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60 second interview: Stuart Cowie

September 29, 2011Article by Ray Withers

Continuing our series of 60 second interviews, today we speak to our newest member of the PF team, investment consultant Stuart Cowie, who has just returned from a visit to Istanbul, on what his role entails, how he has found the market so far this year, his favourite investments and ones to avoid.

What does your role involve?

My role as an Investment Consultant is to speak to and educate investors on new markets and products we have available. I will find out the investor’s needs and requirements and source suitable products for them. Ultimately I help investors achieve there financial goals through our asset class products which is predominately Real Estate and also Eco focused investments. Also it is important for me to forge lasting relationships with my Clients to create well balanced portfolios.

How do you think the property market has fared so far in 2011?

In 2011 we have seen a dramatic increase in investment levels into Real Estate globally. With the volatility in the stock markets and historically low interest rates across the board, property bought in the right location and at the right price offers the investor attractive yields and the potential for strong long term capital growth. Real estate is and will always play an important role in an investor’s portfolio.

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

Of the current Property Frontiers products my favourite product is Kensington Residence in Beylikduzu, Istanbul.

Istanbul right now is one of the few markets globally that offers the investor the unique combination of strong yields and capital growth. The fundamentals of the market are excellent with Turkey being one of the fastest growing economies and in Istanbul which is the financial powerhouse of Turkey there is unprecedented demand for housing. The ever growing population, good liquidity in the market and an imbalance of supply and demand will drive prices upwards over the next 5 years.

Beylikduzu which is a Western suburb of Istanbul is benefiting from the ripple effect of the City spreading out westwards. As well as improvements to the transport links to the City there is continued regeneration to the already established area which is attracting more and more people and its population is set to increase fivefold to 1 million residents by 2016.

Where is your hot tip, a market to watch?

The two markets which really excite me at the moment are Istanbul and also East London in the UK.

I have recently returned from Istanbul and as well as being a beautiful city the rate of growth is phenomenal in terms of economic growth and construction. The tourism market in Istanbul is also increasing at an alarming rate with just under 10 million visitors expected in 2011.

East London is undergoing major regeneration at the moment helped by massive investment created by the Olympic Park. I live and hold a property portfolio in and around East London and there is scope for excellent long term growth. Prices here are still competitive and on top of the investment off the back of the Olympics the transport links to the rest of London and Europe are second to none. Crossrail which is under construction will link East and West London and the ever growing financial district of Canary Wharf and City Airport will continue to attract businesses and residents to the area.

Where would you avoid?

I would avoid investing in any market where the macro economics of a country are weak which is the case of a number of countries in the Eurozone right now. Also I will always advise to invest in Real Estate where there is a demand and good affordability from the local market. With any investment you have to go back to basics and look at supply and demand, if demand is high and supply low this will always drive prices in the right direction.

If you had £100,000 where would you invest?

If I had £100,000 to invest I would buy a 2 bed apartment at Kensington Residences in Beylikduzu. This is a completed development where prices are very competitive and gives instant rental yields and excellent capital growth potential. I would use 70% LTV finance as leverage so would only need to put down around £35,000.

I would then invest around £30,000 in our fixed income asset backed Bamboo Bond as a long term income generator and to diversify my portfolio. The remaining £25,000 I would use as a deposit for a viable product in East London either a residential or commercial project.

Do you agree with Stuart or have questions on where to invest? Post your comments or queries below, we’d love to hear from you!

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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