Property investors from around the world are flocking to Brazilian shores with a view to snapping up real estate, in anticipation of future capital growth.
The Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has already pledged to spend up to £11.5billion on building a million new homes in Brazil between now and 2011.
However, potential high property investment rewards are not without their risks, as crime and corruption still remains widespread in Brazil.
In stark contrast to the relatively high risk, high return nature of investing in Brazil, the risks associated with investing in French property are far lower.
France has traditionally always been a rather safe haven for property investors. The nation was the first European country to come out of recession in 2009, reflecting the fact that the global credit crunch had much less of an impact, compared to other European counterparts.
France’s strong economy is having a positive impact on its property market, which now appears to be on the road to recovery.
The US property market may be showing tentative signs of improvement, following one of the worst economic and property crashes in living memory, but the downturn has come at a cost to many US homeowners.
Data from RealtyTrac shows that a record high of 938,000 US homes foreclosed in the third quarter of 2009. If this trend continues, foreclosures would reach around 3.5m by the end of 2009, up from around 2.3m properties last year.
Although the sub-prime mortgage crisis started in the US, there are growing signs that the property market may now be at or near the bottom of the cyclical downturn. Various indices reveal that average residential prices started to rise, albeit marginally, during the second quarter of 2009.
Sales in Norway have nosedived over the past year or so, as residential values have cooled.
However, the Norwegian property market downturn, which has not been anywhere near as severe as in other neighbouring countries, appears to have already bottomed out, and looks ready to lead the Scandinavian property market recovery.
The key to the Norwegian property market is the strength of the country’s economy, which has made it one of the wealthiest in the world, while new housing output has dropped below average, which could fall short of demand next year.
Many of the high earners currently living in Britain look set to quit the UK in droves ahead of the introduction of a 50% top tax rate in April 2010, and escape to more tax-friendly shores, such as Switzerland.
Swiss authorities are actively lobbying to attract many of these disillusioned high-net worth individuals, who are being tempted by assurances that they will be allowed to steer clear of European Union regulation and Britain’s Financial Services Authority.
It is estimated that hedge funds managing in the region of £10billion in assets have already moved to Switzerland in the past year alone. This has increased demand for homes to rent and buy.
Due to canton restrictions, it has previously been difficult for foreigners to buy property in Switzerland. However, the country has now eased its strict property buying regulations, and opened its doors to more international buyers, partly through the introduction of "residence de tourisme" style investments, which is similar to the ever-popular "leaseback" formula in France.
The Australian economic and property market recovery has been swifter than the other leading nations around the world.
It has been claimed that the revival in the country’s property market and economy is as much as 12 months ahead of the other developed countries in the economic cycle.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics house price index shows that the average price of a residential property in Australia appreciated by 4.2% in the third quarter of 2009, which means that in the year to September, residential prices increased 6.2%.
While property prices race ahead across much of Asia – in countries like China, Vietnam and Singapore – which has led to heightened fears of budding property bubbles, the Malaysian property market has merely stabilised, making it suited to more balanced investors.
Malaysia’s property prices are still lower than they were in 1997, due partly to the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, suggesting very real room for growth.
8 Abu Dhabi
The recent property price falls in the fast growing UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, the richest and largest of all the seven UAE states, have been nowhere near as severe as in neighbouring Dubai.
Nevertheless, investors seeking out bargain deals will find some of the best opportunities for distressed property investments in the Gulf region in Abu Dhabi.
Because Abu Dhabi does not have the same high level of exposure to the global financial crisis, compared with other UAE emirates, mortgages for non-residents – at up to 75% loan-to-value – are readily available again. This is likely to appeal to buy-to-let investors, as well as those people seeking equity release and to remortgage their properties in Abu Dhabi.
The relaxed Arabian state of Oman, voted "destination of the year 2008" by Vogue magazine, has long been a popular holidaying destination for people living within the GCC.
The fact that Oman appeals to end-users – not just investors – means that the medium to long-term prospect for Omani property market growth looks good.
10 South Africa
South African property market conditions look ripe for investment, as the country starts to come out of recession. Recent property price falls appear to be bottoming out, while FIFA’s 2010 football World Cup fast approaches.
South African property prices haven softened over the past year or so, due to a fall in residential demand, caused by reduced housing affordability, higher inflation and interest rates.
But residential prices could soon experience growth, on the back of what should be a reinvigorated economy, spurred by the football tournament.
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