I’ve had a few queries over the past months on whether there is any potential in property investment in overseas markets. The answer to this is an emphatic ‘yes’.
Ireland being in the state it currently is, it is easy to presume that the rest of the world is in an equally dire predicament. In truth it’s not. While many countries such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland have property markets and economies that are struggling very badly, there are other markets that are performing very well and have economies that are very robust. Even though Irish property prices are very low, it is difficult to encourage anyone to invest here on the basis that nobody knows from one day to the next who will go out of business, causing unforecast flows in both commercial and residential properties. The lack of availability of bank finance (despite what the banks may say, there is no evidence that any investor can currently get a loan from an Irish bank) means that it really is not an investor’s market at this point in time. All the pointers for investors are taking them abroad at this stage.
I could stay naming them for the rest of this article but, those you who have read my articles over the years, even back to when I wrote commentary on the overseas property market for the Sunday Business Post and Irish Examiner, will know that I’m not much of a fan of property in countries that take more than 3 to 5 hours to reach on an aeroplane from Ireland. This mercifully protects us from poring over the benefits or otherwise of places like Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia which may (or may not) under different circumstances be of interest to Irish buyers.
Instead we’ll stick with a couple of very tried and trusted markets. We’re very familiar with them, they’ve stood the test of time and in times of great uncertainty there is no room for guessing where the next ‘hot’ market is going to be. As outlined before, this is gambling, not investing.
Again, if you’ve read my previous articles you’ll know that I’m a big fan of solid markets with a long tradition of property ownership rights that deliver reliable rental returns. I’ve never been that bothered about capital gains, if you’re in a market for long term you can afford to cash out if a capital gain opportunity presents itself. If the market fundamentals are solid, such an opportunity will present itself on average twice in any 10 year period. In the interim, the property has to be able to pay for itself.
On that basis I’ve never really had much need to look beyond Germany and Sweden. Germany is somewhat out of favour (incorrectly in my opinion) with a lot of people due to the current uncertainty in Euro based countries. In my opinion Germany will be the engine driving the EU or whatever the EU turns into for a long time to come, I’d rather have my money there than anywhere else in the Eurozone.
If you do wish to move outside the Eurozone (and there is always a risk when crossing currencies) then I can see no reason to look beyond Sweden. It has had an economic collapse in living memory, has dealt with it and has come out the other side a wiser and far more cautious entity. I have a lot of experience of the Swedish market, having invested there myself, so as far as I’m concerned it is tried and tested and I don’t see too many reasons to look beyond it for safety and security of your hard earned cash.
You’ll find a recent article I wrote on the German market here and, seeing as the Swedish government do all this for you, there’s no point in my re-inventing the wheel.
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