Scott Picken, CEO of International Property Solutions (IPS) believes a paradigm shift is occurring: 8 years ago, people would only invest in property in their own neighbourhood. Now, investors are starting to seek the best investments globally. IPS was created 5 years ago to facilitate international investments and provide an end-to-end solution to ensure that investors can invest with confidence!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How to save or make R10 million?

There are three types of people in the world...Those who make it happen...Those who watch it happen...Those who wonder what happened...", which are you?

A classic example of this recently was an investor who recently bought four units in London. One of the fundamental laws in property is to make sure you buy from a motivated seller to ensure that you get below market value properties. IPS had a developer who was offering a 26% discount from the prices in 2007. However we knew they were determined to get a few more sales to get their bank funding and so we managed to negotiate a further 15% discount for our client as long as he invested in 4 units. That is a saving of 41% or roughly £672,400.00 which, taking the average exchange rate is over a R10 million saving.

This is on the backdrop of marketing conditions which are changing. The most respected property index is the Financial Times Property Index which references all property in the United Kingdom. In their most recent report (May 09), Dr Peter Williams, Chairman of Acadametrics said, “On an annual basis, the average price of all completed transactions in England and Wales is now 14.2% lower than a year ago. All ten regions in England and Wales are showing prices falling on an annual and monthly basis.”

Martin Gahbauer, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said, ““The price of a typical house rose by 1.2% in May, providing further evidence of some improvement in housing market conditions over the last few months. At £154,016, the average house price is still 11.3% lower than a year ago, although this marks a significant improvement from the annual decline of 15.0% recorded in April. The 3 month on 3 month rate of change – a smoother indicator of short-term price trends – rose from -3.0% in April to -0.5% in May and now stands at its highest level since January 2008.”

Therefore property has fallen from peak to trough, but conservatively you can work on about 15%. If you can purchase property at a discount of 25% then you are buying property below market value and this ensures a good investment, because the property market could even fall further and you have built in a buffer. If you can manage a 40% discount then you have a 25% buffer!

Secondly, I believe the most important element is the income component. You need to be buying property in a good area with good rental demand. There are great yields at the moment – anywhere up from 6%, with low borrowing costs starting at 3.85%, which ensures great cashflow positive properties. If you focus on income and have a great cashflow, then the fact that you bought off a very low base will ensure a great investment in the future when the banks start lending properly again to the man in the street and the market recovers.

Until this time, foreign investors are taking huge advantage of the opportunities available in the UK, in particular London. In the past 2 weekends, developers have sold over 100 apartments to investors in Hong Kong alone as an example. The reason for this huge demand is the weakness of the Sterling and most importantly the fundamentals of the investment opportunities.

For South Africans, over the last 12 months the Rand (6.53%) has been one of the best performing currencies against the US Dollar, where both the Pound (19.43%) and the Aussie Dollar (17.18%) have devalued. Now is a fantastic time for South Africans to really take advantage of the strong Rand to invest in first world assets, income and currencies at great values! Scott Picken says, “I do ask people when they say they are worried about the market. Is there more chance of the Rand devaluing by 10% or the property market devaluing by 10% further in the future?”

Finally, many developers have their yearend in the next few weeks and it is very important for them to finalise sales before their accounting periods end. Now is one of the best times of the year to be negotiating with developers as they are very motivated sellers. There are some great opportunities coming to the market!

Go to to find out about our next seminar / webinar where Scott Picken, CEO of International Property Solutions (IPS), will be sharing his experience of everything he found on his recent trip to London and most importantly the opportunities which are available.

Next Offshore Information Events

These events are available online and also through the telephone:


• 11th June, Thursday, Online and Telephone, 19:00 – 20:00pm
o Click here to register -

• 13th June, Saturday, Online and Telephone, 10:30 – 11::30am
o Click here to register -

• 16th July, Thursday, Online and Telephone, 19:00 – 20:00pm
o Click here to register -


• 13th June, Saturday, Online and Telephone, 09:00 – 10:00am
o Click here to register -

• 17th June, Wednesday, Online and Telephone, 19:00 – 20:00pm
o Click here to register -

• 15th July, Wednesday, Online and Telephone, 19:00 – 20:00pm
o Click here to register -

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