Tuesday, June 30, 2009

International Law Partnership To Cease Trading

John Howell’s International Law Partnership is to close, reportedly due to a collapse in income at the firm.

The UK-based law firm, specialised in overseas conveyancing and legal issues. It is to cease to practice from July 10th 2009.

Howell has said the company had written off over £500,000 of anticipated income so far this year, while actual income had fallen by nearly 75%.

“Over the last few months our clients – and, in particular, our developer clients – have been going bust at a catastrophic rate and many of our other clients are unwilling or unable to pay their bills,” said Howell. “We have, therefore and with great regret, decided to close the business.”

Howell will be well known for his regular appearances at exhibitions and seminars at which he was invariably one of the best respected speakers. He has also been a regular advisor on TV and radio shows in both the UK and Ireland. It is to be hoped that he and his company will not be lost to the overseas property community completely.

The full story on the closure of ILP can be found here.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Considering relocating to Spain?

If you've ever had any notions about relocating to Spain then a read of this rather in-depth piece in our Editorial section will be very well worth a visit.

Justin Aldridge of Eye on Spain (who is a British expat living in Spain) gives a full run-down of all the issues that were dealt with on the recent ITV series - Paradise Lost.

Essentially the programmes outline how a selection of Brittish expats have managed with investments, homes and businesses in Spain. If you are feeling a little squeamish then it might be best you didn't read it, but if you are considering moving to Spain for any reason, it should be considered at least.

It's not for the faint-hearted, but then the time for the reality check is before you consider such a huge investment or move, not when you've already taken the first steps.

Enjoy, you'll find the piece here.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Making Agents and Developers Liable for their Activities

There's an interesting article by Diarmaid Condon in our editorial section of the site. The basis of the piece is the need for a proper framework within which overseas property buyers would receive the protection that any other consumer would receive when purchasing a product or service.

The main issues addressed are around where the responsibility for due diligence lies and what levels of governance should be expected by Irish citizens purchasing property anywhere.

A very thought provoking piece - you'll find it here in its entirety.


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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Investors to Lose Money in Pirin Park Resort, Bansko

A recent report in the Sofia Echo says that 300 British and Irish investors claim to have lost nearly six millions pounds sterling, or 13.2 million Bulgarian leva, in the Alpine resort of Bansko.

In a joint letter sent to Kafeneto.net the investors explain that they fear that their investments are likely lost because the future of the enterprise in Bansko now appears very uncertain.

The group claims that a combination of "bad circumstances, poor management and rampant corruption is to blame."

In its defence, the company promoting the development, Bulgarian Development UK, has argued that the problem lies with alleged corruption in Bulgaria and the global economic downturn. Investors, however, claim there has been financial mismanagement and that the company has used investors' apartments as guarantees to finance other projects.

Bulgarian Development UK has insisted that they were obliged to adopt such measures in order to pay the builder, MRI Construction, the construction arm of MRI Overseas Properties based in the Costa del Sol. Bulgarian Development UK claims that complications ensued after MRI had terminated construction operations, even though it had been paid fully by the customers in advance.

The investors have established the Pirin Park Resort Residential Association to conduct negotiations on behalf of affected clients.

The full article is available here.


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bulgarian Property Action Group Formed

If you've had any problems with property purchases in Bulgaria - and quite a few Irish investors have significant problems there - then you'll be glad to hear that someone is trying to do something to relieve the plight of Bulgarian property owners.

The Bulgaria Property Action Group (BPAG) is seeking to bring together as many people as possible that have experienced problems with off-plan property purchases in Bulgaria in an attempt to help resolve any issues which have arisen.

The group aims to provide help, support and information for those who need it. It is also an action group of people who want to see changes that will help them seek justice and recompense for any losses they may have incurred.

Pamela East, the project's administrator, says: "There are currently huge problems with the way that real estate transactions are conducted in Bulgaria. The group want to see legal and structural changes that will give protection and provide a legal framework in the Bulgarian property market. We also want to see a process which will enable them to seek redress for any losses and to prevent such problems happening again."

For further information on the group and how it can be contacted visit the full press release on the OverseasCafe.com website.


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Monday, June 8, 2009

Michael Lynn Continues to Generate Headlines

He may have fled the country in disgrace two years ago, but Michael Lynn just can't keep himself out of the Irish newspaper headlines. Two stories, one in the Irish Mail on Sunday and the other in the Sunday Times, yesterday, prove that the on-the-run Mayo solicitor is most definitely alive and well.

The Mail on Sunday article, once again written by Michael O'Farrell (who seems to have become Mr. Lynn's tail in Europe) features Lynn directly. Apparently he's being accused of locking clients in his Cabanas development in Tavira on the Portuguese Algarve out of their swimming pool. 

Residents at  the complex have apparently, taken court action to be allowed to use their own pool. A letter was received by owners from Vantea (to whom Lynn transferred ownership of the development but is a company strongly suspected to be owned by him in any case) asking them to pay management fees due. 

Owners at the complex are quoted as saying that; 'TV's and fridges have been removed from a number of apartments and that guaranteed rental payments owed by the management company had not been paid.'

The swimming pool and bar area are now, apparently, locked up and signs have been removed from the entrance to the pool area. 

The piece also says that a group of investors is seeking to seize the land on which phase 2 of the project was to be built and the contractor, Bemposta, is also seeking to freeze the site as it claims it has not been paid for building work completed to date. 

The Mail on Sunday article isn't available online, but we've scanned a copy of it and will upload a link to it here in the next day or two. 

The second story, carried by the Sunday Times, refers to Lynn indirectly, via his former property agency, KenDar. Some of you might remember the company gave away a property in Bankso, Bulgaria on RTE's Late Late Show in association with the Property Expo and the Sunday Business Post. 

Well the winners, David and Olivia Timlin, who are co-incidentally also from Co. Mayo, never received the property (surprise, surprise) and, in the absence of KenDar, have decided to sue RTE for breach of contract. 

According to the piece: "RTE declined to comment on the case 'which is still ongoing'. The couple referred all queries to Manus Sweeney, their solicitor, who also declined to comment.

You can find the full article here

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Investing in UK Distressed Property

Find out how to invest in UK bank repossessed property at a free seminar on June 22nd in Dublin.

The strength of the euro relative to sterling presents a window of opportunity for the Irish investor looking to invest in UK distressed property. Most commentators agree that the euro is currently overvalued and is likely to weaken against sterling in the coming months following a combination of some positive economic news from the UK and the European Central Bank’s ponderous response to the financial crisis.

It is currently possible in the UK to buy bank repossessed property at discounts of up to 50% on the property's previous sale value. If an Irish investor had purchased a typical city centre apartment in Manchester, for example, at £180,000 in June 2007 when the exchange rate was 1.47 euros to the pound it would have cost him or her €264,600. A repossessed property in the same block in many cases would now typically cost £100,000, while the exchange rate is now 1.15. This means that the same apartment, if a repossession, would now cost an investor €115,000 - a staggering difference of €149,600!

This is an example of a property recently sourced for an investor in Yorkshire:

  • Purchased for £74,000 in 2009
  • Previously sold for £184,000 in 2007
  • Discount of 60%
  • Gross yield 8%
Typical yields on bank repossessed property range from 7 to 9% so an investor can achieve good income as well as a healthy discount.

The seminar starts at 6.30pm, lasts for two hours and will cover the following topics:

  • The outlook for the UK property market
  • How to source distressed property
  • Distressed property criteria (what to look for)
  • The legal pitfalls of buying distressed property
  • Arranging Finance
  • The services on offer
Places are limited and allocated on a strictly first-come first-served basis - please click here to secure your place.

If you can’t make the seminar but would like to meet up or discuss distressed property please email us at contact@OverseasCafe.com and we can have same arranged.


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Thursday, June 4, 2009

French Leaseback in Irish Times

Today's Irish Times has an extensive feature on French Leaseback property, outlining some of the pros and cons.

It's an interesting piece, written by Frances O'Rourke, a well respected property writer with the paper, and features some input from ourselves to boot. What more could you ask for?

Why not nip over and check it out, you'll find it here

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Links to French property information on the OverseasCafe.com site:

Property in France

French Property Advice

News relating to French Property

French Real Estate Agent News

Selection of French Property Agents

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

FBD Runs Aground in Spain

Irish insurer, FBD Holdings, has run into problems with the sale of some land adjoining its La Cala Golf development in Spain's Costa del Sol, according to today's Irish Independent

Shareholders were, according to the paper, hoping to benefit from a €50m windfall on the back of an €80m deal which was to be concluded on June 21st. The insurer has confirmed it is unable to meet an imminent planning deadline to clear the way for the sale of the land. This was to be the second tranche of a €200m deal agreed in summer 2006 where €120m was payable immediately for 58 ha while €80m was to become payable for the remaining 40 ha, subject to planning being received by June 21st. 

According to the Indo report by Laura Noonan, the 80 acres will now be legally transferred to FBD although finance director, Cathal O Caoimh, stressed that it would have no financial impact on FBD since the €80m gain had never been recognised.

The 40-hectare site, which is adjacent to the group's La Cala golf course, already has roads and sewage and has planning permission for residential development.

The full article can be found here

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To See a Selection of Advice on Purchasing in SpainClick Here

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Farewell to 'Raising The Roof'

It is with a great deal of sadness that we have learned of the demise of the 'Raising the Roof' 'blog.

We received the following message from the blog's writer, Kevin Brass:

"I regret to announce the New York Times, as part of its latest round of cutbacks, has decided to drop “Raising the Roof,” the international property blog. In recent weeks The Times, which owns the International Herald Tribune, has absorbed the Web activities of the Herald Tribune, downsized the weekly international-focused “Escapes” section and slashed the contractor budget. The last “Raising the Roof” post will go up Friday, May 29.

I will continue to write about property markets for the print edition of the International Herald Tribune, as well as occasional stories for the NYT. I will also be pursing other opportunities in the property industry.

For all those who read the blog and helped develop stories over the last couple of years, I thank you for your attention and support."

What can we say Kevin? We really enjoyed the blog and are very sorry to see it go. You'll be badly missed in the overseas property blogosphere and best of luck with your ventures in the future, we're sure they'll be very successful.