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The many faces of international real estate

When it comes to selling and buying real estate, we take so many things for granted in Europe and the United States.



When it comes to selling and buying real estate, we take so many things for granted in Europe and the United States.  

The speed and responsiveness of modern-day communications and transport systems mean that properties located even in diverse and far-flung parts of the globe can be advertised, viewed, bought and sold across continents quickly and easily by specialist international property agencies such as Hamptons Estate Agents.

Of course, people's tastes in property differ greatly, and anyone looking for something quite specific may not always find it easy to track down precisely what they are looking for in a dauntingly large international market.

As a result, buyers often consult an agency that focusses on international real estate, knowing that they will not only have carefully selected properties on their listings but also possess valuable experience of how to interpret the vastly differing regulations pertaining to real estate throughout Europe, the United States and beyond.

Another benefit of entrusting property searches or sales to people who know the business inside out is that you can be sure of access to the very latest information about property buying in areas of the world which currently provide interesting real estate investment prospects - and, equally, those which are best left well alone at the moment, owing to political, financial and/or social circumstances.

So what is there to know about real estate transactions at an international level?  Well, depending on your  particular property buying aspirations, you might require in-depth information about the legislation pertaining to commercial developments, mortgages, lettings, residential developments, property management... and so the list goes on.

It's very difficult, unless you are keeping abreast with every development in the property market of each country where you're interested in purchasing property, to be sure that you have all the necessary information at your fingertips.

However, that is precisely the sort of information that a reputable international real estate company will be well placed to provide, as they are sure to be keeping constant tabs on crucial developments and policy changes in the countries where they are marketing property. And they certainly have their work cut out as the situation changes dramatically from country to country.

Germany, for example, seems to have escaped the worst of the ravages of the credit crunch and real estate in this robust, stable European country continues to be relatively buoyant.

A similarly bullish property market is to be found in New Zealand at the moment, while in Canada a combination of record low interest rates, lack of inventory and a stable economy has caused property prices to soar. Indeed the price of homes in Toronto has increased by about 85% in the past decade. And this despite the much less rosy situation in the United States, which is geographically not that far away.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are still areas of the world where real estate sales and purchases are seriously limited.  

Take Cuba, for example. After the revolution in this country in 1959, the sale and purchase of property was completely prohibited, with the result that Cubans had to literally ‘swap' homes if they needed to move for work or personal reasons. This severely curtailed mobility, and the situation has only slightly improved since the ban was lifted in 2011, with no purchases by foreigners being permitted yet.  

From our privileged position here in the West, such restrictive situations seem almost unthinkable.