Have you ever dreamed of buying a house—for cheap—in a foreign country and moving there to live the expat life? Or buying an investment property and renting it out? Or getting a fixer-upper and flipping it for big bucks down the road? This could be your moment. While the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating, it has also had a silver lining by creating real estate bargains around the globe at a time of unprecedented low interest rates. “Nothing like the coronavirus crisis has come along before,” says Ronan McMahon of Real Estate Trend Alert, a publication from InternationalLiving.com, a site that tracks the best places in the world to live, retire, travel and invest.
Real Estate Trend Alert recently released a report on the five best places to find bargains around the globe. According to McMahon, the idea is to take strong US dollars or borrow money at historically low rates, and put it all to work in overseas markets by buying undervalued assets and locking in the potential for income and appreciation. “Many people feel powerless in the face of this chaos, but my feeling is that if you play this crisis right, it can prove to be quite lucrative over the long term,” says McMahon.
Add to this a work revolution—with companies pioneering remote employment—and you have the recipe for expat success.“The world is not going back to how it used to be,” says McMahon. “This is either scary or exhilarating—either way it’s happening. And for opportunity-focused folks, it’s a gift.”
When looking for real estate, McMahon says it’s important to focus on three different kinds of places. “That means looking to internationalized markets, like Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Or to places where the middle class is exploding, like Colombia. Or to downward-trending spots like parts of Europe where the population is older and innovation is limited, but where offerings have historic appeal, like Italy, for instance,” says McMahon.
McMahon also emphasizes that while buying in a crisis can appear easy in hindsight, it’s not as simple as it seems. His advice: “Buying right in any crisis requires cold sober thinking. You start with your personal criteria for an investment. Then you ruthlessly adhere to those criteria. You need to be unemotional and clear-headed. Step out what you consider value and do not be fearful when you find a deal that matches your criteria. Don’t be greedy. Don’t hesitate because you think a deal might be better if you wait. If it matches your criteria, act.”
Read on for the lowdown on five cheap—and amazing—places to get real estate deals right now. You can get more details in Real Estate Trend Alert’s full report.
The Scoop: Due to the economic impacts of coronavirus, McMahon is predicting that prices in Italy will drop to historic lows. “We will see big falls in value of best-in-class real estate. I’m figuring on 30% in Italy on prices that have been already been falling for 15 years,” says McMahon. “The value of marginal real estate in the hills and empty villages will go to zero.”
And when tourism bounces back in blue-chip locations like Venice and Rome, it will open up a new market for vacation rentals—meaning you can rent out that apartment you just bought. If you don’t want to live there yourself, that is.
Insider Tips: Italy has become famous for towns giving away fixer-upper houses for a mere 1 euro each. “Italy has been giving away ‘free’ houses for years in an effort to re-energize depopulated hill towns,” says McMahon. “These are often historic, beautiful towns in stunning places.”
The hook is that you need to invest money to fix up your new home, but if you’ve got the willpower, there’s no better deal anywhere. The latest town to start hawking free homes is Cinquefrondi, a COVID-free village located in Calabria—a region in southern Italy—and McMahon predicts the trend will now move northward.
Even before the crisis, McMahon says he was finding apartments in places like central Florence and Venice that create double-digit yields. “The trick was to buy something old and unloved but in the right location, do some smart cosmetic work and market it better than any of the competition,” says McMahon. “I came across apartments under $200,000 that fell into this category.”
Riviera Maya, Mexico
The Scoop: Mexico’s Riviera Maya has been transformed over the years from a sleepy backwater into a world-class vacation destination. And along with the tourism growth, mobile professionals and digital nomads have flooded to towns like Playa del Carmen and Tulum. “Tulum has cornered the market for being eco-chic,” says McMahon. “It’s the kind of place where stars who fly in private jets can feel virtuous by spending a few nights off-the-grid on the beach. It’s as fashionable a destination as St. Barts, St. Tropez and the Greek island of Mykonos.”
Until now, a 1,000-square-foot oceanfront condo in Playa del Carmen could set you back $600,000, but things are about to change—for a brief moment. “Thanks to the crisis, a buying moment exists today—a pause in the mammoth growth trajectory of the Riviera Maya, which can be turned to an investor’s advantage,” says McMahon. “The goal is to buy the right real estate to be set up for income and appreciation.”
Insider Tips: McMahon’s advice is to move fast. “The Riviera Maya is in the midst of a multi-decade transformation and this current crisis is going to be a short sharp shock and then it’s back to the races,” says McMahon, who thinks buying pre-construction is a smart idea. That means: “By the time a person takes delivery of a condo, millions of vacationers will have long ago returned to enjoy the beaches, cenotes, international dining and tropical weather.” You can rent your new vacation home to just those people.
McMahon says he has seen spacious townhouses in Tulum for $149,000 that he figures will be worth $76,000 more within a year of delivery and could throw off a 13% yield or more on rentals. “Thanks to the crisis I was able to get a free pool thrown in with each home,” says McMahon. “The developer’s construction costs are in pesos but we are buying in dollars, so as his costs dropped, I was able to get him to concede more.”
He has also seen deals on two-bedroom condos just steps from the beach. Currently priced at $174,800, he predicts that they will be worth in the region of $260,000 within five years.
The Scoop: “In uncertain times smart investors look for a safe haven. They look to assets like real estate—in places where they can park themselves and their money,” says McMahon. “Uruguay is one of those places. This little country rarely makes the news headlines. It’s a beacon of stability in an uncertain world. So much so, it’s almost dull.”
Insider Tips: McMahon recently found ocean-view half-acre lots along Uruguay’s stunning Atlantic coast for as low as $31,356, along with interest-free developer financing on the table: a manageable down payment followed by 48 monthly payments of $490. “I predict these lots will be worth $50,000 in the next few years as the crisis passes and the world gets on with its business,” says McMahon.
And that’s not all: McMahon points out that because of the current crisis, sales have all but stopped for some developers, so this is the moment to come in and negotiate on that home in paradise that you’ve always dreamed about.
Just like London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong, Panama City has become a global center of finance and commerce. Plus it’s safe and stable—a rarity in a turbulent world. “Panama’s robust economy weathered the 2008 crisis and Panama will withstand the current global crisis just fine, too,” says McMahon. “Panama is one of those safe havens that sucks in resources when things in the world get volatile.”
Insider Tips: Due to a proposed change in the Panamanian tax code, some real estate developers are enjoying massive tax credits—and passing the savings on to investors. An example: McMahon found a building with beachfront condos in a stunning community close to Panama City that was earmarked to be a hotel. The developer was discounting up to $65,700. “My prediction on gains? Easily six figures within five years,” says McMahon. “I reckon $135,700. And I figure on a gross rental yield of 15.7% when the community’s momentum is realized…and this is true beachfront.”
The Scoop: McMahon says that Colombia is another solid bet. It has emerged from its troubled past to become a major regional player, with a steadying political environment, market-friendly policies, rich natural resources, strengthening trade ties and a modernizing economy. But its currency has tanked and like everywhere else in the world, the real estate market has stalled due to the current crisis.
What does this mean? “We can buy cheap in a place with big upside potential because its currency is depressed and motivated sellers have to drop their prices to attract buyers,” says McMahon.
Insider Tips: McMahon keeps a close eye on opportunities in Medellín, which sits high on his global shortlist of incredible cities. “Medellín is a hip, must-visit city,” says McMahon. “Before the current crisis tourism was on a huge tear in Colombia. There’s no reason it won’t continue in the future.”
Adding to the appeal: “Buyers call the shots and can play sellers off against each other.” Today big luxury condos in Medellin’s best neighborhoods can list for $100 per square foot. Find a motivated seller and you could pay less than $80.”
How do you find a motivated seller? “Cast a wide net and let potential sellers compete for the sale.” McMahon advises offering 30% below asking prices.
An example: “In the city’s premium neighborhood one of my researchers found a nice-looking three-bedroom apartment with an asking price of $178,392,” says McMahon. It had been over $221,000 just a few months prior. “Now here’s the thing—that’s just the effect of falling currency,” says McMahon. “But as the crisis bites you’ll find more motivated sellers.”
Real estate, re-imagined: Lone Wolf introduces new cloud solutions for agents, brokers, teams, franchises, MLSs, and associations – Canada NewsWire
Real estate’s top digital technology now available through integrated cloud solutions
CAMBRIDGE, ON, July 8, 2020 /CNW/ — Lone Wolf Technologies (“Lone Wolf”) is thrilled to announce the availability of real estate’s first integrated suites of technology solutions targeted to the specific and unique needs of residential real estate stakeholders: Agent Cloud, Team Cloud, Broker Cloud, Franchise Cloud, and Organization Cloud. Each cloud solution connects real estate’s leading technology in a single package and is available for purchase today through lwolf.com.
“We’re excited to announce the release of our cloud solutions today,” said Jimmy Kelly, CEO of Lone Wolf. “The industry has long sought end-to-end solutions, but no one’s been able to make it happen. We’ve done that, and more. By fully integrating our solutions and connecting them to some of the best tech providers in North America, we’ve not only delivered an end-to-end solution, but an entire suite of end-to-end solutions tailored to each stakeholder role in the industry. And we’re doing it with the best tech available today, from forms, eSignature, and transaction management to back office, accounting, and insights. With Lone Wolf’s clouds, it’s now possible to have a complete—and completely connected—digital experience, whether you’re an agent, broker, administrator, or buyer and seller. That’s real estate re-imagined.”
The Broker Cloud features a collection of real estate’s leading digital solutions to give brokers everything they need to run their business, serve their buyers and sellers, and improve profitability. Solutions include:
- Lone Wolf Transactions, formerly known as zipForm Plus and TransactionDesk, the broker add-on to the national member benefits in both the U.S. and Canada. Transactions provides 99% forms coverage in North America, real estate’s number-one eSignature solution, and a two-way integration between agents and the back office to give the whole brokerage unrivaled transaction management capabilities.
- Lone Wolf Back Office, formerly known as brokerWOLF, the back office and accounting solution used by over 10,000 offices in North America. The solution seamlessly connects to Transactions and features the industry’s most comprehensive tools for agent management, accounting, commissions, and business intelligence, giving brokerages of any make and model everything they need to run their business.
- Lone Wolf Insights, an AI-enabled solution that translates Back Office data into plain language and puts profitability in the broker’s hands, providing them with actionable insights to improve agent performance and bolster their coaching and retainment efforts.
- Lone Wolf Marketplace, a curated library of best-in-class digital tools that plug and play so that agents and brokerages can manage their client experience from start to finish in one solution.
“What makes our clouds truly special is they’re built around the transaction itself,” said Graeme Canivet, Product Director of Transactions at Lone Wolf. “A transaction is the moment of truth that connects everyone—and everything—in real estate. It’s where agents, brokers, staff, buyers and sellers, and third-party providers like title companies come together with a common goal. Our cloud solutions bring together the various people and technologies involved in a transaction, making it simpler for all.”
The Agent Cloud is a complete suite of solutions that connects every aspect of an agent’s transactions to provide an unrivaled client experience, including:
- Lone Wolf Transactions, which powers the national member benefits in Canada and the U.S., as well as hundreds of local and state associations, to provide agents with instant MLS connectivity and the industry’s most up-to-date and legally binding forms.
- Authentisign, real estate’s leading eSignature tool, which processes over 22 million signatures a year and is built right into Transactions, so agents do not have to export contracts to a third-party signing solution.
- Lone Wolf Marketplace, a curated library of best-in-class digital tools that plug and play into Transactions, so agents can manage the entire deal and client experience in a single place.
- Lone Wolf EliteAgent, which provides additional digital tools to help drive agent productivity, including offer management, listing broadcast, mobile add-ons and more.
“One of the biggest obstacles real estate has in providing a complete digital experience is the adoption of new tech,” said Matt Keenan, Chief Revenue Officer at Lone Wolf. “The acquisition of zipLogix and Instanet Solutions allowed Lone Wolf to build a best-in-class suite of solutions that is tightly integrated with MLSs and associations across North America, so agent adoption is already built in. With our cloud solutions, we believe it’s finally possible for all participants in the real estate industry to have an unparalleled digital real estate experience.”
Nick Gaede | Industry Relations
E: [email protected]
About Lone Wolf Technologies
Lone Wolf Technologies, a Vista Equity Partners portfolio company, is the North American leader in residential real estate software, serving over 1.4 million real estate professionals across Canada and the U.S. With cloud solutions for agents, brokers, franchises, MLSs and associations alike, the company provides the entire real estate industry with the tools they need to amaze clients, build their business, and improve profits—from transactions to back office, insights, and more, all in one place. Lone Wolf’s head offices are in Cambridge, ON and Dallas, TX.
SOURCE Lone Wolf Technologies
Vancouver Real Estate Sales Are Back
Greater Vancouver real estate sales are returning to pre-pandemic levels, but it’s not quite the same. Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) data shows June sales are almost at last year’s levels. Despite the increase, new listings are hitting the market at such a rapid pace, prices are actually falling further from the peak.
Greater Vancouver Real Estate Prices Peaked In March
The price of a typical home across Greater Vancouver is higher than last year, but down from a month before. The benchmark price of all home types reached $1,025,300 in June, up 3.5% from last year. In the City, Vancouver East saw the benchmark reach $1,083,300, up 5.0% from last year. Vancouver West is also higher with prices reaching $1,272,400, up 4.9% from last year. Important to note that all three of these markets are lower in price from the month before.
Greater Vancouver Composite Benchmark Price
The price of a typical home across Greater Vancouver, in Canadian dollars.
Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.
Since the start of the pandemic, prices have actually been falling – just not as fast as they were last year. All three numbers above are lower than they were the month before, with annual prices peaking in March. The all-time high for home prices was in June 2018, and prices are down 7.16% from then – an even bigger drop from the month before. It’s not incredibly straight forward, but not overly complicated either. Higher growth because prices aren’t falling as quickly as last year, but prices are getting further from the peak a couple years ago.
Greater Vancouver Composite Benchmark Price Change
The annual percent change of a typical home across Greater Vancouver.
Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.
Greater Vancouver Real Estate Sales Are Nearly At Last Year’s Levels
Greater Vancouver real estate sales bounced and are moving towards normal volumes, but are still far away. REBGV reported 2,443 real estate sales in June, up 64.51% from a month before. This represents a 17.62% increase compared to the same month last year. Last year was one of the slowest June’s on record though, and sales were still 21.9% below the 10-year average for the month. The increase may sound a little more impressive than it seems.
Greater Vancouver Composite Sales Vs. Listings
The number of homes sold vs total inventory in Greater Vancouver.
Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.
Inventory Is Low, But Sellers Are Returning In Full Force
Greater Vancouver is seeing a substantial increase of new listing activity. REBGV reported 5,787 new listings in June, up 57.1% from the same month last year. This represents an increase of 21.8%, when compared to the same month last year. The rise in new listings is somewhat surprising, considering how quickly it has jumped since the beginning of the pandemic.
The bump in new listings didn’t quite make up for the slow listing activity over the past couple of months. REBGV reported 11,424 active listings in June, up 15.1% from a month before. This represents a decline of 23.7% when compared to the same month last year. Much higher than the previous month, but didn’t make up for the lack of inventory earlier this year.
Greater Vancouver real estate sales returned close to last year’s numbers, but with very different dynamics. New sellers are piling in, and despite low inventory – new inventory is hitting the market at a pace preventing prices from rising. In fact, prices have been sliding further, continuing a second wave of lower prices started in 2018. The CMHC had forecasted lower prices as a result of inventory rising into the second half, and so far that’s the setup people are looking at.
Source:- Better Dwelling
Powell River real estate sales strong in June – Powell River Peak
Total real estate sales during the month of June 2020 for the Powell River area amounted to $14,259,400, considerably more than June 2019’s total of $10,133,400.
Powell River-Sunshine Coast Real Estate Board president Neil Frost said the 2020 to 2019 comparison was not only healthy in volume, it was healthy in variety.
“There are sales all across the board,” said Frost. “May was a solid month but if you look at the residential sales, we’ve done almost twice as much dollar volume from June over May 2020.
“That impacts the average price of the residential market. We are up considerably over 2019 if you compare June to June.”
In terms of the benchmark pricing, Frost said the average home is still listing in the $399,000 range and selling up to $430,000.
In the single-family homes category in June 2020, there were 25 homes sold, valued at $11,421,700, compared to 20 homes in June 2019, valued at $7,769,900.
For mobiles and manufactured homes, two sold in both June 2020 and 2019. In 2020, the value was $245,000, compared to $360,500 in 2019.
In the condos, apartments and duplexes category, there were four units sold, valued at $1,280,900 in June 2020, compared to five units, valued at $1,342,000 in June 2019.
Total number of residential units sold in June 2020 were 31, compared to 27 in June 2019.
In non-residential, there were 10 parcels of vacant land sold, valued at $1,311,800 in June 2020, compared to four parcels of land, valued at $661,000 in June 2019.
Frost said realtors are still seeing competing offers for properties and there are still a lot of out-of-town buyers.
He said July 2020 has started off “decent” so it will be interesting to see how summer sales go.
“It was nice to see not only the number of sales in June, but some higher-end sales, and the low-end is still very active. There are sales on Texada and Savary islands, plus lots. There has been a good mix of single-family homes, to waterfront homes, right down to condos and manufactured homes.”
Frost said there was pent-up demand because people were holding back or waiting to see what would happen with the market and the economy with COVID-19.
“People are still interested in real estate in Powell River,” said Frost. “There’s still a lot of market strength. It’s a good time to sell. The market is active.”
Total number of units sold in June 2020 amounted to 41, compared to 31 in June 2019.
The number of all active listings for the end of June 2020 was 222.
The average monthly selling price in June 2020 was $456,868 and the average days on the market were 56. The average selling price in June 2019 was $388,495, with average days on the market being 36.
Frost said people working in the real estate industry are taking COVID-19 precautions, following protocols, and adhering to WorkSafeBC standards and clients’ comfort levels.
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