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In the years since 2009, the general trend has been for luxury property to lead the recovery.  It’s been a return to health with its roots in major cities and its main support has come from wealthy individuals buying homes: the recovery may have driven up house prices in global hotspots like London and it has created a two-tier housing market, but it isn’t an investor’s market; it’s driven by purchases.

Now, though, it’s time for the recovery to take a holiday.  According to Savills’ new report, Spotlight on Prime Residential Retreats, the recovery left beachfront properties in former hotspots like the Mediterranean, Alps, South Africa and the Caribbean high and dry while the rising tide floated boats in New York, Paris, Berlin and London.

In 2013 that story began to change.  A renewed appetite for leisure property saw growth of up to 10% in some leisure property markets, with more forecast.  Savills sees recovery in this sector led by Tuscany, the Balearics and the Caribbean – places characterised by the same combination of high quality and low supply that make London’s markets glow red-hot.

A major player in the new international property market is the investor-purchaser.  He’s not looking for a property to make money from: he’s looking for somewhere secure to put his money.  Bricks and mortar has always been option number one for the cautious investor, but properties in cities with strong markets are returning to full valuation (some say, and then some), leading investor-purchasers to look elsewhere.  Regional cities in Europe have been beneficiaries of this trend already but the markets of Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal represent too great a gamble.  Overseas prime leisure property is the answer.

Low interest rates in the Eurozone are another stimulatory factor for this market.  As the Eurozone’s governments try to make borrowing cheaper as an economic stimulant, overseas loans get cheaper and more attractive.

A final impetus is provided by the ‘Golden Visa’ schemes rolled out by various countries in the Caribbean and elsewhere with varying amounts of fanfare.  While they differ in their particulars, these schemes all operate by offering residency status to purchasers of properties above a certain value.

The French Riviera is the most desirable location for second home purchases.  The market is recovering, especially in terms of transaction volumes, though it’s starting from a low base.  An extremely limited stock, with little opportunity for new builds to match currently available quality, because of stringent French planning laws and the fact that in many cases the age of the property is part of its appeal, must be balanced against increasing demand from buyers worldwide.  Supply is inelastic, while demand is growing, making the outlook for the Riviera prices look sunny.

Currently, prices are running about a quarter below their 2007 peak, meaning that there are still some undervalued properties to be snapped up by savvy bargain hunters, though they’ll have to be starting with a solid financial base in a market where the average 4-bedroom house costs £2m and upwards.  Already got that Mayfair flat, St. John’s Wood house or Kensington mews?  The Riviera beckons…

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Falling land taxes and the introduction of residency permits have seen the market for quality holiday properties on the Greek island of Rhodes rise. The Greek property market has fluctuated over the last few years, in common with much of the rest of Europe, but since 2013 local agents Engel & Völkers has been registering a continuous rise in the number of enquiries.

Land tax has been slashed from 10% to 3% in the Greek island, and the trend to greater numbers of enquiries was reinforced when the new lower rate came into force on January 1 2014.

‘We have registered a 30% rise in the number of search customers for exclusive homes in desirable locations,’ says Georg Petras, Managing Partner at Engel & Völkers Rhodes.

The market in lower-priced homes is characterised by greater elasticity of supply – more homes can be built fairly cheaply, while the pool of potential buyers is quite small. For luxury homes the opposite is true: investors and buyers are increasingly interested from as far afield as Russia and the Middle East, but the stock of available homes is limited by Rhodes’ relatively small size and the quality of the properties themselves.

Buyers of holiday homes and luxury properties often aren’t fulltime Greek residents – they tend to be either wealthy foreigners or Greek expatriates and in many cases, they purchase property with little or no borrowed capital. The majority of international buyers hail from Germany, the UK, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and surrounding non-EU states but there’s an increasing amount of interest from the Gulf states, Russia and Eastern Europe. That’s partly a result of the increasing number of high net worth individuals in these places, reflecting a global trend; but it’s also partly caused by economic instabilities elsewhere. With stock markets capricious and growth uncertain, investors are eager to put their money into bricks and mortar, and ‘real estate in Greece is a good investment prospect once again as the bottom of the market in terms of property prices has passed and buyers are now being rewarded with high potential for appreciation in the value of their new homes,’ points out Mr. Petras.

Another appealing aspect to buying property on Rhodes, as elsewhere in Greece, is the fact that buying a property worth over €250, 000 automatically gives you a 5-year residency permit, which can be extended an indefinite number of times. This fact hasn’t been publicised as much as the ‘Golden Visa’ schemes of Portugal, Spain and Cyprus, but buyers and investors are getting wind of it and it’s boosting Greek fortunes.

The most sought-after locations on Rhodes are the old town of Lindos and the surrounding region, with the resorts of Pefkos and Vlicha. The whole of the island’s east coast down to its southernmost tip is also sought-after. Prices are high and homes with three or more bedrooms are most in demand. Interest in villas is particularly strong, with larger properties of five bedrooms running around €1.5m, apartments often about €125, 000 and three-bedroom villas ranging between €150, 000 and €200, 000.

Greek property may no longer be a bargain-hunter’s paradise, especially at the pricier end of the scale, but the market is clearly on the up.



While property sales in Warsaw appear to be still on an increase, the overall Polish property market seems to be taking a nose dive. Some real estate agencies like, Ober-Haus blame the difficulties of obtaining home finance as the culprit for this turn of events.

Many property developers of recently completed projects, seem to be offering promotions and ‘discounts’ to home-buyers. But the talk of price reductions seems to be making many buyers cautious and waiting, rather than buying.


With the current UK economic slowdown, the British pound is taking a nose dive as we speak (currently GBP/EUR 1.19 and GBP/USD 1.49 – a record low against the Euro). The current state of the weak British pound is putting a large number of foreign holiday property owners in a very tight financial spot as their mortgage payments keep increasing due to the exchange rate while increasing flight costs prevents them from visiting their property as often as they did a few months ago.


After being rejected to build his proposed £1 billion golf and housing resort in north east Scotland by the Aberdeenshire council’s infrastructure committee last year, Donald Trump has finally gotten approval for his project thanks to government intervention.

The 1,400-acre resort on the Menie Estate at Balmedie in Aberdeenshire, has enraged environmentalists because it is feared to damage precious sand dunes and bird life. Proposed are two 18-hole golf courses, a 450 room hotel with a conference center, a spa and 500 homes.

When the development was announced initially last year it sparked a lot of controversy because of the environmental issues. However, despite the opposition from the “greens” Trump has the full support of local businesses and politicians who deem the resort vital to the economy.

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London was yesterday, the official home of Britain’s largest shopping mall with the launch of the $2.8 billion Westfield London Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush (White City), a massive 265-store, glass-roofed shopping center. The centre’s owners; Westfield and Commerzbank AG are confident that the looming British recession; the worst since 1991 will not negatively affect the potential profits of the centre’s future.