What to buy? Apartments in Buenos Aires, some of which qualify as among the most intrinsically valuable in the world, their cycle-to-cycle value street value notwithstanding. Also look at vineyard opportunities. I've just taken advantage of a crisis vineyard offer in Mendoza and am on the lookout for more. Turkey, Specifically Istanbul Turkey's property market wasn't hit as hard as others around the world in 2008 and 2009. Values in some districts of Istanbul dropped by maybe 25% at the height of the downturn (about the same as in Panama)...but in just a year-and-a-half prices recovered. That rate of appreciation (10% to 15% per year on average) continued through 2014 and is expected to carry on indefinitely. Despite these impressive rates of appreciation, Istanbul real estate remains a bargain compared with other global-standard cities. With a starting market price of around US$1,000 a square meter, middle-class housing in the Turkish capital can be an excellent bargain. What's driving the continuing appreciation in property values? Inflation is one factor; another is the GDP growth rate, which has been 4.5% to 5%. However, the compelling explanation for why property prices have been going up as quickly as they have been is a big and growing local demand. Half the population of Turkey is younger than 30 years old. The country sees 350,000 weddings a year. All these new couples want places of their own to live. And, thanks to a strong economy and relatively low unemployment, more of these young couples than ever can afford places of their own. In addition to all the young people needing places to live, half the current housing stock in the country needs to be replaced or renovated. Many of the structures are simply not suitable for living according to current-day standards. People in old buildings need new and better ones...further fueling the construction boom that continues to expand. With its young population, Turkey is a country of the future. The economy is growing and diversified between Europe and Asia. And it's easier than it's ever been for foreigners to invest here now, especially in real estate. Focus on Istanbul rather than the vacation properties along the coast that many foreigners have been buying. Vacation markets supported by mostly foreign buyers are less liquid than a local market like Istanbul. When you decided to sell your asset in this city, you'd have many different potential buyers to appeal to. The safest, simplest investment options in the city are pre-construction apartments. Getting in early on a new building means discounted pricing and the expectation of price increases over the two- to three-year construction period. Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic is an internationally popular all-inclusive resort destination that sees big volumes of tourists every year thanks to its miles of sandy beaches and balmy temperatures. It's also a top Caribbean choice for the would-be foreign property investor. In fact, I like this market more than ever in 2015 for two reasons. First, the island nation is attracting more and more foreigners, both full-time expats and retirees and part-time second-home-at-the-beach owners. Second, property values are a tremendous bargain relative to the rest of the Caribbean. What could you buy? How about a brand-new, one-bedroom apartment about a five-minute walk from a Caribbean beach for US$100,000 or less that could be rented out for a good and reliable yield. You can also find multi-million-dollar properties that are, again, a bargain, compared with the cost of similar properties in other Caribbean markets. Punta Cana is the DR's most developed resort area. Puerto Plata, on the north coast, is the most developed area for retirees. Most appealing if you ask me is the Samana Peninsula. Here you have thousands of expats onshore and, in the water off the coast here, thousands of breeding humpback whales. It's a unique spot a little off the beaten path. Spain This is the best time in 20 years to be shopping for real estate in Spain…if you know where to look. We are at the start of a 12-month window for buying in the regions of this country that are driven by expat buyers. Prices for properties in locally driven markets remain unstable and may fall further, but the expat markets are firming up. In fact, we may begin to see some appreciation is these areas, as little new construction has been undertaken in the past half-dozen years thanks to the crisis. Focus on Malaga in the heart of the Costa del Sol. The town center has some charm and a broad appeal. Prices are good, as low as 2,000 euro per square meter, a price point not seen here in many years. The Costa del Sol of Spain is where I made my first overseas real estate investment, so I have an affinity for this area. Money can be made again now, in the current market. However, you can't buy just anything. You want to focus not only on broadly appealing markets (like Malaga) but also on individual properties with intrinsic value. The crash left banks holding more real estate than they could inventory, and they're working hard to unload as much of the foreclosed property as possible. Much of it is cookie-cutter condos. Don't be tempted. Seek out properties with character. Whatever you buy, you want to be confident it'll generate an adequate net rental return (at least 5% to 8%). You shouldn't buy in this market for capital appreciation in the near or mid-term. Buy for cash flow and a long-term upside. Buy as well to take advantage of the strength of the U.S. dollar versus the euro. The euro is at its lowest point against the dollar in two-and-a-half years, dropping a further 2.5% in the last couple of weeks. Colombia, Specifically Medellin The U.S. dollar is currently surging not only against the euro but other currencies, too, including the Colombian peso, making this market even more interesting. I've been recommending Colombia, specifically Medellin, for investment for six years, and I remain bullish. The Medellin market has seen good appreciation over the last six-plus years I've been recommending it (as much as 10% per year), and I expect this to continue. Meantime, the peso has fallen out of its five-year band of 1,750 to 2,050 per U.S. dollar to around 2,300 to the U.S. dollar, triggering a window of opportunity to get into this market on a dip. Colombia's economy is strong, and the middle class continues to grow. The long-term prospects are excellent. Buy both for immediate cash from rental yield and capital appreciation. Agriculture Any property portfolio should include some productive land component for important reasons I think you understand as well as I do. I'm actively pursuing agricultural opportunities from timber to certain fruits and vegetables in Colombia, Panama, Belize, Western Europe, and the Dominican Republic. Not all of them will work out, but I'll alert you to the ones that pass muster. This is where I intend to place a significant portion of my available capital in 2015. Happy profits. Lief Simon
Continue Reading: Making A Plan To Retire Overseas In 2015
"Argentina, specifically Buenos Aires, is a destination that has welcomed immigrants and expats since the mid-1800s. Much of the population claims Italian or Spanish heritage or both. The connections are clear when you walk the streets of Buenos Aires. Everywhere are pasta and pizza shops, and Spanish is spoken with a noticeable Italian inflection. These traits are blended with cultures and traditions from all around the world, including afternoon tea time, popular English sports like polo and rugby and the French architecture in the Recoleta neighborhood. "At the same time, Argentina has its own distinct culture. The cow is elevated to almost holy heights in this country, and care and concern are taken as to how it is grown, fed and ultimately prepared. Red meat is a staple of the Argentine diet, and Argentines gather for asados with friends and family at least once a week. "One of the most important things for retirees in Buenos Aires to adjust to is this city's schedule, which favors the nocturnal. The average workday starts at 9 or even 10 a.m. and goes until 6 p.m. Lunch is taken around 1 or 2 p.m., a snack around 5 p.m. and then dinner at 9 p.m. Many restaurants that serve lunch and dinner close at 4 p.m. and then reopen for dinner at 8 p.m., meaning you aren't going to eat any earlier. "Keep in mind, too, that seasons are swapped here in the Southern Hemisphere, and Buenos Aires enjoys all four of them. Christmas is celebrated in the balmy days of summer, and summer can be hot, with temperatures in the 90s. "Buenos Aires can be an easy place to slide into as a foreign retiree. Much of the local population speaks English and is eager to practice with foreigners, as well as to show off their city. And it's easy to connect with fellow foreign transplants. Many expat meeting groups are active in the city, and many online resources and forums are dedicated to helping expats and foreign retirees, including, for example, BA Expats. "The main appeal of retirement in Buenos Aires is the city itself. However, retirees here will find that their budget can stretch far. You can have a lavish steak dinner with wine, appetizers and accompaniments for less than US$20, even at some of the nicest steakhouses in town. Still, the city is not the secretly cheap steal it once was. This is a world-class city on par with other cosmopolitan capitals around the world, and prices generally reflect that. Furnished apartment rentals start at around US$500 a month for a studio or one-bedroom. From there, the sky is the limit, because Buenos Aires is a place where a true luxury-level lifestyle is possible. "Argentina is not one of the world's current bargain destinations, and establishing legal residency can be a challenge. So, Buenos Aires might best be considered as a part-time retirement choice. You could spend winter here (remember, the seasons are reversed), enjoying one of the world's most intriguing and exciting lifestyles while the snow is falling up north, and spend the rest of the year somewhere more affordable and closer to home..." Kathleen Peddicord Editor's Note: Karina's complete guide to living or retiring in Buenos Aires is featured in the November issue of our Overseas Retirement Letter. If you're an ORL subscriber, you should have received the issue in your in-box on Nov. 15. If you're not an ORL subscriber yet, you can become one here now. Or purchase the complete Buenos Aires report on its own, including all photos and videos, here. Both the Overseas Retirement Letter subscription and the Buenos Aires Retirement Report are on sale right now as part of our mega-Black Friday/Thanksgiving Weekend event, which continues for less than 24 hours more. Go here now to shop our Bookstore for more Black Friday savings before the holiday event ends.
Cpmtinue Reading: Jobs Teaching English In Honduras
Continue reading: Fees And Minimum Balances With Offshore Banks
Sept. 1, 2014
"I have learned so much from your newsletter, and now I have a question. "I read that Panama is an offshore investment haven and that I could live in this country tax free, but I am confused. If I relocate to Panama and run a local business or an Internet business, does that mean I pay no Panama taxes or no income taxes at all, including in the United States?" -- Doug H., United States Yes, you could live in Panama tax-free, even as a U.S. citizen (that is to say, paying no income tax either in Panama or in the United States). However, some work and preparation are required. You have to set yourself up properly. If you're retired, you won't pay taxes on retirement income you bring into Panama or on any dividends or interest income earned outside the country. You would still pay taxes in the United States on the dividends and interest income, and, depending on the source of the retirement income, you'd pay the same tax to the IRS as you would if you lived in the States (although, if you live in a state that taxes retirement income, you'd avoid that tax by moving to Panama). To live completely income tax free in Panama as a U.S. citizen, you must have a business generating earned income for you as an individual and that income must be derived from outside Panama. Panama taxes residents on income earned in the country only, so your non-Panama business would pay no taxes in Panama, and assuming it is a business where you can legitimately claim that you are earning your income outside the country, your individual income wouldn't be taxed there. Typically, this means a consulting or an Internet-based business. If you start an active business in Panama, with sales in Panama to Panama residents, then that income would be taxable in Panama, as would any related personal compensation you receive. In either case, your salary up to the annual Foreign Earned Income Exclusion limit (US$99,200 for 2014) can be excluded for U.S. income tax purposes. The key is that it be truly earned income.
An added bonus of the Languedoc region is that it's just three hours' drive to my joint-favorite European city, Barcelona! Lief Simon: Medellin and Buenos Aires I prefer cities over more rural areas. Two of the best cities in Latin America to spend time in, whether it's full- or part-time living, are Medellin, Colombia, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. In Medellin, the weather is pleasant year-round—though some would argue that it isn't "spring-like" weather as it's generally referenced to be. Temperatures regularly break 80 degrees. Having grown up in Arizona, that's like winter weather for me. In other words, it's all relative. It's pleasant enough to walk around Medellin, which is important to me, though I wouldn't call this a walking city. Medellin has First World infrastructure and amenities (also important to me), and museums, festivals, gardens, and parks all add to the variety of activities available in this city of about 3.5 million people. And, to make the point, despite its history, Medellin is fairly calm these days unless you wander into the gang neighborhoods. Bigger and livelier is Buenos Aires, which also has four seasons. I like change and contrast, so I like this part of the world a lot. Argentina rides an economic roller coaster that cycles harder and faster than economic cycles in any other country I could name, thanks to general and gross mismanagement by the government. Argentina is right now close to another breaking point. I'm watching for the coming next crisis, which will be another good time to be considering an investment here. From a lifestyle point of view, Buenos Aries offers all the activities that Medellin does and more. It's a city of about 15 million people (around one-third of the total population of the country). It has a tremendous variety and diversity of restaurants, shopping, museums, and parks and does qualify as a walking city—though it's too big to walk across in one go. For me, Buenos Aries' core neighborhoods of Recoleta and Retiro offer an ideal way of life. Just be prepared for big ups and downs and lots of drama. For me that's all a big part of the charm of this place. Kathleen Peddicord P.S. The countdown is on. You have three days remaining to register for this year's Retire Overseas Conference in Nashville next month taking advantage of the Early Bird Discount. More details here.
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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.
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