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The Soup Dragon

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  1. Icantbelieveitsnotbutter:- It could be argued that the UK economy is on worse footing. It has been quite a week on both sides of the Atlantic and I expect mortgage lending to become tighter still with better margins for the providers (higher interest rates.) This in turn will lead to greater affordability problems for their customers and place more downward pressure on house prices. As mentioned in other discussions we’ve had, part of the appeal to me of some funds and syndicates is that they are not reliant on house price inflation to see healthy returns. (House price inflation should be viewed as a bonus if it occurs.)
  2. There’s certainly a lot to investigate / consider, but you certainly seem to be making good progress and are creating a healthy mix of assets. I know that various funds are set up whereby a company created in one company will fully own company held in another to reduce tax payable. I therefore suspect you should be able to set up a UK company to own a foreign company, though there will clearly be costs involved to set these up and compile / submit annual accounts etc. I realise that you’ll do your own home work on possible investment areas and check out laws as they stand to see how inheritance, capital gains etc are likely to work when you are gone. I also realise that you may favour a property with some character in a region that your loved ones would like. Of the Western European countries that are likely to fit the bill, France is perhaps the most complex for property investment. (For instance, if you do up your property yourself those costs will not reduce your taxable gain. You need to use (and be able to prove) you used French tradesman. Only then will those costs be factored into the Capital Gain equation. The French inheritance system is also very different to any other I’m aware of.) You really do need to read the book on French property / ownership if you are to invest there. Even then you’ll only learn about a proportion of the potential pit falls.
  3. The costs of placing property into SIPPS are quite high as are the ongoing SIPP management costs (note these vary and are more expensive when property is held in SIPP.) These costs occured over time need to be suitably low when compared to tax breaks on acquiring the property - SIPPs aren't suitable for cheap property. I suppose the answer for you will be determined largely by what you want to leave as a legacy. If your goal is to leave them with as much wealth as possible then there might be better options for you. As you’ll know, buying property is but one way of investing in property.
  4. That was a very interesting read in your link Carinbean Beauty. It paints a very bad picture, though I suspect the author isn't as close to the subject matter as he would have us believe. (Not surprising given these people have limited time to research their subject before having to produce the article.) I'm not well versed on the Caribbean. Putting aside his offensive comments, which brandish the caribbean as a play park for criminals and murderers, do you find yourself agreeing with most of what he has written?
  5. Reports I’ve been receiving on Estonian property prices are mixed. Some suggest massive price drops, others suggest stability in some sectors and drops in others. My take on it is that the expensive new build city centre flats are the ones that have taken a big hit in value. While prices of property built for the locals (not the F2L crowd) are proving more robust (little change in past year or two.) Icantbelieveitsnotbutter. I was in Tallinn twice early in 2006 and I was surprised how advanced they were. You could walk into just about any city centre pub, café, restaurant or hotel and use their WiFi. I realise its quite easy finding establishments with WiFi in most large cities, but that wasn’t the case 2 or 3 years ago. Tallinn was way ahead of the game. Still, silicon valley description was stretching the truth somewhat.
  6. Einstein71. Nobody investing in Saidia would pretend that it is close to being a completed resort. So yes, it still resembles a building site and the marina is empty. You say the danger lights started flashing the minute you started reading the sales gibberish. There are things that have been said on here that have turned out to be incorrect or pie in the sky. However, those remarks were picked up on and responded to by Saidia investors. I note that you have recently joined the forum and therefore have only offered your views post Martina-Fadesa’s troubles becoming public. That’s probably a very different perspective from that you would have had if you considered Saidia 2 years ago. On Fadesa’s stock / stake in Saidia: It is likely that Fadesa’s stake in Saidia (and other Moroccan developments) will be bought out at a low price as they aren’t in a strong negotiating position. Time will tell if Saidia makes a good investment or not, but I’ll leave you with one final thought. Do you think that those that have invested in Saidia would rather Martinsa-Fadesa continued as master developers, cutting corners as they go, or would we prefer for them to be bought out by an organisation on a more sound financial footing?
  7. Managed to post response beneath twice - just deleting this one.
  8. None of us have a crystal ball to say what will happen, but if Fadesa did become bankrupt then it is likely its assets will be sold on. I imagine it would make sense for Adoha to purchase Fadesa’s remaining stake in Saidia (if they have means to do so and price is right.) But that’s a lot of ifs, we’ll need to see how things pan out.
  9. 52% is a lot steeper than I had heard. If you have any links to show that there has been this sort of magnitude of drop then please provide them. Visited Tallin twice in 2006 and didn’t invest in city centre apartments as I felt that only a small proportion of the local population could afford the prices being asked. Nor did I like the fact that lots of them were springing up and that sqm price was similar to that in the Old Town. (Old town properties would always be in limited supply too, unlike the new build.) I could see that areas like Balti Jam were central and very popular with locals. I didn’t invest there as maintenance / management costs would have been high when expressed as a proportion of price of apartment (potentially wiping out rent.) I did invest indirectly in Estonia through a fund where like minded people provide finance for a team with strong track record of successful developments in the Baltics. They seek to add value to land (planning permissions etc) then either sell on to another developer or manage the development themselves. (For the latter the end product is aimed at local businesses / individuals. It isn’t aimed at the F2L crowd.)
  10. I haven't looked at individual countries from that perspective - other than the UK. I've been concerned about the affect an aging population will have for some time. As you have said, it will place an increased demand on the working man. The Government will look to raise more tax to pay for the increased burden on the state and that will result in those in employment paying a higher proportion of their wages in tax. I fear that those that have been responsible and saved towards a better retirement will in some way be penalised for their prudence. (Increased min retirement age; higher tax rate on their retirment income; less advantageous tax breaks for pension contributions; pension funds failing as those that retire before them are living longer and draining the pension funds.) It certainly isn't a good position for a country to be in. If taxes climb too high there will be a max exodus of its top earners which will exacerbate matters.
  11. Sorry for the welcome you have received Janet. It amuses me that those that point to the rules are some of the worst individuals for violating them. At least those that are interested now know how to get in touch with you (PM function doesn’t work on this forum.)
  12. Hi and welcome Janet. Ignore markinspain's cheeky comment. What developer do you represent?
  13. Hi orgivan. I think you are comparing apples with oranges here. Your suggestion sounds ideal for the more discerning traveller / retiree. (I think it’s the sort of place I’d like to spend some time.) There are parts of Morocco that also appeal to the discerning traveller / retiree, though these are generally not the parts that we have bought properties. (Most on here that have bought in Morocco have gone for Marrakech or the large facility laden tourist resorts that are being built.) I’d like to hear more about Lake Atitlan, its surroundings, accessibility, climate etc. A note on health care might be beneficial too.
  14. Sean, you’ll be relieved to hear I understand you this time! On leaseback, at least it should prove relatively hands free. Have you checked that you will definitely be able to sell on to locals at end of initial lease? I’ve read on one of the forums that no matter what your contract / lease agreements say, the management company has the right to keep renewing the lease for your property. I didn’t perform my own due diligence when I read that (had ruled out leasebacks) and it may not be true ….. just want to flag it in case it is true and you weren’t aware of it. (Think I read it on TotallyProperty forum.)
  15. Sean, hadn’t realised you had bought in Nimes. Was it a leaseback / holiday property or something to rent to the locals? I’ve only passed round the outskirts of Nimes, but realise it has a lot of cracking old Roman buildings and the beach is in striking distance (by car.)
  16. Sean. I can see what you are saying about your own properties and how you are relating recent experiences in Ireland to overseas markets (Saidia in this instance.) I can also see that some investors in Saidia may be wary of posting negatively. Afraid I still don’t understand your comments regarding posters on main board and overseas board. I’ve been negative about UK market for a while and downsized a little early (2005/2006.) Most of the posters on the main board have been predicting substantial falls in house prices for years. They were wrong, or at least didn’t realise how much prises would rise before the correction would take place. (Time will tell if correction is anything like they are saying.) Posting on the overseas forum doesn’t allow me to escape the negative opinions on where UK house prices are going (I think they will go further south too.) I do however see that not all countries will be hit either by UK’s slump or the Global Credit Crunch. I therefore consider myself more optimistic about the potential of my investments than those that post on the main board. I may be well wide of the mark, but I think most of the Overseas posters that show knowledge and intelligence in their posts are more optimistic about their overseas investments than those that focus on the main board are of their (UK) investments. Would I invest in Saidia if I could rewind to 2006 with the knowledge I have now? I’d invest in funds and syndicates rather than off-plan property. Would also have a sneaky wager on teams competing in FA & Scottish Cup finals.
  17. Fws. I disagree with comments about most buyers not buying for investment. I’d say most posters on here bought as an investment with the intention of holidaying there for 2 or 3 weeks a year. Of course, for every buyer that has posted on this thread there are many more that don’t know about the site and I’m assuming they will have similar reasons for buying. Mutley. I can see you have been very selective with your quotes above. I remember each and every one of the quotes and think I responded to most of them at the time to say they were optimistic. Nobody should believe everything they read. I'm sure you would agree that people need to do your their own due diligence and apply a little common sense before drawing conclusions. Tunnel by 2008 were never on. Parties involved with possible tunnel were not talking about 2008 as a delivery date when that post was made. Sean. As usual I agree with most of what you say, but fail to see logic in comment beneath. Are you saying that we should be equally negative about foreign property as posters on the main board are about UK house prices? I cann't see the logic in that and am sure you would concede that the typical person posting in the Overseas section is very different to those that focus on the main board.
  18. Hi and welcome numberfour. I've never seen a trulli let alone set foot in one, but I'm aware of some of the problems your skin and blister will likely face. These buildings are often removed from villages and towns, with no electric or water connections. Sometimes with no form of waste disposal. Connecting them can be expensive. Check distance of nearest connections (indicative of cost) and whether it'll involve passing pipes or cables though other people's land. (May cause probelms for getting connected.) The buildings have very thick walls and the rooms are of circular shape. Neither of these factors lend themselves to making renovations simple. Will likely need re-roofed too, so view roof from inside and also from an elevated spot (take binoculars in case elevated spot isn't close by.) Speak to locals to find out about buildings problems / other problems in the area. They might not know about the building, other than how long it has been uninhabited, but if they take a liking to you they can be very helpful. Buildings are old and, like the pictures you have seen suggest, many have been uninhabited for some time. This makes it all the more important that she has the structure of building examined so she knows what she is getting into. I may be well wide of the mark here, but I suspect planning laws for trullis will be more restrictive than for most buildings. (They trully are beautiful and unique buildings, so it would only be natural for Italian Planning Authorities and Councils to want to preserve this element of their culture.) Finally, my top tip would be to get in touch with one or two English speaking estate agents that don't have this type of property on their books. Perhaps you could contact an agency that focusses on another area and say that you are interested in their area and also where the trullis are. If you make that contact via Email the agent will likely be armed with reasons not to invest in a trulli when you speak so as to switch your focus to their region and their properties. (Always good for finding out potential pitfalls.) I imagine many trulli purchases are ones driven by the heart rather than the head. Atleast if she takes the plunge it should be a more informed decision with you helping to look out for her. Not everyone would do that for a sister in law! Good luck and let us know the outcome.
  19. I've not heard anything bad about Seven Continents Investments. They are regularly approached by the media to comment when there's a change that will affect our economy. (I've heard them commenting on the radio when driving in to work, but couldn't be sure which station it was on.) Bulgaria isn't an area that interests me, so cann't help with the other company. (There will be plenty of forced sales n Bulgaria over the next couple of years, so if you want a typical Sunny Beach or ski property you may be better waiting.)
  20. Catara, not so long ago 2010 was being banted about on the forums, but we both know that's not likely.
  21. Catara. They are indeed quotes from people that have invested, but in my opinion they are the most negative posts from people that have invested there. (No harm in that, your quotes do show the problems being encountered at the moment.) You mentioned prices being high from Day 1. That’s fair enough in that from a construction cost perspective there is quite a mark up for the developers*. Where those that have invested feel they have got value for money is in the breadth and quality of facilities that should be available. *A positive from this is that it increases likelihood of Saidia being completed. (If margins were low then project could very easily become uneconomical for developers with rising cost of borrowing etc.)
  22. I know where you have taken the quotes and you will also have read more positive views that portray events in a better light. (Though one poster clearly has vested interests and his views have to be taken with a pinch of salt.) It was good to see the pictures that another poster had taken, but you need to remember: - This is a building, not a completed resort. As such it is going to look untidy. - Pictures referred to were taken on an overcast windy day. It’s amazing the difference some sunshine can make. - Building is only advanced / complete for some developments within section 1 of Saidia (the western most part.) This will be the blandest section as properties are generally Andalucian in style and for permanent dwellings rather than tourist rentals. Build is of a higher density in section 1 and facilities will be better in the touristic developments within Saidia (generally in sections 2 & 3 towards the East.) So no surprise that developments nearing completion feel relatively crammed (was obvious would be the case from the plans that purchasers will have seen when buying off-plan.) I’m not trying to paper over issues that have come to light in recent weeks. Many issues need resolved and those that have invested in Saidia will closely follow the progress that the Master Developers make.
  23. Esmerelda. Continue to follow your posts with interest and smiling looking over posts on this thread. A year ago you were contemplating a renovation project and a year later you are promoting the finished project for rentals. My job may take me to Northampton (near Stansted.) If it does I may follow in your footsteps, taking up the challenge of a foreign renovation project. How’s the social housing South of Asilah looking now? When I passed by in summer of 2006 it was early days and the area from the main road (slightly south of Asilah) and the coast was to be developed / under construction. Is it complete / taking shape well?
  24. The negative comments made by those that have bought in Saidia is with reference to pictures of a golf course, not general pictures of construction / completed sites in Saidia. There is confusion over whether or not the first course has indeed been completed. I'm aware that golf courses take time to set, if set is the right word. (You don't just landscape then plant grass and hey presto have a championship standard golf course 6 weeks later.)
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