Today we’re going to bring you a feature about the future of property abroad, thanks to the help of Property-abroad.com.  The site has been in business since its founder, Les Calvert, came up with the idea for the business in 2000.  He intended to use the site to bring his cool head to calm the hot flames of hype that surrounded the overseas property market back then.

Fast forward twelve years and everything has changed… and yet stayed the same!  The site is still owned and operated by Les, who has remained its CEO for over a decade, and he has maintained his cool and clear thinking with regard to the international real estate landscape.  The site’s listings have grown by a factor of ten or more, its coverage has extended in depth and breadth to include a blog and news feed on worldwide property information…yet despite Les’s dedication to reporting the truth about real estate, there’s still a lot of misinformation out there in the general media about the international property market.

Back in 2000 there were whispers of easy money to be made by anyone in property abroad, and many people were stung by conmen talking up impossible deals and unlikely yields and returns.  In 2012 the pendulum has swung back the other way, and a much more crowded Internet is filled with dissenting opinions and doomsayers.  Once again, property-abroad.com’s business is to supply its users with a cool-headed appraisal of the real state of the market, and thanks to Les Calvert we can today bring you an up to date update on all things property abroad ready for whatever 2013 may bring.

According to Les, the property markets in countries like Greece and Spain, hit hard by the global recession, seem at first glance to be a poor bet.  But the woes of the Spanish resorts need not be yours: investment in well-located, well-built Spanish property can be a real income earner now – and the equity will gain value as the market recovers.  Before the crash Spanish property was extremely over-valued; but according to Les now it’s undervalued with nowhere to go but up.

Some badly located, ill-advised units, built in the hope that the bubble would continue to inflate itself forever, will certainly fall by the wayside.  But solid investments remain to be had.

The situation in Greece is complicated by recent troubles but it’s essentially the same.  Good properties can be bought inexpensively now; these can start making you money straight away in terms of rental returns, and they can still represent valuable equity down the line.

While some foreign markets seem to only be spiralling downward, others are booming: in Germany, Hong Kong and Brazil for example, prices are rising.

Germany is a good bet because of its strong rental market – but don’t expect fast equity increases because that’s not the way the market is designed.  Note: there’s also a good market in first-buy and small unit purchases which offer opportunities to the investor.

Hong Kong is a skyrocketing market in terms of luxury units, while lower-priced (relatively speaking!) properties are in strong demand too.  In the US there’s good scope for both resale and rental as prices slowly rise and mortgages get cheaper.

Brazil offers an opportunity to enter an emerging market where mid-price rentals are about to become important in a country with emerging mid-level earners, while the luxury market burgeons supported by strong overall economic growth.

Meanwhile the pound is comparatively strong just now.  True, it languishes well below the €1.50 it bought in 2006: but it’s well ahead of the €1.10 of 2011, or even the near-parity of exchange of January 2009.  That’s bad news for exports, according to some, but good news for the overseas buyer as cheap credit combined with increased purchasing power offers good opportunities to springboard into the overseas property market.

If you want more updates and regular reviews of key locations, both ShelterOffshore.com and Property-abroad.com have blogs with tightly focussed articles detailing shifts in markets in locations worldwide, as well as news updates devoted to current affairs that can affect property.  Both sites also offer country-by-country guides and information, with Les’s site offering you details on everything from where to buy, to how to catch a taxi to the airport on your way home.

We both look forward to seeing you back on our sites in 2013.