Whether you’re searching for a holiday home, a place you intend to settle back into once you’ve left Singapore, or something to earn you extra income, here’s our roundup of specialists who can help when it comes to buying property overseas, along with a focus on what’s currently on the market.
Buying Abroad: Tips
Understand your needs: Ascertain important factors such as whether you’re buying property as a financial investment, as a holiday home, or for your eventual retirement. Are you looking for income from rental, or somewhere that suits your own tastes and needs?
Do your research: Look into rules and restrictions on foreign ownership. The lease period, taxation on foreigners and local property market trends are also important.
Check the finances: Double-check the total financial commitment before you purchase. Find out all other costs you may be liable for, including mortgage interest and legal costs, maintenance fees, ground rent and stamp duty fees.
For more tips on what to look out for when buying abroad, go to cea.gov.sg (Council of Estate Agents, Singapore).
For a holistic view and advice regarding the global property market, a company such as Tailor My Property (TMP), which provides global property investment solutions, can counsel on how and where to invest, as well as financing and investment fund opportunities.
“We draw on an extensive network of partners,” says its business development manager Ben Carpenter, “which enables us to cater for requests in any location, involving all types of real estate and financing services. Put simply, we can help you buy any property, anywhere.”
So where should you buy or invest? For a buyer who is looking to minimise risk, Ben recommends focusing on global cities with established, long-term investment credentials such as London, New York, Melbourne and Sydney. “If you’re willing to be more speculative, however, this opens up opportunities in Asia. We see Japan as a good prospect, particularly Niseko, whose booming tourism industry lends itself well to the growing significance of holiday-home investment.”
The good news is that TMP only takes commission from the seller, meaning the agents, developers, fund managers or lenders they introduce you to. The commission is a percentage of the seller’s return, and no additional fee is payable by you, the client.
Best of British
Although UK property prices have been booming of late, experts have noted that the market, and in particular London, is cooling in the run-up to the election, making this a good time to invest. One agent that helps expat purchasers and investors search within London and the South of England is Barrington-Hill Associates, an independent property buying service. Expats brief the agency regarding their needs, and can expect a written proposal and at least three choices to review.
“We negotiate on their behalf, with the aim of making the purchase relatively stress-free, and removing the worry of buying a property from a long distance,” says Penny Saxby, associate at Barrington-Hill. “An element of trust is required, because unless the purchaser has time to fly over to the UK to view the properties, they will ultimately be making their final choice based on our proposal.”
She adds that investors would be wise to choose properties close to Crossrail. This new railway, due for completion in 2018, will link overground and underground services from west to east and cross through the centre of London.
Example properties for sale
Nights in Noosa
Five-bedroom beachside house, $2.8M
Sunrise at 1770 is an award winning eco-development with five bedrooms and four bathrooms, located in an area known for its natural beauty in Noosa, on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. There’s surf, reef and spectacular nature on its doorstep, including three nesting turtle species, sea eagles, and adjoining national parks.
Although it has prime beachfront position, it is also part of a gated estate and benefits from full service management. Facilities include a beach club, pool and tennis courts. There are also surf beaches and sheltered James Bond-style coves on your doorstep.
The two-pavilion house is architecturally designed for seamless indoor-outdoor living, and has sweeping ocean panoramas set on half an acre of pristine bushland spilling down to the beach.
The property comes as new, and the owners are reluctantly selling. It benefits from sealed road access, and has two airports within a one-hour-and-40-minute drive.
To find out more about the property, email email@example.com, or call +614 1186 2954.
Eight-bedroom villa, $3.8M
Being only a 90-minute flight from Singapore, Phuket is not only a favourite holiday destination for expats here, but also offers strong investment opportunities. Buying property in Phuket can offer a higher yield together with capital gain of more than 10 percent per annum, compared to three percent in Singapore. The airport expansion, due for completion in 2015, will also help grow tourism exponentially, with some estimating visitor numbers may triple.
The Himmaphan boutique resort villa, located next to Bang Tao beach, represents an attractive investment option. It has eight bedrooms and large gardens, and is ideal for rentals for both small and large groups of friends and family, as well as for corporate parties and weddings. The villa can accommodate up to 20 people, has a large swimming pool, entertainment room, tennis and pool tables. Amenities for tourists are just minutes’ walk from the villa, making it an ideal property for rentals and a steady income option.
Three-bedroom penthouse, $1.1M (+GST*)
Located in The Club complex on exquisitely scenic Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand’s South Island, is this beautiful, luxuriously equipped penthouse apartment. It has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, and is easily split into two separate units – one two-bedroom, the other one-bedroom, each with its own entrance.
It measures 2,500 sq. ft, and the enormous private terrace has stunning views of the lake and the snow-topped peaks of The Remarkables mountain range. On site are barbecue facilities, a gym and a sauna.
A 15-minute stroll along the lake and through pretty parkland takes you to Queenstown’s attractive waterfront, shopping and restaurants. The Club is just a 10-minute drive from Queenstown International Airport and is close to world-class ski-fields. For more information, contact Roy Titchmarsh on 9826 6075.
* The property is owned by an expat couple in partnership, so buying the partnership means that GST may not be payable.