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It’s a Hard Life Said the Overseas Property [Blank]

May 31, 2011Article by Ray Withers

It’s a hard life! A phrase said by many the world over, obviously in different languages, and obviously with varying degrees of justification. People who say it because of things like not being able to get to the pub as often as they’d like because they have 2 gorgeous kids are a lot less justified than the parents around the world unable to feed or clothe their kids. But overseas property agents are pretty justified in this statement.

As we powered through 2009 the industry was hopeful that the global house price crash was into recovery and that things would really pick up in 2010. Unfortunately this failed to materialise. The recovery continued into the early part of 2010, and then the bears were proved right; with the rug of austerity began to be pulled from under housing markets and economies, prices started a renewed decline in many markets.

This is continuing into 2011, and overseas property agents are left wondering when the misery will end. Overseas property buyers on the other hand would be less justified in using the term, because for them the crisis has actually done them a favour by increasing value and quality in the industry, quality and value of product, but also quality of service as well.

During the boom selling overseas property was an absolute doddle, in fact it was practically selling itself. Fed by a wealth of biased information on the internet, a large amount of the enquiries and agent would receive would be people sold on the idea that overseas property investment was practically fool proof. All they had to do was sell them on a property, give them a few optimistic projections of 8% rental yields and that was it. Sold!!

When the first wave of buyers began to stick their head above the parapet in 2009, the agents who hadn’t already gone bust were greeted with a new breed of overseas property buyer, a no nonsense breed.

A breed of buyers who had already done a great deal of research on the markets they were considering from impartial sources, who had often already visited not only the area, but the developments they were considering as well. If the agent could not give them the answers they needed in a reasonable timeframe, or otherwise displayed unprofessional behaviour then they would talk to someone else.

Products have also been changed because of this. Just like agents have had to tidy up their acts, so too have developers, who began to improve their products, sharpening up on pricing, and increasing security with things like bank guarantees or escrow services. Light at the end of the tunnel.

But now for these dedicated, knowledgeable and ethical agents, selling high quality products to savvy investors, business is steady. Not steady enough for most to be expanding anytime soon, but certainly steady enough for them to carry on at their current capacity.


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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