Saturday 27 September 2008

Purchasing property in the USA

One of the most popular areas for Irish interest in overseas property over the past year has been the good old US of A. Whether it is the drop in the value of the dollar or the perceived value in this market, purchasing property in the USA has been a real hit with Irish investors.

For this reason we've decided to put a link to some of our most often visited pages when it comes to US property as well as articles, news and advice on the topic of purchasing property in North America. 

Just below that we've put a link to our most often visited pages when it comes to Florida property as well as articles, news and advice on the topic of purchasing property in the 'Sunshine State' which is still the most popular with Irish property enthusiasts.
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For a selection of property in the USA click here

For a list of agents selling property in the USA click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing in the US click here.

For news on the US property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from US agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring American property click here.

Florida Property Links

For a listing of property in Florida click here.

For a listing of Florida Estate Agents click here.

For a listing of Exhibitions showcasing Florida Property click here.

Friday 26 September 2008

Sell your Bulgarian Property

Have you been looking to sell your Bulgarian property? Well then we have some good news for you. What? I hear you cry, more good news, this can't possibly be. But yes, it is true, there is some good news in the world and OverseasCafe.com is here to bring it to you.

While Bulgaria is currently seen as a depressed market for Irish and UK investors, this is not the case overall and the market, especially Sofia and the other main cities, have all seen good strong gains this year.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Sofia has seen gains in excess of 20% this current year and, for those people who purchased apartments in Sofia, it is becoming decision time as to sell or hold on to the apartments.

Buyinbulgaria, a long established Irish company with an office in Sofia, is very interested in hearing from Irish people wishing to sell their apartments in Sofia. There is a ready market in good areas and apartments can sell in as quickly as a month.

If you've got an unfinished unit, the team at Buyinbulgaria also have a 'finishing' service.

Get all the good news here.

If you've got a property along the Black Sea coastline you wish to sell then this blog may be of interest.
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For a selection of property in Bulgaria click here.

For a list of agents selling property in Bulgaria click here.

For independent articles on the Bulgarian property market click here.

For advice on purchasing in Bulgaria click here.

For news on the Bulgarian property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from Bulgaria agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring Bulgaria property click here.

Thursday 25 September 2008

Overseas Property Investment - Flipping

We're delighted to announce that Independent Overseas Property Expert, Diarmaid Condon, is submitting a series of articles on overseas property investment for the overseas property advice section of our site.

Flipping is the most contentious means of investing in property. This is, essentially, the process of putting a down-payment on a property off-plan and then selling it before taking ownership.

It is also often also often used to refer to selling a property on shortly after taking possession but, in this case, the investor gets caught for full capital gains tax which a proper ‘property flipper’ would seek to avoid. Avoiding the capital gains tax is, incidentally, illegal in most countries, Ireland included, but it was still a very common form of investment until the beginning of the current economic crisis.

So far so good, but then of course everything is generally rosy until you go to actually sell that wonderful profit centre (overseas property) you purchased. As a lot of people have found out, all may not be quite as simple as the commission driven salesman would have you believe.

If you are considering investing in overseas property then this mini-series of articles on the main ways to invest, and what types of overseas property products are on the market, is an absolute must.

You'll find the full informative piece here.

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Croatian Government Streamlines Property Purchase Procedure

While good news isn't exactly abounding at the moment, there are stirrings that perhaps we have hit a bottom of sorts and maybe the 'only way is up', or so we would hope in any case. The US Fed's proposal to bail out their banks with all their crappy loans isn't meeting with universal approval, as you can see here, but at least there is a feeling that the problem has been quantified at this stage and the next step is to outline the steps to repair the huge damage that has been done.

In any case, we're happy to tell you that we have some more good news. The Croatian government has announced that it is to make the process of purchasing property there easier for EU citizens. This will obviously be wonderful news for anyone who is, like ourselves, completely in love with this stunning country. Croatian property may once again become a staple for the Irish overseas property buyer. It was very popular earlier in the decade, but interest has fallen off considerably in the past few years.

As reported on our own OverseasCafe.com site, EU citizens will have the same rights to purchase property as Croatian nationals, other than certain rural land. The Croatian government is also streamlining some of the other processes of buying property in the country to help harmonise domestic legislation with the rest of the EU. Croatia may also be joining the EU as early as next year, although it will more likely run to 2011.

If you are looking for a property on one of Croatia's many Dalmatian Islands then you could probably do worse than take a look at the Cushman and Wakefield offering called Kavanjin, a contemporary development of 86 one, two and three bedroom apartments on the north western side of Brac (that's Brac town in the photo), just a five-minute walk from the water, with views of Sutivan Bay and Split beyond. Prices are start at €157,500 for a 73 sq m one-bedroom apartment and ranging up to €369,000 for a 325 sq m three-bedroom apartment. You'll find more details here.

If you fancy the Dubrovnik area of the country there are also some excellent apartments in the beautiful area of Zaton Bay priced from €229,383. You'll find details here.

If the other end of Croatia is more to your liking then you could give Thurles native, PJ Broderick, a buzz about his Istrian property portfolio. His company, Croatian Property Consultants, is offering a small number of apartments in the Peroj region of Istria, Western Croatia. The company has four spacious apartments within a 10 minute walk of beach, village, shops, hotel, etc. The properties range in size from 500 sq. ft. to almost 1,000 sq. ft. with prices from €118,000 to €185,000. All apartments have excellent sea views. A ten minute drive away you’ll find the Jack Nicklaus Golf & Yacht Club at Barabarig.
The company also has 10 apartments located in two blocks in the historic town of Vodnjan, a 10 minute drive from Pula city and its airport. There is a selection of private beaches close by. Sizes range from 600 sq. ft. to 950 sq. ft. and these units are being sold fully furnished with a guaranteed rent of 6% for 2 years. All have sea views with prices starting from €85,000.
There is more info on other Istrian property available from the OverseasCafe.com website here.

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Monday 22 September 2008

Lynn to Give Evidence via Video Link

Those who have been duped by rogue solicitor, Michael Lynn, will no doubt be absolutely hopping mad at the news that he is to be allowed to give evidence in an Irish case without being brought back to Ireland. 

Lynn ran overseas property company, KenDar Holdings, roping in celebrity investors such as ex-Mayo footballer Willie-Joe Padden. The company also worked through a network of estate agents closely connected to the GAA and other sports organisations. 

Mr Lynn has agreed to testify in the case being taken by one of his former clients, Brian Cunningham, against First Active, over the collapse of his construction business.

Lynn refused to return to Ireland, and as there are no warrants yet which can be acted on abroad, he has agreed to give evidence via a video link.

The fact that Lynn's whereabouts are well known and that former investors in his property and legal companies still have no access to him to receive remuneration for money that was stolen from them will leave them fuming. 

Lynn is to give evidence from London on Friday 10 October and the following Monday and Tuesday if necessary.

The full story is available on the RTE website here

London Rents Suffer after Lehman Collapse

The Financial Times reports that the reprecussions of the collapse of Lehman brothers has been very swiftly felt in London rents, particularly in the City, the area most closely associated with the financial services industry. 

The piece says: "Cluttons, a network of estate agents covering property sales and lettings across London, has already had a number of tenants based in the Belgravia and Wapping areas give notice on their rental properties since the investment house declared itself bankrupt."

This will obviously be a very worrying development for those relying on lettings in the City, and there are plenty of Irish property investors among these. 

You can read the full FT report here
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UK Property Links

For a selection of property in the UK click here

For a list of agents selling property in the UK click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing in the UK click here.

For news on the UK property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from UK agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring UK property click here.

Saturday 20 September 2008

Affordable apartments in Matagorda, Lanzarote, Canaries

video

This video footage is of Brian Brosnan, owner of Lanzarote estate agent Bella Lanzarote, explaining the layout of one of the properties in the newly completed Matagorda Bay complex in Matagorda, close to the airport in Lanzarote, one of the most popular of the Canary Islands for Irish investors.

The apartments, which are all completed, are seven minutes walk to Matagorda Beach and in the middle of amenities such as the Matagorda Commercial Centre and the Playa de los Jameos commercial strip.

Prices start from a very respectable €89,000 for a studio apartment with sea views. 

For more information on this project click here

Friday 19 September 2008

Top 5 Articles on Overseas Property

We've regularly been asked what are the top 5 articles on overseas property on the site. Well here are the most popular ones from the past month for you. We've excluded blogs and properties from this, but we may visit those as well in the future.

The top 5 articles on overseas property from the site over the past month have been:

1. French Tax Hike to Affect Thousands of Holiday Homeowners (Advice)

2. Buyback Scheme Launched in Dubai by Irish Company (Agent News)

3. Irish International Mortgage Company Launch 80 - 90% LTV Mortgages in Portugal with Interest Only Options on Offer for the First Five Years (Agent News)

4. Couples Sue Over Orient Palace Millions (Overseas Property News)

5. Humber Valley Resort Selects Monarch Airlines as New Charter Partner (Agent News)
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See a selection of informative articles on the site:

Overseas Property News

Agent News

Editorial

Advice

Exhibitions

Selection of Overseas Property

www.OverseasCafe.com

Thursday 18 September 2008

Equity Release from your Overseas Property


We promised you some good news, and here is some, at last. It's taken a bit of scrabbling around but we've pulled something out of the hat. If you've got a property overseas and you're anxious to release some equity in it, for whatever reason, then this may be of interest to you. 

Foreign property owners can now access up to 80% of the equity in their foreign properties. ACAP Group claims it is the first and only international mortgage intermediary to offer this product to Irish customers, and we've no reason not to believe them.

So there you go, if you need a few bob to do whatever in these times of financial and economic turmoil, this may just give you another option. Don't say we didn't tell you so. 

See a full release on the product here.  
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 Click here for a list of financial information articles from the site 

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Could Alitalia be Next Airline Casualty?

Not meaning to worry you unduly but, if you've got flights booked with Alitalia, you should probably know that they're being hotly tipped as the next airline to go under. On Friday, Compania Aerea Italiana (CAI), a 16-member investor group that was proposing to rescue the company, walked out of negotiations saying it saw no possibility of agreement, and halted due diligence procedures.

According to an article on our own site the only reason the carrier is still operational is that the Italian state-controlled oil company has withdrawn a threat to close its pumps to the airline.

The site goes on to report that: "Union representatives met at the weekend in the offices of Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, who raised the political stakes by making an Italian solution for Alitalia a central pledge of his campaign this spring."

Just so you know, if you're expecting to fly with Alitalia, you might want to be prepared for some anxious moments.

In fact, postulating about who may be the next airline to bite the big one is now so rife that Paddy Power, the bookmaker, has opened a book on the next likely victim.

On its blog PP says: "Between Alitalia verging on the brink of bankruptcy and SkyEurope and Air Berlin attracting interest from pessimistic punters it’s all a little too close to call at the moment and if the betting today is anything to go by there could very well be a further ’spanair’ in the works…(pardon the pun, I couldn’t resist)"

No bets being taken on that particular employee (Sharon apparently) moving into the comedy sphere any time soon then?

For those that are interested the betting on various airlines can be found here. At time of writing Alitalia are favourites at 6 to 4 on, followed by Spanair at 11 to 4 with Sky Europe and Air Berlin neck and neck at 5 to 1. 

Of the Irish airlines Aer Arann is at 20 to 1, Aer Lingus at 66 to 1 and Ryanair at 100 to 1. 

It may be no harm to check the book before you book your flights, just to avoid any potential surprises. 
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Italian Property Links

For a selection of property in Italy click here

For a list of agents selling property in Italy click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing in Italy click here.

For news on the Italian property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from Italy agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring Italian property click here.

Monday 15 September 2008

Hats off to Ryanair

OK, some good news, at last. 

We've been quick to criticise Ryanair on a number of fronts but, you have to give credit where it is due. Kudos to the airline for offering one of its planes to take home some of the stranded passengers after the collapse of XL Leisure.

This has been seen by some commentators as merely a PR stunt but, lets be honest, even if it is fair play to the company.  Ryanair is no shrinking violet and isn't slow to blow its own trumpet, as you can see below, but it is good to see that there is still some common decency in corporate Ireland. The company probably had the plane lying around doing nothing as it has been contracting its routes somewhat of late, but this is beside the point, it didn't have to offer to lift a finger to help XL's misfortunate passengers, but it still did so. 

From Ryanair's website: "Ryanair, Europe’s leading low fares airline, today (12th September 2008), in response to their request, offered the CAA the use of one of its aircraft for the next two weeks in order to secure the return of stranded holidaymakers abandoned by the closure of bankrupt airline XL Airways. Ryanair is using one of its spare 737-800 aircraft to help the authorities in the UK and Ireland provide services for outgoing and returning passengers who have booked with the now defunct airline.
 
Commenting on the collapse of yet another bankrupt airline, Michael Cawley, Ryanair’s Deputy Chief Executive, said, in typical 'sit on the fence' Ryanair fashion:
 
“This is proof positive that passengers should not book their holidays with flaky, financially stretched airlines such as XL. Passengers should only book reservations with financially strong airlines such as Ryanair whom they know will be here for the long term. We are pleased to be able to rescue these passengers and facilitate the CAA in their efforts to repatriate them. We strongly advise passengers to be more discerning when they book their holidays and look first at the financial position of the airline with which they book.”

We did start off on a positive note on this blog but it is still difficult to ignore BA CEO, Willie Walsh's statement that, on top of the 30 airlines that have already gone belly up this year he expects 'up to 30 more airlines will go bankrupt before Christmas.' This is allied to previous statements that the 'era of cheap travel is coming to an end' (see our blog on same previously). It appears that the era of choice in the travel industry is also rapidly grinding to a halt if Mr. Walsh is to be believed, and he's in a better position to judge than most to be honest.
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Lehman Brothers Collapses

Those looking for good news on the financial markets should probably keep the radio switched off and buy no papers this morning. They probably shouldn't read this blog at the moment either. We're scrabbling around looking for the chink of light that would suggest that there might be some hope of a turnaround - unfortunately we can't find it just yet.

Lehman Brothers, the fourth largest investment bank in the US, has filed for bankruptcy. It had been in discussions with a number of entities, including Barclays, about a potential bailout. Activity had become frenetic over the weekend but, in the end, nobody bit and the world famous bank bit the big one.

It just goes to show the depth of the crisis in the US financial industry (we don't want to tell you 'we told you so' but if you read our blog on the credit crisis in February, we did indeed tell you so).

The most telling comment in the Telegraph's piece on the collapse came from Peter Sorrentino, of Huntington Asset Management who said: "The fact that no one wanted to step up with Lehman means that there's no incentive to be a hero at this point. If you buy this stuff and it's worse than you thought, they'll take you out and shoot you. The only way they can restore confidence is to find the cancer and tear it out as quickly as possible." Ouch.

On the Lehman Brothers' Homepage (www.lehman.com) you'll currently find the following link which says: "Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Announces It Intends to File Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Petition; No Other Lehman Brothers' U.S. Subsidiaries or Affiliates, Including Its Broker-Dealer and Investment Management Subsidiaries, Are Included in the Filing." Unfortunately when we visited the link didn't work but the heading pretty much tells the story in any case. Only a severe depressive would want to read the whole filing.

There's a nice succinct blow by blow account of the last flailings of the dying monster that was Lehman Brothers on the wonderfully named 'The Bank Implode-o-Meter' blog which you'll find here.

You'll find a Telegraph report on the collapse of Lehman Brothers here. Don't read it if you want to be cheered up this overcast Monday morning.

As with all these corporate collapses we should take a few moments to remember those lower level employees who, this morning, have no work to go to and nowhere to earn money in the direct aftermath. They are the forgotten victims of the corporate misdemeanours of the past decade.
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Friday 12 September 2008

XL Leisure Group Goes Under

We'd love to be able to bring you lots of good news on the blog, but unfortunately it's in fairly short supply at the moment. The price of oil is coming down, our inflation rate seems to be steadying and interest rates have at least stopped rising. Apart from that it is doom and gloom all the way.

XL Leisure Group, best known in Ireland for their low cost airline arm, XL Airways, has declared itself bankrupt. In a notice on its website this morning, www.xl.com, the company states:

"XL Leisure Group Plc, XL Airways UK Limited, Excel Aviation Limited, Explorer House Limited, Aspire Holidays Limited, Freedom Flights Limited, Freedom Flights (Aviation) Limited, The Really Great Holiday Company plc, Medlife Hotels Limited, Travel City Flights Limited, Kosmar Villa Holidays plc – All in Administration (the Companies)."

It continues: "On 12 September 2008, Alastair Beveridge, Nick Cropper, Simon Appell and Stuart Mackellar were appointed as Joint Administrators of the Companies by the Court. The Companies entered into Administration having suffered as a result of volatile fuel prices, the economic downturn, and were unable to obtain further funding. The Joint Administrators cannot continue trading the business and therefore all flights operated by the Companies have been immediately cancelled and the aircraft grounded. Going forward, the Joint Administrators are unlikely to be able to trade the business or operate the aircraft.

The notice concludes: "All passengers who have yet to commence their travel should make alternative arrangements as detailed on the website."

Customers currently abroad with Cruise City, Excel Holidays, The Florida Skytrain, Transatlantic Vacations, Travel City Direct, Travel City International, Kosmar Holidays, Freedom Flights or Aspire Holidays are all ATOL protected but will have to contact their holiday representative to find out what alternative arrangements for return travel and interim accommodation have been arranged. Those who have booked holidays with any of these companies but have yet to travel can claim a refund through their travel agent.

Those who booked online, or through a call centre, with XL Airlines have lost their money as the company is not ATOL protected. If you are currently abroad you will have to arrange and pay for return flights without compensation. The same goes for those who booked holidays with Medlife Hotels, it is not ATOL protected and no refunds are available.

For information from the Commission for Aviation Regulation, including claim forms for those affected by the collapse of the group, click here.

The full story is available on our own website here.

According to the Sunday Business Post, XL Leisure was the UK's third-largest tour operator after First Choice and Thomas Cook, so the effect of the collapse on the UK industry will obviously be huge.

The news will come as a heavy blow to the Irish travel business as XL was one of the rising stars of the industry. Any drops in capacity make the market less competitive and, in the longer term, will most likely lead to a rise in the cost of travelling and holidaying abroad. It is also a huge blow to airports like Knock which were serviced by the airline.

Keep up to date with everyting in overseas property, visit www.OverseasCafe.com.

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For a selection of property from around the world click here.

For a listing of agents selling overseas property click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing property overseas click here.

For news on the world of overseas property click here.

For new releases and product updates from agents around the world click here.

For a list of upcoming overseas property exhibitions around the country click here.

Register now to receive our informative newsletter, save searches and tailor your OverseasCafe.comexperience to your own needs.

Thursday 11 September 2008

Ryanair Flight Scare

Ryanair has suffered its second flight scare in less than a month as a Stansted bound plane was forced to return to Dublin airport after its tailskid touched the runway on takeoff.

The first scare occurred last month on a Bristol to Barcelona flight when a loss in cabin pressure forced an emergency landing in Limoges. 16 people were brought to hospital and there were claims that the oxygen system didn't work properly. The claims were fiercely denied by Ryanair's Michael O'Leary. Full details of the first incident can be found here

This latest incident could prove very embarassing, and potentially expensive, for the airline. O'Leary admits that the one thing the airline could never recover from is a poor safety record. Following many years with no reported incidents the last two occurrences happening in such close proximity may make passengers wary of the airline. This is a perception that no low fares airline can afford to carry, as it is only as safe as public perception deems it to be. 

This last scare must have been bad, apparently Ryanair offered 'free' refreshments to the passengers from the flight when they returned to Dublin airport. What is the world coming to?

The story on the latest scare can be found from BreakingNews.ie here and there is a slightly more in-depth report from RTE here

Orient Palace, Bodrum - Pursued in Irish Courts

There is an update on the Orient Palace project in today's Irish Times. The development is in Bodrum, Turkey.

The Times article says "Twenty-eight Irish couples who invested millions in a Turkish apartments development have been granted High Court permission to issue and serve claims for their money back on the developers." It goes on to say that the couples have "obtained an injunction in the Dutch courts freezing €4,329,000 they had paid into investment funds in the Netherlands."

According to the piece: "Irish, British and other investors paid more than €30 million in 2005 for apartments in Bodrum which were supposed to have been built and completed by the end of 2006."

It also says: "Yesterday's proceedings were launched against the Turkish company, Euro Holding AS, which, Mr Beatty said, claimed to own the property where 188 apartments were to be developed in a new five-star resort of 1,000 units. He said it now transpired they did not own the property."

The piece claims that Robin Donagh, a solicitor with Mason Hayes Curran, stated in an affidavit; "construction was to have been completed in September 2006 but instead the development is now an unfinished shell. There had been no further construction for more than 12 months and completion seemed unlikely."

He also said that Euro Holding had either acted as principal or in partnership with Unifin Groep BV, a Dutch-registered company with offices in Arnhem.

The piece also says; "Mr. Donagh said these two companies engaged with three other defendants, Turkey Real Estate Direct Ltd, Thomas Collins (Auctioneers) Ltd trading as Remax Associates; Celturk Ltd, trading as Astute Property International, and Med Dreams Property, in extensively advertising and marketing the development to Irish consumers. Unifin Groep had been legally established under Dutch law to market, sell and collect all purchase money for the development on behalf of Euro Holding."

This latest development with the Orient Palace development is detailed on our site, you'll find the piece here. The full Irish Times story is here. The article features in the Indo today as well, but it is practically the same piece, even written by the same guy, except that it's been edited more than the Times piece. The Indo article is here.

This development has been discussed in a previous blog which can be found here. Once again the picture used here is of the Orient Palace I in Alanya because the Bodrum project is only 40% complete (not Orient Palace II in Alanya which hasn't got any further than the Bodrum version). Couldn't have you looking at pictures of half finished buildings now, could we?

The Orient Palace project is, worryingly enough, still being promoted by Euro Holding despite the fact that the company has absolutely no possibility of completing the project in its current financial state. You can find the promotion at their website here
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Turkish Property Links

For a selection of property in Turkey click here.

For a list of agents selling property in Turkey click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing in Turkey click here.

For news on the Turkish property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from Turkish agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring Turkish property click here.

Register now to receive our informative newsletter, save searches and tailor your OverseasCafe.com experience to your own needs.

Wednesday 10 September 2008

US Foreclosures The New 'Big Thing'

They don't do anything by halves in the US, therefore the following shouldn't come as any great surprise in all honesty. The biggest trend in the US property market these days? Why foreclosure hunting of course - what else would you do in the midst of a full-blown recession and the worst economic crisis since the great depression. 

Business Week reports that foreclosures are up 53% on last year (report is from July but we doubt it's changed much in the past couple of months). US foreclosure website, www.foreclosure.com, is among the most visited sites on searching for the word 'foreclosure', it is visited by 14% of all surfers looking for the topic, and there are lots of them.

It's not all fun and games, however, because any foreclosed property obviously belonged to someone who couldn't afford to pay debts on it beforehand. It is reported that many of those searching for the term 'foreclosure' are desperate homeowners searching for ways in which to avoid having the bank sell their homes. There are some good hints and tips on www.hud.gov if this is your unfortunate plight. 

The Irish though, have no qualms about searching for cheap foreclosed property in the US. It is, in fact, becoming a national hobby. Irish investors are trawling the internet for bargains in what has always been one of its favourite marketplaces - the good old US of A. 
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For a selection of property in the USA click here.

For a list of agents selling property in the USA click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing in the US click here.

For news on the US property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from US agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring US property click here.

Register now to receive our informative newsletter, save searches and tailor your OverseasCafe.com experience to your own needs.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

Continued UK Weakness May Attract Irish Buyers

The RICS UK housing market survey for August 2008 showed that the average number of transactions fell further in August as a lack of mortgage finance continues to stifle the ability of buyers to access the market.

81% more Chartered Surveyors reported falling rather than rising house prices, a decrease from 83.1% in July.

The continued inability of many to secure mortgage finance is reflected in the collapse in transactions.  The average number of transactions per surveyor (over the last three months) is now at 12.7, the lowest figure since the survey began, with estate agents in a number of regions reporting less than a sale per week. 

In June and July, surveyors reported that many sellers had dropped asking prices to more realistic levels and that predatory buyers were waiting to pounce on bargains, but the traditionally weak month of August has seen this interest stagnate.  

Commenting, RICS spokesperson Jeremy Leaf said:

"A lack of mortgage liquidity is the key issue which is keeping the housing market from showing any real sign of recovery.

"While money is scarce, many will continue to be denied the next step on the property ladder. The Government’s stamp duty policy will not be enough to kick-start transactions and is more likely to assist buy-to-let investors with better access to finance than the first-time buyers it was aimed at. More needs to be done to reinvigorate a market whose confidence has taken a severe knock.

"In the absence of much transactional activity many home owners are being forced to rent their properties while they wait for lending criteria to be loosened and demand to pick up."

The full report can be found here

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UK Property Links

For a selection of property in the UK click here.

For a list of agents selling property in the UK click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing in the UK click here.

For news on the UK property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from UK agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring UK property click here.

Register now to receive our informative newsletter, save searches and tailor your OverseasCafe.com experience to your own needs.

Monday 8 September 2008

Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae get US Government Bailout

The US government has bailed out Freddie Mac and Fannie May, the two struggling companies that underpin the US mortgage market.

The move is generally seen as good for the property market. As the Times comments; "The US Government’s decision to guarantee the two groups’ survival is good news for British banks and, in turn, British homeowners. British banks have billions of dollars invested in bonds that are insured by Freddie and Fannie and they could have translated into huge losses if either group had gone under – leaving the banks with even less money to make available for mortgages. "

The companies financed more than 80 per cent of US house purchases so far this year. Between them they are responsible for $5,500 billion worth of residential mortgages, just under half the value of America’s $12,000 billion worth of outstanding home loans.

The government have insisted, however, on big changes at the top of the two companies. Daniel Mudd and Richard Syron, the current chief executives of Fannie and Freddie respectively, will leave their roles. Herb Allison, formerly of Merrill Lynch, becomes chief executive of Fannie. David Moffitt, from US Bancorp, moves to Freddie.

The markets seems to have taken the news well with initial market surges in South East Asian and European stock indices. Owners of shares in the companies may not be as happy, however, as analysts expect them to trade as 'penny stocks' in the wake of the move. See report from Forbes here.

The full Times article can be found here.

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For a selection of property in the USA click here.

For a list of agents selling property in the USA click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing in the US click here.

For news on the US property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from US agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring US property click here.

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Futura Gael Ceases Operations


The economic crisis and the cost of fuel have seen an Irish airline go bust. Dublin-based Futura Gael ceased operations at midnight last night and its aircraft are now grounded at Dublin Airport.

The company says the holiday operators it deals with have been notified. Financial Director at Futura Gael, Barry Matthews, has said that parent company, Futura International, is now seeking for a new investor to save the company.

Futura Gael was set up by Futura International Airways to get the necessary traffic rights to operate charter flights from Ireland to destinations outside the European Union. The airline operated charter flights to the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe.

For information from the Commission for Aviation Regulation on the collapse of the airline click here

You'll find the full story in the Indo here and on RTE here.

If you are due to fly with the company it is advisable to contact your travel agent to find out where you stand.
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Friday 5 September 2008

French Introduce Tax Increase on Investment Income

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has announced a tax increase on investment revenue which will very likely lead to higher tax bills for non-resident homeowners in France.

His proposed plan is to introduce a 1% rise on share, property rental and other investment income.

Similar to critics of the government in Ireland, this has been signalled as the end of Sarkozy’s journey to cut taxes, which was a large part of his election platform. This saw the introduction of a reduced Inheritance tax rate last year but further tax reductions are unlikely judging by his current actions.

It seems some of Sarkozy's comerades are having trouble coming to terms with the new direction. Alain Lambert, a prominent senator and a member of Mr Sarkozy’s centre-right coalition, said: “I’m going to need a few minutes to understand why we’re raising tax on investment revenue when we brought down inheritance tax a year ago.”

Sarkozy hopes that the new 30% rate will generate over €1.5 billion in additional revenue each year. It is, allegedly, being used to get people out of the 'welfare trap', where French citizens are better off on the dole than they are in low paying jobs. Now where have we heard that before?

For further details click on this PTI Returns article. There is a more in depth report from the UK Times here.

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Thursday 4 September 2008

Law No. 8 in Dubai a Welcome Development

As the Dubai property market evolves there are a number of actions being taken to bring a level of credibility and maturity to the market. This is something that won't happen overnight, but it is good to see that the Emirate is making an effort to guide things in the right direction in any case. 

Dubai's government formed Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) has issued a list of agents and developers who have been officially licensed, paving the way for greater transparency and security for property investors in Dubai

You'll find the full 'official' list of developers here. If you're looking for an agent (broker) in Dubai there's an official listing of them as well, you'll find it here

Law No. 8 has also been introduced which is described by RERA as 'A Law to Regulate Developers and to Protect Purchasers’ Payments in Off-Plan Transactions'. Published on June 28th 2007 it means that a developer wishing to sell units off the plan must apply to the Department to open a 'Guarantee Account', basically an escrow account. This account is opened in the name of the project and the proceeds can only be used exclusively for the purposes of constructing that particular project. The developer’s creditors are not allowed to attach any liens to the money deposited in this account.

This is all being done in an effort to promote greater transparency in the market, which can only be a good thing. One worrying factor, however, is the statement that; "Big companies that enjoy good reputation and have strong guarantees have been exempted." This would, for any red blooded citizen of a mature democracy send red lights flashing. In other words, if you're a buddy of the guys in RERA, you don't necessarily need to have any escrow account, your clients can go to hell if you fold and their money is lost in a big black hole. 

Not good guys. OK, so it's Dubai and its owners can do what they like with it, but to gain some credibility outside of their own domain it is necessary to get everybody operating under the same rules. Otherwise no-one will take any of this seriously, and rightly so. 

RERA, it said, will work in 2008 to make the real estate market free of unlicensed property developers to guarantee the rights of all parties, whether investors or developers. Of course all of its buddies are no doubt licensed already at this stage. 

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Wednesday 3 September 2008

New OverseasCafe.com homepage

At last, we have a new homepage. We've been waiting for it for ages and it has eventually arrived, but it has been worth the wait. Not only that but there are a raft of new initiatives being rolled out by the site between here and Christmas so keep an eye out, some of the changes may involve things that will interest you.

Current changes give us a listing of Premium Properties on the homepage. If you are an agent with property on the site and your properties aren't premium properties they won't be seen on the homepage so you'd better get some Premium Property credit as soon as you can for maximum exposure, it's very cost effective advertising. End plug.

As well as this you'll now find up to date listings for all the news, agent news and editorial articles right there on the front page. It does make it a whole lot easier to see what is most recent on the site, which was the most frequent criticism of it in the past. It also saves having to click into all the different categories to see what is going on in the overseas property market.

Our blog also has its own little section down the bottom so you can see what has been tickling our fancy right from the homepage.

Thanks to the lads at Think Tank Marketing for getting this over the line for us, it's not their fault it got delayed (much too long a story for a blog) but they've come up with the goods when we needed them. Well done guys.

If you've not already been there why not visit OverseasCafe.com and check it out for yourself.