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Counter-Intuitive Investment

July 8, 2010Article by Ray Withers

The international property market is becoming increasingly diverse – and dispersed. New markets take off, whilst others decline or stagnate. Investors, quite naturally, are seeking to spread their assets over a wider geographical area, as well as considering new commodities such as bamboo. They are spreading their nets both geographically and in the range of products they are prepared to consider.

Our aim at Property Frontiers is both to respond to these market trends and stay ahead of them, giving our clients a creative and constructive lead. The shift of global economic power and the state of flux in the financial markets often points us towards counter-intuitive leaps. We find new sites – and commodities – in areas that would not have previously seemed at all obvious and would often have aroused anxiety in the recent past.

In the area of property investment and wealth management, intuitive leaps – the so-called ‘eureka moments’ – are a great start, but not enough in themselves. The important next step is to transform creative inspiration into a package that combines good returns (capital, income or preferably both) with security and a sound exit strategy. We look for opportunities that appeal to the growing band of middle-income investors (see the 5th July blog on Fractional Ownership, for instance) and the higher-income band investor who wishes to diversify as much as possible. I have previously described security and diversity as the Yin and Yang of international investment. In this climate, clients are looking for a positive interplay of safety and creativity.

Yesterday’s blog referred to Sri Lanka – as the launching pad for our exciting new commodity investment, Dual Forestry, and as a potentially lucrative property market now that peace has returned and development taken off with a vengeance. Excited commentators cite it as the new ‘hot spot’ – comparable to Thailand or Bali fifteen years ago. But at Property Frontiers, we have to take the long view. We share the good feelings about Sri Lanka, but before we go further we shall be looking at the whole picture, including human rights reports, property law, the legal and political situation, and the mechanics of the peace process. We are asking rigorous questions because our investors – that is to say you – deserve no less.

This is not a one-way or top-down process: input from you, as readers, is not only welcome but essential. Which countries, and which commodities, do you think we should look at? What potential areas of development are we currently ignoring or neglecting?

Our market is increasingly democratic and pluralist – like many of the rapidly expanding economies where we now work.

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Written by: Aidan Rankin


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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