The international real estate market continues to surprise on the uptrend for the final quarter in 2013, indicating that next year will see a continued growth curve. Virtually all the major markets are recording sales volume growth combined with an improving lending atmosphere and heightened appetite for risk.
Research findings released this week from Escape Artist – the leading resource for expats worldwide – indicated that globally 2013 was a good year although many countries saw strong regional variances. Regional reports in larger markets varied on inventories, levels of activity, availability of capital and types of investors and financiers.
There was significant variation in US gateway cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami describing 2013 as “very active” with “interest and activity rebounding to pre-recession levels” while many land-locked regions of the country citing a slow year with low consumer confidence.
The European market painted a similar picture with major cities in France and England showing growing interest by both domestic and foreign investors, while other European countries saw only sporadic “pot-spot investment” growth.
The fundamentals of real estate markets across Asia remained for the most part strong throughout 2013 with transaction volumes rising going into the fourth quarter. Asia-Pacific markets have remained steady and consistent even with a shift in interest away from the region to the growing Latin American emerging markets.
Most of the major Latin American regions have seen steep rebounds to pre-recession levels because of strong domestic demand from the exploding middle class demographic. In Central America, Costa Rica and Panama stand out as exceptional in this regard. These countries have very different economic drivers however both have ongoing large scale infrastructure projects as well as much improved international profiles. With elections around the corner for Costa Rica, analysts are paying close attention to how this will impact the attract-ability of the region as an international real estate investment destination.
Costa Rica’s tourism based economy, a major driver in its real estate industry, remained very strong through 2012 and 2013. The record breaking 2,000,000+ international arrivals in 2012 seems to have fueled demand, rising prices and improved inventory levels across the full spectrum of the market indicating positive growth continuing through 2014.
In Panama, the Canal Expansion, Latin America’s largest infrastructure project, is cited as having the most significant impact on the country’s real estate market especially industrial real estate. Panama being a major center for international banking, has continued attracting multinational companies and investors; this is seen as contributing to a near-capped condominium market leading in to 2014.
Many South American countries had a very strong 2013. Stand-out counties like Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil are forecasting an even better 2014, citing strong domestic demand, improving infrastructure, exponential growing middle class populations and China’s growing capital influence in the region as being major factors in their strong real estate markets.
Notably Brazil which has seen soaring growth over the past five years, has many industry experts predicting 2014 to see a leveling off in the market, while on the other hand there is plenty of optimism for investors with high season returning followed quickly by the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
There is good reason to be optimistic about the global real estate market in 2014 as the world economy regains some vigor, confidence has improved significantly but the volatility of many markets to another global economic hit or regional unrest is still a major concern for industry analysts.
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