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The Secret Seven: Property Investment Hotspots to Defy the Credit Crunch

Despite reports of economic gloom, falling house prices and a recession there are still huge profits to be made in international property – particularly in emerging markets that are currently competitively priced but set to boom.

The only thing standing between you and your property investment abroad is a little inside information. To that end, property and investment company Aston Lloyd, has compiled a report called The Seven Property Hotspots, identifying the top seven places and cities in the world where you are most likely to make a profit.   1. Slovakia: A key emerging market in the European Union, the country’s property prices have risen by 100 per cent since 2004.

Where to invest : Central Bratislava where yields are high. Gross yields on 100 square metre and 120 square metre apartments are around 10 per cent.  Watch out for : Minor land issues caused by unsolved heritage disputes prior to 1989 as these may require a prolonged acquisition procedure.  2. China: Home to 21 per cent of the world’s population and forecast to be larger than the US economy by 2045.

Where to invest: Shanghai with an increasing demand for high-end property. Investment in the city’s infrastructure is expected to sustain price growth. Watch out for: Consult with solicitors on precise property rights as given the communist government’s policies, certain property rights are not guaranteed.  3. Northern Cyprus: Plans for reunification with the Republic of Cyprus, combined with average annual economic growth of 12.7 per cent since 2003, Northern Cyprus is a key property hotspot. Where to invest: Bogaz, the coastal fishing village is the hotspot for investment. It is popular for its beaches, sought after restaurants and its strategic location near Famugusta. Watch out for: With the division of the island in 1974 and the forced removal of residents in certain areas, some claims to property may exist if the island division is settled and displaced northern Cypriots return from the south.

4. Ukraine: The second largest economy among the former Soviet States, with a predicted sustained GDP growth of five per cent per annum through to 2010. Ukrainian property in some areas is now priced higher than Warsaw and Amsterdam.

Where to invest: Kiev has a growing expatriate community and an increasing demand created for high-standard builds in the capital. Prices have been driven up by demand. Watch out for: Levels of corruption are high so a competent solicitor is essential. Taxes are also moderate to high.

5. Bulgaria: A full member of the EU and tipped to receive over £8.8bn in EU development funding to 2013. Where to invest: Sofia, the capital city and home to majority of Bulgaria’s  200,000 millionaires. Prices here rose by 35 per cent in 2007, making it a strong property investment. Watch out for: Closing costs are high (VAT, municipal tax, notary fees, registration fees and agent commission are paid by the buyer). Costs incurred by the buyer can therefore be up to 25 per cent. There is also rental income tax so investors should make sure their investment returns profitable yields.  6. Turkey: Average annual growth rate of seven per cent since 2004, Turkey has established itself as a leading emerging market for property investors. With a burgeoning tourist industry and planned reforms ahead of its EU accession, it’s poised to become one of the world’s top 10 economies by 2050. Where to buy: Belek, Turkey’s golfing mecca with plans to add up to 15 golf courses to its range of five-star golf retreats over the coming years. Belek is bathed in sunshine for 320 days a year. Property investment has increased by 40 per cent since 2005.

Watch out for: Check the planning so you don’t have ugly builds near your investment; ensure that property for sale is accompanied by title deeds and make sure you get a competent solicitor to explain the terms before making the decision to purchase.

7. Poland: Poised to become the manufacturing hub of Europe, the country’s housing market is significantly larger than other European emerging markets and mortgages are easier to obtain.  Where to buy: Warsaw, high housing demand and profitable long-stay rental properties.  Krakow is well suited for rental investors with a housing supply that does not meet the demands of its high earning population.

Watch out for: Growth in Warsaw potentially unsustainable; increased due diligence on behalf of investors as some vendors are offering inflated prices taking advantage of the boom in foreign speculative buying.   Picture caption: Warsaw is now heavily sought after by property investors.

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