International property trends and hot spots

While property markets in Asia, North America and Latin America are trending in the right direction and are expected to see solid growth in the year ahead, many European property markets are expected to face some challenges. This is according to Rick Yohn, Regional Vice President of Global Business and Franchising Solutions at RE/MAX LLC in Denver, Colorado, who is visiting South Africa to attend the RE/MAX of Southern Africa convention this month.

Yohn, who focuses on the RE/MAX networks growth and success, particularly in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, says that as Europe entered the global financial crisis later on, many areas across the region are lagging behind in the post recession recovery, and therefore still have a challenging road ahead.

Yohn says that property markets in Central and Latin America are also showing positive signs that they will continue to grow from strength to strength in the year ahead, despite government uncertainty in some areas.

Property markets in central African countries such as Kenya and Uganda are presenting good opportunities, and Yohn expects to see good growth in these areas during 2013, while he says a wait and see approach is being taken on projections around the performance of property in the northern African countries, as this will largely depend on political stability and other factors.

Australia, he says, has seemingly survived the global financial crisis relatively unscathed. There are a number of reasons for this, one being that its mining sector, which continued to deliver strong mining exports to China throughout the recession, kept the economy afloat.

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that another factor contributing towards Australias resilience to recessionary trends was the fact that, very much like South Africa, they had much more stringent regulation in place surrounding banking practices. In South Africa, for example, the National Credit Act was introduced in 2007, just months before the global financial crisis hit. These kinds of regulations ensured that both Australia and South Africa were sheltered from the worst of the knock-on effects of the sub-prime crisis in the US.

Goslett said however, that it must be noted that from around 2008 to 2010, the housing markets in both these countries slowed as their economies did still feel some of the sub-prime crisis backlash.

Yohn notes that since 2011, the property markets in both Australia and South Africa have shown strong signs of recovery and are currently performing well from a global perspective. We expect to see them continue on their current upward trend in the year ahead.

Looking at the US, Yohn says the property market there is emerging out of the recession, with housing economic reports all reflecting an upward trend. The number of distressed properties in the US has also decreased as the banks have developed systems to handle this type of property sale more efficiently.

When asked which country he would list as the top international property investment hotspot for investors and why, Yohn said that the US is currently one of the countries where the best returns on investment can be made. In some areas of the US, property prices are at the same levels that they were at during 2000 and 2001. All indications are that the prices will not drop further, meaning that the time is ripe for investment as the property market is at the bottom of the cycle in the US and will slowly start moving up in the year ahead in terms of both demand and price.

Yohn says however, that location will, as always, be vital to an investment decision. Property in San Fransisco, for example, is still expensive, but areas that were the hardest hit by the recession, such as California (with the exception of Silicon Valley, the southern region of the San Francisco Bay area in northern California), Georgia, Los Angeles, Texas, Nevada, Florida and Arizona are showing exceptional investment opportunities. Value growth in some of these areas topped up to 20% during 2012, and we expect strong appreciation trends to continue through the course of 2013 as property markets in these areas start to recover,as Yohn concludes.

Article by: www.remax.co.za

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