Emerging markets are, and will remain, the centers of global economic growth for the foreseeable future. That’s why all serious investors should have them in their sights, especially when they offer us a cheap, low-risk entry point, as they do now. True, investors in emerging markets have had a tough time in recent years. Prices have been sliding since April 2011, with especially sharp falls in the second half of 2015. Commodity prices have collapsed, which has slammed the economies and local currencies of the big commodity exporters, such as Brazil, Russia, Chile, Colombia, and Peru.
Tell someone you’re collecting polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride and they may raise an eyebrow. Tell them you’re collecting Bakelite and you should get a smile. This robust plastic found uses in all manner of everyday appliances. Manufacturers of domestic goods, jewelry, and even weapons embraced its ﬂexibility. Once upon a time, it could be found in almost every home across the U.S. And that’s good news for aspiring collectors. With the rebounding value of vintage goods, Bakelite is now very much in demand once more. This is a great time to dust down that old TV set and root that old phone set out of the attic. The beauty of collecting Bakelite is that an item of real value could be just lying around in a cupboard or basement, waiting to be found.
European real estate is on sale…at least in a few select locales. You know the story by now. In the early and mid-2000s, Europe’s real estate markets embarked on a massive tear. It became a gold rush. A mad frenzy. Values rose and rose…until everything stopped. Credit dried up. The market imploded and real estate owners found themselves deeply underwater.
There’s a situation right now worth your attention south of the U.S. in Mexico. Mexico is set to become a developed country in the coming decades. You can benefit most from this economic transformation in the beach city of Playa del Carmen. The strategy? Buy best-in-class real estate, particularly the type of real estate that will appeal to the mobile entrepreneurs and young, new, upper middle-class families that are moving there.
In 2009, the global financial and economic crisis steam-rolled through fragile Portugal. In the six years since, I have been closely watching the real estate market in the Algarve (that’s the popular tourist destination at the nation’s foot). I have made four scouting trips here in recent times. Finally, it’s time to make a move.
Scandinavia is one of the most expensive regions in the world… and Norway is usually the most expensive country within Scandinavia. But thanks to a falling oil price coinciding with a rising U.S. dollar, Norway is on the bargain counter. The Norwegian krone recently touched a 13-year low against the dollar, while the shares of Statoil, Norway’s largest oil company, recently bounced off a six-year low (in dollar terms). These multi-year lows offer enticing buying opportunities for the forward-looking investor.
The news out of Brazil is bad. Really bad. I’m excited. I’m excited because, while the media’s stories imply that the whole nation is a mess, I know that’s not the case. But most people don’t know that. And for you that opens a window of opportunity. You see, Brazil’s media is centered in, and dominated by, Rio and São Paolo. What reaches us as “Brazil news” is essentially just Rio/São Paolo news. And yes, there are troubles in Brazil’s economy, no question. But I’ve been focusing my attention south of Fortaleza in the northeast, and I’ve come across some great opportunities.
In October of last year, China and Russia signed a landmark currency-swap deal allowing Russia to tap into $24.4 billion in liquidity. This was followed by an announcement that the People’s Bank of China would permit trading of renminbi-ruble derivatives and China’s Import-Export Bank extended credit to two sanctioned Russian banks. In other words, China’s doing what it can to help Russia keep its head above water. This is one of the greatest economic chess moves in recent history. And could be one of the greatest investment opportunities in our lifetime.
Little Uruguay is a country that has advantages for producing food. It has good productive land, and a temperate climate allows the cultivation of up to three crops a year on average. Thanks to increasing wealth and food consumption in emerging markets, farmland here could generate a yield of between 3% and 9% (depending on the type of land and management option you choose), and also enjoy long-term appreciation. And Uruguay is where the small guy can directly get in on this food trend with ownership control. Uruguay has an advanced domestic farm industry. The domestic infrastructure of farm management companies, routes to market, and professional services caters for foreign investors.
To most folks, names like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein conjure up multi-million-dollar price tags that seem well beyond the means of mere mortals. That’s true of their paintings, but what about their prints? Original fine-art prints fall into multiple disciplines. Those you’ll come across most often include etchings, engravings, lithographs, linocuts, screen prints, and woodcuts. And they all share one thing in common—the artist is directly involved in the creation of the image.
We typically see Path of Progress opportunities in places that are on the up…we usually discover distressed opportunities by finding high-quality inventory somewhere that’s broadly in crisis. It’s rare that we see the convergence of both these trends—but today that’s the opportunity we have along a stretch of Spain’s Costa del Sol. San Pedro is a pleasant sleepy Spanish town of leafy squares and pedestrian streets. Marbella is 12 minutes away (by car…25 minutes by public bus).
The bidding in the auction room stood at 2 million Hong Kong dollars—and all eyes were on me. Ceiling fans offered some respite from the stifling heat outside, but the room still seemed unbearably hot. Some 40 or 50 collectors and dealers, many of whom had made the trip from mainland China, jostled for elbow room. A bank of auction assistants manned telephones and laptops, processing bids from around the world.
Big changes are underway in India. Did you notice? The Indian stock market certainly has. After going nowhere for the better part of six years, Indian stocks finally kicked into gear a few months ago. After going nowhere for the better part of six years, Indian stocks finally kicked into gear a few months ago.
Land in the Tulum area on the southern edge of Mexico’s Riviera Maya can be a strong opportunity…as long as it’s the right land. On my recent scouting trip I put boots on the ground at more than a dozen interesting communities (including some planned lot communities). As long-time readers of Real Estate Trend Alert know, Tulum is stunning. It’s home to some of the world’s finest white-powder beaches…backed by palm trees that rustle in the Caribbean breezes.
Las Terrenas on the Dominican Republic’s Samana peninsula is a little piece of paradise. It boasts 19 miles of walkable, public beach, palm trees, warm breezes, and stars so bright it feels like you could pluck them from the sky. This isn’t a manufactured beach or resort. It’s a laid-back, cultured getaway. In town, behind and between the palm trees, are chic cafés and restaurants run by French and Italian expats.
The grand old commercial, religious, and learning center of Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, is set to regain its previous status as a major regional player. This academic hub is returning to the significance it held before wars and political upheavals stopped people from flocking here.
In August 2013, the Thomas H. Law collection of gold coins sold for over $5 million at a Chicago auction—more than double the presale estimates. Given the popularity of gold coins among U.S. collectors and investors, multi-million-dollar auction sales may not be that surprising—except that this was a collection of English coins.
When I first went to Fiji in 1999, I had no thoughts of buying a lot, designing and building a house, and becoming a vacation rental expert. Of course, life often turns out better than we ever imagined…and I’m living proof of that. In 1999, my only thought on that trip to Fiji was escape
In Tulum, Mexico, you’ll find some of the world’s finest white powder beaches… They’re backed by palm trees that rustle in the Caribbean breezes… It’s a special place to spend time. You can kayak on a white-bottomed lagoon…or stroll along picture-perfect beaches to your yoga class before breakfast. You can visit ancient Maya ruins or swim in a cenote.
Nancy’s dream is a simple one. She wants to live by the beach. She approached me at an IL conference, concerned that she couldn’t afford her dream lifestyle on her small budget. She’s had it with the freezing winters back home, she told me. She’s done with shoveling snow and scraping windshields and worrying about heating bills. She’ll wave goodbye to winter by moving overseas.
The Southern Zone, for me, is the nicest part of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast—it’s largely unspoiled because for a long time, it was difficult to get to. That’s why prices stayed low here while values went through the roof up north. Previously, it was about a nine-hour drive from the capital San Jose to the Southern Zone.
In 1994, billionaire entrepreneur Bill Gates spent $30.8 million on 18 pieces of paper. His purchases weren’t paintings or artwork—at least, not in the traditional sense. They were manuscripts, handwritten 500 years ago by artist, inventor, and genius Leonardo da Vinci. Bill Gates wanted to own the Codex Leicester because he wanted a tangible connection to one of his heroes—and he’s not alone.
For 15 years, real estate prices in Spain soared. Then in 2007 demand slowed. By the time the worldwide economic crisis rolled through Spain and Europe, the real estate bubble had well and truly popped.
The white-washed town of Istán clings to the slopes of the Sierra de las Nieves (Mountains of the Snows). It’s a truly hidden place—yet stunningly and conveniently positioned. I’ve visited plenty of charming hill towns and villages in Spain, France, and Italy where real estate is cheap. But the downside has always been remoteness. Istán is different.
At first it just happened by chance, but it was the best thing that ever happened to someone struggling to survive in a foreign land. A $47,000 investment (down payment and closing costs) in the year 2000 to purchase a 750-square-foot apartment in Le Marais, Paris has resulted in the ownership of five properties valued at almost $3.5 million in today’s market. I was living in the apartment as a rental for the first two years, then the owners wanted to sell…but, I simply couldn’t bear to leave it and spent nine months figuring out how to buy it. That was just the beginning.
I purchased my first rental property in the ski resort village of Whistler, BC, Canada, when I was 23-years-old with a very small down payment. At the time, I was working as reservations manager for a property management company so I had first-hand knowledge of the strong returns that could be achieved through rentals. Over the following eight years, I proceeded to buy, renovate, rent short-term, and ultimately sell nine Whistler properties.
“My maid now eats yogurt,” a contact told me on a visit to Fortaleza, Brazil in 2009. It may seem like a strange thing to notice but it’s a sure mark of how Brazil is changing. Yogurt is a premium product in Brazil—and my contact’s maid was changing her consuming patterns in line with Brazil’s new middle class.
You’ve got the options of a cosmopolitan lifestyle in cities like Quito, Cuenca, and Salinas… or a more quiet existence in any number of smaller enclaves where you can garden with a view. And your choices extend to the kind of home you’d like as well—from the convenience of a modern high-rise condo…to the space afforded by a single-family home with a yard…to raw land on which you can build your dream escape.
At Real Estate Trend Alert my beat is to find places where real estate is undervalued and where something is set to happen that means values will increase. I call this “the trigger event.” This trigger event could be a fast-growing, new, middle class or new infrastructure projects that will bring improved accessibility.
If, like many Americans, your greatest source of personal wealth is in your IRA, you may be wondering how to best utilize that investment to safeguard it and watch it grow. You’re not alone. Concerns about the stability of the U.S. dollar have generated a greater interest in all manner of offshore investments—foreign real estate in particular.
Can you guess what all these Americans have in common?• William Jefferson Clinton: 42nd President of the United States • John Kerry: 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Senator, current U.S. Secretary of State • Jack Lew: U.S. Secretary of the Treasury • Mitt Romney: 2012 Republican presidential candidate, former governor of Massachusetts • Michael Froman: President Obama’s U.S. Trade Representative
Changing nutritional preferences and the restructuring of society are leading to new consumer trends in Colombia—and creating opportunities for expat entrepreneurs in the health-food market. BioPlaza is a chain of four outlets in Bogotá—three of them franchised—that is seeking to exploit this demand and is now looking for franchisees. The man behind it is Alex von Loebell, 49, who came to Colombia from Germany, where he had studied marketing and advertising, and worked in the media.
I know of only a handful of places around the world right now where you can buy a property for $150,000…and have it throw off $1,000 a month in yield right from the start. These are the rental-yield super-stars.
I’m thinking of a Latin American bank that truly stands apart. Unlike, say, Citigroup or Bank of America, this bank doesn’t offer loans or checking accounts to the general public. It doesn’t receive deposits from the public, either. Instead, it finances trade in Latin America, mainly by funding the sale of commodities and agricultural products to Asia.
It’s often overlooked, but dividends make up the lion’s share of stock-market returns. According to one study, dividend income made up 35% of the total returns of the S&P 500 between 1926 and 2009. There are two important reasons why this trend is set to accelerate. First, record low bond yields mean that dividend income is more sought-after than ever.
One of the best ways to create cash flow right now is through stock dividends—especially through stocks with exposure to the emerging markets. Cash flow is the amount of money your portfolio “pays you” each year. And by buying a diversified basket of dividendpaying stocks, it can be surprisingly stable.
If you want to see real economic growth, get a taxi through Hanoi at rush hour. Every day, millions of residents of the Vietnamese capital weave their way through the city on newly-bought Chinese and Japanese motorbikes and scooters. Twenty years ago, bicycles were the main form of transport.
The world’s consumer power base is shifting. The “rest” are playing catch-up to the “West” right before our eyes. Most investors don’t see this. They are blinded by the doom and gloom surrounding the financial crisis, the debt ceiling, and the gridlock in Washington.
Today I’m going to tell you that you should buy a Spanish phone company. Your friends may laugh at you. Let them. It’s easy to repeat Warren Buffett’s advice at dinner parties: “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.” It’s harder to follow when it comes to your own portfolio. But that is exactly what I recommend you do with this Spanish company.
With more than three in five U.S. workers in their 50s and 60s planning on working past 65 (and over half of them planning on working into their 70s and beyond), the American Dream continues to die a death. IL’s Chris Hunter offers some sound advice on what you can do to protect your retirement.