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Invest in the Undiscovered Charm of Bequia

by Sarah Halloran

Property In Grenadines

From the very moment you arrive in the Grenadines, you’ll know that you’re going to experience something a little bit special.  Perhaps it’s the sweet steel drum music that heralds your arrival or maybe the hospitable and generous nature of the people that help you to your holiday destination.  This and the laid back lifestyle, sensational weather, and magnificent scenery will ensure a smile is planted firmly on your face and there it will stay for the remainder of your visit.

One of the things that stays with you after a holiday in the Grenadines is the friendliness of the people.  Nothing is too much trouble and it’s hard not to make some good friends during your stay.  Whether you choose to spend your vacation diving the beautiful crystal clear waters or simply soaking up the sun, you’ll feel your worries wash away within hours of arriving.

Bequia – The Little Big Island

The Grenadines is a Caribbean chain of over 32 islands in the Windward Islands.  The largest of these islands is Bequia which forms part of the country between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.  However, Bequia is still a tiny and exclusive island, home to fewer than six thousands inhabitants, and you too will feel at home the moment you set foot on the glistening white sand of this beautiful hideaway.

If you have dreamt of living on the perfect Caribbean island with pristine sandy beaches, an azure blue ocean, and dramatic sunsets, Bequia fulfils these needs and so many more.  Here in Bequia, there are no crowds, no traffic jams and you’ll be hailed with a warm and friendly hello wherever you go.  If you have a love of sailing, the island’s rich heritage and strong connection to the sea ensures you will always find somebody willing to share their marine knowledge and traditions so that you get the most from sailing around the Grenadines.

By day on Bequia, you can experience the real meaning of doing absolutely nothing, but those looking for adventure won’t be disappointed.  Bequia offers so many activities, from chartering your own yacht to kayaking and windsurfing.  Water sports here come into their own on this wonderful island where equipment is in plentiful supply and the waters are safe and tranquil.  Bequia also boasts many art galleries and craft boutiques where you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon browsing and perhaps investing in some wonderful souvenirs and items to take back home.

Whatever you choose to do here, you will have the time of your life.  There are no schedules or routines, and you can leave your cares and worries far behind you.  Get to know the island on land or water with relaxing coastal walks along the golden sands, or exhilarating diving, sailing or fishing trips.  If you fancy exploring one of the neighbouring islands, there is always a friendly soul to help you get there.

The warm tropical nights mean nightlife takes on a world of its own.  Sharing cocktails under the stars whilst your seafood banquet is cooked on the barbecue is pure unadulterated bliss.  And then later, you can enjoy a sun downer in one of the many beachside bars as you watch the sun gently sink behind the horizon.

Ssh, Don’t Tell Everybody…

Whilst Bequia is always going to be a popular holiday destination, more and more people are starting to think about property investment on this delightful and pristine island getaway.  Property development on Bequia has taken place on a smaller scale than other islands in the region and as a result the island retains much of its beautiful lush rainforest, dramatic waterfalls and spectacular coastline.  Imagine stepping onto your very own private beach every morning and being the only living soul for miles.  It’s all possible and with properties more affordable than on the more established islands, you might find your investment sooner than you think.

If you are searching for a slower pace of life amidst lush tropical surroundings, then Bequia island life is for you.  Whilst property prices on the Grenadines may have risen in the last three years, they still represent a real bargain when compared to comparative properties on neighbouring islands.

Invest with Confidence

Buying property in the Grenadines is very similar to buying property in the UK and therefore there should be no nasty surprises along the way.   In fact, the only challenge you may face is making a choice between the fabulous properties on offer.

Average Costs:

Buyers Legal Fees – Approximately 1% of the Purchase Price

Stamp Duty – Approximately 5% of the Purchase Price

Land Holding – License Approximately 6% of the Purchase Price

Mortgage Down Payment – Usually a minimum of 10%, but could be as low as 5%

Mortgage Repayment Period – Up to 30 years or by the time the buyer reaches the age of 65

Mortgage Interest Rate – Between 7.7% to 9%

It’s a great time to invest in property on Bequia.  Economists visiting the island have observed the island is in the early stages of a 10 year economic boom.  The Grenadines is growing in popularity every year with both tourists and those looking to secure themselves a nest egg in one of the most beautiful regions of the world.  The developing tourist industry together with a boom in international trading has helped to improve Government development policies and general welfare facilities on the Grenadines in general.

Finding the Perfect Grenadines Retreat

Properties often have their own private beach and occupy one of the most exclusive locations in the Caribbean.  One such property is this Prime Front Line Villa, currently on sale, and located between two of the most voted for beaches in the world.

If you are looking to invest in the Grenadines, this property offers an impeccable example of the style of property you can hope to make your own.  Featuring signature wooden floors, high wood ceilings, and immaculate fittings this property commands stunning ocean and mountain views.

Take the First Step

If you would like to find out more you can get expert advice on investing in property in the Grenadines and details of available properties from Grenadine Escape Ltd.  Contact Lara Cowan on +44 203 468 5592 or Lucille Cozier on +784 496 0654 for more details about this fabulous opportunity.

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Focus on Turkey: Undervalued property in the fastest growing economy in Europe

by admin

The Turkish property market is currently enjoying a boom, not least because its economy is currently the fastest growing economy in Europe according to the OECD. This is a position that will not be relinquished any time in the near future said the body.

This is due to the country being in much better shape than the rest of Europe, with a stable banking system, controlled inflation a budget deficit currently thought to be running at around 2%.  Its growth is set to continue thanks to its youthful population and the transition of many citizens from eastern Turkey into the cities.

Although the downturn sent property prices down in Turkey, this now means that they are undervalued when compared to the rest of Europe, which makes them a juicy opportunity for investors.

Tourism in Turkey is still growing rapidly and the population is expanding, which when coupled with low interest rates ensures that the property market is increasing in momentum.

The Turkish government makes it relatively easy for foreigners to buy property although there is a little red tape to be negotiated.  This red tape comes in the form of the military which has to approve every purchase making sure it does not endanger national security. However because of the rapid pace of reform, which looks like bringing the military under the control of civil courts for the first time in Turkey’s history, this may be removed in the near future.

Rental yields on Turkish apartments are good, with gross yields being up to 7.5% for a relatively small apartment according to research by the Global Property Guide.  Larger apartments tend to generate a little less income with yields being around 3.7% to 5.7%.

Finally, increasing accessibility through improved airport facilities means that this country will continue to be popular with tourists, which are bound to boost the property market even further.

This is a Guest article by Julian Walker of Spot Blue, a Turkish real estate agent currently marketing property in Turkey from as little as £25,000.


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Energy Efficiency – staying warm without turning up the thermostat

by Gordon Miller

Now the weather has turned cold in the UK, our thoughts have turned to how we can keep warm – indoors as well as outdoors.  For many of us that simply means turning up the thermostat another notch.  But with reports of fuel price hikes of 7% and higher imminent, suddenly energy efficiency has become an even hotter topic.

MGM builds highly insulated apartments and chalets in the snowy French Alps

Starting with our existing homes, the key word is insulation. The idea is to keep the heat in and the cold out. 25% goes out the roof – so lay up to 270mm of insulation; 35% escapes through the walls.  Combat this by having cavity wall insulation.  If you have one of the 6 million solid brick wall homes, consider dry wall lining.

Windows and draughts account for 25% of heat loss in our homes.  So plug the gaps with filler, use draught excluders on your exterior doors (and don’t forget the letter box).  If you can afford it, think about double (or even triple) glazing.  If that’s too costly, secondary glazing is a cheaper alternative.

Next, find out how much electricity you use (or waste).  Buy, or rent from your local library, an electricity monitor.  These clever gadgets show you how much electricity you are using in the home. Flick the kettle on and you’ll see it costs a shocking 25p to boil water if it was to be left on continuously for one hour.  So fill the kettle only with the amount of water you need and don’t boil, walk away and then have to reboil.

loft insulation is an impoertant form of insulationLook at what you leave on standby overnight – do you need to?  Get a standby isolator or switch the items off at the wall (except the Sky box, which would then need reprogramming).  Don’t leave old style mobiles charging overnight as these ‘vampire’ gadgets continue to suck electricity even once the battery is fully charged.

Or take a look at a more permanent electricity reduction solution.  The VPhase is a new device that through independent testing has been shown to cut electricity bills (typically by 10%), reduce energy use and lower carbon emissions.  Find out how much money and CO2 you could save with the interactive tool at

VPhase uses voltage optimisation technology to reduce and manage the voltage coming into your home, making your electrical appliances use less electricity and cost less to run.  Unlike smart meters which require a change in behavior, the VPhase device works immediately, without any need for a change in lifestyle.

The unit costs around £250 installed when fitted at the same time as a fuse box, and can be quickly and easily fitted by a qualified electrician. The VPhase has a five-year warranty and with payback periods typically less than this it represents a risk free green investment.

If you’re considering buying a new house in the UK, you’ll find that they are at least 25% more energy efficient than houses build pre-2006 (and at least 50% more than a Victorian property and probably more) through legislation.  Housebuilders are achieving such greater efficiency by using better insulants when building,

sealing gaps better and by preventing thermal ‘bridging’, which allows the cold to travel from the outside in via metal pins or ties.

In some cases, the net result is homes that require little or no heating – even in winter.  The latest built homes don’t even have radiators installed.  Generally, energy efficient under-floor heating provides what heating they do require.  In other examples, mechanical heat ventilation recovery units recirculate rising hot air to keep the homes warm at ground level.

The homes at AlmaVerde, on Portugal’s Algarve, have been built to a year-round 26C interior temperature

In more temperate foreign countries, where many Britons choose to buy a holiday home, or retirement property, the same technology that provides heating in winter is reversed to provide air-conditioned cooling in summer.  If the electricity required is generated from a renewable energy source, such as solar, there is no in-use CO2 impact, and electricity bills can be negligible.

The housebuilders and developers who are the members of Sustain Worldwide ( are each building homes, resorts and communities around the world where energy efficient, eco-friendly and sustainably constructed properties and communities are the norm.

Sustain Worldwide Chief Executive Anwar Harland-Khan said: “The energy-efficient homes of today are stylish, beautifully finished, invariably with warm and light spaces for living. It comes as no surprise that sustainably built homes are now standing tallest of all, while the walls of conventionally built homes are starting to show cracks.”

This article was contributed by Gordon Miller, sustainability and communications director of Sustain Worldwide. +44 (0)20 7754 5557

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The advantage of sustainable homes

by admin
Modern sustainable houses can be luxurious

L’Amanadier, located in the Atlas Mountains, nr Marrakech, Morocco

GREEN is the colour of choice for new homes.  Movie star Leonardo di Caprio is building an eco home on his own private Caribbean island.  Julia Roberts and George Clooney too are green devotees.  Brad Pitt has been involved with constructing several in New Orleans.  Even Manchester United footballer Gary Neville is trying to build an eco home in the hills outside Manchester.
The reason green, eco or sustainable (the words are used interchangeably) have become the new luxury is for many people a combination of our growing awareness of climate change (images of polar bears stranded on melting ice flows is potent), and a general groundswell of opinion that we need to be just a little more aware of how increasingly scarce are natural resources are becoming.

So, how, you might ask, do our homes have an impact on melting ice flows?  Well, our homes account for 25% of the CO2 – a greenhouse gas – emissions that scientists say is contributing to irreversible climate change.  The effect is not only melting ice flows but rising sea levels, increasing outbreaks of drought and famine, and some say the upsurge in other natural phenomena like tsunamis.

For some of us the issues are a little less high blown.  In these straitened times, simply saving a few hundred pounds a year on your heating and electricity bills is a big incentive to make one’s home more energy efficient.  Inexpensive ways to reduce bills, lessen CO2 emissions and create a more pleasant temperature include laying more insulation, and choosing energy efficient appliances.

Modern eco-houses can be luxurious

PGA Catalunya, just outside Girona, on the Costa Brava, Spain

When it comes to new homes – either in the UK, or overseas – and whether you are buying a permanent home, a holiday retreat, or building up your investment portfolio, sustainable design and build represents the future of global property.  The sustainably built homes of today are stylish, beautifully finished, invariably with warm and light spaces for living – and in many cases they look just like a conventional house.

Those who understand this philosophy when buying a new home are in an enlightened and beneficial situation. Their homes will have cleaner air and a more pleasant temperature for comfort and well-being; if the paint and furniture is made from non-toxic materials it’ll be better for their health and their children’s too. So, not only is there a feel good factor, there’s a beneficial long-term legacy to leave the next generation.

This article was contributed by Gordon Miller, sustainability and communications director of Sustain Worldwide

Sustain Worldwide’s member developers are creating many of the leading sustainable homes, communities and resorts in the UK and worldwide where you can purchase permanent, second/holiday, retirement and investment properties – places where you want to buy a home, and build a life.
Sustain Worldwide +44 (0)20 7754 5557

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Is now the right time to buy an Overseas Property?

by admin

An overseas property investment is a unique investment and unlike buying property at home. Overseas buyers are generally buying a dream and not a property as this is what the bulk of this market is all about.

Rightmove Overseas recently reported that 42% of the searches on its site were from people that want a permanent relocation, compared with only 12% who were looking at pure investment. Some people, perhaps understandably, often get wrapped up in the quantitative world of rental yields and capital gains and what is going on in the marketplace.  However, experience shows that about 85% of the people that we, as a company, deal with are looking at a lifestyle investment.

Quatro Villa on the Costa Blanca

One of our clients at Altlas International recently broke down in tears at the thought of buying a property in Spain. It had been her life long dream to do so and it was humbling to see an outpouring of emotion when she realised she could now afford to realise her dream having finally retired.

Therefore I always say it is the right time to buy Overseas Property, but people have to look at their own situation to work out whether it is the right time for them. Every day now sees the market strengthening across Europe with exchange rates strengthening almost daily (the pound is at a 20 month high against the Euro), property search figures show far higher search rates than last year (Atlas International search figures show a 35% increase on the same period last year) and sales increasing month on month. The Ministry of Housing in Spain for example has recently reported property sales in the first quarter of 2010 were 7% higher than the same period last year and 17% higher than the last quarter of 2009.

The Overseas Property market is incredibly broad what with a huge variety of countries on offer and therefore there will always be winners and losers. However, certainly the winner at the moment is the market itself. People are regaining confidence and certainly we are seeing more of the attitude “if we are going to have to endure a recession we would rather spend it somewhere hot”

James Dearsley is the European Sales Manager of Atlas International, a family firm who have been involved in the Overseas Property Business for over 30 years now and have helped move more than 75,000 people into their dream homes abroad. For more information about the company visit our website:

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