da Luz, in Praia da Luz in the Algarve, is a luxury development of 146 apartments a few minutes from the beach. The properties are spread over five clusters and the development has facilities such as underground car parking and leisure activities including tennis courts and gymnasium. www.oceanicogroup.com
Lisbon Casa do Lago, in the Aroeira golf resort, is a good example of a popular Portuguese architectural trend: clean lines, neutral palette, plenty of glass and natural light. This villa was designed by Frederico Valassina Architects along the theme of “serenity and peace”. www.fvarq.com Algarve The Residences are part of the resort town of Vilamoura – a popular destination for the wealthy, with footballer Cristiano Ronaldo owning property in the complex. The residences are a five minute drive from the beach. Twoand three-bedroom apartments are currently available from €350,000 www.meravista.com
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LETTER FROM Turkey
Letter from TURKEY Half European and half Asian, a stone’s throw from the Middle East and with Russia to the north, in 2014 Istanbul’s status as a cultural and commercial bridge between East and West is as strong as it has ever been over the centuries. The city is successfully re-inventing itself as an international commercial hub, with an exotic cultural twist. Thanks to our history, Turks are natural traders – once we were a major station along the Silk Route, now our strategic location is attracting international companies, and our construction industry is our largest sector. I see it every day when I travel through the city, the horizon dotted with cranes. Unlike the pain Europe’s property markets have suffered since the 2008 downturn, prices here have continued to grow since the crisis hit, along with our GDP. In 2013, property values in Istanbul increased by up to 13.62% and overall the price of new homes in the city have increased by nearly 50% in the four years since January 2010. Our market is being driven by Middle Eastern investors, as well as Europeans. The relaxing of foreign ownership laws in 2012 has transformed the market in Istanbul and Turkey in general – speciﬁcally, Gulf nations and Russians can buy freely here now. Our typical investors are spending $150,000-$250,000. Remember, r Istanbul is ﬂexible on currency; so dollars, euros and of course lira are used Julian Walke in transactions. Spot Blue 36 Districts popular for buy-to-let include Bahcesehir, Beylikduzu, Basaksehir and Sariyer. +44 20 8339 60 m Taking Beylikduzu, for example, its appeal lies in its excellent transport www.spotblue.co connections, its four university campuses, the shopping it has – including the Beylicium and Beylikduzu Migros shopping centres, and its Tuyap Exhibition Centre. Encouragingly, the Government here has a handful of infrastructure projects in the pipeline which should improve investment conditions further. The Marmaray rail tunnel linking the Asian and European sides of Istanbul opened last October and is expected to boost trade between the two continents and open up many districts of the city. Meanwhile, a Marmaray tunnel for cars is planned, as well as a hugely expanded underground system and a third bridge over the Bosphoros. Istanbul is also building a third mega airport, set to be the world’s largest airport. This activity is helping to attract foreign trade and investors, including from the UK. British goods’ exports to Turkey were up 11.3% in the ﬁrst eight months of 2013. Istanbul’s rising prominence on a commercial is level is perfectly complemented by its cultural scene – it’s an exciting place to hold conferences or come for a long weekend. This is evident in the increasing number of world-class hotels opening here, and the ia Colomb hugely expanding network of ﬂights offered by Turkish tunnel il a r y Airlines, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines. a mar
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Wish you were there? Exhibitions and events of April and May GRI Summit, London Where: Soﬁtel St James, London When: 29-30 April Website: www.globalrealestate.org Well over a hundred senior executives attended the Global Real Estate Institute event in central London, each paying almost £2,000 for the two days – including the speakers. On day two, when OPP attended, there were nine diﬀerent sessions, and the subjects covered included super-prime residential, student housing, ﬁnancing, logistics and property investment trends. The format worked very well, with 30-50 people sitting in the round, with the chairman and panelists on the same level, allowing for a free-ﬂowing discussion. Had there been any windbags in the room it might have got tedious, but in each of my three sessions everybody, without exception, was interesting and to the point. Journalists attending signed up to ‘Chatham House
Portugal Property Conference Adolfo Mesquita Nunes
Hard-hitting dicussions at the London GRI Rules’ which means that no-one could be quoted, allowing for a free-ranging and honest discussion. There were also long (45 minute) gaps between sessions for networking, and a very nice lunch. I learned a lot.
de Rougemont and Diogo Ferreira of Vale de Lobo, with a relaxed and entertaining compere. Earlier in the day there had been a networking lunch. The evening went on to a session entitled: Living in Portugal – Why Buy Now? a more customer-oriented event.
FIABCI 65th World Congress
Where: Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel, London When: 1 May Website: www.portuguese-chamber.org.uk The 10th Portuguese Chamber Property Conference was held on something of a high, following the announcement the day before that Portugal is making a ‘clean exit’ from its bailout conditions. The Secretary of State for Tourism (pictured) and Portugal’s Ambassador to London were there to bask in the glory. The daytime was for industry professinals, with a series of speakers talking about the success of the golden visa programme, the favourable tax arrangements and how much the British like Portugal. There was a panel discussion including lawyer Rosemary
Where: NCCK, Luxembourg When: 17-22 May Website: www.ﬁabci.org FIABCI conferences are unique. They combine highquality seminar content, access to a small number of relevant exhibitors and a vibrant social and networking programme in a way that attracts hundreds of FIABCI members from all over the world. Their 65th World Congress was special for a number of reasons. First, the theme, “Building Humanity”, explored some of the really pressing issues about sustainability, carbon emissions and climate change in a comprehensive way, leading to a programme of action. OPP will be covering this important development in future editions. Second, how often do you attend a real estate conference supported by a Grand Duke and his entourage and in a building that usually houses the European Union Council of Ministers? If you’re interested in joining FIABCI or ﬁnding out more go to www.ﬁabci.org
Coming up from OPP After the great success of OPPLive Asia, we’re looking forward to the next big events...
Here at OPP we are working feverishly on our first oPPlive China, which will take place at the China world hotel in Beijing on 23-24 october 2014. Building upon the huge success of the 2012 and 2013 oPP tours to China, oPPlive China will take the traditional and popular concept of OPPlive – networking, learning and making money – to a new audience. The event has three main aims. First, it will allow developers and master agents from around the world to present their projects to large numbers of Chinese agents anxious to sell into the massive Chinese market. OPP expects about 750 Chinese real estate and immigration agents to attend the event. Second, it permits these Chinese agents to encounter and explore those projects and decide whether they wish to sell them. the projects will be from many countries and of many types. Many will be exhibited in China for the first time. OPPlive China makes the whole process of meeting potential partners and evaluating whether you can work together to mutual advantage simple, pleasurable and much quicker and cheaper than doing so piecemeal in the traditional way. The third aim of OPPlive China is to provide education and training to both the local Chinese delegates and the visiting exhibitors. A comprehensive seminar programme will cover not only the opportunities in markets around the world but also the key questions of how to take advantage of the immigration programmes now open to Chinese investors and how to deal with the inevitable cultural and commercial differences that exist when, for example, a US developer wants to work with a Chinese-based agent.
Reuben Gurunlian TEL: +44 (0) 203 540 2224 EMAIL: email@example.com WEB: www.opp-connect.com
It’s back. Now in its 9th year and bigger and better than ever, OPPlive (now called OPPlive london) returns on 27-28 November 2014. This year we will be in a larger and more convenient venue, the Novotel london West at Hammersmith. One of its many benefits is that we will be able to hold the Gala Dinner in the same place – no more dashing from one venue to another! Those of you wanting to stay in london will also be able to stay in the same place. Apart from that, the formula remains much as before: a combination of exhibition – attracting new exhibitors from new countries – quality seminar programme and networking opportunities. this year our seminar programme – to be announced shortly – will make special provision for the needs of CEOs and contain a section encouraging and informing new entrants to our industry. We will also look closely at some of the key opportunities and threats facing our industry: making money from immigration; rising to the challenge of sustainability; financing your business, your project and your buyers; and how to get the best out of portals. Plus, of course, no OPPlive would be complete without our review of opportunities in the coming year. As an added attraction, this year we will again run the oPP Gala Dinner and present the oPP Awards for excellence on the first evening of the show: Thursday 27 November.
Where will you be? Real estate events of summer 2014 RGR National Real Estate Congress
SOCHI, RUSSIA host of the last Winter Olympics, will see 12-14 Sochi, the 18th Russian Guild of Realtors (RGR) June Congress. The show will include broker and agent practice sessions, professional training seminars and round tables. The Congress will also host the awards ceremony for the 2014 ‘Professional Recognition’ competition. During the RGR Gala Dinner, the inauguration of a new president for the organization will take place. A cultural programme is also planned, featuring a sightseeing tour. www.congressrgr.ru
Africa GRI 18-19 JUNE
NAIROBI, KENYA Focusing on the largely untapped sub-Saharan region, the Africa GRI 2014 will provide sector analysis, risk assessment, partnerships and joint ventures. The event focus will be on informal group conversations, in which all present will discuss investment and development opportunities in Africa. The event aims to draw in the top players in the region to talk about long-term trends and indicators in sub-Saharan Africa, making plans for successful and sustainable growth. www.globalrealestate.org/Africa2014
Smart Building Congress
Hilton, San Francisco, USA
Real Estate Connect is where real estate and technology converge, where thousands of leaders gather to explore current trends and technology, network and make deals to grow their business and shape the future of the industry. The event is organised by the Inman News Group. The event is expecting over 2,000 industry leaders, over 100 speakers and “the best and the brightest in real estate technology”. Past events have been entertaining, useful and often surprising. www.inman.com/connect/real-estate-connect-sf-2014
Home Buyer & Property Investor Show
Sydney Showground, AUSTRALIA 18-20 The Home Buyer & Property Investor show aims to educate home buyers and property july investors. The show has an extensive advertising programme which should ensure a large targeted audience for exhibitors. Seminars include an outlook for Brisbane, negotiating tips, “Boom or Bubble” and a slew of confidence-increasing talks for potential investors. The organisers also hold events in Perth (TBC), Brisbane (May) and Melbourne (August) www.homebuyershow.com.au
Sao Paulo, BRAZIL 27 aug The five-day Convencao Secovi 2014, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, features industry networking, 1 sep presentations, workshops, property showcase and tours; capped off with the annual Master Imobiliario awards on Monday 1 September. The four day conference, which includes presentations about the Brazilian and international real estate market, an international urban forum and tour of real estate projects, takes place in São Paulo and is organized by Secovi. The award ceremony is held on the final day of the exhibition. www.semanaimobiliaria.com
Shanghai Marriott Hotel, CHINA 25-26 Smart Building Congress is a place to gather senior experts from architectural design JUNE institutes, contractors, real estate developers, MEP consulting rms, system and facility manufacturers. They will explore the new technologies, new products and new thoughts of green and high-effective building in the fields of smart building, lighting, security, system integration and smart hotel. Over 200 participants are expected this year. www.jfpsgroup.com/shsmartbuilding
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Mortgages in India Can a foreigner obtain a mortgage in India? What types of mortgage are available? Type of mortgage
Interest rates from
Maximum term (Years)
Maximum age at repayment
Any loan size considered
Any loan size considered
Any loan size considered
Hybrid (part fixed, part variable)
Any loan size considered
Any loan size considered
Any loan size considered
Buy to let (assessed on rental income)
Fixed Interest Variable Interest
What are the lending criteria? This depends on the individual mortgage provider. However, typical lender requirements for Indian mortgages can be found below: Aﬀordabilty requirements: The cost of the applicant’s existing liabilities and new mortgage should not exceed 40% of their gross income. Employment history: Minimum 36 months required. Self-employed history: Minimum 36 months required. Regions accepted: All Indian mainland regions considered. Property types accepted: Existing properties and new builds. Applicants accepted: People of Indian origin. Individuals and companies considered.
Further information Currency options for mortgage payments: Indian rupee. Some lenders will require you to open up a bank account. Securing a mortgage oﬀer can typically take between four and six weeks.
The OPP monthly mortgage report is brought to you by Connect Overseas, international mortgage advisers. They are based in the UK but deal with mortgages in over 50 diﬀerent countries around the world. See www.connectoverseas.co.uk. They can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by telephone on +44 (0)1708 676134.
This guide was accurate at the time of production.The mortgage market changes all the time. For more industry reports see:
FX REPORT Euro Words | Charles Purdy, Director of Smart Currency
Euro faces an unclear future I
t is diﬃcult to know where to start, given all the problems the Eurozone (and therefore the euro) is facing over the next few months. One of the major problems is that the economic recovery in the Eurozone is not gaining the traction hoped for. It is two paced, with the northern states, primarily Germany, seeing greater growth than the southern states. We are also seeing low inﬂation levels, although again it varies quite signiﬁcantly in diﬀerent areas. The talk is that the European Central Bank (ECB) will do one of two things or even both. Firstly, they will reduce interest rates – which could mean that they become negative. Eurozone banks would then have to pay the ECB interest for depositing money with them! The second way of helping the economy is to “pump money” into it, which means that there will be an increase in liquid funds which should increase activity. Both measures will undermine the euro.
We also have a situation where the capital adequacy of most – if not all – of the European banks are being closely scrutinized. There has been a worry for a while that the banks are not being “truthful” with the level of their bad debts and they are not writing them down as they should. Therefore they need to raise additional equity funds. As a result we have seen the euro weaken against both sterling and the US dollar over the last few weeks and months – and we don’t expect a change in this any time soon, especially as there is talk of the UK increasing their interest
rates sooner than expected. But there is one beneﬁt of a weakening euro and that is their exports will become cheaper and hopefully will lend that much needed boost to the Eurozone economy and its growth.
Get your live quote today or discuss your property business and impact of the foreign exchange – call the partnership team at Smart Currency on +44 (0)207 898 0541
EUR per GBP
EUR per CNY
There has been a worry that the banks are not being “truthful” with their level of bad debts
EUR per USD
0.115 0.105 0.095 2010
THE OPP INTERVIEW Andy Bridge, A Place in the Sun
A Return to the Sun
A Place in the Sun magazine is 10 years old this spring. We spoke to Andy Bridge who’s led APITS Ltd through the storms
he TV show A Place in the Sun has been running continuously on the UK’s Channel 4 since 2000. It is easily the biggest brand name in overseas property. Andy Bridge bought the rights to the print, digital and exhibition versions of the TV show in late 2008, expecting a difficult 6-12 months. Five years later, as he plans new show dates and a revamped website in response to agent demand, he reflects on a turbulent but determined five years. Why is the UK market so big? By nature the British are exploratory and curious about other cultures in a way that others are not. If you asked a Parisian where do they want a second home, they’ll say somewhere on
the Ile de Ré or Brittany. They don’t have a tradition of buying overseas property. Neither do the Spanish or Americans. Many don’t even have a passport. But the British do,
By nature the British are exploratory and curious about other cultures in a way that others are not and the weather is another driver of that. Are you seeing new buyers? I think it matches a lifestyle that
people want. It’s quite glamorous, you know, flying off to your overseas property. The baby boomers and ‘rave’ generation have choices and options as they retire: they don’t want to sit around waiting for the end. So once they’ve got rid of the mortgage, downsized in the UK, where else are they going to put their money? What’s better than sitting in the sunshine, on their terrace drinking something chilled, and looking over the sea? People like familiarity, going back to the same place. It used to be Margate, now it’s Moraira; you get to know the barman, learn a bit of Spanish..., people enjoy that. And they also want to own things, but not to put all their life savings
Age: 50 From: Lancashire, England Education: University of Ulster: English and Irish Literature First job: Teaching English in Spain Career highlight: Briefly thinking I was flying first class when on a business trip with Michael Hesletine at Haymarket Publishing. However, he turned left, I was directed right.
Andy Bridge Managing Director
andy.bridge@aplace inthesun.com tel: +44 (0) 20 3207 292 0
Management style: Common sense, respect and decency, until the point when someone really crosses you, then do what you like with them. Where Andy would buy: Ireland, Spain or Thailand. Favourite city: Bangkok. I like proper cities. Bangkok is worth exploring, fantastic food at all levels, fascinating culture, intense heat and aromas as soon as you get off the plane, welcoming people, great ingenuity.
into an overseas property, just an affordable amount for a property they can visit for a weekend without taking loads of suitcases, and that their friends can use. How does investment ﬁt in? I think the idea of fractional ownership in its many iterations is a good idea. Our brand stands for holiday home ownership, but many investment products are essentially just other ways of buying a holiday home. Our stuff is all about end use. Which is fortunate because that is the market that has come back.
Do you see any threats? It all depends how sustainable the UK recovery is. I cannot imagine it will be as bad as it has been,
We thought we might have a difficult time in 2008 but had no idea how bad it was going to be but if the recovery is driven by unsustainable house price rises then it is vulnerable. And the government is going to hit us with more austerity measures after the next election [in May 2015]. Those measures may not directly affect the potential buyers, but it can damage confidence. The last few years hasn’t been too bad for “the haves”, in a decent
job with a low mortgage rate and low inflation. But for the first couple of years they were worried about their jobs and hence their primary residence and their family. Once we got to about 2010/11 they were fairly confident that their job would be okay but they had no confidence in anything else and thought that prices were still falling. Now they’re returning. What next for APITS? We are looking for additional exhibition dates next spring because of demand from our exhibitors. The website is another big growth area. Our traffic is up to about 300,000 visits per month, from 120,000 last year. So it’s significant. We are smaller than Rightmove Overseas, but while that is a property search site, we have editorial content so we can reassure and motivate and help a potential buyer. That’s what people expect from our brand in a way they wouldn’t with Rightmove, and we are building the next phase of the website right now, with a dedicated website writer for the first time, plus content provided by commercial partners, and via reader forums. The magazine is still our calling card. If the BBC calls us for an
When did you get involved with A Place in The Sun? I started in January 2006. When the original publisher went down [in late 2008] I formed APITS Ltd with some investors and managed to secure the rights from Channel 4. We thought we might have a difficult start but had no idea how bad it was going to be. From the point of view of selling media to overseas companies, we reckon the market declined by 90%.
But we have all learned how to do more with less, and we don’t claim any particular genius or brilliance; were it not for the brand we would have struggled like all the other magazines. In 2013 we felt things were getting better but the significant improvement has only been in the past four months.
THE OPP INTERVIEW Andy Bridge, A Place in the Sun
Before the crash: the first edition of the magazine...
interview they want to speak to the editor of A Place in the Sun magazine. It’s something that no-one else does and it’s an achievement to have kept the magazine going. But it’s not done out of vanity – there is a section of our audience who want print not the web. And that combination of print, TV, website and live events helps keep our position in the market. We may not be the biggest overseas portal but we are the biggest brand in overseas property.
How has it been running a portal? Where you would never miss a deadline in the magazine, there is a temptation to let things slide online – hence the new writer. You keep more of the revenues you earn online than from print but the set-up costs are high. We have had a few false starts: many people claim to be experts who turn out not to be, and in the end we decided that we could do our own IT and database. What is exciting is the immediacy of the impact. For example when a company is in an article and we see an immediate rise in traffic
...and still going ten years later, with an updated style
and people enquiring about their properties. The challenge for us is that almost all the companies in our segment have become publishers. Agents, developers, financial companies, they all want to do a buyers’ guide as way of getting enquiries and sell their services. We are writing guides – written and edited properly – because that’s what we do, but
I hope that this time around in the industry there will be more common sense and less greed we are competing with a noisy landscape. What are your hopes for the industry? That there will be more common sense and less greed this time around, aided by a more astute buyer. The sector needs to look after itself, with better regulation. A lot of buyers have been treated in a pretty disrespectful way in
the past and I just hope it won’t happen again as buyers return. Where will people buy now? Our market is going back to what they liked before – Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Florida. The emerging markets were driven by airline routes and price, as prices went crazy in places like Spain and Portugal, but now people can get what they want where they want it. There has also been a realisation that flying on budget airlines is a pain, but if you can do it in an hour and a half, it’s bearable. To France, Italy, Spain, Portugal you can get on a train or drive. Then there is the obvious one, Florida, and it is just amazing what you can get there. It is truly remarkable what you can get for your money there. Also people will get more adventurous with those destinations they know, for example, the rural areas of Spain and Portugal, where you see vast and inexpensive property just an hour from the coast. Further away, I do like Asia. You can buy a place for not much money and spend the worst of the winter out there. I think more and more people will want to do that.
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NORTH AMERICA’S BUYING MARKET 2014
NORTH AMERICA’S BUYING MARKET Canada
anada is a country more known as an expat magnet – so much so they have started severely restricting the number of visas they are issuing. There is also a tradition of buying a second home on a lake or ski resort as a weekend option away from the big cities, rather than abroad which is, apart from the US, quite a long way away. But plenty of Canadians also buy across the border in the US, and you can blame the famously bitter Canadian winter for that. Last winter was the worst for 20 years so agents selling to Canadians should be cashing in before the hideous memories fade! These are the famous ‘snowbirds’ ﬂying and driving south for winter. An estimated 800,000 Canadians spend at least three weeks each year in the
MEET THE BUYERS:
United States. Where else? According to a report in Canada’s Globe and Mail in 2011, the top destinations for Canadian expatriates are: USA: 1,100,000 Hong Kong: 300,000 UK: 73,000 Lebanon: 45,000 Australia: 27,300 China: 20,000 South Korea: 14,200 Germany: 13,400 France: 12,000 Japan: 11,000 Some of these, for example in the Lebanon, were refugees going home. And as in the US, this can be lucrative market for agents selling in Canada. For example, expat children wanting to support elderly parents in the countries like China and India where
Investment is a potential market, with predictions that the domestic market is about to tank so many of Canada’s new arrivals have come from. Another potential market is investment. With some pundits predicting the Canadian property market to tank in the near future, investors may look to bail out and put their money abroad. In that case South America, the Caribbean and former Commonwealth countries have proved popular with Canadian property investors.
Canadians are used to saving up to buy second homes, as it is popular to own vacation properties in ‘cottage country’ where they often go for weekends or summer breaks. But those who want the guarantee of sunny weather, even in the depths of the freezing Canadian winter, turn to overseas property, with most looking in the neighbouring United States. West-coast buyers tend to look to California and Arizona USA, and Mexico, while those on the East Coast turn to Florida and the Caribbean islands. St Kitts and Nevis is a particular favourite. Canadians are also canny property investors, who are particularly active in North and South America and the Commonwealth countries.
NEED TO KNOW
Legal/tax: US property tax rules, visa and legal regulations are often changing and Canadian property owners, especially snowbirds spending longer amounts in the country, need to be aware of the implications. Cultural: Canadian buyers tend to be more conservative, but the concept of second homes and long-distance travel are readily accepted.
WHERE TO SELL Estate agencies High street agents that will operate as master agents for overseas property include: RE/MAX: http://www.remax.ca Sothebys Realty: http://sothebysrealty.ca/en Keller Williams Realty: http://www.kellerwilliamsrealty.ca/kwca/ (US property) Century 21: http://www.century21.ca/ Coldwell Banker: http://www.coldwellbanker.ca/ Property portals http://www.worldproperties.com/en/Properties.aspx Industry bodies/useful sites CREA Canadian Real Estate Association: http://www.crea.ca/ MLS: www.realtor.ca Real Estate Magazine (REM Online) http://www.remonline.com/
NEWSPAPERS Globe and Mail: Liberal, bestselling national paper. Online ($19.99 a month regular rate). Property supplement: GlobeLife Real Estate, every Friday National Post: More conservative. Online ($9.95 plus tax monthly) Property supplement: Post Homes, every Saturday MAGAZINES Canadian Real Estate Wealth. Monthly. $7.99
DATA Average earnings (CAN$48,250 a year) Average US purchase price (2013): US$183,000 71% of US purchases were in Florida, Arizona, and California, with the top targets in Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Detroit, and Naples. Almost all 98% of buyers purchased a residential property with 86% paying cash
B2B EXHIBITIONS Global Property Market Conference, 2 December 2014, part of the Toronto Real Estate Forum, 2-4 December 2014, Toronto, Canada Land and Development Conference, 16 June 2015, Toronto, Canada Buildex Express, 15 October 2014, Vancouver, Canada Buildex Vancouver, 25-26 February 2015, Vancouver, Canada
Unsurprisingly, Canadian property buyers are the largest group of foreign investors in the US property market, accounting for 23% of the US$62-billion total in the year to 2013, according to ďŹ gures from the National Association of Realtors. This is double that of the next highest overseas investors, the Chinese on 12%. Most Canadians (39%) opt for Florida, with Arizona at 24% and California at 8%.
B2C EXHIBITIONS The PropertyShow.ca, Toronto, 18 October 2014 The National Home Show Montreal, 6-15 March 2015, Montreal, Canada The National Home Show, 13-22 Mar 2015, Toronto, Canada 200,000 visitors, 800 exhibitors
NORTH AMERICA’S BUYING MARKET USA
United States O
rdinary, everyday middle class Americans do not have a big reputation for buying overseas, or indeed, in many cases, even owning a passport. You can see why – within their own borders they already have a huge variety of geography, climate, cities and national parks. But with a population of 318 million, many of them superwealthy, there are certainly valuable market niches to be found. It doesn’t take long looking at American culture to see there is a strong interest in Europe, based
partly on strong historic ties to countries like Italy and Ireland. We also see plenty of Americans
Americans do not have a big reputation for buying overseas, or indeed, even owning a passport buying in Tuscany, the south of France and Spain. And while Mexico may be seen as wild and
lawless among many Americans, that hasn’t stopped some 750,000 of them living to Mexico – and that’s just the legally registered ones. Many are retirees, staying for the warm winters and the cheaper cost of living. Panama is another popular choice, with at least 20,000 US residents. But with American property itself so inexpensive (compared to for example, Canada and the UK), in order to tempt them oﬀshore developers and agents may have to oﬀer a sizeable bang for their buck, and proper American standards of service.
MEET THE BUYERS:
Investors: Clear and objective data on where Americans invest in global real estate is hard to come, but one important source is the AFIRE (Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate) rankings. Ignoring all reference to US investment, Germany heads the Ranking of the Country Providing the Most Stable and Secure Real Estate Investments, followed by the UK, Canada, which lost ground to the UK in 2013, and Australia. Again after the US, the Country Providing the Best Chance for Capital Appreciation is Spain, followed by the UK, China, Australia, Mexico and Brazil. In the Ranking of Countries for Real Estate Acquisitions (2013 Executions and 2014 Plans) the UK, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Australia and China are the main targets.
The top ﬁve investing target nations (AFIRE member survey 2014) 1. China (2 last year) 2. Brazil (1 last year) 3. Mexico (5 last year) 4. Columbia (equal 7 last year) 5. Peru (equal 7 last year)
Americans overseas: The US does not oﬃcially count how many Americans live abroad, however a report by a thinktank, the Migration Policy Institute, quoted estimates of between 2.2 million and 6.8 million. Of these, a third were in Europe, a quarter in Asia-Paciﬁc and the majority of the rest presumably in Canada, Mexico and the rest of Latin-America. Another study found that 6,400 Americans moved on average each year to just four countries – the UK, France, Italy and Canada. Returning migrants: One vital market is overseas residents in America returning to their home country. There are 41 immigrants in the US, and if only a small proportion of them ever want to return ‘home’, that can still add up to a large number. Of the immigrants, 52% were Latin America, 29% were Asian and 12% were European.
MILLIONAIRE’S CHOICE US millionaires see real estate as the top asset to own this year. According to wealth management data from Morgan Stanley, 77% of investors with at least $1million in assets own real estate. Direct ownership of residential and commercial properties was the top alternative-investment pick for 2014, with a third of millionaires surveyed saying they plan to buy this year and 24% saying they expect to invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts, the second-most popular choice.
WHERE TO SELL Estate agencies: High street agents that will operate as master agents for overseas property include: RE/MAX: www.remax.com Sothebys Realty: www.sothebysrealty.com Keller Williams Realty: www.kwworldwide.com Century 21: www.century21uk.com/overseas Coldwell Banker: www.coldwellbanker.com/international_real_ estate_search Property portals: http://www.worldproperties.com/en/Properties.aspx Industry bodies/useful sites: NAR: http://www.realtor.org MLS: www.mls.com | REIT.com: http://www.reit.com
NEED TO KNOW Home advantage: US buyers often compare foreign opportunities with what is available in the United States and tend to be loyal to home developments.
Magazines International Living: Monthly $49 year subscription Ocean Home: Bi-monthly $5.99 Unique Homes: Bi-monthly. Digital free Homes & Estates: Bi-annual. Digital free Realtor Magazine. Monthly: Nonmember subscriptions: U.S., $56; Canada, $83; international, $103 REIT Magazine. Bi-monthly: Free ﬁrst issue subscription promotion Real Estate Magazine. Monthly. Free digital magazine. http:// remag.rismedia.com: Realty411: http://realty411guide. com/ B2B Exhibitions Realtors Conference & Expo, 7-10 July, New Orleans Inman Connect, 16-18 July, San Francisco Agent Reboot, 4 June, Dallas; 15 July, San Francisco; 26 Aug, Washington; 21 September, Chicago; 8 October, Arizona; 18 November, Fort Lauderdale; 10 December, Boston REIT Week, 3-5 June, Waldorf Astoria, New York Realty411: 4th Annual Success Real Estate Expo 24 May, Los Angeles RealShare Student Housing, 4-5 June, The Encore, Las Vegas NAHB International Builders’ Show, 20-22 January, Las Vegas
Europe gaining attention: London was named as AFIRE investors’ top global city. Spain was the second best country for capital appreciation, receiving 21.1% of the votes and up from ﬁfth last year. Madrid and Munich appeared among the top 10 global cities. While the US remains the primary target for foreign investment, 69% of survey respondents aim to make modest to major net increases in their European portfolio.
New York Times: Home section every Thursday. Online ($99c subscription oﬀer). LA Times: Home section every Saturday. Various subscription oﬀers available Wall Street Journal: Real Estate Section every Friday: Half-price subscriptions available online Washington Post: Real Estate Section every Saturday. Online ($99c subscription oﬀer).
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■■■ CBN supports outward investment from China We reach
●High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) ●Estate agents focusing on overseas properties; ●Immigration specialists; ●Large number of wealthy private buyers as well as ●Institutional investors; ●Large SOEs and most profitable Chinese developers seeking development opportunities and business partners overseas
●Real estate developers; ●Property brokers and Estate agents; ●Investment destinations; ●Infrastructure developments; ●Land owners and brokers ; ●Specialist expertise and many more
■■■ Overseas Properties Investment Centre ●Agent acquisition ●Company set up ●Government connections ●Media planning and buying ●Investment promotion both online and offline ●Seminar arrangement ●Staff recruitment ●and fully equipped office away from the office English Version: www.ChinaBN.org/OPIC
CBD CB 国贸站 国 贸站 Guomao Station Station
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Overseas Investment Centre
蓝堡国际中心 BLUE CASTLE INTEN'L CENTER
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■■■ Contact Us CBN Beijing Office Add: Overseas Investment Centre 2710 Blue Castle International Center, 3 Xidawang Road, CBD, Beijing, P.R. China Tel: +86 (0)10 65816691 Fax: +86 (0)10 65836205 Email: Beijing@ChinaBN.org
CBN Shanghai Office Add: Suite 306 Fortune Times Tower No. 1438 Shan Xi Bei Road Putuo District Shanghai, P.R. China Tel: +86 (0)21 62275460 Fax: +86 (0)21 62275461 Email: Shanghai@ChinaBN.org
CBN Guilin Office Add: 6th Floor, Sancgem Center No. 33 Canluan Road, Qixing District Guilin, P.R. China Tel: +86 (0)773 3116618 Fax: +86 (0)773 3116619 Email: Service@ChinaBN.org
CBN London Office Add: 5-6 Ensign House Admirals Way London, E14 9XQ United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)207 5363 888 Fax: +44 (0)207 9873 888 Email: London@ChinaBN.org
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●Professionally translating, creatively designing and implementing a comprehensive web site or a number of web pages in Chinese and maintaining the Chinese web pages on the China Wide Web. ●Email your Chinese information with our recommendation to potential investors, senior officials of relevant authorities in China and key business decision-makers ●Providing your potential customers with direct access to your Chinese web pages via clearly categorized destination and section headings. ●Indexing and meta-tagging key words related to your destination and projects in Chinese search engines and throughout the China Wide Web. ●Supporting you in attending relevant exhibitions by setting up the stands and producing necessary collaterals in Chinese fairs or representing you to promote your projects ●Translating qualified enquiries and furthering business contacts with interested investors ●Facilitating buying trips and supporting investors in dealing with developers ●Nothing is too small for us; we will even design and print your Chinese brochures and bilingual business cards professionally in China to save unnecessary printing and postage cost.
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CBN provides complete value-added services that include:
BUSINESS Next month
Coming next month in TECH/PORTALS
AROUND THE WORLD
Return of the...
As its government starts a charm offensive and tourism effort, including buying 4,000 planes, we say; go on then Indonesia, impress us.
It’s shaping up to be Gunfight at the OK Coral, as estate agents rebel at the profits of portals and portals fight to hold onto a good thing. OPP investigates.
The next issue comes out just as OPPs head to the beach. We look at what they might find in holiday resorts this season and what is lined up for 2015.
Property finder. A new generation of freelance property finders are coming into the business. We ask how finders, developers and agents should work together.
Paris v London To mark the 225th anniversary of Bastille Day, and because London is now the 5th largest French city; a tale of two cities.
Africa We bring you the highlights and interviews from Property Investor Africa
PLUS ALL YOUR USUAL…
A new type of fund
OPP speaks to luxury holiday veteran David Rogers, who reckons he has discovered a revolutionary new way of shared equity ownership and is launching his London and Manhattan Funds this month.
The next leg in our Buyers’ Market tour stops in South America. Where are they buying, how do you reach them, how do they buy? We look at all the cultural and legal issues affecting buyers south of the border.
• News & comment • Branding ideas • Mortgage report • Currency report • Business and training • Correspondent’s reports • The OPP Interview • Statistics and data • Show previews, reviews
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BUSINESS The life of a ...
…Drone pilot Lifeless listings photos? So 2012. Drones have taken off in a big way as a versatile real estate tool Highclere Castle, of Downton Abbey fame. We filmed that.
BEN SHEPPARD Spider Aerial Filming ben@spideraerialﬁlming.com
pider Aerial Filming is a company that provides estate agents, TV production and many other industries with perspectives from an inch oﬀ the ground to 400ft in the air. All of this is ﬁlmed from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). UAVs, known to some as drones, are starting to play large roles across many industries, especially the estate industry. I’ve been ﬂying unmanned aircraft for over 20 years. Just over one year ago I decided to start Spider Aerial Filming in the hopes of providing the property market with a new and better way to sell their properties. Starting at the site, we backup the ﬁlm as we shoot. We are usually on site for 3-5 hours. This varies with property size and how complex the property’s features are. Once we arrive back at our workshop, where we have an editing suite, we go through each second of ﬁlm looking for the best shots. These best shots are then brought into our editing software and the process begins. Music is chosen once the footage is loaded and that’s when the production really starts to come together. A two-minute estate ﬁlm usually takes four hours to assemble. This is a ﬁrst draft that the client will get
delivered to them and then they tell us any changes they would like. It has deﬁnitely been an uphill battle to get the estate agents on board to sell aerial productions to their customers but we have seen a large increase in requests coming from the vendors. As part of our service, we follow up with our clients to see how they feel the aerial productions helped get viewings and they have had nothing but great feedback from
Photographs of these properties just aren’t enough to tempt buyers into viewings the buyers. Why just have photos to sell probably the most valuable asset most people own? Wide-angle photos of these properties just aren’t enough to tempt buyers into viewings. Aerial productions to music have feeling and ﬂow and help emotionally attach a prospective buyer. We believe that these productions
will become as standard as a brochure over the next year or so, especially as big businesses pick up on it – we’re already Savills’ provider of aerial ﬁlming and they have seen that this is the way forward. We typically ﬁlm the £5m - £25m+ properties for Savills. The new build market has had a lot of interest lately too. We usually host all of our videos on a private account. Most of the properties we ﬁlm require that the videos are kept private and are shown to speciﬁc buyers. There have been some videos, such as Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle) (http://spideraerialﬁlming.com/ highclere-castle/), which we do share with the public on YouTube and videos such as our Bourne Hill House and Stables (http:// spideraerialﬁlming.com/bournehill-house/). Bourne Hill has over 30,000 views! The costs for an aerial video production range from £1,200 - £3,300. These costs vary from company to company. My advice to estate agents looking to hire an aerial ﬁlming company is to do your homework. Make sure the company has the right certiﬁcations and insurance. www.spideraerialﬁlming.com
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Welcome to the Windrush Alliance Partners Programme - Creating and maintaining successful business relationships throughout the world Windrush Alliance is actively seeking professional partners to join our growing network of property professionals from around the globe. The Partners Programme is a concept designed to assist those already operating in the overseas property industry, and companies looking to promote overseas property more efficiently and successfully. The partners program was introduced for businesses and individuals to benefit from our experience, as a large proportion of our business is generated by way of partner sales. The partner program financially rewards those who introduce clients or close business directly.
Benefit from Real Estate Markets Our focus and partner program is designed to help people participate in the property real estate markets around the Globe with special focus on the Southern Italian region of Calabria. More than experience in the industry, we value your commitment to operate a successful business, whether you decide to dive in full or part time.
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