Property In Marbella, Costa Del Sol, Spain

Sweet Spot Of Opportunity On Europe's Best Coast

Feb. 11, 2015, Marbella, Spain: Real estate market in Marbella, Costa del Sol, Spain, is a buy, with prices down 45% from their boom highs.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Sumptuous Marbella, nestled on Spain's southern Mediterranean coast, has long been a draw for moneyed expats. The good news for those of us who might not qualify as "moneyed" is that the collapse in the Iberian nation's real estate market has brought prices here back to real-world levels. And with signs that property values on this coast are finally back on the up, now is the time to be shopping.

I visited this costa recently to investigate the situation on the ground firsthand. My scouting included a conversation with local property expert Barbara Wood of The Property Finders. As Barbara and I discussed, it seems that Marbella is in that sweet zone of high end at a low price with capital appreciation on the way.

Here are highlights from our conversation...

Rob Carry: To start, what do you think it is about the Costa del Sol that has made it so consistently popular with generations of expats and visitors?

Barbara Wood: This coast has got the best winter climate of all mainland Europe. The only place in Europe that's slightly better is the Canary Islands, but they're stuck out in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa.

Also, if you look at a map, the only part of Spain's Mediterranean coast that is south facing is in Andalusia. Every other bit of Spain's Mediterranean coast is east facing. Most properties on the coast face the sea, but if you're on the east coast then you're losing the sun quite early in the day. Also, in the winter, the east coast gets winds off the sea.

Plus, most European capitals are within a two- to three-hour flight, so this part of Spain's coast it's incredibly accessible.

Rob: What has Marbella got over the rest of the Costa del Sol?

Barbara: I'd say simply that Marbella is head and shoulders above the rest of this coast. By Marbella I'm including the nearby Puerto Banús area and the little town of San Pedro.

The area to the west of Marbella is considered most prime. It's very residential, and this is where most overseas residents choose to have their homes. The best golf courses are here... the best of everything really. This is also the spot with the most expensive real estate.


Investing In Rental Income Property In Cuenca, Ecuador

Top Income Market You've Probably
Never Thought Of

Feb. 10, 2015, Cuenca, Ecuador: Cuenca, Ecuador, is both a top retirement haven and a top rental property investment market.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

If you're interested in generating a dollar-based income from an overseas property investment, then Cuenca, Ecuador, deserves your serious consideration. This city may not come to mind as a top option for a rental investment. It has built its reputation as a top retirement choice. It's that, too. However, Cuenca is also a market where you can earn decent or better net returns from rental cash flow. Further, that cash flow would be in U.S. dollars, meaning no currency exchange risk.

What's more, in Cuenca you can earn as much renting long-term, unfurnished as you can renting short-term, furnished. This is very uncommon.

In most markets, furnished, short-term rentals are considered a necessary evil... the only way to get a good return. They also, though, require outfitting and furnishing and much more management. The hassle factor is far greater and includes having to babysit complaining short-term renters. When you find a market where you can get the same return from a no-hassle, unfurnished, long-term rental, you should pay attention. That's the case in Cuenca right now.

Cuenca has been one of the world's top retirement destinations for 10 years now. However, its property market is almost never talked about... even though it's one of Latin America's top and steadiest performers. Over the past 10 years, well-located properties in Cuenca have appreciated 10% to 12% per year.

A friend sold a property here recently for an impressive 125% gain. That translated to a return of 13.9% per year for the time he'd held the place. Cuenca was virtually unaffected by the Great Recession and U.S. property crash of 2008-2009. Expats have continued to migrate to the city in growing numbers, hoping to grab a great lifestyle on what's left of their retirement funds and keeping the property market buoyant.


U.S. Dollar Surging Against Euro, Colombian Peso, Brazilian Real,...

U.S. Dollar On A Tear—Now Is The Best Time In 10 Years To Be Buying Property Overseas

Feb. 9, 2015, Panama City, Panama: U.S. dollar is surging against the euro, the Colombian peso, the Brazilian real, and the Chilean peso, making this the best time in years to invest in real estate in these markets.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

The U.S. dollar has been on an upward tear lately after years of decline, making now the best time in a decade to purchase real estate overseas.

Whether or not you see the dollar failing in the future is irrelevant. Right now, Americans and other dollar-holders enjoy what amounts to a whopping discount on international property valued in particular other currencies. The savings can easily amount to tens of thousands of dollars and more.

To say predicting currency exchange rates is tough would be an understatement, so I don't try. However, I also know enough to respond when opportunity is banging my door down. I'm a dollar investor. That means key markets are more affordable for me right now than they've been in years. I intend to act. I strongly recommend you consider doing the same. If you've been on the sidelines, considering an investment in real estate overseas, this is the time to pull the trigger.

Specifically, several of our favorite markets are offering what amount to clearance sales thanks to today's favorable exchange rates.


How To Be Successful As A Retiree Overseas

Two Keys To Retire Overseas Success

Feb. 8, 2015, Panama City, Panama: An open mind and a sense of humor are the two keys to success when retiring overseas.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

"Who should be thinking about retiring to a new country?" wondered the Money magazine editor who interviewed me this past week.

"That is," she continued, "who, really, should consider this idea? Surely it's not for everyone..."

Selling everything you own... packing up or giving away every possession... buying a plane ticket for some foreign country... and then showing up and trying to build a whole new life there? Leaving your family, your friends, your home, everything comfortable and familiar... and dropping yourself inside a new city or a new community where the people probably speak a different language and where everything else will be different, as well?

Who would do that? Why would anyone do that?

You know the big-picture reasons to consider this big idea. There are many, and my team and I remind you of them every day. Plus, you have your own, personal reasons, I'm sure, for considering taking this leap and launching a new life in a new country.

But is it really for you?


Property Financing For Residents & Non-Residents Overseas

How To Finance The Purchase Of Real Estate Overseas

Feb. 6, 2015, Panama City, Panama: As a non-resident foreigner, your options for borrowing locally for the purchase of property overseas are limited.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

A reader wrote in this week to ask about bank financing in Colombia. He wants to buy a place of his own in Medellín for retirement. He has some capital but not enough to fund the purchase of an apartment... so he needs a loan.

Unfortunately, in many countries, including Colombia, it isn't possible for a foreigner to borrow money locally for the purchase of real estate, even if you're a legal resident. From the bank's point of view, a foreigner, even a foreigner who has established residency, is a flight risk. You have no real connection to the country and could up and leave at any time. Banks don't want to take that chance.

In Medellín last week, this topic came up during a meeting with my local attorney. He doesn't understand why Colombian banks won't lend to foreigners wanting to buy real estate in Colombia, and he's taken the issue to several local bankers, explaining to them that they're leaving money on the table by not lending to foreigners. Their reply in short was: "Oh, well… we don't need the business."

Banks in Colombia are conservative in general. Not only do they lend only to Colombian nationals, but they lend only up to 70% (maybe 80% in some circumstances) of the purchase price of a piece of real estate. And, it seems, they don't see any reason to be more aggressive or open in their policies. They've got all the business they can handle, they say. The Colombian middle class is growing, as is the country's economy overall. Foreign buyers make up only about 2% of the property market in this country.


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Readers Say

"This was a 10! Great event. Awesome job by the Live and Invest Overseas team!"

Edward T., United States


"I particularly appreciated your information today about the joys (?) of international rental property. What I admire is your honest, tell-it-like-it-is approach. A lot of people have been hurt by nothing but glowing reports about offshore living from various sources. Your honest, direct approach is a real service."

— Arlean K., United States

Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.


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