Posts in Category International Real Estate

Amazing pools around the world!

6 October, 2012 No Comments

The current design trend is to make it endless, visually integrated with the sea.

Here is a selection of pools around the world;

They come in different sizes…


different colors and materials…

in resorts of exotic islands…

of architectural design…

in mansions with its own fireplace

by the house…

pool & the sea as one….

hot & cold pools…

in city lofts….

in hotels of big cities…

in hotels by the beach…

It doesn’t matter where they are ….  or if they are green, blue, or white … if they are made from natural stone, glass or surrounded by teak wood … if they are in resorts integrated in the wild, or in the city….  or if they have waterfalls and fountains ….. IT IS A LUXURY ONLY TO STARE AT THEM.

(II) CONSTRUMAT 2011: Construction fair in Barcelona

23 September, 2012 No Comments

Construmat 2011 focused on internationalization and in recapturing the refurbishment business, which is growing at a rate of 11%.

In the process of Internationalization, an agreement was reached with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT)  – 中国 国际 贸易 促进 委员会 – whose goal is the promotion of international trade, developing economic agreements with foreign countries through the creation of professional networking to export the construction exhibition into China. The show took place in July, 2012 in Beijing, to which 200 local and international organizations attended, and who performed many activities dedicated to sustainable construction. The China Council promoted the participation of exhibitors, visitors and the industry associations in the country.

It is difficult for European companies to compete with the prices of major Chinese builders, however they can compete in the products’ quality. The idea was that Construmat China, besides offering sustainable products, offered finished products such as faucets, fences, painting and ceramics.

Here are some highlights regarding the current Chinese real estate market (some mentioned in previous posts):

1-For the most part, the idea of refurbishing buildings is not shared by Chinese, and as a consequence buildings degrade within few years, which are then subject to demolition, and then rebuilt from ground. In general, the quality of the materials used in construction is not good which brings to the eye the need to restore / paint facades.

2 – However, the Chinese market demands a European based design for their homes. The demand for designers / architects for residential or resort projects of a European – Spanish style can be very attractive. In fact, in one of the Chinese real estate fairs I visited last year, a leading developer requested a European technician capable of completing a Spanish-style design for a residential mega-project.

Brazil could be the next destination to host this fair with its own brand despite the deal not being closed yet. It is a country that everyone talks about. It’s a popular country given its economic growth, its upcoming sporting events (Olympic Games…), and for being an emerging market with great growth potential… The fair would be a great gateway to the Latin American market!! In the show held in Barcelona last year, ​​Brazil was the foreign country with the highest number of exhibitors.

The Manifest: The construction sector joined hands and elaborated a manifest in which they demanded support to overcome the crisis. They requested measures to support new construction, rehabilitation, and to maintain the appropriate level of investment in building as well as the level of attraction of foreign buyers for the residential sector. This was presented by the President of Construmat, J. Miarnau (Comsa-Emte), along with SEOPAN, the Association of Builders and Promoters (APCE), and the Colleges of Spanish Architects.

Sustainability: I would like to stress the European Solar Decathlon, a competition of scale models of solar buildings that involved fifteen European countries. A forum dedicated to sustainable thinking, with national and international presentations.

Rehabilitation in Spain: is the segment within the construction sector that is experiencing considerable growth.

(III) Real Estate in CHINA: Real Estate fair

20 September, 2012 No Comments

* Overseas Property & Investment Show-Beijing. * International Real Estate Fair-Dalian (April 2011). Exponents of the rapid growth of the housing market in recent years.

Being able to attend to both fairs gave me an idea of ​​the volume of business that the real estate sector moves in this part of the world. It is surprising to see how vague foreign investment is in the residential market, and not just Spanish, but European or American investment in this huge potential market (has an estimated population of 1,500 million). To outline some examples, there were English real estate developers (they’ve been introduced in China via Hong Kong), some Canadian developers, and only one Spanish developer (sold Chinese customers the Spanish product). The remaining foreign representation was made up of some other Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, always as product vendors of their own material, since they are easily accessible to Chinese customers by its geographical proximity and generally with great weather.

These are some of the market trends offered in both fairs:

1 – A house or an apartment in European style communities, with clear influence from the French, Spanish, or Italian styles…, In many cases, located on the outskirts of large cities, since high speed rails allow a rapid communication with downtown.

2 – At the same time, a futuristic oriental architecture is rising in China (as I stated in my last post;  Mad Architects Studio in Beijing).

3 – A flat in the city, or near it. The last case referred to the second or third ring depending on its distance from the center of the city. For example, we would find these new skyscrapers whose floors are pretty much alike, are built in a simplistic way, do not attempt to follow any architectural trend, and whose solely purpose is to host as many people as possible.  That is to meet the needs arising from the internal migration that China is suffering. These flats are characterized to have 1 or 2 rooms (with little light), and long corridors.
Right now, it seems that China has become the leading country in the amount surface built each year: around 2 Billion square meters per year in recent years. About 30% of the world’s concrete and steel is used in China’s construction. In contrast, these buildings don’t last long, and buyers are not interested in second hand properties. In Europe instead (i.e. Spain), the second hand market is quite active, where remodeling is a common practice because houses last on average 50-60 years. In some cases, especially in large cities even more than 50 or 60 years as we intend to protect our historic patrimony. In addition, the owner of an apartment in Europe is also owner of the land on which the building is built.

In the Chinese model, land is state property and the buyer of an apartment has only the right on the ground for 70 years. The state auctions the land to private or public developers, creating the main source of revenue for local governments. This explains in part why so many are demolished in order to build new ones: the more space, the more buildings can be built.

(III) Mipim2011 the World’s property market: analyzing topics

14 September, 2012 No Comments

In this second post I limit myself to make a synthesis of ideas presented in Dr. N.Roubini’s conference at MIPIM 2011.  Due to the length of the presentation, I focused on what might be more relevant for the real estate investor. Nonetheless, for those who want full details about the presentation, I included the full video in its original version in my previous post.

Core Observations:

1-The question that Dr. Nouriel Roubini arises: Can countries such as China and other emerging countries tighten their monetary policy and their exchange rate to reduce inflation and maintain economic growth in order to get a soft landing of the economy rather than a hard one?

The strength of the economies of the growing emerging markets encourages the risk of a higher inflation. In these markets, there is a clear economic overheating, excessive credit growth, and note that about two thirds of their consumption basket is: oil, energy, food and transportation

2 – A vivid example would be the current situation in the Middle East: What’s happening right now in the Middle East? Nobody could foresee the political movement that took place in early 2011. We don’t know if this is going to stabilize soon, or if it will spread to other countries. This can have an effect on oil and energy prices … In such case, what would be the consequences of higher oil prices?

* There will be a severe problem of inflation of the overheated emerging markets.

* A lower risk of inflation in developed economies since the recovery from the financial crisis is very slow

* It also has an impact on economic growth. Specifically a destabilizing effect in the investor and consumer’s confidence in particular…

3 – In recent years there has been a massive injection of liquidity into the global economy. There were massive fiscal stimulus in the US, Japan, Europe, and other emerging markets, but if we take a look at the current market (as of 2011) we realize that we are in the opposite side: there is less monetary stimulus and more fiscal austerity (countries in Europe and the UK started to cut on spending and tax incentives, as well as the US, who began to cut costs ….. The question is: Will the private market have the possibility to consume in order to have economic growth when some of the fiscal and monetary stimuli are gone?

Areas with potential growth: the U.S. at a 3%, some parts of Europe at a 1.5 to 2%, and emerging markets, eastern countries and South America at a 5-8% growth rate.


Turkey’s growth prospect is very optimistic for the medium to the long term. There is still growth in its population and as a consequence there is a significant domestic market (As a contrary, China’s population is decreasing). It can be a fast-growing economy although structural reforms need to be done. If these reforms are made at a regular pace, the forecast of growth for the future is very positive (real estate growth comes along).

Prices will increase reasonably which will improve Russia’s fiscal balance, and consequently its economic growth. However, the fact that Russia is not a very well-diversified economy prevents growth of being even greater. For example, in 2010 where there was a global economic recovery countries such as India or China grew at a 9% rate or Brazil at a 7.5%, but Russia instead, grew at a 4.5% rate.

Its current situation (as of 2011) is slow growth and a 2 digit inflation, and unless structural reforms are put in place to accelerate growth, the former will be slowed down. Even though Russia has great potential for growth given its vast natural resources, a good education system, and good scientists, there will be a direct relationship between what happens to oil prices and the growth of Russia. If oil prices rise the Russian economy will be stronger because it will improve the country’s economic balance. But, what should really be a concern is the long-term growth of their economy, and foreign investors are aware of it, and with it, aware of the risk of expropriation.


Currently there is an oversupply of existing houses. Home sales fell up to 80% of its highs, even though now are gradually increasing. However, home prices are still adjusted downward, inflation is present in the economy, unemployment is still high and people who are forced to leave their homes because they can’t pay their mortgages. Prices have adjusted by a 30%, but may have not bottomed out, and it might require a longer period of time for these adjustments to run out.


Fiscal austerity is urgently needed in the Euro zone, the UK and Japan. Even though a period of austerity is a “must”, it will have in the short term a negative effect on economic growth. Austerity means to cut on government spending, to fire public officials… but it will make the economic recovery more effective in the long run.

(II) Mipim2011 the World’s property market: analyzing topics

13 September, 2012 No Comments

I would like this post to be a meeting point for reflection in this crucial time for the real estate and the financial sectors.  Dr. Nouriel Roubini in 2006, was one of the few to alert the financial community of the crisis that was underway.

Nouriel Roubini, who attended to the 2011 economic forum in Davos, is an advisor in the subject of international economics to the White House, the IMF, The World Bank, and is a professor at NYU’s Stern’s School of Business, and Yale University. Mr Roubini has a Phd. in economics from Harvard University among many other degrees and awards for his work.  In this video Mr Roubini presents in a schematically way the current and future situation of the advanced economies and emerging markets so that real estate investors can direct their investments to markets that they consider will have greater potential of response.

* In the first part of his presentation in 2011, Mr Roubini highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the global economy today:


1 + Despite the severe economic and financial crisis, we are at a stage in which we perceive a slight recovery. In the last two years (counting from 2011 and back) the economy, both in emerging countries (Brics..) and advanced economies (USA and parts of Europe) has shown symptoms of growth.

2 + Due to the crisis, corporations in both the U.S. and Europe have had to cut on expenses (personnel, and overall costs…). Therefore, they are now more prepared to invest as they are stronger than two years ago. HOWEVER, the question posed by Roubini is: Will these companies decide to invest in advanced economies (which are slow-growth countries) or in emerging market economies (for faster growth)?.

3 + The rapid growth of the economies of emerging markets, presents itself to the public as the new item that can be the locomotive of the world’s economy (until now it was solely the US and the advanced economies). Mr Roubini does not only speak about BRICS, China, or India, but also other countries from Central Asia, Middle East and Latin America, where great progress is taking place, as these markets are growing very rapidly.

For the real estate market, growth in emerging markets will be a positive event in the medium to the long term, as it leads to industrialization, and thus to the urbanization and the improvement of infrastructures. China and India are currently under a process of rapid and massive urbanization and industrialization.

4 + 2010 was a year of “risk on” “risk off”. Last spring season people got worried amid the recession in Greece, and the US’s double dip recession.

However, throughout the fall, things began to improve in the financial markets, and when looking at the overall 2010, we could say that it ended up with better perspectives as a result of the fiscal stimulus in the U.S. and other measures taken in Europe to help the countries whose economies were in trouble.

Since the global economy is slowly recovering, it follows that financial markets will also recover (becoming a vicious cycle). It would be the opposite of what happened in 2008 when prices and investment sunk, causing the economy to contract.

- Negatives:

1 – In many advanced economies, the recovery is almost inexistent, due to the large amount of debt of the public and private sectors. This will slow growth since corporations and governments must spend less and save more to reduce debt.

2-This paragraph is related to the previous one. There is a significant and sudden increase in risk of the advanced economies. Not only in countries of the Euro zone such as Spain, Greece, Portugal or Ireland but in countries such as the US, the UK, or Japan among others, due to budget deficits and a big stock of public debt. This increased risk due to public debt will remain a problem for many years to come.

Besides the amount of public debt in these economies, another factor comes into play; the aging population will mean an additional cost to social security, pensions, medical care for the elderly, … this will rise even more their debt.

3 – The financial and economic problems still exist in the Euro zone:  in countries such as Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and other potential countries, whose financial problems are becoming chronic and won’t be resolved anytime soon despite the aid given by the European Union. We also have to take into account that Spain and Ireland had the real estate bubble, which in hand with a large amounts of private debt will be even harder to straighten up.

Some of these countries are losing competitiveness in the Euro zone, and are experimenting a negative growth. Spain, Ireland and Greece are still struggling with a contracted economy, while Italy’s is a bit more positive.

A summary of the existing problems:

a-Large deficit and public debt as well as private debt

b-Lack of competitiveness in the international market

c-Lack of structural reform

d-Lack of economic reform.

4-Important public sector debt: lets take the US as example and set the problems the country faces

-Unemployment is high and job creation is insignificant.

-The housing sector has fallen again since 2010 to 2011, with the consequent negative effect on consumption. Failure to pay home mortgages requires owners to leave their homes.

-The states government’s fiscal deficit is very high. While Europe and the UK, are paying attention to their own fiscal problems, in the U.S., politicians don’t conclude any measures.

Until this point of the presentation, we have discussed Roubini’s  global economic analysis. In the next post, there is a reference to emerging economies, entering to further analyze the current economy and future prospects in certain specific countries.

Japanese earthquake + Tsunami. NEW challenge for the anti-seismic architecture and engineering.

12 September, 2012 No Comments

Due to our profession, we deal on a daily basis with homes, buildings, plots etc, and it was easy to be touched by the enormous destruction that Japan suffered on March of 2011.

After the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that Japan suffered last year, the response of Japanese architecture has been astonishing. Today Japan has the best buildings in the world to withstand possible future earthquakes. These buildings have been designed in such manner that allows them to absorb the vibrations, replacing a sudden movement with a more balanced swing. Many years ago, Japanese homes were built from bamboo and rice paper which, during earthquakes, allowed them to swing instead of cracking. And even if the homes cracked, they were easier to repair and at a lower cost.

This is a brief summary of the earthquake-resistant architectural features used in Japan:

Shigeru Ban (Tokyo 1957) is an architect and consultant to the United Nations who builds shelter for the UN in disaster zones. He emphasized in an interview (in Spanish Newspaper “EL PAIS” 03/20/11) that no building built after 1981, when construction laws were amended, had collapsed during or after the earthquake. Ban states that earthquakes are not what causes so many people to die, it’s the consequences of it, in other words the building’s debris when they collapse. He also added that, after the tsunami, it would be wise to modify the cities’ urban plans and build brick buildings of at least four stories high by the coasts, in order to function as a protective wall in case of future tsunamis.

For the half a million people who were temporarily sheltered in athletic stadiums for months until temporary homes were ready, the government installed a system based on hard cardboard tubes and paper to create individual spaces. With this structure, families intend to dissipate a reality, that is, psychologically very hard to accept; the lack of privacy.
What is the Japanese anti-seismic architecture about?

Basically, the buildings’ structures are highly reinforced performing a vertical weight distribution, in other words, the lower floors support more weight. The broader the base of the building, the stronger it will be during an earthquake.

The buildings are symmetric and elastic to better absorb the ground’s vibration. The law requires a separation of several inches between the medians of the blocks to allow buildings to move but without  hitting each other, thus avoiding the domino effect between buildings. Mr. J.Garcia Rodriguez, PhD in Architecture from the University of Navarra, compares the behavior of a building under a seismic action to that of a whip when swung. In this comparison, the earthquake would be the hand that moves the whip, and the building is the whip spreading the earthquake’s energy. To deal with this uncontrolled movement, Japanese architecture proposes two solutions:

1-An architecture based on a small number of floors. These buildings are built with rigid structures that resist the impact with little deformation, thus the earthquake’s impact is smaller.

2 – However, in taller buildings, they choose to build more flexible structures. They are designed to oscillate laterally (as the whip would) in a safely manner without major damages. Steel is used in these structures, as it is highly resistant and ductile.

Down below I’ ll give you some highlights on the Japanese housing market as of 2011:

* From 2007 and on, housing prices began to rise out of control due to the increment in prices of building materials as those materials ought to be able to withstand frequent earthquakes. Buildings should be no more than 30 years old, so as a consequence rental prices also soared in recent years. The value of Japanese homes ​​varies depending on the land it is built.

* In Japan the magnitude of a house is measured in tatami, equivalent to 1.6 square meters (from now on m2) approximately. The average dwelling size is usually 90 m2 (3-4 bedrooms) and home of more than 100 m2 is considered a luxury. In general, Japanese people prefer buying a home than renting it, but due to the high prices not everyone can afford it, the main reason for their high index of young and elderly adults living with relatives. However, there is still the opportunity for one to live independently. There has been a curious form of housing: people who cannot afford to either purchase a home or to rent it, can sleep in Cyber Cafes, in which for only 10€ are entitled to a small room with a sofa, TV, and a computer with internet connection.

* It is a real estate market, in which there are almost no legal restrictions for foreign investors to buy property in Japan.

***** Two weeks onset of the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that devastated part of the country, with 27,000 casualties between deaths and missing people, plus the nuclear crisis (more updated info in International Atomic Energy Agency, www.iaea. org, Spanish Embassy in Tokyo) had the international community very aware of Japan. We felt for the Japanese, …. and we shall remark what an example of organization and integrity in such a moment in their lives they were for the rest of us. Following in this tonic, I wanted to make a post, (avoiding catastrophic images) with the intention of highlighting the human effort made in the form of anti-seismic architecture to counteract the continuous devastating effects of the earthquakes affecting the country, thereby preventing an even higher number of victims.

From here, I wanted to convey solidarity and support to the Japanese people and their victims.

I include links to press reports during the later days of the catastrophic events:

(I) MIPIM 2011 Cannes & Asia “the world’s property market”

23 May, 2012 No Comments

This fair is among the most important real estate forums in the world for anyone to present projects and attract foreign investors. The fair it’s a showcase of cities and regions to acquire popularity among international companies.

MIPIM 2011, in Cannes on March 8-11 of 2011, had 18,600 visits, of which 5,000 were investors from all over the world, and 6,400 were companies. Even though the majority of the show stands was represented by European countries, especially France (hosting the fair) and the UK (guest country), a total of 90 countries participated in the event, here is a short list: Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain (Barcelona, ​​Catalonia), Italy, Germany , Nordic countries, as well as delegations from Russia, Baltics, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, Uruguay, China, Japan, Singapore, Arab Emirates, Qatar and Egypt.

This fair gathered a vast amount of useful information that could help you determine where to invest and help you identify investment opportunities. It helped the investor understand the real estate market in a comprehensive manner, along with its trends for the short to the medium term. This, in part, was possible thanks to all of the international experts that conducted more than 40 presentations about to the housing market as well as “Investment Labs” or networking sessions that performed an in-depth analysis of the hot investment markets of the moment, such as Turkey, Brazil, Egypt and South Africa . Each workshop had an approximate duration of about 45 minutes, led by 3 experts and concluded with a debate or discussion from 5 key personalities.

A different format was the closed-door investor power meeting, that offered the opportunity to 30 investors (buyers or sellers) to find, through their network of contacts, potential business partners.

Another interesting kind of workshop was held as a competition game. Taking the British market as a referent, since it is one of the most dynamic real estate markets in Europe, all English promoters exhibited and presented their projects to a jury of potential investors, as if they were participating in a ‘competition’.
Urban debates were also offered in front of the different delegations of all the cities around the world, with topics such as the different measures adopted from the rapid population growth, carrying out with  an analysis of issues related to sustainability and quality of life.

The fair has gathered the most influential executives from the real estate sector of this time; Property Advisors, Investors, Bankers, Commercial Investment Advisors, Architects, Designers, International Real Estate Attorneys, Construction companies, Development Corporations, as well as local and regional authorities. Thus, a place to meet and exchange the supply and demand of all the real estate segments (commercial, industrial, infrastructure and development, engineering, residential, offices… and the largest projects worldwide).

It might be interesting to analyze in upcoming posts some of the highlights of the exhibition.
** Given that the number of Asian investors seeking new investment opportunities far from their borders had been increasing considerably, MIPIMASIA fair ( was held in Hong Kong on November 15-17, 2011. * *

RAFAA Architects Solar City Tower (water + sun) – 2016 Olympic Games in RIO

22 May, 2012 1 Comment

The so-called Solar City Tower, could rise on an island near Rio, with the idea of being a referent on the ​​global commitment with the environment. The tower would produce its own energy, and the surplus used to supply the surrounding areas.

RAFAA architects present this proposal with the idea that Rio becomes the starting point of a green movement for the development of sustainable urban structures.

The project consists of a solar plant that:

– would produce solar energy during the DAY. This is possible given the tall structure (105 meters) equipped with a huge network of solar panels. The energy produced would be used for the urban area, and the remaining to power the engines that collect and propel the sea water to the top of the tower.

– at NIGHT, the stored water would fall as a cascade, producing hydroelectric power that can be used to illuminate the building at night.

RAFAA, a Swiss Studio of architecture and design founded by Rafael Schmidt in 2007, makes an analysis of contemporary architecture that combines creativity, research and design, along with new technologies. If the project gets approved, it will be presented for the 2016 Olympics.

The tower has an auditorium, viewpoints, leisure space with 360 degrees panoramic views, a platform for bungee jumping that is 90 meters high, and while walking around the “Sky Walk” glass,  visitors could feel the waterfall under their feet.

Another project with “water walls” is the vertical zoo of Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires, presented by the Swedish architect studio VisionDivision. We are talking about a building whose facades are covered with water curtains.

The main handicap of complex projects such as these, is the high installation costs involved in its development.


20 May, 2012 No Comments

The owner of a condo hotel shares the benefits from renting the property with the company managing the hotel.

An example of a well known condo hotel is the PLAZA Hotel in New York.

In Spain, half of the offer of condo hotels is located in the region of Andalusia, particularly in the province of Malaga.

In order for this model to be successful, it must be profitable for all three parties:

  • the promoter
  • the hotel operator
  • owner / investor

The advantages would be:

* The PROMOTER derives part of its costs to the OWNER by selling him the suites, and therefore the amount of external financing decreases. The PROMOTER is still the owner of the common areas (meeting rooms, spa, local ..) from which he will also get a return. This business model allows the promoter to develop the hotel in areas where land is very expensive, where otherwise the project wouldn’t be viable. It will be easier for the PROMOTER to achieve an agreement with a hotel operator since the risk is spread over 3 different figures.

* The HOTEL OPERATOR will be able to manage 5***** hotels in areas where land is expensive, most of the time in “prime” tourist locations of big cities or exceptional locations for vacation on the coast or in the mountains. This allows OPERATORS to attract once again  high class tourism that in recent years has chosen other ways of spending their vacation rather than in hotels. The OPERATOR will set the terms and conditions (time and season) in which the owner will be able to enjoy his unit, making the most out of the peak season. The PROMOTER will also decide the design and decoration of the rooms and units.

* The OWNER / INVESTOR will have an interesting return from the property over the medium or long term based on the proceeds from renting it.  The property can also increase in value, since a “prime” location is often requested by investors (it is sold as any other real estate property with the advantage that some hotel customers may be interested in purchasing one of the units).

The OWNER will be able to use the complex facilities at a discount. In comparison to regular second residences, the OWNER will also have a second home in an attractive area that will always be in its best condition, exempt of problems and issues. The owners can take advantage of the hotel’s name recognition, advertising, management experience, that will get them a higher rent than they would otherwise get by renting a regular second house.

Rent generates benefits that outweigh its costs, and it is reasonable to assume that the investor will get an increase in the property’s value (as long as the purchasing decision was well made). It also allows the OWNER to enter the hotel business, with a small investment.

The potential disadvantages, especially for the OWNER:

1. The OWNER buying the unit takes a risk since he ignores the terms and conditions that will be set by the PROMOTER, nor has prior information of the future incomes that this investment will generate, and therefore cannot calculate his ROI over the medium or long term.
2. The OWNER might not know when and how long he will be able to use it.
3. The OWNER will not be allowed to decorate the room or customize it in any way.
4. The OWNER should try to know in advance who the OPERATOR will be, because if it’s not a high-end chain, the investment will most likely be unprofitable and may not be as appealing to do. Among the chains with more experience I would include: Hyatt, Intercontinental, Abba Hotels, Crowne Plaza, Sol Melia, Kempinski hotels, Vasari, Ritz-Carlton, Marriot, Hilton, Le Meridien ….
The market suggests that the safest investment are held in downtown areas of certain capitals, since it involves a minor risk to the future sale of the property and a safer appreciation of it.


(I) CONDO-HOTEL: Real estate ownership + hotel services!!!

19 September, 2011 No Comments

We are talking about a hotel in which every room belongs to a different owner, but the entire hotel establishment is managed jointly …. also referred to as the perfect second home.

Its operation is similar to the one of a normal hotel with the difference that the rooms are owned by an investor. The investor will be able to enjoy the room for a certain period of time, and the rest of the time it will be exploited by the hotel managing company, producing a nice return to the investor.
This kind of business surged in the 80’s in South Florida, which then spread to other states as New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or golf resorts and mountain resorts such as Aspen in Colorado. After a while, it became a very common figure in other countries such as Panama, Canada, Philippines, and many more.

Many second home owners consider the possibility to rent their home for as long as they don’t use it to take some profits out of it. However, in many cases they are not successful because it is not always easy to find tenants.

In this particular case, the “condo-hotel” investor owns a piece of real estate within a large hotel resort ans is aware that will be able to enjoy it one month out of a year. The remaining 11 months he will not have to pay expenses that a second home usually carries, and will be getting a return for his investment from the management company.

It is obvious that the management company, in order to maximize profitability, will put a restrain on specific dates in which the owner will not be able to use the home, for example in some countries, the months of July and August which are the busiest of the year. This type of investment would be more convenient for people who have flexible schedules, and are able to pick their vacation days with no restrains.

Condo-hotels” are usually located in the best destinations around the globe. C-h are high quality places where every little detail is taken into account, and its clientele is in the upper class. All this leads to a high turnover in room rentals. Thus, when investing in this specific product, it is recommended to do it on a hotel whose management company is prestigious and has good reputation.

It is a relatively new system in Spain, and it seems that in the urban aspect there is legal uncertainty. But in legal terms, the condo-hotel may be regulated within some of these figures: 1 – The hotel’s horizontal division, which would be the most common way to do it. In this case the owner would have the property and a registration notice proving them owners of a room. 2 – It might also be considered as a group of assets, which would mean to buy a % of the entire property without specifically dividing the parts (not the common way). 3 – A corporation, that is to acquire part of the hotel by the purchase of shares. In this corporation, the ownership of the hotel belongs to a company whose investors participate as shareholders.

Regarding the community services that the hotel offers (pools, spa, gym, golf, etc..), they will be available to the owner during his stay, with the possibility to pay them at a discount (depending on the agreement established with the management company).

The managing company is responsible for the rent, as well as for maintenance and repairs of both the property and the common areas. The portion of the income derived from the rental is allocated to finance, if any, repairs or possible damages in the property.

In a later post, I will present you with a list about the strengths and weaknesses of this type of investment, which differ from both timeshare or fractional properties.