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ABC’s for Property Buyers in Ko Samui: By Harry Bonning (interview)

harry-bonning-ko-samui-properties

Ko Samui is one of the most popular islands when foreigners decide to visit or relocating to Thailand.

With a population of almost 65,000 people, it’s still fairly big for being just that, an island. Just making a comparison, in Hua Hin (which is a city 2-3 hours away from Bangkok) you have 85,000 and in Phi Phi Islands 2,500.

Previously relying on fishing and agriculture, exporting many coconuts, the tourism industry has taken over since the 80’s.

In this interview, Harry Bonning from Ko Samui Properties tell us a bit more about Ko Samui’s property market and other useful information. The Real Estate agency is one of the most reputable and has helped many foreigners to buy property in Ko Samui.

Harry has been on the ground for years and provide fruitful advice if you plan to buy property in Ko Samui.

Harry, thanks for having you here. Can you please tell us about your background and current business in Ko Samui?

I have been a Chartered Surveyor since I qualified in the UK in 1974 and have worked in the UK, Germany and Abu Dhabi with responsibility for a large portfolio of property in the USA, owned by a Sovereign Wealth Fund.

I have also worked subsequently as General Manager of a portfolio of properties owned by one of the local families before moving to Thailand in 1999.

I saw an opportunity in 2000 for a professional real estate agency in Koh Samui and for the first seven years we were extremely successful. The economic crash of 2007/8 brought the market to a standstill for a time and we reduced our staffing accordingly to correspond to the reduced demand.

In Phuket, the property market relies heavily on foreigners and prices aren’t predicted to increase significantly in the coming years. How has Ko Samui’s real estate market performed and what’s your view on the coming years?

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Investing in Macau Real Estate: By JML Property (interview)

juliet-risdon

Formerly a Portuguese colony until 1999, Macau has the 3rd highest GDP per capita in the world, it’s also the most densely populated region.

Probably you already know that it’s famous for being a gambling mecca as well.

Often overshadowed by news telling about the frenzy in Hong Kong’s property market, many know little about what’s going on a stone’s throw away, in Macau.

Juliet Risdon works as a Designer and Director at JML Property, a leading real estate agency on Macau, founded in 1994. Their international team has helped many foreigners with services like buying and selling property, tenant property services, repair procedures and more.

Macau is interesting for sure, a reason why Juliet has been interviewed by newspapers like the NY Times, Reuters and Financial Times.

Let’s see what she has to say about the property market in Macau.

Juliet, what are the general regulations when buying a property in Macau as a foreigner?

The only areas where the Macau property market discriminates between foreign and local buyers is the additional 10% stamp duty that is applied to foreign buyers and the limitation on land ownership.

Foreign individuals and legal entities can invest in as many properties- residential, industrial or commercial- as they would like.

Most people hear about the property market in Hong Kong when reading the news, Macau is less mentioned. How has the property market performed in Macau the past decade? Have prices increased much like in Hong Kong?

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A Solicitor’s Advice to Singapore Property Buyers: By Eben Ong (interview)

solicitor-singapore

Buying property in a transparent market like Singapore’s is a relatively easy task.

But even if the buying process is straightforward, it’s important that you seek help from a Solicitor that understands the conveyancing process and foreign ownership regulations in and out.

Today, I have Eben Ong with me from Loh Eben Ong LLP, a reputable Singaporean law firm that works in a wide range of areas, providing services in Conveyancing & Property, Trademark, Deed Poll and more.

The firm was established in 1994 and has a long experience of helping foreigners buying property in Singapore.

Thanks for having you here Eben. First, can you please tell us more about yourself and your current business in Singapore?

I am a practicing lawyer in Singapore, and one of the founding partners of LOH EBEN ONG LLP, a boutique law practice in Singapore.

Our law practice has an established real estate legal practice for more than 20 years. More information about our law practice can be found on our website (see link above).

It gets increasingly popular for Singaporeans, and many other foreign buyers, to look for information themselves, relying less on services from agents. Is this something you’ve noticed while working in Singapore? How do you think the real estate industry will change in the coming years?

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5 Tips When Buying a Bangkok Condo: By Fabrice Lore (interview)

Fabrice Lore

Bangkok is one of the most popular cities in the world, attracting tons of tourists.

Not only expats and retirees buy condos here, but also younger people who simply want to buy cheaper property in a place that offers a great quality of life.

The truth is that younger people tend to work more online or overseas, making Bangkok one of their prime options.

Not to forget: many younger people in places like Hong Kong, Singapore and Mainland China are priced out back home and find it much more convenient to head towards places like Bangkok, when investing in property.

Today, I’ve Fabrice Lore with me to tell us about the Bangkok property market and what you need to know before buying a condo here. He’s the founder and CEO of Five-Stars property that have helped many foreigners to buy condos in Bangkok.

Fabrice, it’s great to have you here. Can you please tell us about yourself and your current business in Thailand?

I have been in Thailand since 1996. After spending a few years in Koh Samui, I moved to Bangkok in 2005 where I set up Five Stars Thailand Real Estate.

I realized that there were no French-speaking real estate agencies for the expats at this time, so I decided to specialize in this niche market

Since then, we have been assisting tenants and property investors of all nationalities on a regular basis.

Many foreign investors are considering purchasing condominiums in Bangkok nowadays. What makes Bangkok so attractive compared to other destinations?

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A Glimpse at Malaysia’s Property Market: By AVID Estates (interview)

u-kian-chong

Malaysia is a great place to invest in property, in fact, it’s also a place where you could actually consider residing long term.

Most people know that KL is the capital and where things “happen”, while Penang is the place where foreign retirees flock in masses.

But I think it would be great to invite a local expert, so he can give his thoughts on the most promising areas in Malaysia.

Therefore, I contacted U Kian Chong.

He’s the CEO of Avid Estates, a boutique real estate agency in Malaysia with a team of almost 30 people, which is focused on high-end properties in Kuala Lumpur.

Let’s see what he has to say.

U Kian, you’re an engineer like myself who decided to engage in the real estate business instead. Can you tell us more about yourself and your current business?

Although I obtained a first class honours degree in Chemical Engineering from the UK, I worked as a commercial engineer upon my graduation and spent about 8 years in the Oil & Gas construction industry in Malaysia.

I was really exposed to the estate agency business by accident and was coaxed by a friend to join. However, due to my love for architecture and interior design, and my natural interest in property investment, it was an easy decision to make.

This was 13 years ago now and I’m still as passionate about real estate and the agency business as I was on Day 1.

How has the Malaysian property market performed recently? Is now the right time to buy, or should people wait?

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How Colliers Help Asian Investors Buy Property in the UK: By Ashley Osborne

Ashley Osborne Colliers

Ashley Osborne, Head of UK Residential at Colliers International, has more than 20 years of experience working helping Asian property investors buy property in London.

Currently based in London, Ashley also spent years in Hong Kong, giving him a unique perspective of the ‘supply chain’ that covers both the ends of the market.

In this article, he explains how Colliers International helps both private and institutional investors in the UK, and why you may want to look outside of London.

Ashley, please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do at Colliers International

I head up the residential business in the United Kingdom and within this division, there are four principal areas of operation including: Residential Development (i.e. the sale and acquisition of residential development sites across the UK), PRS – Private Rented Sector (acquiring and selling build-to-rent residential assets to the institutional markets); New Homes (the sale of new-build houses and apartments within the UK) and selling UK residential properties throughout our Colliers International offices and affiliated partners globally.

Prior to my current role, I was based in Hong Kong working for Colliers International as Managing Director of our International Properties business.

Alongside a highly committed management and sales team, we established one of Asia’s largest international sales platforms.

You have extensive experience with Asian property investors. How do you reach out to prospective buyers in the region?

Like all markets, there are many different types of property investors with varying requirements and stipulations.

Regardless of geographical and investor nuances, on the whole, buyers look for two key things: a high quality product which represents good value for money and secondly, excellent customer service.

As a business, our sourcing and due diligence teams have concentrated their search on finding high quality developments built by ‘best-in-class’ developers and there is no doubt that having a great product constructed by reputable companies with a proven track record is key to attracting buyers.

In many ways, this is half the battle and we have been lucky enough to work with some of the best UK developers. Continue Reading →

How to Buy Property in Palawan: By Jonabe V. Daquer (interview)

Suggestion: Watch the 5 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

Palawan is one of the most beautiful islands in the world, located in the Western parts of the Philippines.

As many retirees, especially from the US, decide to go to the Philippines, Palawan is definitely a point of interest.

Here, you’ll not only have the option to buy a house, condo or land, but also parts of islands (sounds amazing, right).

Today, I have Jonabe V. Daquer with me, the founder of Palawan Real Property, to explain the details you need to know before buying property in Palawan.

It’s one of the biggest real estate agencies in Palawan that helps both locals and foreigners.

Jonabe, can you tell us about yourself and your current business in Palawan?

Yes, I’m Jonabe V. Daquer, 32 years old, a licensed real estate broker and founder of Palawan Real Property. I was born and raised here in Palawan and I lived here my entire life. I’m in love in this place because it’s a paradise!

I started the business with my brother, Jeb and my common law husband, Voltaire. We built this Real Estate Agency to help clients get the property they need, reduce hassle, making the purchase headache free.

My mother is the one who thought me the real estate industry and she is part of the team as a consultant for property documentation. At the time we started, basically no one had an office to help clients not only to buy properties, but sellers who wanted to sell their property.

So, that’s how Palawan Real Property was born.

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Malaysia’s Best Investment Opportunities: By Henry Butcher (interview)

tang-chee-meng

Malaysia’s economy is predicted to grow much the coming decade, not to forget, its population.

If you haven’t been to Malaysia yet, I need to tell that it’s a great place to live in and it’s easy to buy property as a foreigner.

In fact, Malaysia recently got ranked as the best place to invest in our Asia Property Index (not looking at ROI and yields, but looking at complexity/risks, capital control and taxes).

However: as a foreigner (or even a local), it’s not always easy to know where the best investment opportunities are.

Therefore I’ve invited Tang Chee Meng, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Henry Butcher Malaysia, to tell us more about some of the best investment opportunities in Malaysia.

Henry Butcher Malaysia is one of the biggest property consultancies in Malaysia with overseas offices and more than 30 years under its belt.

Tang, can you please tell us about yourself and the services that Henry Butcher Malaysia offers?

Henry Butcher group originated in London and has been operating in Malaysia for 30 years.

We have an extensive network of 25 offices throughout Peninsular and East Malaysia and a staff strength of 800. We are a property consultancy offering a full spectrum of services viz.,

  • Asset valuation
  • Real estate agency
  • Investment advisory
  • Project marketing
  • Market research & development consultancy
  • Property management
  • Retail consultancy
  • Auctions and tenders
  • Plant & machinery valuation and disposals

The population will grow much in Malaysia in the coming years, especially in Kuala Lumpur. Personally, I believe that KL will perform well, but also Johor Bahru, thanks to its fast growth and proximity to Singapore. What‘s your prediction on Malaysia’s property market outlook the coming years? Which cities are most interesting and why?

The main centres of economic growth which are also the key property markets in Malaysia are Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru.

These markets enjoy the highest rates of capital appreciation due to strong economic and population growth and an active local market and they have attracted naturally interest from foreign investors keen in investing in real estate in Malaysia.

The Malaysian property market is more regulated compared to free markets like Singapore and Hongkong and house buyers are generally well protected by legislation.

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MM2H: Malaysia’s long term visa: By Andy Davison (interview)

andy-davison

Many foreigners decide to relocate to Malaysia as it’s one of the most livable places in Asia.

The food and weather is great, the locals speak English and it’s just easy getting around. Not to forget, the medical care offered (yes, Malaysia has many foreign medical tourists).

A strong contributor is also the fact that Malaysia offers a long term visa called MM2H (Malaysia My 2nd Home) to foreigners.

In fact, a few other countries in Asia have similar long term visas and it’s getting increasingly popular, especially among Chinese people.

So: today I’ve invited Andy Davison to help us explain more about the MM2H and the benefits it brings.

Andy is the Founder and CEO of TEG Media (The Expat Group) that helps foreigners with MM2H and other Media services in KL.

He founded the company over 20 years ago, which proves that he has a long on the ground experience, worth listening to.

Andy, welcome. Can you please tell us about yourself, your company and how you help foreigners in Malaysia?

I started my company in 1996 after spending 25 years travelling the world with American Express.

I decided to start a magazine for the expat community. We offer it free of charge to all expats living here. It’s a full colour 90 to 100 page magazine which we call (no surprise) The Expat.

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Guaranteed Rental Income Investments in Asia: By Nick Stuart (interview)

nick-stuart

More and more people don’t only seek high price appreciations when buying property overseas.

The fact is: having the feeling of ownership, especially in a country that offers a great quality of life, and where you can get a decent cash flow from rental incomes, is often fulfilling the needs for many buyers.

This is especially true for people living in cities like Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei and in Hong Kong, where price to income ratios have gone crazy.

So: I was a bit surprised when I previously heard that buyers can secure fixed rental incomes through so called ‘guaranteed rental income investments’.

To me, it sounded too good to be true…

Therefore, I’ve decided to invite Nick Stuart for an interview, to let him explain how guaranteed rental income investments work, mainly in Thailand, where he’s actively working with real estate.

Nick is the Managing Director of Exclusive Hot Properties, it’s a reputable company that offers guaranteed rental income investments to foreigners.

Let’s see what he has to say.

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