Chasing Real Estate Prices And Values Worldwide

Find­ing a Dream Home with Low Real Estate Prices and Values

As real estate prices and val­ues con­tinue to drop world­wide where do you plan to spend the rest of your life?

With the real estate prices and val­ues depre­ci­at­ing world­wide there has been a lot of Inter­net gos­sip and chat about the econ­omy in the United States and the global econ­omy, involv­ing Europe, the Amer­i­cas, and third world countries.

With the depre­ci­at­ing dol­lar, euro, and almost every other cur­rency, it is dif­fi­cult for even the best finan­cial adviser to make the cor­rect pre­dic­tions or calls, and cur­rency investors are play­ing roulette.

Real estate prices and val­ues con­tinue to fall worldwide.

There are very few places that escape the tor­rent of depre­ci­at­ing real estate prices and val­ues. And real estate spec­u­la­tion is in one of the worst accom­mo­da­tions in which to place your bets.

Three years ago we heard that real estate prices and val­ues would be ris­ing. Two years ago we heard that real estate val­ues would see an uptrend. Last year we were told that real estate had reached bot­tom. This year is almost over and real estate con­tin­ues to plum­met worldwide.

In the United States there are very few places that have seen any gains this year. And those gains are min­i­mal. In fact they are minus­cule in com­par­i­son to what the val­ues were 4–5 years in the past.

If you have a 3% gain after los­ing over 50% that is noth­ing to dance for, or cel­e­brate, espe­cially when the rest of the United States is con­tin­u­ing to face fur­ther losses in real estate prices and values.

I have heard, and recently quite often, that many finan­cial pub­li­ca­tions are advis­ing investors to not only look abroad for invest­ing and mov­ing their money, but to also begin con­sid­er­ing mak­ing a phys­i­cal move out of the United States to for­eign coun­tries. Most advise con­sid­er­ing mov­ing to coun­tries hav­ing a high stan­dard of liv­ing and sim­i­lar cul­ture to the U.S., but with a sta­ble econ­omy in com­par­i­son, and good cost of liv­ing index.

I have been doing some research in this vein and many coun­tries are being pro­posed. Some of these coun­tries should be dis­counted right away because of their envi­ron­ment; polit­i­cal, cul­tural, and reli­gious. Lan­guage bar­ri­ers, edu­ca­tion, med­ical care, and employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties need to be con­sid­ered too.

One coun­try that has seen a tremen­dous drop in real estate prices and val­ues is Italy.

Italy is, and con­tin­ues to be, a major tourist attrac­tion for Euro­peans and United States cit­i­zens. It ranks almost 5th world­wide for tourism. What peo­ple seem to for­get is to check the tol­er­ance lev­els of the government.

Italy is ranked very low in the cor­rup­tion scale indexes.

Hear­ing this may sound good but it is quite the oppo­site because a low read­ing means high cor­rup­tion. Take for instance that the cur­rent Prime Min­is­ter, Sil­vio Berlus­coni, who is always in the news, and seems to be only a few steps from jail, owns 60% of the media in Italy, and con­trols another 20%.

And whether you like to hear it again or not, orga­nized crime is not only endemic it is accepted in Italy as a part of every­day life. Bribes are com­mon­place and rou­tine. With the Ital­ian econ­omy on the brink of dis­as­ter it is no won­der that cor­rup­tion on all lev­els is becom­ing prolific.

You can pur­chase a nice mid­sized home in Italy or Sicily today for under $100,000, but tomor­row you may have to pay the local water offi­cials extra just to get your water turned on for the next year. And if you are a blog­ger, jour­nal­ist, or writer, you may have to cur­tail some of your cho­sen phrases and arti­cles when it comes to local politi­cians and gang­sters, or feel the might of their sword.

I have cho­sen Italy and Sicily as the first exam­ple because they are being so widely adver­tised online as one of the top choices to move to, and have short­com­ings that are never men­tioned. Sicily is known for 12 months of sun­shine, beau­ti­ful coast­lines, won­der­ful beaches, fine food and wine, but it also is known for its earth­quakes. They also have their own live, lava spew­ing, volcano.

The mayor of Salemi, Sicily, was sell­ing 3,000 houses, man­sions, and vil­las all for the same price, one euro.

These homes are all in an old part of town that was aban­doned after an earth­quake in 1968. The houses and build­ings all need ren­o­va­tion and the buyer-seller agree­ment stip­u­lates that only local work­ers can be used for the ren­o­va­tions. The aver­age com­plete ren­o­va­tion will cost approx­i­mately $26,000 in U.S. cur­rency, a very tempt­ing offer.

These real estate prices and val­ues sound very good and you would think that peo­ple would be jump­ing on this today and the houses would dis­ap­pear off the mar­ket in no time, but no, this is not the case. Why? Because there are too many other places that are much nicer in terms of locale and afford­abil­ity, with low real estate prices and val­ues. France, Spain, and Por­tu­gal are three that come to mind.

Por­tu­gal and Spain have some excel­lent real estate prices and val­ues on the mar­ket now.

The cli­mates of Por­tu­gal and Spain are to dream about, if you like sun­shine and nice weather. The land is excel­lent for grow­ing food, like Italy and Sicily, and they are proud peo­ple. They love tourist dol­lars like most coun­tries, but the polit­i­cal cli­mate is some­thing to consider.

Their economies are so depressed that their gov­ern­ments are shaky at best. They want the rest of the world to believe oth­er­wise and keep try­ing their best to put a good face on their polit­i­cal sta­bil­ity, but in the mean­time many of the cit­i­zens are going fur­ther into reces­sion and the poorhouse.

Rich for­eign­ers, or peo­ple per­ceived as wealthy, may not be too com­fort­able in an unsta­ble polit­i­cal cli­mate even with real estate prices and val­ues at record lows. Of course the ocean prop­er­ties con­tinue to be priced for the wealthy.

France has received lit­tle atten­tion because it has always been con­sid­ered only for the wealthy.

Buy­ing real estate in France today is noth­ing like it was 5–10 years ago. Like many other Euro­pean coun­tries the real estate prices and val­ues have plum­meted and you can now pur­chase a nice home for under $100,000 in U.S. currency.

I have found prop­erty 15–45 min­utes from the Mediter­ranean for as lit­tle as $60,000.

The prop­erty usu­ally is in need of some ren­o­va­tion, but occa­sion­ally it is ready to be moved into. This is incred­i­ble and was unheard of a few years ago, but with the global econ­omy in such tur­moil even nice areas are now feel­ing the pain of low real estate prices and values.

There are many things to con­sider beyond real estate prices and val­ues when decid­ing on a move.

If you are from the United States and do not speak a for­eign lan­guage then you should either learn one or find a locale that speaks Eng­lish as a sec­ond lan­guage. Tourist areas usu­ally have Eng­lish speak­ing peo­ple liv­ing nearby or within the area, because so many tourists speak Eng­lish as their lan­guage when traveling.

In the major cities of Rus­sia, the air­ports, sub­ways, trains, and now the police cars and taxis, are dis­play­ing Eng­lish words along­side the native Russ­ian text. Rus­sia is not on my short­list of places to con­sider. The real estate in Rus­sia is sky­rock­et­ing not depre­ci­at­ing, and cor­rup­tion there is ram­pant, even worse than in Italy.

If you can for­get about the lan­guage bar­ri­ers and the cul­tural dif­fer­ences then Arme­nia should be included.

Arme­nia used to be a part of the Soviet Bloc, but now is one of the most sta­ble coun­tries in that region. It has a rich cul­ture and is almost self suf­fi­cient. It is reli­giously diverse and the peo­ple are friendly.

Arme­nia is con­sid­ered very cor­rupt, but it is less cor­rupt than most of the neigh­bor­ing countries.

What is appeal­ing about Arme­nia is the level of self suf­fi­ciency. The Arme­ni­ans grow 98% of their own food and pro­duce 80% of their own prod­ucts that are used by the major­ity of the pop­u­lace. They are try­ing to become less depen­dent upon for­eign energy too.

I have to include Uruguay and Chile in this arti­cle purely because they rank high in sta­bil­ity, and are very self sufficient.

Uruguay and Chile are on the Amer­i­can con­ti­nent and this is some­thing to con­sider. Two prob­lems with Uruguay and Chile are that Span­ish is the pre­dom­i­nant lan­guage, and they are sur­rounded by less sta­ble countries.

There are Eng­lish speak­ing com­mu­ni­ties in both Uruguay and Chile but these are where you will also find the more expen­sive real estate prices and val­ues. They are both coastal coun­tries and have solid industries.

When con­sid­er­ing real estate prices and val­ues there are many coun­tries in the world and places on the Amer­i­can con­ti­nent to inves­ti­gate, but keep in mind the polit­i­cal sta­bil­ity, lan­guage, med­ical care, employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties, cul­ture, cli­mate, reli­gious prac­tices, and the lev­els of cor­rup­tion when you make your final choice. If you are only look­ing for a hol­i­day home then many of the local prob­lems can be overlooked.

Take a moment right now and visit the World Cor­rup­tion Per­cep­tion Index and see how the coun­tries of choice com­pare to where you are liv­ing now. You may be surprised.

 

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