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60 second interview: George Houlbrooke

January 27, 2012Article by Ray Withers

Continuing our series of 60 second interviews, today we speak to an experienced member of the PF team, investment consultant George Houlbrooke on what his role entails, how he found the market last year, his predictions for 2012 as well as his favourite investments and ones to avoid.

What does your role involve?

I advise clients on different investment opportunities. Not all investments are suitable for every client, so it is important to make sure they are getting what they wish to achieve i.e. annual returns, low risk, defined exit strategy.

How do you think the international and UK property markets fared in 2011?

Surprisingly well. The UK property market (especially London) has attracted a huge amount of interest from UK based and overseas clients alike. Prices in general are low, and the rental market is also very strong. From an investment point of view, now is a great time to buy.

There are some fantastic markets overseas too. The US has some great value on offer and Istanbul remains a solid favourite for many of our clients. Both represent an opportunity for good capital gain and rental yields provide a stable annual income.

Of the Property Frontiers products, which is your favourite and why?

By far the Bamboo Bond. Great returns and unrivalled security. Bamboo is the fastest growing land plant on earth and has over 5000 uses!

Where or what is your hot tip for 2012?

South American farmland. Grain prices are the same worldwide but land is much more cost effective. Countries like Uruguay are perfectly stable and offer excellent opportunities for investment.

Where or what would you avoid?

Certain parts of the Eurozone. With what is happening with the EU, certain places would be too risky to invest in right now in my opinion.

If you had £100,000, where or in what would you invest?

I’d split it and put $50,000 (£30,000) in the bamboo bond as this would offer a great annual return for 15 years. I would also buy a London hotel room (Holiday Inn Express- London ExCel for £125,000) on 50% finance. The London hotel industry is booming currently and with the Olympics, World Athletics Championships and Rugby World Cup etc coming up in future years, it is only going to increase.

Do you agree with George or have questions on where to invest? We’d love to hear from you so please post your comments below.

Author

Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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